Systematic Theology II - Lesson 20

The Doctrine of the Church (Part 2)

The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
Lesson 20
Watching Now
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 2)

The Doctrine of the Church (Part 2)

2. The mystery of the Church

a. Definition and description: Mystery is truth formerly not revealed

b. Relationship between mystery of the church and Old Testament earlier prophecy of gentile blessing and inclusion

c. Did Old Testament reveal that Jews and Gentiles would become one community of faith?

d. Mystery is that these prophecies are fulfilled in Christ

3. Israel and the Church

a. The same or different

b. Continuity or discontinuity?

C. Metaphors for the Church

1. Church as the body of Christ:

a. The headship of Christ is made clear

b. The body is dependent on the head

c. The unity of the body and the head

d. The interdependence of each member

2. Church as the bride of Christ

a. Christ’s unconditional love

b. Emphasis of the purity of the Church

  • Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.

  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.

  • Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.

  • The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")

  • Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution

  • Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.

  • Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.

  • The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

  • Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

  • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.

  • The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.

  • The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.

  • The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.

  • Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.

  • Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.

  • Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."

  • Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

  • Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.

  • The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

  • An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

  • New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

  • The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"

    You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option. 

  • Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.

  • There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.

  • Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.

Dr. Bruce Ware

Systematic Theology II


The Doctrine of the Church (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript


Okay, well, let's pray together and we'll get started. Lord, thank you for our time. Now we realize the days are few that we have remaining now to finish up a lot of material that's very important. So we pray that you would grant us keen minds and energy that we need strength to be able to make the best of our time in these afternoon sessions. And so we committed to you now, thank you, Lord, so much for these truths that we are looking at. May you be honored in all that we think together about and in the theology that we formulated our minds and hearts and live out through our lives. We pray in Christ name Amen. Okay. We left off last time with number two under this, the Universal church under Roman numeral, two elements of the church. And we looked at six elements of the church. And then I ended with this definition. Number two, that long definition. That's how we end it. As I recall at the end of class last time. And so now we pick up with Capital Letter B under the Universal Church. And this is the mystery of the church. It's very interesting when you look at Paul's writings in particular at how frequently he refers to the church as a mystery. Let me give you a few examples. For example, at the end of Romans, the way the book of Romans ends, Romans 16, verse 25, he ends this way. Now to him, who is able to establish you according to my gospel, even that phrase, my gospel is interesting. Why would Paul call the gospel of Jesus Christ my gospel? I think you'll have an answer that by the end of the class period to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now, as manifested by the Scriptures of the Prophets, according to the command of the Church of God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to the obedience of the faith, the only wise God.


So really what He's saying essentially is, you know what I've written about in this letter to you? The letter to the Romans is about the mystery. I mean, that's essentially what he's saying in other passages. In any Ephesians, of course, he talks about the mystery, Ephesians chapter three, by referring to this, when you read, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. What is this mystery? First of all, the meaning of the church as a mystery. The first thing to know about this term is that it does not have to do with what we normally think of with the English word mystery. Think of mystery theater or a mystery novel, For example, When we think of mystery in those context, we think of what? So, yeah, an unsolved problem, a puzzle, and we can't figure out who done it. You know, we can't figure out the solution to the problem. The answer, it is a mystery. Well, that is not what it means for Paul. For Paul, mystery means a truth that was formerly concealed, now revealed truth formerly concealed, now revealed or truth previously hidden. Now made known. Truth Previously hidden, now made known. And you can hear this in his usage. I mean, it's sort of like he defines mystery for us almost every time he uses it. Not every time, but almost every time. He helps us understand that this is what he means by, for example, in Romans 16 that I read to you a moment ago. Listen again now listen to the the definition of mystery that's contained in it now to him was able to establish, according to my gospel, the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested.


