More Than One Church

There is one God and within the Bible there are the people that do what God instructs, the people who obey God.  That said, within the Bible, there are different instructions that God gives to different peoples and throughout different periods of time within history.

God’s churches have changed over time.  Within the Bible, what God has purposed for His saints has changed throughout Genesis to Revelation.  It is important for God’s people to know where they belong in God’s timeline so that they can know what their function is at that time in history – what God would have them do and what His will is.  There are different functions that God would have people to perform in His purpose for the ages.

Contrary to Covenant Theology teaching, there is more than one church within the Bible.  The word “church” means a called out assembly, a congregation.  The word “church” comes from the Greek and thus the word is not used within the Old Testament.  The Old Testament uses the word congregation:

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exodus 12:3

It is this congregation of Israel that Stephen refers to in Acts 7:38, just before his stoning.

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

Acts 7:37-38

Thus, the first church identified within the Bible is the “church in the wilderness” spoken of throughout the Old Testament.  The church in the wilderness was Israel under the Law.  God gave this church, the nation Israel, 613 laws to follow – what clothes they would wear, who they would marry, what food they would eat, and how they would act morally.  This church was given a sacrificial system in order to address their sin problem and they were instructed to be separate from other nations.  Again, the church in the wilderness was a nation, Israel (Psalm 33:12, 135:4), and that is contrasted with the Church of today, the body of Christ, which has no national identity as it is an entity that crosses national borders, speaks many different languages, has differing cultures, and has no military.  

To the church in the wilderness, a kingdom on planet earth was promised.   Just like John the Baptist that preceeded Him, the King came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mk 1:14, Mt 4:23, 9:35).  The Kingdom was nigh – Israel only needed to accept Jesus as their prophesied Messiah.  Thus the King, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ came to planet earth in bodily form, but the nation Israel rejected Him:

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15:24

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:11

Because of this, the King told His nation’s leadership (the pharisees, the priests, the scribes) that He was taking the Kingdom away from them and that He would be giving it to a nation that would bear the fruits thereof:

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Matthew 21:43

Jesus the Christ stated that the Kingdom would be given to a nation, but which one?  

 

  1. The church, the little flock (Lk 12:32, Mt 16:18-19, 1 Pet 5:2-3):
    1. Defining characteristics of this church can be found in Acts 2:44-45, Lk 9:2-3, Lk 12:22, Mk 13:11, Is 35:6, Acts 4:32, 34-35, 5:1-10.
  2. The Church, the body of Christ (Col 1:18, 24, 1 Cor 12:12, 27, Eph 5:23).
    1. The Church, the body of Christ, is also identified as the house of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).
      1. The Church, the body of Christ, must uphold and affirm the truth.
      2. The teaching of Jesus Christ and God’s word rightly divided is a solid platform of truth and other philosophies, worldviews, and teachings claiming to be truth do not stand up to the scrutiny of reality which is only explained through the Scriptures.

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