The "Kingdom" and The "Church".
This Is Appendix 113 From The Companion Bible.
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, etc. of the Kingdom.
- The word basileia, translated "kingdom", occurs 162 times, and in the plural only in Matthew 4:8. Luke 4:5. Hebrews 11:33. Revelation 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 (Ephesians 1:23; 2:21; 4:4, 16; 5:30. Colossians 1:24. 1
- The privilege of "that Church" which consists of the partakers of "a heavenly calling", Hebrews 3:1 (see Appendix 112. 4, 5); Revelation 20:4-6, will be to reign with Christ over the earthly Kingdom, whereas that Kingdom will be "under the whole heaven" (Daniel 7:27).
- "The Church" of the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) is here and now, in the world, and is waiting for its exanastasis, and its "heavenward call" (Philippians 3:11, 14); whereas the Kingdom is not here, because the King is not here (Hebrews 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 Appendix 112. 5).
It must be understood that this "secret" (Greek; musterion, see Appendix 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 Genesis 12:3, and was repeatedly spoken of throughout the Psalms and the Prophets. See Deuteronomy 32:43. Psalms 18:49; 117:1.
Isaiah 11:1, 10, etc. Compare Romans 15:8-12, and the quotations there given.