You hear it. So here you have mystery. It wasn't known before, hidden before, now made known, or in Ephesians three, verse three of Ephesians three by Revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief, by referring to this, when you read, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. Listen verse five, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his Holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit. Okay, you hear it again. So mystery is some truth, boy, and it must be some really wonderful, glorious truth that wasn't known before that now. To Paul, to these New Testament apostles and prophets in the Spirit has been made known. He uses mystery by this is not church per say, but he uses mystery again in chapter five of marriage. You remember this reference. It's just an interesting one. Two mystery on the term mystery as Paul uses it in effusions five verse 31, he quotes Genesis two For this reason Emmanuel Eve is father and mother, and she'll be joined by his wife and the two become one flesh. And then he says, This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church. So now that you understand what mystery is, do you get what he means here? And Ephesians five back there in Genesis two, when God said, It's not good for man to be alone, I'll make a helper suitable for him. And so he puts Adam to sleep, takes a rib from him, and brings the woman to him. She is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. The two become one flesh are guess what? Says Paul, Even though we didn't know this back then as we now know it, because God has revealed this to us.


The fact is, from the very beginning, marriage has meant to picture the relationship of Christ and the Church. That's been the point of it from the beginning. This institution is a picture. It's a type of an antique type picture. The reality of Christ in the church. Okay. So mystery for Paul is truth that is made known in this age, as you said in Ephesians three to the apostles and prophets in the Spirit. Well, obviously, he means new covenant times. And what is this mystery? Well, it's interesting if you ask the question, what is the mystery that Paul talks about and begin looking, for example, in Ephesians three. Listen to what he says. You can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in previous generations was not made known as it now has been revealed to His Holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit. To be specific, that okay, here it is that Gentiles are fellow errors and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel, whom Gentiles, our fellow heirs, fellow members in the body, fellow partakers of the promise, along with who if their fellow who is the other part with them, Jews, Gentiles, and Jews joined together in one body. So this raises the question. Number two. If the mystery is truth previously unknown, now revealed. Well, what about this Old Testament teaching that was revealed earlier about Gentile blessing and inclusion with the Jews together in one community of faith? What's the difference between that and the church? What's the difference between that and the church? Now, is it true that in the Old Testament we are to think that it was revealed that Gentiles would be part of the saved community along with Jews? Yes.


The Gentiles would be brought in, in God's saving purposes, along with Jews. Are we to think that from the Old Testament? Was that revealed in the Old Testament? Yes. Yes. Okay. Where? You give me an example. I read a passage meditating on time that he's carrying on the nations. Isaiah 53 indicates the nations. Where do we have the earliest indication? Clear indication God is going after the whole world. In his saving purposes. Do you remember? I don't know. So if we were to go to heaven, Abraham and also Genesis 12, remember to Abraham, God says, I will bless those who bless you, curse those who curse you in through your seed. What? All the nations will be blessed. Okay. So is it clear that God intends from the beginning and revealed in the Old Testament that the nations Gentiles, along with Jews, are going to be part of the saved community? Yes. Okay, here's the second question. It's not identical. You have another passage, but ask the question, was it ever made in order to do something that we would consider the spirit? No. Not missions anyway. Not missions to the nations? No. It was only if they wanted to. Well, what was Israel supposed to be? A light to the nations. Right. And this. Don't picture a lantern that you carry. Picture a lamp post planted firmly in Jerusalem, if you will. Right. I mean, whenever Israel was obedient, how did God bless obedient Israel? These are the. Their location. The year. Well, he did that. He did expand their territory. But where did they live? What was one of the evidences of God's blessing upon them? Because they were obedient. They were in the land. And when they sinned, what happened to them? They exiled to the nations.


