...the churches of Christ salute you! Rom 16:16

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Home The Light Articles from 2002 The Church ... Plan of the Ages

The Church ... Plan of the Ages

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The Church ... Plan of the Ages

The precious organism, known in the common versions of the New Testament as the "church" of Jesus Christ, is a unique entity. Its pristine integrity must be preserved, and its beauty valued by every genuine Christian of the modern world.

The church is a body of baptized believers who have been called–through the gospel (2 Thes. 2:14)–into a special relationship with God. That it shares a bond with the workings of Jehovah throughout the history of the Old Testament era will scarcely be denied. It is not surprising, therefore, that the nomenclature applied to the people of God in the New Testament should find some parallel in the literature of the Old Testament.

The Lord’s people under the former regime were designated as "Israel." The church is the new "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16; Rom. 2:28-29). As the church is now God’s ekklesia (the called out), so there was an ekklesia (congregation) of the Lord’s people in the days of Moses (Acts 7:38).

There was a divinely-designed "house of God" under the Mosaic economy; so today the church is "the house of God" (Isa. 2:2; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 4:17). Having said that, it must be emphasized that the New Testament church is a distinct organism; a regime characterized by a new, fresh character, uncluttered by the "carnal ordinances" of the former dispensation (cf. Heb. 9:10).

Not An Afterthought

There is a common notion among dispensational premillennialists that the church is merely an emergency plan–an "interim measure"–conceived by God as a consequence of the Jewish rejection of the Messiah (Kevin, 352). Such a view is wholly at variance with the Scriptures.

The church was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (cf. Eph. 1:4). Paul argues that the manifold wisdom of God is made known "through the church," according to the "eternal purpose" (literally "plan of the ages") which was realized in the mission of Christ (Eph. 3:10-11). Dispensationalism reflects a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Lord’s church.


Dispensationalists allege that the "outcalling of the Church" was "hidden from the O.T. prophets" (Scofield, 914). But that simply is not true. There are significant, specific details in Hebrew prophecy concerning the establishment of the church of Christ. Consider the following facts:

1. It was prophetically announced that the kingdom of Christ (which is the church, Mt. 16:18-19) would be established during the administration of the Roman empire (Dan. 2:44). This was at the commencement of this current age–Biblically designated as "the last days" (Isa. 2:2-4; Joel 2:28ff).

2. The prophets foretold that the house of God (the church, 1 Tim. 3:15) would be set up in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-4).

3. The Old Testament Scriptures declared that the church would be international in scope; eventually, "all nations" would flow unto it (Isa. 2:2). These prophecies were fulfilled with flawless precision.

The Fulfillment

The fulfillment of Bible prophecies regarding the establishment of Christ’s church is a fascinating study. Let us look at some of these matters next issue. Both this and the following installment adapted from a work by bro. Wayne Jackson.



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