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Sermons & Study Guides

National Church Establishments Pt. 4 - (The Gospel and the Nations 1 - Old Testament Part 1)

James Dodson

National Church Establishments

(The Gospel and the Nations 1 - Old Testament Part 1)

When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deut. 32:8)

Question.—Wherein does the national character of the Gospel appear in Scripture? Answer.—There are numerous verses from the beginning of the Bible which indicate  that  God  has  dealt  with  the  nations  with  a  view  of  their  becoming churches, by which the national character of the Gospel clearly appears: First,  In  the  very  creation  of  man,  prior  to  the  fall,  God gives  man  a command to subdue and have dominion over the earth, Gen. 1:28.  It is a command to conquer and reign over the earth, which the man does by working  it,  as  service  to  God,  and  by  guarding it,  Gen. 2:15.    All  within  a  context  suggesting  the  emergence  of  nations,  the  appointed borders set by the Lord, Gen. 2:8. Second, After the flood, God gives Noah a series of commands which pertain to  reestablishing  civil  societies,  or  nations,  upon  the  earth,  Gen.  9:1-7.    These commands, upon which nations and their institutions are to find standing in the world, are built upon Noah’s sacrifices, Gen. 8:20-22. From Noah and his sons, seventy nations (i.e., national sons) arose to populate the world, Gen. 10:1, 31, 32. Third, These rising nations did not continue to build upon the foundation of God,  but  fell  into  an  apostasy  that  scattered  these  national  sons  of  God throughout the earth, Gen. 11:1-9.  This resulted in God choosing Israel as his lot, or inheritance (LXX; κληρονομίας), Deut. 32:9-12. Fourth,  With  the  apostasy  of  the  nations,  God  is  pleased,  first,  to  choose Abraham  to  make  another  nation,  Gen.  12:1-3.    In  several  places,  the  national intentions  are  made  clear  to  Abraham,  Gen. 17:5,  6;  22:17,  18.   Once  more, like Noah, we see that these national intentions are predicated upon the faith of the true  religion,  Gen.  15:5,  6.    The  fact  that  these  national  promises  can  only  be realized in a church-state is confirmed by the apostle Paul, Rom. 4:13.  Only the righteousness of faith can justify the inheritance of the earth in the nations and their kings, Matt. 5:5. Fifth,  In  time,  God  gave  remarkable  fulfillments  to  the  promise  of  making Abraham  a  great  nation,  1  Kings  3:8.    In  the  days  of  Solomon,  the  children  of Israel, victorious over their enemies and dwelling in perfect peace, are the model of a great nation, 1 Kings 4:20.  The greatness of this nation depended upon its faithfulness  for  continuance,  Ex.  23:22.    It  was  all  connected  with  the  national temple,  altar  and  worship,  which  were  erected  and  constituted  by  Solomon  in terms  of  God’s  appointment,  2  Sam.  7:13,  14.    In  this,  the  king  recognized  the stability of the people as a great nation, 1 Chron. 17:11-14; 2 Chron. 1:9, 10. 
Sixth, Though Israel was a great nation, its connection with Christ remained revealed only in type and ministered by the letter, Col. 2:16, 17; Rom. 7:6.  This made  the  connection  between  Christ  and  the  nation  weak,  Gal.  4:9,  10.    They were connected to Christ more in appearance than in reality and, hence, with the weakness  and  passing  away  of  their  church-state,  the  outward  glory  in  like manner declined and passed away, Rom. 9:27-29.  This needed to be to bring the gospel  into  focus  for  the  nations  of  the  earth,  Rom. 11:11;  though  it  shall  not remain  forever,  Rom.  11:12.    The  glory  of  the  nation,  being  built  upon  the foundation  which  God  laid  in  Sion,  Isa.  28:16;  1  Pet.  2:6;  Rom.  9:33;  was  a foretaste, and pledge, as well as a pattern of what Israel is yet to be in connection with Christ truly revealed, and ministered by the Spirit, Jer. 23:6. Seventh,  God,  who  made  his  ways  known  to  Moses,  Ps.  103:7;  did  so constitute Israel as an instructive example to other nations, Deut. 4:5-8; 1 Kings 8:43, 60.  This, too, was a pledge and pattern of what other nations shall become as fellow-heirs and partakers of God’s promise in Christ by the gospel, Isa. 2:2-5; Mic. 4:1-7.  Their kings shall come at length to walk in the footsteps of Abraham together with their nations with them coming to make Israel’s profession of faith in the Lord as the Lord their Righteousness, Isa. 19:23-25. Thus, although since the nations began God’s dealings with men have been supremely national, Ezek. 25:1-7; 29:1-3; 30:3-5; at the same time the grand end in view throughout has been that of their being constituted churches, Ps. 22:27; Isa. 49:23; and thus, and in no other way, can they become great nations, Prov. 14:34.