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Sermons & Study Guides

National Church Establishments Pt. 13 - (The National Church Way as God’s Way 2 — The New Testament Church)

James Dodson

National Church Establishments

(The National Church Way as God’s Way 2 — The New Testament Church) 

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Ps. 67:6, 7)

Question.—Is a dependent National Church way or an independent Congregational Church way most in accord with Scripture prophecy? Answer.—Though  it  may  be  little  disputed  that  the  church  of  the  Jews  was established and national, Isa. 43:1; yet, it remains to be discussed whether or not this national church way is under the Gospel still a matter of divine approbation: First, When the prophets foretell the enlargement of the church in the Gospel era, they still predicate it of nations and kingdoms, with kings to nurse them, Isa. 49:22,  23;  even  as  the  national  church  of  Israel  had,  Num.  11:12;  2  Chron.  15:8.  They predicate it of nations and kingdoms, noting not only the multitude, but the united  orderly  governed  societies,  Isa.  2:2;  Mic.  4:1,  2.      It  is  not  merely congregations  in  nations,  much  less  one  here  or  there,  Ps.  72:8,  17-19.    By  the Lord’s  house  is  meant  the  church,  Heb.  12:22;  its  notable  visibility  and  dignity are  expressed,  Ps.  48:2,  unto  which  the  kings  are  assembled,  Ps.  48:4-6.    The flowing of all nations unto it can only mean that all covenanting professors of the true religion, together with their children, shall present themselves to the Gospel church, Heb. 2:13; as it was in the national church of the Jews, Deut. 31:11-13. This  same  prophet,  Isaiah,  speaking  of  Christ,  uses  this  word  “nation”  to signify  the  nations  of  the  Gentiles,  Isa.  65:1;  which  is  clearly  set  forth  by  the apostle, Rom. 10:20.  So, too, Isaiah elsewhere implies, Isa. 60:5. Again,  the  prophet  Zechariah  describes  them  as  strong  (i.e.,  numerous, $%&'()*+,-) nations, Zech. 8:22.  How this word “strong,” or numerous, can stand with  the  notion  that  a  few  scattered  congregations  can take  the  name  of  nation does not appear, Isa. 60:22; Gen. 18:18.  Furthermore, the word “nation” signifies a united society with dependence, government and order (all the parts in relation to the whole, 1 Cor. 12:12), as other words used to signify the church (e.g., army, city, kingdom, etc.), Song 6:4; Matt. 5:14; Col. 1:13. Second, When the prophets foretell Christ’s calling of the Gentile nations, his calling  of  them  is  to  be  understood  of  calling  them  into  a  covenant  relation  to Himself, as the national church of Israel was called, Ex. 19:5, 6.  If we ask what is meant  by  Christ’s  calling  of  the  nations  and  their  running  unto  Him,  it  appears that  it  is  to  enter  into  a  covenant  relation  with  Himself  to  make  them  national churches,  Isa.  55:5.    Now,  it  is  this  very  thing  that  Christ  signified  before  His ascension, Luke 24:26, 46, 47. Third,  By  God’s  taking  the  Gentile  nations  into  a  covenant  relation  with Himself in Christ, those nations do by that means take the name of God’s people, both parents and children in a special sense, as the national church of Israel did, 
Deut. 7:6.  This appears to be the case in the statements of many of the prophets, Zech. 2:11.  As in the time of Zechariah there was one nation joined to the Lord by way of national covenant, so in the days of the Messiah many nations should be joined to Him, Isa. 11:9, 10.  It is plain that Israel became “my people” when in the way of the national church of the Jews they entered into covenant with God, Ezek. 16:8.  Furthermore, this privilege belonged to both parents and infants, for God lays claim to the children born of His wife, Ezek. 16:20, 21. Again,  the  prophet  Hosea  foretells  the  Lord  taking  Gentile  nations  into covenant  with  Him,  and  by  consequence  making  them  national  churches,  Hos. 2:23.    Here  is  the  substance  of  the  covenant  which  constituted  the  nation  of  the Jews,  parents  and  children  together  to  be  the  people and  church  of  God,  Deut. 29:13.    Even  so,  the  apostle  expounds  this  place  in  Hosea  of  the  Gentiles  being taken into covenant with God as Israel was to become his churches and people in a special sense, Rom. 9:24, 25. Fourth, For a nation to be called God’s people, is all one and the same as for that nation to take the name of God’s church, Isa. 19:24, 25.  Herein we see these nations  joined  to  the  Lord as  Israel,  Jer.  50:5;  God’s  inheritance as  Israel,  Deut. 32:9;  blessed  of  the  Lord as  Israel,  Isa.  65:8;  take  the  name  of  God’s  people  in  a special  sense as  Israel,  Ezek.  16:8.    Yet,  this  name  was  proper  to  the  national church  of  the  Jews  as  appears  when  God  unchurches  them,  Hos.  1:9;  and when He  churches  the  Gentiles  in  their  room  and  stead,  He calls  them  by  this  name, Hos. 2:23. Therefore, as the national church of the Jews had kings to nurse it, so Isaiah foretells the conversion of kings to nurse the national churches of the Gospel, Isa. 60:3.  So, to this purpose the apostle was sent by Christ’s special appointment not only to the people but the kings of the Gentiles, Acts 9:15.  By which we ought to understand  that  he  meant  to  convert  them  so  that  national  churches  of  the Gentiles  might  have  princes  and  kings  to  be  political heads  to  them even as  the national church of the Jews had, Rev. 21:24.