113. THE "KINGDOM" AND THE "CHURCH".
From Appendixes 112 and 114 it will be seen that, if each use of the
term "kingdom" has its own special and particular meaning and must not
be confused with others that differ, there must be still greater confusion
if any one of them is identified with "the Church", as is very commonly
done : though which of the Kingdoms and which of the Churches is
never definitely pointed out.
The following reasons may be given which will show that "the Kingdom"
and "the Church" cannot thus be identified :--
- The subjects of the former are spoken of as "inheriting", or
as being "heirs of the Kingdom"; but we cannot speak of inheriting
or being heirs of "the Church".
- We read of the possibility of "receiving the Kingdom", but
in no sense can any Church be spoken of as being received.
- We read of "the elders of the Churches", messengers or servants
of the Churches, but never of the elders, &c. of the Kingdom.
- The word basileia, translated "kingdom", occurs 162
times, and in the plural only in Matt. 4:8. Luke 4:5. Heb.
11:33. Rev. 11:15. On the other hand, the word ekklesia
occurs 115 times, and of these 36 are in the plural and 79 in the singular,
all rendered "church" except in Acts 19:32, 39, 41, "assembly".
- We read of "the children (or sons) of the Kingdom", but the
Bible knows nothing of the sons of "the Church".
- The characteristics of each are distinct.
- The names and appellatives of "the Church" are
never used of the Kingdom (Eph. 1:23; 2:21; 4:4, 16; 5:30. Col. 1:24.
- The privilege of "that Church" which consists
of the partakers of "a heavenly calling", Heb. 3:1 (see Ap. 112. 4, 5);
Rev. 20:4-6, will be to reign with Christ over the earthly Kingdom,
whereas that Kingdom will be "under the whole heaven" (Dan. 7:27).
- The Church" of the Prison Epistles (Eph., Phil., Col.) is
here and now, in the world, and is waiting for its exanastasis,
and its "heavenward call" (Phil. 3:11, 14); whereas the Kingdom is not
here, because the King is not here (Heb. 2:8).
- The Kingdom is the one great subject of prophecy; whereas
the Church (of the Prison Epistles) is not the subject of prophecy, but,
on the contrary, was kept secret, and hidden in God, until the time
came for the secret to be revealed. (see Ap. 112. 5).
It must be understood that this "secret" (Gr. musterion, see
Ap. 182) did not and could not refer to Jews and Gentiles in future blessing,
because this was never a secret, but was part of the original promise
made to Abraham in Gen. 12:3, and was repeatedly spoken of throughout the
Psalms and the Prophets. See Deut. 32:43. Ps. 18:49; 117:1.
Isa. 11:1, 10, &c. Cp. Rom. 15:8-12, and the quotations there
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