— That the theologians who tell us that we must take scripture literally are the same ones who must explain those very scriptures to us in order that we might understand what they say is the “true” meaning of them.
I am about to give you example after example. I will not give you every scripture that this occurs with, but enough to to prove this point. Let’s begin with a foundational verse:
Take Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. (KJV)
This “first” voice, speaking to John, is the “last” trumpet for the church? This we are told by these teachers, who lay claim to the most literal interpretation of scripture,. But this call to John is stated to be not a trumpet, but a voice. There is no trumpet in this verse; not a first one nor a last one. There is no returning of our Lord for us proclaimed in this verse; there is no resurrection of the dead preceding this voice calling John.
Then there is Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (KJV)
This obviously speaks of the coming wedding of the Lamb of God to His own. This wedding of the Bride is announced by these voices following the announcement of a fact — that the Lord God now reigns, but instead we are told that this is actually taking place 7 years before He begins His reign.
Then there is Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (KJV)
This verse produces the actual sounding of the seventh and last trumpet recorded in scripture, and it also actually announces that “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth”. The very same announcement that tells us in Rev. 19 that the bride has now made herself ready, yet, we are told that this is not the last trumpet announcing the brides gathering. And yet the Lord has begun His reign.
We must appear ignorant to these literalists, and I guess supposedly to God. We must be unlearned in our ability to rightly discern what is meant by literal.
Then there is Romans 11:25 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (NET)
Paul is talking throughout Romans 11 about Gentiles coming into the Olive Tree which represents believers Vs unbelievers. But in this verse these literalists see this fullness or full number of the Gentiles not to be coming into the Olive Tree, which represents believers, but they see these Gentiles as coming into a separate church from the church in the wilderness (Israel). And it is this separate church which according to them is at some point to be Raptured, and therefore it has nothing to do with our becoming one with Israel’s saints of the Old Testament, who in fact, never left the olive tree. And a remnant of Israel who are still in this olive Tree. Man is not removed from this tree by death, but by unbelief. All of these including us are part of this tree. And when you think about it the remnant from Israel including the disciples, were the only ones of the Jews left alive from Israel who were then in this tree before God called Gentiles into it. But we are told by the literalist that all of Israel was cut off in order to make room for all Gentiles who are in the church.
They then conclude that this church of mainly Gentiles must be cutoff by Rapture from this tree in order for Israel to return to it. Yet this tree has as it’s root Israel’s Messiah, and Rapture is not the way Paul tells us is the way out of this tree. So the literalist is again not a true literalist. Because Paul makes clear that the way out of this tree is not rapture, but unbelief.
And then there is Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (KJV)
Even though Paul says here that we are the circumcision, yet Dispensationalists who take scripture literally say that we have nothing to do with Israel’s promises. And this heart circumcision promise is definitely Israel’s. Paul says:
So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. Romans 2:26,28-29 NASB
Still we are told that we cannot rely on this literal teaching by Paul, mainly because it is contrary to their own teaching. Paul again says:
remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 NASB
This they say means nothing about any permanent relationship to Israel and her covenants. But:
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20 NASB
This new covenant is ignored in this argument even though it is a promise made to Israel. It in effect has been stolen by a church separated from Israel, who only exists because of Israel’s Messiah, and this promised covenant.
Then there is Galatians 1:8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! (NET)
Yet, these literalists tell us that there are really two gospels (one the gospel of the kingdom and the other this one of Grace — Paul’s), and that the angels will deliver not this gospel, but the gospel of the kingdom in Revelation 14:6, which is another gospel — not Paul’s.
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (NET)
Why must they make this another gospel? Because if Israel is saved in the exact same way then they are in the same church and bride. So, then the literalist teachers say this other gospel is just for the Jews. And if that be the case Paul says of this God’s angel who preaches this other gospel, “let him be condemned to hell!”
Then there is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (KJV)
Here the literalists tell us that there can be no falling away, but that the word for “falling away” in this verse means “Rapture”. This not only is not the literal meaning of the word, but it borders on the very deception warned about in this verse. For further understanding on this verse: Read my Jan 29 post:
Sorry I guess that some Scripture is just too literal for the literalists. When Jesus “The Word of God”, was made flesh and came unto His own they refused to believe His words. We are told that in our time in history this same falling away from truth, which is the only producer of faith, will occur. It likely will begin with a refusal to hear and believe His Word. This seems obvious, because the Bible is certainly a part of the vast knowledge, which Daniel was told will be present identifying these last days.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (KJV)
I could list many other scriptures where what is literal is taught to mean something different, but I have taught on each of them in other posts. There is a clarity and uniformity in scripture’s teaching, that if taken literally produces purity of doctrine. The literal scripture teaches an adoption of Gentiles into A Jewish Commonwealth through our acceptance of and following of Israel’s Messiah (the Christ), as the savior of the world.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (KJV)
Overcoming Satan and sin for God’s righteousness has no meaning for the majority of today’s church.
I don’t like saying this, because many brothers do not believe God’s word literally in every respect. But, If there is such a thing as false teachers in the church, would they not be discerned by their teaching? If so, what must be looked for if not making scripture say something other than what it does say? If these teachers are involved in deception, again what should we look for if not making scripture say what it does not say? One thing is for certain both do exist, and we are told by Paul: “Let no man deceive you by any means:” One means of Satan’s attempted deception against our Lord was a twisting of the Word of God.