[This tract is supplied by S.G.A.T.]
Does God Mean What He Says?
By Stephen A Toms
It appears that the philosophy of Replacement Theology is becoming more commonly believed amongst professing Christians and, consequently, we consider it right to say something about the issue.
Replacement Theology is the strange notion that the Church
(made up of Jews and Gentiles) has replaced
We would submit that, amongst other things, replacement theology (1) denies that Gods words are to be taken to mean what they say; (2) gives the idea that Gods words can mean anything; (3) deviates from true spirituality (4) leads to anti-Semitism: (5) tends to imply that Old Testament teaching is different from New Testament teaching - as if one part of the Bible is more inspired than the other; and (6) proclaims a false message.
Some of the Scripture references quoted in an endeavour to
prove the theory are Matthew 21: 37-46;
John 10: 16;
Romans 2: 28-29; Romans 9: 6; Ephesians 2:
10-21; and Galatians 3: 27-29. It is strange to provide these
passages as proof-texts as there is nothing in any of them which says that when
God uses the word
Denies Gods Words
Mean What They Say
Faith is a believing of that which God has said in His Holy Word. The words used in Scripture are words which the Holy Ghost has chosen to reveal truth. To replace any such word by saying that it means other than that stated seems to us to be a very dangerous practice. We would have thought that the idea of replacing any Divinely-inspired words would be obnoxious to all true believers.*
[* NOTE. It was suggested at a Bible/Prayer session, that the words: We are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given TO THEM THAT OBEY HIM (Acts 5: 32), do not really mean what they say! That is, the Holy Spirit will continue to indwell every regenerate believer, irrespective of whether that person is obedient or disobedient!
It was also stated that the word Hades, - as used in the N.I.V. translation - does not refer to the underworld of the dead but to heaven! See Matt. 12: 40. cf. Acts 2: 31 and 2 Tim. 2: 18, John 20: 17, etc. Talk of this nature must be obnoxious to our Lord, Whose teachings are being ignored, disbelieved and rejected by His own redeemed people!
It should come as no surprise that the preacher is an Anti-millennialist; and I was told by another godly man that he had left because he couldnt endure listening any longer to the ministry there!
When he told me this, I was deeply saddened and expressed by disappointment at his leaving by saying how sincere I believed the preacher was in what he believed: but that does not excuse the erroneous statements which are being made! Lord, forgive us for our ignorance!
In 1 Tim. 4: 66, R.V., we read: Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt SAVE both thyself and them that hear thee. Is there any reference here to eternal salvation? NO! Christians (i.e., regenerate believers) are saved, eternally; they are being saved, from day to day; and they shall be saved, at some time in the future. The words: How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (Heb. 2: 3, R.V.), have nothing whatsoever to do with the common and eternal salvation which was given at first faith in Jesus Christ as ones Saviour! For future salvation texts see, Acts 13: 47; Rom. 13: 11, 12; Tit. 2: 11-13; 1 Pet. 1: 5, 9, 10-11; 1 Thess. 5: 8, 9; 2 Tim. 2: 10; Rev. 12: 10, etc.]
The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony has always insisted that God means what He says and says what He means. Also, that where the plain sense is good sense, it is the right sense. That does not mean that the Lord has never used dreams, visions, types, shadows, parables, etc., but the explanations given, and all, plainly-worded statements, are to be taken as meaning precisely what they say.
Mr George T Hunt, an early editor of the magazine, Watching and Waiting, wrote, In reading prophecy, remember that Israel mean, Israel and not believers; Jerusalem means Jerusalem and not heaven; Zion means Zion and not the Church; Babylon means Babylon and not Rome; Egypt means Egypt and not the world. That is an excellent guide.
It is understood that the names
In more recent years, the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony has republished a sermon preached by Bishop J C Ryle entitled Scattered Israel To Be Gathered, in which the learned Protestant Bishop gives a list of Scripture texts from the prophetical books - both major and minor prophets, as they are often described - where definite statements are made concerning the future gathering of the nation of Israel. We would strongly recommend that Dr Ryles remarks be studied by all who are concerned about truth. Bishop Ryle was no mean scholar, but it does not take a lot of intelligence to understand that it is the same nation that was scattered that will be gathered. Although the sermon, preached from Jeremiah 31: 10, was delivered many years ago - in 1858 - there is no need to change one word. The booklet is still obtainable from the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony. There is, of course, much other good literature on this subject.
