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What the Church is, and is not

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. " Matthew 16:18



It is not a continuation of the "Jewish Dispensation" under another name.

As we have seen in the chapter on the Jews, the Jews have been shunted to a sidetrack that the "Main Line" may be clear for the passage of the Church. Jesus said-"The Law and the Prophets are until John." If the Scriptures put Moses and Law in one Dispensation and Christ and Grace in another let us respect the Divine order and not join together what God has put asunder.

It is not "The Kingdom"

John the Baptist came preaching that the "Kingdom of Heaven" was "at hand" and Jesus sent out the Twelve and the Seventy to do the same, but the Jewish people rejected their King, and the setting up of the Kingdom was postponed. There cannot be any Kingdom until the "Nobleman Farmer" who has gone into a "far country" to receive the Kingdom returns. Luke 19:11-13

It is a "Mystery"


The Kingdom was no mystery. The Old Testament prophets describe it in glowing terms. But there was something that was a Mystery" to them, and that was what was to come in between the "Sufferings and Glory" of Christ. 1Pet. 1:9-11.

That is, between the Cross and the Crown. Jesus intimated that there was to be something that He called the "Church, " but He did not say when it should appear, or what it would be like. Matt. 16:13-15.

The "Mystery of the Church" was first revealed to Paul.

"For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of 'The Dispensation of the Grace of God' which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me 'THE MYSTERY' which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that THE GENTILES should be fellow heirs and of THE SAME BODY, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel..... according to the 'Eternal Purpose' which He purposes in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eph. 3:1-3




It is a "Called Out" Body

The word Church comes from the Greek word "ecclesia" which means "Assembly" or a congregation of "called out ones."

But the word is not used exclusively as to the Church. Israel was an "ecclesia" or an Assembly of people "called out" from other peoples and nations, and is called in Acts 7:38, "The Church in the Wilderness."

Any Assembly of worshipers banded together as a church or congregation is an "ecclesia." Matt. 18:17; 1Cor. 14:19, 1Cor. 14:35.

While Israel is a "called out body" it is a "National Body, " composed exclusively of the descendants of Abraham, but the Church is not a "National Body" for it is not composed of the people of any one nation, , but of individuals from every kindred, people, tribe and nation.

That Israel and the Church are distinct and separate and cannot be blended, is clear from the fact that their "election" was made at different dates, and that the "election" of the Church antedates the "election" of Israel, for Israel was chosen in Abraham from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34), while the Church was chosen in HIM (Jesus) BEFORE the Foundation of the World. Eph. 1:4-6




It is the "Body of Christ"

In Eph. 1:22, 23 we read-

"And hath put all things under His feet, and gave HIM (Jesus), to be the HEAD over all things to the Church which is His BODY."

The context shows (vs. 20), that this "Headship" was not possible until Jesus had been raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of the Father. The Church, therefore, could not have been in existence before there was a Head, for God does not make headless things. The Church then is the Body of which Christ is the Head.

In 1Cor. 12:12, 13 we are told how this "Body" is formed.

"For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into One Body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into ONE SPIRIT."

From this we see that it is the "Baptism of the Spirit" that incorporates us into the "BODY OF CHRIST."

Therefore there could be no Church until the "Day of Pentcost." Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:1-3



It is to be the "Bride of Christ"

At present the Church is a virgin espoused. Paul said to the Church at Corinth,

"I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste VIRGIN to Christ." 2Cor. 11:2.

In Christ's day an espousal was as sacred as a marriage.

The First Adam had his Bride, and the Second or Last Adam must have His Bride. In Gen. 2:18, Gen. 2:21-23, we are told how the First Adam got his Bride.

"The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and with the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made (builded) He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man."

Now Jesus during His life on the earth as a man, abode alone, but a deep sleep-the sleep of death-fell on Him, and out of His wounded side, as the result of the Atonement He made on the Cross, there came that from which the Church was formed, and to which the Holy Spirit gave life on the Day of Pentecost; so that, as Adam said of Eve-"This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, " so we can say of the Church-"We are members of His Body, of his Flesh, and of his Bones." Eph. 5:29-31

The ORIGIN of the Church.


In the summer of the third year of Christ's ministry, when Israel had practically rejected Him and He was entering the "Shadow of the Cross, " knowing that the offer of the Kingdom would soon be withdrawn, and the Church be set up, and wishing to prepare His Disciples for what was coming, He took them over into Cesarea Philippi, and there asked the question-"Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? " Matt. 16:13-15.

After they had told Him what others said of Him, He said to them-"But whom say Ye that I am? " And Simon Peter answered and said-"Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And Jesus answered and said unto Peter-"Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church; and the 'Gates of Hell' (Hades) shall not prevail against it." Notice that there is here a little play upon words.

It is from the Greek word "petros" that the word Peter is taken. "Petros" in the Greek means a stone, the small fragment of a rock, while the Greek word "Petra" means a rock, or large mass of stone. It is significant that in the Greek the word "Petrog" is masculine, while the word "Petra" is feminine. The change of gender then is not without significance, as if it would distinguish Peter the man, from his confession that "Christ Was the Son of God," and that upon that confession, or upon Christ-THE ROCK, Christ would build His Church.