And when they repented and God said, I will favor you again, what did God do? Bring them back to the land? I mean, you do not find in the Old Testament a missionary mandate, meaning anything like Matthew 28 instead missions in the Old Testament. I always forget which one is which. Centrist to coal and centripetal. Which is which Israel and the nations in the Old Testament come in to Israel and which in the New Testament go out. So whichever is way. Major difference between how the two are conceived. Part of it is remember, in Matthew 28, Jesus said all authority. We talked about this earlier. All authority has been given me. Therefore, go to the nations. I mean, he one of the nations by what he did. Okay. Back to the main point. If the Old Testament did reveal that Gentiles would be part of the believing community, part of the saved. Next question Did the Old Testament reveal that Jews and Gentiles would be together in one community of faith? In other words, they wouldn't be separated the Gentile community and the Jewish community that they would be one community of faith. Was that revealed in the Old Testament? How about when they had the slaves and soldiers? And, you know, there were these these people called proselytize, weren't they, who were Gentiles who agreed to come into Judaism and would submit to circumcision, submit to the law, submit to all the requirements of Judaism, and become part of the believing community Gentiles brought in as proselytize. So there was that, wasn't there? What else in the Old Testament in terms of anticipation, prophecy that was revealed? Pardon me, Ruth might be an example of this. Nineveh might be an example, although we don't know.


The invites were actually brought into Israel. They were saved. Ruth, clearly this was an example, wasn't it, of going here. People will be my people, your God, my God, and joining in. All right. But listen to some other passages. For example, Isaiah two, we read in the beginning of this chapter, right at the beginning, the word which Isaiah, the son of Amos, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now, it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills and all the nations will stream to it. You see that Isaiah two, verse two All the nations will stream to what? To Jerusalem, to the mountain of the Lord Jerusalem, that is the king of the mountains, as it were, the mountain raised above all the others. And many peoples will come and say, Come, let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us concerning his ways, that we may walk in his paths for the law will go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And that an amazing thing. So here Isaiah envisions a day when the nations will stream to Jerusalem, worship God with Israel as one collective community of faith. Even more remarkable is Isaiah 19. I mean, this is just astonishing what is said here. It's a little bit of a long section, but let me read it to you and listen carefully. This is beginning in verse 19, Isaiah 19, verse 19. In that day, obviously a future day that's going to happen. There will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt.


Did you hear where it's going to be? An altar to the Lord in the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt, where they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a savior and a champion and He will deliver them. This is the Egyptians. He will. He's going to save the Egyptians. Thus, the Lord will make himself known to Egypt and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering and make a vow to the Lord and perform it. The Lord will strike Egypt striking, but healing. So they will return to the Lord and He will respond to them and heal them in that day. There will be a highway between Egypt and Assyria, Egypt, south and west of Israel, Assyria, north and east of Israel. There will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and Assyrians will come to Egypt, Egyptians will come to Assyria and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria. This is a Jewish prophet saying this. I mean, absolutely astonishing. Israel will be a third party with Egypt in Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the Earth whom the Lord of Hosts has blessed, saying Blessed is Egypt, my people and Assyria, the work of my hands and Israel, my inheritance. All this to say. Is it foretold in the Old Testament? Not only the Gentiles would be saved, would be part of the believing community? Yes. Genesis 12. I mean, we know that right from the beginning through your seed Abraham, all the nations will be blessed.


Are we also told in the Old Testament that the Gentiles with the Jews will comprise one unified worshiping people? Yes, we are. Okay, so what's left? What's left? What's the difference, then? When you look at these Old Testament promises of Gentile blessing and inclusion along with Israel? What's the difference between that and the church? And it seems to me that the significant difference. In other words, what is the mystery? Remember, what mystery is truth formerly not revealed? Well, this was revealed that the Gentiles would be blessed, would be saved. This was revealed that the Gentiles would be included with the Jews in one believing community. So what was not revealed that now is revealed? And I think the answer is for Paul, that it would happen in Christ, in Christ. That is when you think of it from an Old Testament vantage point. How are Gentiles included in the saving work of God in the Old Testament? How did this happen? Well, we talked about the lights a moment ago, Right. So how did it happen? They have to essentially become Jews. Now, I think. Think of Paul. Think circumcision. Think law. Are you putting two and two together in the New Testament? So if you think as an Old Testament Jew, you think, Well, yeah, the Gentiles can become part of the believing community as they become like us, as their men are circumcised, as they come under the law, as they submit to the sacrificial system. I mean, basically, as they become Jews, they can become part of us. But here comes Paul, and he says that Jew and Gentile are united together in one new man, one new temple, one body of Christ, in which there is neither Jew or gentile slave or free male or female, but one new man in Christ.