The three chapters in Romans (9. - 11.), which give so much information about
Gods purposes for Israel, are very specific and it ought to be noted that they
were written after the crucifixion of the Messiah. Anyone reading these chapters with an unbiased
mind should be able to understand what God has said. You do not need to be a great scholar to grasp
the plain words of Holy Scripture, but you do need the enlightenment of the
Holy Spirit to believe these statements. We are clearly told that Gentiles will be graffed in - that is, to the nation which is
described as a good olive tree. However, there is no
suggestion that Gentiles become the
In Galatians 3: 27-29, we are instructed concerning the unity of all true believers. There is mention of there being neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), bond nor free, male nor female. All these groups, as Christians, have a real unity but that does not alter the fact that such groups have existed through the centuries, and still do exist. There are still males; there are still females, etc. However, it makes no difference to our unity in Christ whether we are male or female, bond or free, Jew or Gentile. The passage goes on to explain that all those truly saved by Gods grace are Abrahams seed.
The covenant with Abraham is recorded in various places - see Genesis 12: 1-3, 7; 13: 15-17; 15: 5-7; 17: 4-8; 24: 7. When these passages are studied together, it is abundantly apparent that the promise concerned (1) the land, (2) the people, and (3) the Messiah (in Whom all nations of the earth would [after His Second Advent] be blessed). As Jehovah is a faithful God, He will keep all three parts of the covenant, and the fact that persons from nations other than the Jewish people are blessed in the Messiah is no proof that God will not keep His promises concerning the land and the nation. In fact, it is a strong indication that He will perform all that which He has spoken.
The idea of God failing to do as He has said could be more accurately described in other words by saying, God did not mean what He said about the land and the nation because He has fulfilled, and will more completely fulfil, that spoken concerning the Seed. What folly!
Apart from the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there are the many, many promises made to the nation of Israel which are recorded in Holy Scripture, particularly in the prophets and the psalms, and we submit that not to believe these statements of God is to deny that He has used the right words in His book, the Bible, which is, of course, a book of revelation.
Proverbs 30: 5 tells us that every word of God is pure. Every means every and pure means pure. Consequently, it is inconceivable that when the Lord gave covenant promises to a certain nation, He had no intention that they would actually be for that people.
Suggests Gods Words
Can Mean Anything
It is a dangerous thing to say that God does not mean the words He has used in Holy Scripture. That is how modernists treat statements of history [prophecy] and doctrine. They, in their folly, would imagine that there was no six-day creation [restoration]*, that Jonah was not swallowed by the great fish, etc. They are satisfied to look for, what they call, a spiritual meaning. We contend that everything in the Bible is true. We further contend that wherever the word Israel is used in the Bible it refers either (1) to the man, Jacob, or (2) to the nation that descended from him (that is, from his loins).
[* NOTE. That this earth is much older than 6,000 years has been proved time and time again: and the clause - And the earth was without form and void - found in the Authorised Translation, has been better translated as: Now the earth was (or possibly became) formless and empty in the New International Version. The six-day creation is therefore a six-day restoration which began after Gods initial creation and after Satans fall from grace through pride, when it became formless and empty.]
Those persons imbibing the replacement theory often endeavour
to prove their notion by using the term spiritual
Israel, as if that allows for the inclusion of persons other than those
of the Jewish nation. The truth is that
this title (spiritual
This is really what Romans 2: 28-29 and 9: 6 teach us. When God says in chapter 2, He is not a
Jew, which is one outwardly ... but he is a Jew which is one inwardly it is a reminder that there have been
and will be those Jews who are only outwardly
so, but there are those who know a real experience of Gods grace and can be
described as inwardly, for example, Moses,
David, Paul. When God says in chapter 9, They are
used to comment that
when God re-affirmed to the nation in later years, the covenant that He had formerly
made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He frequently used the name Jacob instead of
This is a very important issue for each one of us individually
as if God never intended to keep His plainly-worded promises to the nation of
Deuteronomy 4: 2 states concerning Gods word, Ye shall not ...
diminish ought from it. Diminish means lessen,
degrade, take from.
