In just a moment, we’ll discuss “Fellowheirs of the Same Body.” But for now let’s do a bit of catching up. It”s been a while since I’ve posted to the blog. I’ve taken some much needed time off. So, I thought I’d return with a brief post What have I been doing in that time? Recently, I’ve been involved with a new radio broadcast with Don K. Preston, “Two Men and A Bible” on A.D. 70.net. The show is receiving quite a response. We highly recommend you check it out. There are downloads available.
Our subject today answers the questions of whether the church was temporary and whether it remains valid today. We focus on the word ‘heir” and “inheritance.” For a text, we would like to turn your attention to Ephesians 3:5-6.
We are told that the church is an accident, resulting from the Jews rejection of Christ and the postponement of the kingdom of God. Here are three quick points to refute such an idea.
First, the church is the inheritance of both Jew and Gentile. According to Ephesians 3:6.
“That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”
To be a fellow-heir means that the Gentiles were co-destined with Israel to enjoy the same inheritance. If we look at the text to find out what they were heirs of, we are told it is the body, not separate or different, but the same body. According to Ephesians 1:22-22, the body is the church. Further, there is but one body, Eph. 4:4.
Fellowheirs Keep the Unity
Regarding this body, Paul urged the saints to keep the unity of the Spirit. Again, that unity was that Jew and Gentile would be heirs of the same body.
Now what is the nature of the inheritance God promised to Israel? Was it not an “eternal” inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and which fades not away? So, we must see the church, i.e. that of which they were fellowheirs as incorruptible (incapable of decay or dissolution or termination. Yet, we are hearing a neologism regarding the church, that it is temporary and is replaced by the kingdom. This is erroneous to the core.
You Have Come to Mt. Zion
In Hebrews 12:22-23, Paul catalogs the inheritance of the saints. He says they had come to Mt. Zion (another name for the kingdom and house of God). He uses several parallel names for it in apposition. It is also called:
- The heavenly Jerusalem
- The city of the living God
- An innumerable company of angels
- The general assembly
- The church of the firstborn ones
- God (His Presence)
- Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant
- The blood of sprinkling far better than that of Abel
- The kingdom, (v. 28)
Now all the above represent that to which the saints were coming at the time, but to which they arrived in A.D. 70. Not a single one is temporary. All are synonymous to the inheritance. Observe that the church makes the list. God joined them together, and let not man put them asunder. The church cannot be separated from the inheritance which fades not away and is equal to the kingdom.
Fellowheirs of the Same Body
Why were both Jews and Gentiles fellowheirs of the same body. Note that salvation is of the Jews, and thus if Gentiles are saved, they are saved in the promise God gave Israel. That means the church, i.e. the promise of the Spirit is Israel’s salvation, not an afterthought, postponement or failure.
That God promised it from the beginning is evident. See Gal. 3:7-9, 3:13-14. Paul says the Scripture forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham saying, In you all families of the earth shall be blessed.” (See Gen. 12:3). Thus, God’s promise to Abraham included Gentiles all along. And if Gentiles are saved in the body, then God’s promise to Abraham is the promise of saving the Gentiles in the body of Christ, i.e. the church.
But that means that God’s promise to Abraham is the promise of Israel’s salvation. Since both the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles received it in the first century, there was no postponement. See Romans 11:7. The elect (remnant of Israel) and the Gentiles obtained what Israel sought, i.e. the kingdom.
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