The Old Testament “Church” as Kingdom of God – Church in the Wilderness, Nation of Israel rejected the corner stone Jesus Christ. By quoting Psa 118, Mat 21 discloses how God’s salvation program was to shift from the Jewish synagogues to the New Testament congregations after Christ hung on the cross. The ancient nation of Israel was God’s “congregation” in the OT, and God also calls the whole national Israel the “church in the wilderness”, which God “called out”, or “separated from”, the other nations of the world as a “congregation” or an “assembly” for purposes related to God’s salvation program. Although most of the Israelites did not become saved, God used people in His OT church to write and preserve the Scriptures, to bring forth the Messiah (the Lord Jesus Christ), to bring about Christ’s crucifixion, and to begin the NT church. National Israel was the first corporate representation of the kingdom of God on earth until Christ fulfilled God’s law on cross. Anyone who was identified with Jehovah God of the Bible and salvation was a part of the “congregation” of Israel, which was the forerunner of the many denominations and congregations that made up the NT church. Since the Old Testament Scriptures make up over 70 percent of the Bible, those who fail to recognize the typology between the OT and NT churches miss out on much of what God has to teach us about His salvation program – especially about end-time events. The Israelites were physically “saved”, or “delivered”, out of slavery in Egypt; and, of course, symbolically this is a marvelous illustration of the nature of salvation. However, those over the age of twenty died in unbelief and ultimately had to pay for their sins in Hell. God had simply allowed them to escape from their oppressors. So we can say that even though the Israelites did obtain political freedom, they did not obtain spiritual freedom. Spiritually speaking, to “not enter into His rest” is to be banned from entering the Kingdom of God, or salvation, which is pictured by the “promised land” – the land of Canaan. If someone is denied access to Heaven, he is going to end up in Hell.
Acts 7:36-47 “He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37This 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. 38This 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 [or living] oracles [the Word of God] to give unto us: 39To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.”
1 Cor 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them [Israel] for ensamples [examples, or types]: and they are written for our [NT believers] admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Heb 3:18-19 “And to whom sware he that they [Israelites] should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Matt 21:33-44 “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone [Lord Jesus] which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner [of the Church]: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you [Nation of Israel], and given to a nation [New Testament Church] bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
Acts 4:10-12 “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Psa 118:22-24 “The stone [Jesus Christ] which the builders [Nation of Israel] refused is become the head stone of the corner [New Testament Church]. 23This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24This is the day [Ressurection day, on the basis which New Testament Church formed , when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, Sunday] which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. “
The New Testament “Church” as Kingdom of God – God emphatically ended the OT “church age” at the cross when He tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom. The tearing of the veil symbolized the breaking of Christ’s fleshly body to atone for the sins of His people, which opened a “new and living way” into the Kingdom of God. In John 14:6 we read that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”. In fact, Heb 10:20 clarifies for us that Christ was the new, living way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – the torn veil symbolic of His flesh – and that everything connected with the former temple and its contents were now rendered useless, though they had served as symbols of the Messiah Who would appear one day. During the history of the world, there has always been a mixture of saved and unsaved people in God’s earthly churches. Down through the ages, the OT and NT visible, physical and temporal “churches” have contained the invisible, spiritual and eternal “Church”. New Testament Church built as Jesus Christ as the corner stone, started gloriously on the day of Pentecost but soon sown with Tares by the enemy Satan. Wheat, gold, silver, precious stones represent true born-again believers and Tares, wood, hay, stubble represent name sake Christians.
Mat 27:50-51 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”
Heb 10:19-20 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”
John 4:20-23 “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
1 Cor 3:10-17 “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man’s work shall be burned [wood, hay, stubble], he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
Matthew 13:24-30 “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy [Satan] came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Spiritual and Eternal “Church” as the True Kingdom of God – The eternal church is the the invisible, eternal body of true believers, starting with “righteous” Abel, who are the elect of God and who have been given eternal life through God’s salvation program. It is the True Church, which is an integral part of the heavenly kingdom of God. God’s building of His eternal church is the focus and controlling factor for all of human history from the beginning to the end. This is the “church” that God has refers to in Mat 16:18. The water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness typified the Spiritual Drink of God’s Word – the Gospel of salvation by grace – which flows from the Spiritual Rock, Jesus Christ, upon Whom the Eternal Church is built. The Bible only knows of two opposing great kingdoms that have opposed each other throughout history – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. All human beings start out in the kingdom of Satan, but only God’s children have been placed within the kingdom of God. Mat 18 explains what has to take place [humbled and broken] before one is admitted into God’s Holy Heaven. Rom 2 Referring to true believers as spiritual Jews, describes the only kind of circumcision required to enter the kingdom of God. In John 3 we are confronted with the late night conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus on the subject of the New Birth. Even if a person were to refrain from committing these particular sins (the works of the flesh itemized in Gal 5) outwardly, they would still remain guilty for having committed these in their minds and hearts. The individuals who have entered into the Kingdom of God, as God has drawn them to salvation, are the very ones in view in 2 The 2. To what “beginning” is this referring? It is from before the beginning of time – before the foundation of the world, The harsh truth is that if one is not in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, then he is in the kingdom of Satan. The greatest blessing that could benefit any person is to have his sins forgiven and, as a result, to be qualified to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Matt 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [the rock is Christ] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Matt 18:3 “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children [humble], ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
Rom 2:29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
Gal 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Col 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”
Eph 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
John 3:3-6 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [typifies Word, washing of water by the word] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
2 The 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”