That the "Rock" means Christ Himself is in harmony with other scriptures that speak of Him as a "Rock." That Peter understood that Christ meant that He Himself was the "Rock" is evident from Peter's address in Acts 4:5-7, where he says of Christ "This Is the STONE which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner" - that is the Corner Stone of the Building.

The Time of Rapture

Some claim that "all" the Church are to pass through the Tribulation; others that "all" the Church are to be caught out before the Tribulation, while some claim that only the "Waiting" and "Watching" Saints shall be caught out before the Tribulation, and that the rest must pass through it. The. latter base their claim on Heb. 9:28, where it says-"Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." While this might apply to the living when He appears, it certainly cannot apply to the dead. There are tens and hundreds of thousands who "fell asleep in Jesus" who never heard of the Premillennial Coming of the Lord, or at least never grasped its meaning, and who therefore never "watched" and "waited" and "looked" for His Appearing. They surely are "In Christ"; and the "Dead in Christ" are to rise at the Rapture. Paul does not say in 1Thes. 4:16, 1Thes. 4:17, that it will be the "dead" who "watched" and "waited" and "looked, " and those who are "alive" and "watch" and "wait" and "look" for His Appearing that shall be "caught out, " but the dead "In Christ, " and we who "Are Alive And Remain."

The order of the Resurrections is-"Christ the 'First Fruits, ' afterward they that 'are Christ's at His Coming." Paul says-"Behold, I show you a Mystery: we shall not all 'sleep, ' but we shall ALL Be Changed." 1Cor. 15:51.

Then there is another fact that we must not forget, and that is, the Unity of the Church.

"For as the Body Is One, and hath many members, and ALL the Members Of That One Body, Being Many ARE ONE BODY; so also is Christ. For by One Spirit are we ALL Baptized Into One Body." 1Cor. 12:12, 1Cor. 12:13.

All then who have been "born again" (John 3:3-5) are part of Christ's "Body, " and we cannot conceive of Christ's "Body" being divided; part of it remaining "asleep" in the grave, and part of it "raised in glory"; part of it left to pass through the Tribulation, and part of it "changed" and caught up to meet Him in the air.

If "all" the Church are to pass through the Tribulation, then instead of waiting and watching "for the Lord, " we should be waiting and watching "for the Tribulation " which is contrary to the teaching of Christ Himself.
Matt. 24:42-4

The Tribulation is not for the perfecting "of the Saints." It has nothing to do with the Church. It is the time of "Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7), and is the "Judgment of Israel, " and it is God's purpose to keep the Church Out Of It. Rev. 2:10. The Book of Revelation is written in chronological order. After the fourth chapter the Church is seen no more upon the earth until she appears in the nineteenth chapter coming with the Bridegroom "from" Heaven. The entire time between these two chapters is filled with appalling judgments that fall upon those that "dwell on the earth, " and as the Church is not of the earth, but is supposed to "sit together in, "Heavenly Places" in Christ Jesus, " (Eph. 2:6), she will not be among those who "dwell on the earth" in those days.

(taken from Clarence Larkins great
book, "Dispensational Truth" chapter 11
click here to read more




Read the archives:
  

Have Christians Replaced The Jews As God's Chosen People?
How Replacement Theology Has Corrupted The Church



And his own received him not - We all know the story fairly well by this point. For over a 1,000
years, the Old Testament foretold the coming of the Messiah. And it was very precise as to who
this Messiah would be. Here are a few of the OT prophecies concering Messiah:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Gen 3:15
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come;" Gen 49:10
"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:" Zech 6:12
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall calld his name Immanuel" Isaiah 7:14
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" Micah 5:2
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53: 1-3
"The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous to see." Psalm 118:22
"Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, 'Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!" Psalm 22:7-8
"My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me." Psalm 22:14
"My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet" Psalm 22:16

So, whoever the Messiah was to be, he would have to have been born in Bethlehem, been born
of a virgin, crucufied on a cross, and most importantly, he had to be rejected by the bulk of his own people. There are many more prophecies, but these are the major ones. History shows us that all
of these prophecies were fulfilled on one person - Yeshua Ha'Maschiach, Jesus the Messiah.

Anyone who has ever heard or sung a Christmas carol knows the rest of the story. Jesus started a
group of 12 disciples, with the Great Commission to bring the New Testament gospel into all the
world. The Jews rejected Jesus, as was foretold, Jesus turned to the gentiles, as was also foretold,
and the Day of salvation in the promised Messiah from the Bible was launched. And all that leads
us to our question - since the Jews rejected their own Messiah, and the gentiles accepted Him,
does that make the gentiles God's new chosen people?


Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. It is finished.