Do you see a radical? This is so. So what does he say about circumcision? Well, you know, whether you're circumcised or not really. Doesn't matter what you know. I mean, if you're a Jew, you're thinking this is ridiculous because circumcision was the obligation of the people of God is the sign of the covenant. But here it's not circumcision anymore as the sign of the covenant, which was the covenant made with the people of Israel through Moses. Because that covenant is over. It is over. Think of what Paul says about the law. We have died to the law, having been raised to newness of life in Christ. We're not under the law of Moses. We now are not under the law, but we're under grace in Christ. Okay, so what is radical and new for Paul is that both you and Greek are together in Christ, people in Christ. So a Jew whose main identity is no longer being a Jew, a Jews main identity as a saved one, now saved by the blood of Christ is a Jew, is an in Christ person, and a Gentile is an in Christ person. And so the enmity that separated Jew and Gentile, the law of commandments, remember Ephesians two, the law of commandment that separated them now has been removed by Christ. And so they are brought together in one new person in Christ. I mean, there are such radical implications of this. It means that our identity as Christian people and the bond we have as Christian people becomes for us the most significant bond in life. It's more significant than ethnicity, than nationality. Yeah, I'm proud to be an American. I am. You know, this is a great country and I feel very privileged to live here.


But you know what? There is something far more significant than being an American, than being of a certain race or ethnic background or family. But we talked about this earlier. Jesus statements to his disciples. Your mother and brother are at the door. Oh, Mom, I mean, you you would expect, you know, Oh, mom, always stop everything moms here, you know, who are my mother and my brothers. That's how Jesus responds. Those who hear my word and follow me and obey me. They are my mothers and my brothers and my sisters. There is a bond in Christ that surpasses everything else. And I think we need to take this to heart and realize what's in Christ. And this is why circumcision was such a huge problem for Paul, because he had Judaism. Yeah, it's fine to talk about all that's happened. This happened in Christ. It's wonderful. We're grateful for all that. But. But goodness, we still got to be circumcised to be part of the people of God. Nope, it's not circumcision. It is faith in Christ, period. Faith in Christ. So what is not revealed is how this will happen, how it will happen. The Jew and Gentile are brought together in one saved entity. How will this happen? Through Christ and his work. So all of us are in Christ people. This is what? Another word for that. As Christians, we are Christians, but it doesn't carry the same weight as I think as the phrase in Christ people. That's who we are. Our fundamental identity above everything else is we are in Christ people. This is who we are. Point number three. Just a couple of minutes here on this question of Israel and the church continuity and discontinuity, because this raises the whole issue of how we understand.


Israel as a people of God in the church, as the people of God. If in fact, there is something new and distinctive about the church, the church as a new covenant people, the church as a as a new entity that is identified by our union with Christ. And that wasn't true of Israel. But now it's true of those who are part of the church. They are in Christ. People are union with Christ. He is what identifies us as members of the church. Well, is Israel and the church the same? Are they both the people of God, or should we think of them as different peoples of God? Well, in my own judgment, I think you have to answer this question that it's both. And rather than either or, I think problems come if you go either the direction of saying, oh, Israel was Israel, pure and simple, the church is the church, and don't confuse the two at all. This was the tendency in traditional dispensation wisdom, traditional dispensation wisdom looked at Israel over here and the church over here, and between the two was a brick wall. I mean, there's just no no connection between the two. And and the reason the dispensation was held, this view was because they were concerned that promises made to Israel that have yet to be fulfilled. I mean, this is Paul's concern in Romans 9 to 11. I take it, when he raises the question, what about the promise of God to Israel? What about Israel and their salvation? And of course, he answered by saying the natural branches, Israel, were cut off, but they're going to be grafted back onto the tree and all Israel will be saved. And so he ends it by saying God will be faithful to his promised Israel.