Clearly, such diminishing is evident
when the word
If we are to accept that
Deviates from True Spirituality
It would be quite wrong to suggest that many persons who have embraced the teaching of replacement theology are not spiritually minded people; but that is in spite of their reception of the theory rather than because of their imbibing the notion.
It is often spoken of as a spiritualising of the prophecies, but we submit that it is not spiritual at all. It is, in effect, a vapourising of prophetic truth. We consider that, when studying Holy Scripture, the most literal understanding of Gods plainly-worded sentences is the most spiritual.
We have heard it said that Galatians 4: 26 and Hebrews 12: 22 warrant the taking of the word
In Galatians, the apostle is speaking about Sarah and Hagar,
Isaac and Ishmael, and he specifically states that these things are an
allegory (verse 24). Hagar and her son represented the conditional
covenant of the Law, which is described as
The passage in Hebrews has a similar theme and contrasts
Mount Sinai with the heavenly
John tells us, in the Book of the Revelation, that he saw the holy
city, new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven (21:
2). It is however, unreasonable
to confuse this city with the place of which we read so much in Gods Word -
It is amazing how so many of Gods people, who appear to be otherwise godly persons, seem to lose their Christian character when they are endeavouring to enforce their belief in this so-called spiritualising. Sadly, we have heard some, whom we would consider to be dear believers, refer to pre-millennialism as heresy, and pre-millennialists as heretics!
Leads to Anti-Semitism
God has made unconditional promises in a covenant of grace
towards the nation of
Replacement theology seems to tell us that Jehovah has rejected the Jews because of their sin. We who are Gentile believers are far from sinless, so would that mean that God will reject us? Any professing Christian who knows anything about the grace of God will be very conscious of many personal sins and short-comings and will be thankful that Gods sovereign grace does much more abound - is super-abundant. Is it consistent with the doctrine of free and sovereign grace to suggest that God would cast away His covenant people because of their transgressions? In any case, He has definitely stated, I will never break My covenant with you (Judges 2: 1), and that in spite of the fact that in the next verse, Jehovah continued by saying, Ye have not obeyed My voice.
Those who understand that the Lord retains His love for His ancient people, although they, as a nation, rejected the Messiah, will love those people too, as did the apostle Paul (Romans 9: 24). Moreover, there is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was able to choose into which nation He would be born, chose to be a Jew. Those who understand these things rightly seek to love those whom God Himself has loved and still loves with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31: 3).
A man, in speaking to me, sought to describe the church he had
been attending, and he said, They pray for every country under the sun, except
The Scripture specifically tells us that we should pray for the peace of
Some seem to presume that our love for
It appears sadly obvious that those
who fail to grasp the truth of Gods perpetual love for Pauls kinsmen
according to the flesh often look at Gods ancient people as the world sees
them; and whether or not it is admitted, the inability to grasp Gods purpose does
lead to anti-Semitism. Zechariah 2: 8 refers to
Not Equally Inspired
We find too, that amongst those persons embracing replacement theology, there is a tendency to speak of the New Testament as if it were superior to the Old Testament; this in spite of the fact that both are equally inspired.
It is worthy of note that it is in the New Testament, in Hebrews 8: 8-11, that a quote is made from Jeremiah 31: 31-34. This is what is said in Hebrews: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least to the greatest.
The quotation is not altered to say that the new covenant is
with the Church, but it is specifically stated that it is a covenant with
the house of
2 Timothy 3: 16 informs us
that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. That includes the Old Testament as
much as the New Testament. The New
Testament does not annul, render void, or abolish the clear promises set forth
so continuously in the Old Testament. The
truth is that the New Testament confirms the abundant grace of God in keeping
His Word to the
We may well ask, is it right or is it reasonable to replace Gods words with mens thoughts? We would submit that replacement theology leads to unbelief.*
[* NOTE. Unbelief leads into apostasy; and apostasy leads to Gods oath of exclusion from the Land in the Age to come! See Num. 14: 23, 43b. cf. Lk. 20: 35; Rev. 20: 4, 5. God really means what He has plainly stated in His inspired word! See The Greater Apostasy By David Baron.]