They call it 'Replacement Theology'

Here is a good definition of Replacement Theology: "We believe that the international Church has superseded for all times national Israel as the institution for the administration of divine blessing to the world." source - Kenneth Gentry

And this from Randall Price: "a theological perspective that teaches that the Jews have been rejected by God and are no longer God's Chosen People. Those who hold to this view disavow any ethnic future for the Jewish people in connection with the biblical covenants, believing that their spiritual destiny is either to perish or become a part of the new religion that superseded Judaism."
source - Randall Prince

Get the idea? Jews and Israel are out, Christians are in, end of story. Only, that's not the end of the
story. In fact, it's not the story at all. At least not from how God see it.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance

"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Romans 11:29 What does that mean
exactly? Simply stated, it means that when God says something, gives you something, or does
something that He doesn't "take it back". He means what He says and says what He means. The
Bible also says that "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you
will complete [it] until the day of Jesus Christ;" Philippians 1:6 God doesn't do things halfway, and
whatever He starts He will also finish, you can count on that with the utmost certainty. So what
does all this, you ask, have to do with the Jews and Israel? Let's see.



"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I
will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that
bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Genesis 12: 1-3

God gave Abraham an eternal and everlasting promise, that from his seed would come a great
nation that would always endure. God said that that nation, Israel, would become so great in the
earth that anyone who blessed Israel and the Jews, God would bless. And anyone that cursed
Israel and the Jews, God would curse. This promise came with no expiration date.

"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward...And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this
land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:" Genesis 15:1,7,8,18

 
The Great Dispersion

The nation of Israel thrived for well over 1,000 years, but in the year 70AD, was overrun by the Roman armies, burned to the ground, and the Jews were forced to flee into the "four corners of the earth", as prophesied in the Scriptures. But the Scriptures also promised that in the Last Days, God would miraculously restore Israel and the Jews to the land of Israel. It is written in dozens of places in the Old Testament, and in Ezekiel 37 we read this fantasic promise from God to the Jews living in the Last Days -

"And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into
two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." Ezekiel 37: 21-23


The recreaton of the nation of Israel is an event unique in human history. Never in all of recorded time has a nation and a people been so throughly scattered, and then 2,000 years later regathered in exactly the same spot. Israel is a miracle of
God and a major fulfillment of bible prophecy.


Now, does any of this sound to you like God is finished with the Jews, or has turn away from the
nation of Israel? If you are intellectually honest, you will have to agree that it does not. Yet, there
are people today, many of them who call themselves Christians and followers of Messiah, who
denounce Israel as being not of God, and who claim that the Jews are "evil, Zionist conspirators."


Israel today is a place of incredible beauty, and it's deserts bloom like a rose in accordance with God's promises

Israel today is an absolutely incredible place, and after nearly 2,000 years of the Jews being shook
out of their own land, today they are back in it as a sovereign people exactly how God said it would
be in the end of time. But the best part is that God has only begun to do miracles in Israel, and the
time is coming very shortly where the whole world will see what God has in store for Israel as a
nation, and for the Jews as His chosen people.

 
The Promises Of God Are Eternal  
God promised that He would, in the Last Days, return the Jews to the land of Zion, also known as Israel, as He regathered them from the four corners of the globe.

"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.



In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever." Micah 4: 1,2,6,7

 
God gives a wonderful promise in this passage from Micah, that the day would come when Israel
would be restored, and that the Jews would be returned home. Theodor Herzl, was one of the main players in God's Plan to restore Israel. Whether he knew that he was being used in that way or not is besides the point. What God says will come to pass will no doubt come to pass. Adolph Hitler, in a different way and for completely different reasons, was also used by God to recreate the Jewish state of Israel. It was because of Hitler's atrocious act of the Holocaust that created worldwide sympathy for the Jews to be returned to Israel.
 


"And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Amo 9:15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." Amos 9:14.15

Israel today is the living, breathing embodiment and fulfillment of the many promises in the bible that one day, in the end of time, God would restore His people the Jews, to the place that God Himself called this "apple of His eye", national Israel.

 
What is yet future for the Jews

With all the wonderful things that God has done, He is barely even started with what is yet to
for the Jews. Paul, in the Book of Romans, has this to say -

"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot
ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they
seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand
men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. " Romans 11: 1-5

Paul is clearly saying that God has no intention of turning His back on the Jews, and though there
be only a small remnant of believing Jews in Messiah, that the day would come when God would
fully restore the Jews, and open their eyes to the truth.


We are seeing the prophecies that Paul talked about in Romans coming true.

"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber,
eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway."
Romans 11: 7-10


But God has no intention of leaving them in this "spirit of slumber" condition. He is going to open
their eyes in an incredible way -

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." Romans 11: 25-27



We know from bible prophecy that these events foretold are yet future, and will more than likely
happen during the time that the bible calls the 'time of Jacob's trouble', otherwise known as the
Great Tribualtion. But with all confidence in the word of God, I can promise you that these things
will happen. I can also promise you that the church that Jesus started has not and will not ever
replace the Jews as God's Chosen people, and that the promises made to national Israel remain the
property of national Israel for now, and for all eternity.

 



 
   

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