Well, dispensation has been concerned that promises to Israel need to be kept, got God will keep his promise. What kind of promises have not been kept? Well. How about the Davidic covenant with Israel? That they will be in the land and David will reign as king over them, Or the Son of David will reign as king over them in the land. They'll be restored. When has that happened? And the answer is it hasn't. And so dispensation analysts have wanted to see promises to Israel kept by God with Israel, pure and simple. So that means there's no connection between any promises to Israel and what carries forward to the church. None whatsoever. Covenant theologians who, on the other hand, will say that the promises to Israel carried forward to the church are misinterpreting the Bible, misunderstanding that God's promise to Israel is kept with Israel. And don't think of it as fulfilled in the church. Now, covenant theologians, on the other hand. Covenant theology. Has seen more of a connection of Israel in the church like this, an arrow pointing straight forward. You know, covenant theologians have no trouble talking in terms of the church being the new Israel or Israel being the Old Testament church. There's really no significant difference between them, except that Israel anticipated the coming of Christ to die for sins. We look back on the coming of Christ who has paid the penalty for sin. Other than that, there's no significant difference between the two entities as people of God. And they cite, for example, the fact that we're the seat of Abraham. They were brought into the seat of Abraham. They cite, for example, the end of Romans two, where Paul says he is not a Jew. This is versus 28 and 29.


He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward to the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly. And circumcision is that which is of the heart by the spirit, not of the letter. And his praise is not for men, but from God. So who is a true Jew? What? Who is circumcised of heart? And so were Jews. They were Jews, were Jews of the continent. And so it's brought forward now, in my judgment. Of course, this is a very controversial issue. And each of you will want to think about this and see where you land on it. I hold a view that is a both and proposition. It's held by people called progressive dispensation. It's at least that's a name given to it. And I identify with that movement in this view. It holds that the relationship of Israel and the church is something like a screen door rather than a brick wall where some items can pass and others are blocked. So I didn't pass through and others are blocked. That is, there is both continuity and discontinuity between Israel and the church, both continuity and discontinuity. If you're interested, I wrote a chapter of a book that Craig Blazing, who used to teach here. He's now down at Southwestern Seminary, Craig Blazing and Darrell Bock from Dallas Seminary edited called Dispensation Schism Israel and the Church A Search for Definition. I wrote a chapter in that book that was on the New Covenant and the new cover that is so helpful, I think, in explaining this combination of promises to Israel carried through to the church and promises of Israel that stay with Israel, period, that will be kept by God with a restored Israel one day.


The New Covenant, I think, illustrates this because in the New Covenant, Jeremiah 31, God says, I make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. So it's very clear he's talking ethnic, national Israel, There's no doubt about it. And he says in this new covenant, I will write my law upon your heart. You won't have to teach each other saying, no, the Lord, for you will all know me from the least of the greatest, and your sins will be forgiven. I'll remember them no more So. So the New covenant he establishes with or promises. I'll put it that way. Promises to Israel in Jeremiah 31. Well, now you come to the New Testament and you realize, Wow, we the church, are in the New Covenant. That covenant that was made with Israel. Do you happen to know what traditional dispensation also did? If Israel is Israel and the church is the church and the New Covenant was made with Israel. And so it cannot have anything to do with the church. You know what they did with the New Covenant in the New Testament? Pardon me? A different New covenant. So they actually argued for two new covenants. There was the Jeremiah 31 New Covenant, and then there was the New Testament New Covenant that Paul talked about when he said, I'm a minister of the New Covenant and Second Corinthians three or Jesus in Luke 22 when he said, This Cup is the New Covenant in my blood. It's a different New Covenant. It's not Jeremiah 31. What really brought an end to this view, though, this traditional dispensation view on the New Covenant was Hebrews. We finally noticed what Hebrews had to say. It quotes Jeremiah 31 twice in Hebrews eight and ten, and says, The old covenant is done away.