Proclaims a False Message
A real problem with the teaching of Replacement Theology is that it creates a false hope. Sadly, men who otherwise soundly preach salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by Blood alone - men whom we would regard as dear brethren in Christ, are taking Scriptures which refer to Israels future blessing and they try to apply them to the Church in this age; whereas the Bible clearly teaches that this present evil age will culminate in terrible apostasy and extreme godlessness. It is not difficult for a spiritually-minded person to see the way things are now going on the earth.
The Old Testament prophets had a similar experience. In the historical books, we read of many prophets (about four hundred men) telling Ahab that all would be well (1 Kings 22) but Michaiah stood alone and boldly uttered the true message of Jehovah. The king and people found that the message of the false prophets was much more appealing to them and they accordingly refused to hearken to the faithful man of God.
When we read the prophetical books, we find that this situation occurred fairly regularly. For example, in the days of Jeremiah, there were plenty in Judah who found a very palatable message was given by those who professed to be speaking in the name of Jehovah, but God had not sent them (Jeremiah 23: 21). Jeremiah faithfully preached the truth revealed to him by the Lord and for this, was treated most cruelly.
It may be very nice to believe that, in our days, we will see what men consider to be wonderful revival, but that is not what God has promised. The teaching gives a false hope. Thankfully, we are encouraged to continue in faithful testimony, to go on preaching the truth of the Gospel, because the Lord will not cease to call out a people for His Name (Acts 15: 14). However, we have been clearly informed that the lot of the Church in this age is tribulation and suffering, not ruling over nations. The failure to discriminate between the Scriptures speaking of the present age and those which refer to the future age, things which will come upon the earth with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, has led many sincere believers into great confusion.
There is an oft-repeated phrase, time will tell; but we do not need time to tell us because we know, by reading the Bible, what events must take place at the end of this age. Gods words ought to be believed, not replaced.
We are told in Jeremiah 44 of those who refused to accept Gods [prophetic] word through the prophet, and verse 28 states that ultimately they shall know
whose words shall stand; Mine, or theirs. Time certainly will
tell whether God will do as He has said for the
Blest pledge! He never will revoke
A single promise He has spoke,
He will not His great self deny
A God of Truth can never lie;
As well might He His being quit
As break His oath, or word forget.
* * *
The Greater Apostasy
By DAVID BARON (1855-1925)
(This is the third chapter of the book entitled, A Divine Forecast of Jewish History. The first two chapters were included in the previous issues of Watching and Waiting, the magazine issued by the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony.)
The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4: 1)
As we read the
sad history of
we read the pathetic farewell of Moses to the children of
Ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and do evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger. Behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against Jehovah; and how much more after my death? (Deuteronomy 31: 29, 27) was the sad forecast of Moses. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember was the prophetic testimony of the apostle, which he also again and again repeats in his epistles.
much more glorious beginning than was even the commencement of the history of
the apostasy of Christendom - [that
is, the apostasy of regenerate believers affiliated to the various denominations
within the true
the history of
Thus they wandered farther and farther, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and did not stop even at so low a stage of degradation, but want on to worship birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
is the evolution
natural to man in relation to God, as attested by the histories of
But to come back to the analogy between the history of Israel and of the professing Church, let me remind you that even in the darkest days of the Jewish nation there has always been a remnant according to the election of grace, the little circle within the circle, of whom the Psalmest sings when he says: God is good (only good) to Israel, even to such as are of a clean (pure in) heart (73: 1).
So it is with Christendom. Blessed be God! Our Lord Jesus Christ has never been and never shall be without a people on the earth. May grace be given to us, that we may be among the called, and chosen, and faithful, who in the midst of mere professing Christendom, are truly Christs - to that little flock, to whom is the Fathers good pleasure to give the kingdom.