committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

Chapter 2

BRIEF PROPHETICAL ANALYSIS

The Two Churches Contrasted

  The church set in order by Jesus with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and with proper administration of government, is symbolized by a virtuous woman in the New Testament. The Lord says of her, "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy for I have espoused you unto one husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ," II Corinthians 11:2. In Revelation 19:7-9, the church is again spoken of as the bride, the Lamb's wife, having on the wedding garments of linen clean and white. Again, John the Revelator beholds this church in vision, and describes her, as follows: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" Revelation 12:1.

A woman being a symbol of a church, we have here in prophecy the true church of the apostles' time, clothed with the sun, the ruler of the day. All darkness was expelled, and the sunlight of God's truth and righteousness radiated with brightness and splendor as the power of the sun. She had the moon under her feet, thus picturing that the ruler of night and darkness was subdued and under subjection; while her crown of twelve stars symbolized the twelve apostles. That this woman, or true church, did not fall, and later become the Catholic church ruling from Rome, is evident; for there are two churches clearly set forth in the Scriptures, existing in the same period, one driven to the wilderness, while the other is exalted to civil power, and rules the world from Rome.

This second woman, or church, is introduced in prophecy in Revelation 17:1-6. The angel said to John, "Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters . . . And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast full of the names of blasphemy . . . the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones . . . upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS . . . and I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."

The fact that this second woman becomes drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, shows clearly that the two churches, were different, yet existed together, and that the woman drinking of this blood was not the true church. Verse 15 says, "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." This fallen woman, or church, ruled over the world. She sat in authority and power, being united with the state, and thus put to death the martyrs of Jesus who constituted the true church of God.

Noting the contrast in the two churches, it is sufficient evidence of their distinction and entire separation. One was clothed with the sun, the other adorned with gold and precious stones; one held the moon under her feet, the other was seated upon the beast; one possessed the crown of twelve stars, the other wearing the inscription, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots"; and one was drunk on the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, while the other was driven into the wilderness, nourished there of God.

 

The Church Name in Both Old and New Testaments

  From the time of the exodus of the twelve tribes of Israel from Egyptian bondage, to the advent of our Savior, the church was called "Israel," this term having originated through the experience of Jacob wrestling with the angel.

The church in the wilderness was organized with twelve patriarchs, one at the head of each of the twelve tribes, Numbers 10, and then the Sanhedrin, or the seventy elders, Exodus 24:1 and Numbers 11:16. This form of church government and organization remained until the dispersion of Israel, and the Sanhedrin continued until the time of Jesus. The name "Israel" was also the name applying to these people.

The prophet Isaiah, speaking of events concerning the church, said, "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory, and thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name," Isaiah 62:2. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Gentiles were received into God's favor, beholding His righteousness, and receiving His favors through Jesus. The church was to be "called by a new name," which the mouth of the Lord would name. This also met its fulfillment when Jesus gave the new name for the church recorded twelve times in the New Testament, viz., "The Church of God."

In the Savior's prayer before Calvary, he said, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me . . . while I was with them . . . I kept in thy name . . . I have declared unto them thy name, and I will declare it," John 17:11, 12, 26. That Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled in the change of name from "Israel" to the "Church of God" is further seen by reading Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." In I Corinthians 1:2, Paul addresses the church at Corinth, as follows: "To the church of God which is at Corinth." Nowhere do we find the Catholic church spoken of; still they claim to be the oldest in the world. The people following the Lord Jesus, called out from both Jews and Gentiles, I Corinthians 10:32, and called the church of God, were not the forerunners of the Roman church, as definite history, set forth in the further pages of this work, will prove.

We find Paul discussing the church, 59 A.D., in the following manner. He says, "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," I Corinthians 12:12. The church therefore existed as one body to this time, and the Word said further that when onemember suffers, all members suffer with it, and when one member is honored all members rejoice with it.

Five years later, in 64 A.D., Paul says, "I bow my knees to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," Ephesians 3:14, 15.

 
 
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