The New Covenant has come and he's relating to the church. So you know what? It just won't work to say that the old covenant has to do with Israel, pure and simple. This is part of the carryover, part of the continuity of the New Covenant, is that we to whom it was not given. Nonetheless, get to participate in it because we become part of the seed of Abraham through faith in Christ. So we get into the covenant that wasn't even given to us Gentiles. Okay, but now here's the question. What about the promise to Israel per say Israel? I will make a new cabinet with the House of Israel, the House of Judea. Are you going to say that all these Gentiles who get to participate in the New Covenant fulfills what Jeremiah said? I don't see how you can conclude that that Gentiles entering into the New covenant fulfills Jeremiah 31 that says, I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. So in my view, what's going to happen is a future. It hasn't happened yet. A future restoration of Israel, ethnic national Israel in which God will save them and bring about the New covenant reality with the people of Israel in a yet future day, which plays into my eschatology as well. I hold to a preach review in a pre millennial view, and all of that kind of enters into the mix as we'll see when we get to that point. But here you have a case where the New Covenant made to Israel is fulfilled in some measure with the church. Even with us, it's not fulfilled in its entirety, is it? I mean, it says right when the New Covenant is fully in place, you will not have to teach each other saying No, the Lord, for you'll all know me from the least to the greatest.


Well, I get paid for teaching people about knowing the Lord. I don't think we're there yet, but we will be. So even there. Can't you see the New Covenant is only fulfilled? Partially. Not completely. And part of the partial. Part of the partial is that Israel has not entered into the New Covenant yet. And so the promise made to Israel will be fulfilled. This is what Romans 9 to 11 is about. All Israel will be saved. Why? Because God said so. Because God promised to them. Okay. So all of this to say that on the question of Israel and the church continuity and discontinuity, I would urge you to consider a view that allows for a healthy dose of both continuity and discontinuity. I think mistakes are made when too much emphasis is put on continuity, and this is the mistake of covenant theology, I believe. And the problem there is it doesn't recognize the integrity of these promises in the Old Testament to ethnic national Israel. And God likes to keep his word. I think you've noticed that in the Bible. He really does like to be not only a promise giver, which he is, but a promise keeper. A promise keeper. And so these promises to Israel with their king, their messiah, their land, will yet be fulfilled, their new covenant yet fulfilled, but continuity as well in that the New Testament gives us warrant for seeing promises to Israel fulfilled in some measure in the church, which simply means God does more, not less. Not other than more than He claimed he would or promise that he would with Israel, we get in also, how do we get in one body in Christ? That's how we get in through Christ. The seed of Abraham in which we now participate in the blessings of those promises.


I mean, if you're a Gentile as I am, you ought to have even more amazement at the fact we get in because God chose Israel and he didn't have to. But he did promise that through Israel, all the nations would be blessed. And so by God's grace, we get to enter into benefits, promises that were given to Israel that we were not privy to, or we were not participants in that. But we get drawn into it through faith in Christ and reap the benefits of it. Okay. Any questions or comments on this discussion on Israel in the church? Yes. With the heart of the mystery of the church. I mean, the fact that we realize that not all Israel was Israel and that it was the spiritual Israel. And. Yes. Progressive. Right. Right. I'm trying to think how that relates to the mystery. The mystery? So what was it? It being made known. Okay. What is made known is the spiritual Israel connects to the Gentiles. Is that you're saying? Yeah. Uh huh. Because even when we're talking about something does not know. Right. And so it still speaks of. Circumcision. Right. Right. Yes. Okay. As long as I mean, Ephesians makes very clear, as long as that includes not just other Jews who are circumcised of heart, but this brings in Gentiles. And the key element I think it has to be is that these are people brought together on a basis that was not done earlier, namely in Christ by faith in Christ. Yeah, I mean you can see this in Colossians. The way he puts the mystery in Colossians is and this is the mystery Christ in you, the hope of glory. So it's kind of like there are two sides to a coin in Christ in you, that is this interpenetration of Jew and Gentile with Christ, Union with Christ becomes this dominant motif for understanding our identity and as as members of the church.


