Sequence Of Prophecy

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Who is the Church?

The church, according to the Scriptures, is the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ. (Read Eph. 1: 22 - 23, 4: 12, I Cor. 12: 27, Col. 1: 24.). She is also called "the four and twenty elders" in the book of Revelation. (The number of elders that are represented in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is symbolic. There are far more than 24 of those elders.). The "Church" is not referring to a building, nor is it a group of buildings. And it is not a particular denomination, nor is it a group of denominations. The "Church", as it is mentioned in the Bible, is a great body of believers called Christians (those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior) (Col. 2: 6). The Church is not a particular group who believe their church is the pillar of truth (I Tim. 3: 15). No denomination on earth has that kind of power. Jesus is the head of the Church (I Cor. 11: 3) and He never gave that power to anyone else. (Read Eph. 5: 22 - 27, 29.). Jesus is the sure and true Rock (I Cor. 10: 3 - 4, I Pet. 2: 8). Note also that there is not another being between Jesus Christ and His Father. When Jesus said in Matthew 16: 18, "...upon this rock I will build My church..." He was referring to Himself, not to Peter. If the Church, Jesus' Church, were built upon any man other than Jesus Christ Himself, it would surely fail. But that Rock is Christ, not Peter. The Bible says, "...and that Rock was Christ." (I Cor. 10: 4). Peter was the small stone (petros), but Christ is the Rock (Petra). Paul and Peter said so. (See I Cor. 10: 4, Eph. 2: 20, Rom. 9: 33, I Pet. 2: 3 - 8.).

So, I am saying that the Church is all the believers (Christians) who were saved from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1 - 8) to the Rapture of the Church.

Let's read what Paul has to say concerning the Church.

He said,
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church (a great body of believers): and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church (the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ) is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church (Eph. 1: 22 - 23, 4: 12), and gave Himself for it (the church); That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it (the church) to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it (the church) should be holy and without blemish (fault). So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth (feeds) and cherisheth (cares for) it (his own body), even as the Lord [does with] the church:" (Eph. 5: 22 - 29)

"This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." (Eph. 5: 32)

I want you to know that those martyrs in Revelation 2: 8 - 11, who died during the Church Age, are part of the Church. However, those martyrs in Revelation 7: 9 - 17 (Rev. 13: 7, Dan. 7: 21, 25) are not part of the Church (the Bride of Christ). Nor are the Old Testament saints. Their rewards will come later, in Revelation 11: 18.

There is a universal church that consists of all believers. The Old Testament saints, the New Testament saints, the tribulation saints, including those who are martyred, and those people who will be saved during the 1000 year reign of Christ, will be part of the universal church.

However, those believers saved from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1 - 8) to the Rapture are specially referred to in the book of Revelation as the Bride of Christ, the four and twenty elders. We also call them the Body of Christ. This is the Church, the New Testament Church, who will be wedded to Christ (Rev. 19: 7 - 9). Only the New Testament saints will be married to Jesus in this mysterious and wonderful way.

The wedding, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, will take place in Heaven before the Second Coming happens. After those two events (the wedding and the marriage supper), and after the Second Coming has taken place, then the millennial reign of Christ will begin. During this time a large portion of people will be saved, and they also are called saints. They are the millennial saints, but they will not be wedded to Jesus nor will they eat at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This I say because those two events are finished before Jesus returns with His saints (Zech. 14: 4 - 5), the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19: 7 - 9), the New Testament Church. And the Old Testament saints will not be wedded to Jesus either. (See also "The Bride of Christ, the Wedding, and the Marriage Supper".).

  All Rights Reserved Glen A. Duitman

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