The other comments or questions of circumstance. And he starts to receive a concern of the subjectivity. In what sense? And determination of what isn't lying, what goes on and what doesn't. Well, no more than other interpreters have is just trying to assess whether or not the promise of God has been fulfilled yet or not. If he promised something, he's going to make sure it happens. Right? So, no, I don't think so. I mean, not any other is not any different than all of us are subject to that kind of a problem as we interpret and have to be careful about it. Yes. The main argument for those who teach that there tends to be Israel. Right. Okay. Good question. What's driving the replacement theology? The church replaces Israel. The church is the complete fulfillment of Israel. Is that why what is driving it is in part it is legitimate New Testament teaching like Romans two that indicates that these were the true Jews, as it were, if you want to put it that way. And indications that that the New Covenant would be another example that we become participants of that New covenant. So so why think in any other category than the church, as it were, fulfilling everything that happened with Israel? Why not consider that then? Along with that, of course, is a fundamental all millennial view or post millennial in some cases, but more commonly all millennial that sees no future time for God to do anything with Israel. I mean this this church age, as it were, is it? And so it's sort of like everything has to be fulfilled here and now. Whereas if you hold a premillennial view, then you realize there is another chapter to be written yet another time period before heaven and hell, when God has purposes yet to fulfill that He is going to do.


So they're eschatology meshes with their ecclesiology in, in this sense, yeah, I've heard this sensationalist say that you know Israel was a plan A didn't work, got chocolate and so now we're in plan B. Yeah. And then I've heard covenant theologians say that it's the same covenant, that the covenant with Israel is the same covenant as. Yes. Right. So real extreme and maybe not even accurate extremes. But does that progressive this sensationalism, is that trying to remember you said last term that really there's not as much controversy about these two issues? Not nearly as much. There's been a coming together of both traditions. If any of you are interested in this, if you are. Russ More now, Doc. Dr. Russ More wrote his dissertation here I was the supervisor of his dissertation, and he wrote a lot about what has happened in both covenant and dispensation or theologies, modifications that have been made that have drawn them very closely together. It's a very fine piece of work. I guess that's what I was going to ask is what have they given up? Whatever the two sides here, they have to get to more of. What they both have given up is exclusive discontinuity dispensation or continuity covenant, and both are recognizing some combination of the two. There is some continuity, some discontinuity of the two. So you'll find a number of more progressive covenant theologians who think in terms of a future salvation for Israel that Israel will be saved. Now, when that happens, how that's going to happen, they may not be sure about because their eschatology doesn't really allow for it. Well, yeah, wherever. Yeah. So all I would be saying, just leave it as you see that person who you see all the time with Christ comes back, all this, all of the ethnic youth and this and that.


Yes. This isn't. No, no, it's not. It's the very same kind of statement that a prophet would make to the people of Israel saying or God through the prophet, I will take you back to your land. Well, you might die, but your children's Israel that exists at the time will be brought back to the land, that sort of thing. So, yeah, we need to move ahead. So let's let's do that and move on to capital letter. See metaphors for the church. In one sense, I would love to spend a lot of time on these metaphors because they're so rich and wonderful. On the other hand, they're familiar, at least some of them are familiar. And so we can't take nor nor should we take a lot of time on them. So I'm going to move through this fairly quickly. Please realize there's a lot of richness that we're just touching on. I'm actually teaching a Sunday school class at church right now on the church that is at my local church on the church. And we're going through metaphors of the church in Sunday school. And it makes a wonderful study. I mean, goodness, you did the metaphors provide, as it were, angles or perspectives, or maybe you could think of a diamond with facets. No one metaphor tells you everything about the church but the collection of metaphors that are used in the New Testament together present a very rich picture of what the church is about there. Pictures of the church. The first one of these, which is the metaphor used more often than any other in the New Testament, is the church as the body of Christ. The church is the body of Christ. And what is true of this metaphor, as well as the others, is that Christ is preeminent in this metaphor.


I mean, think of think of other metaphors. If you've got the church as the bride, well, Christ is the bridegroom. So Christ is preeminent in that relationship husband, wife, bride, bridegroom, relationship, or the church is a building or a temple. And where is Christ in this? Well, he's the foundation or even the cornerstone. In all the metaphors, it's clear Christ is preeminent. As you look at that metaphor and clearly this is the case here. In fact, we'll start there. The headship of Christ is made clear. For example, in Colossians one verses 18 and 19, it emphasizes the headship of Christ over the church. Colossians 118. He is also head of the body, the church. He's the beginning, the first born of the dead that he himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the father's good pleasure, for all the fullness to dwell in him and through him, to reconcile all things to himself. So head of the body or back in Ephesians one, also at the end of Ephesians one, Christ was elevated far above all rule and authority and power and dominion in every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. Then he's put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church. Verse 22, Ephesians 122, which is his body, the fullness of him, who fills all in all. So Christ is head of the church, is the one who reigns as authority over the church. And there's been a lot of discussion in the past ten years or so on on the word head in the New Testament, carefully, as it's called. And Wayne Graham has just demolished attempts.


Well, they don't think so. That is the opponents don't think so. But it is true nonetheless that he has demolished attempts to see carefully as meaning source and rather it connotes a notion of authority over. And so Christ as head of the church, has authority over the church. And yes, he also provides for the church. He does many, many other things. But the the metaphor of head of the body is a metaphor that conveys the notion of directorship. You know, the rest of your body takes its direction from the head. And so hit head as director or authority or governor of the body and Christ certainly has role for that is so clear in the marriage passage in Ephesians five as well, verse 22, Ephesians 522 wives be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. So you see it there again, he himself being the savior of the body as the church is subject to Christ. So you can see the connection between submission and headship as the church is subject to Christ. So also wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. So he's making their the parallel between Christ Church, husband, wife and what's clear of the husband and what's clear of Christ is headship and what's the proper relationship of the other then to husband and Christ submission. So obviously by that it indicates authority over. And so he does have absolute, absolute rights over the church. Remember, Jesus said, I will build my church. I hope you can personalize this in your own lives and recognize. If you are in Christ, you are part of the church, then it is never appropriate for you or for me to make a decision.


Do what we want to do on our own, disregarding the will of Christ. Never. There are other there biblical teachings that reinforce this Christ as Redeemer reinforces this, doesn't it? We have been bought with a price. We are not our own. We have been bought with his shed blood and therefore we don't have rights over ourselves. But here is another case where our role is to be subject to Christ, pure and simple. I mean, that's that's the fundamental question we need to ask about our lives. How may we submit to what your will is? You are head and I follow you. I mean, that's that's what it's about. Which brings up the next aspect of this metaphor. Dependance of the body on the head is also clear in a number of passages. Dependance of the body on the head. Two passages in particular stress this dependance. First one is Colossians 219, Colossians 219, where Paul warns against allowing anything from taking the place of Christ's prominence in our lives. He says, Let me start reading it verse 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self a basement worship of angels, taking a stand on visions that he has seen inflated without cause by his fleshly mind and not holding fast to the head from whom the entire body being supplied and held together by joints and ligaments grows with the growth which is from God. So he's not only authority over. He is the one who sustains, provides for brings growth to the whole of the body. Ephesians four is the other one where it's so clear verses 15 and 16. But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up into all aspects into him, who is the head, even Christ.


So here we have headship again indicated from womb, the whole body being fitted together and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. So where does the body receive everything it needs for its growth? From the head? From the head? So there is a dependance of the body on the head that is absolute and comprehensive and again, personalize it. That means you and I should not wake up any day of our lives and think I'm able to handle what's in front of me this day. I can do it. Oh, is that right? Yeah. So, I mean, the minute we start thinking that way, we are forgetting that everything we need comes from one source, and that is from Christ. All the blessings that God has for us come through Christ. Period. So we have an absolute comprehensive dependance upon him. Third element in this metaphor of the body is the unity of the body in the head. The unity of the body in the head. Colossians 118 cautions 118. Stress is not only the headship of Christ, but that alongside of this he places the church. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that is. He's the beginning of new life. His resurrection from the dead is the first of many resurrections we all follow after that first resurrection. So Christ in his people share one resurrection life together in other way. To put it, as we share in his life, we share in Christ's life. The metaphor of the vine in the branches conveys this also, doesn't it? The branch abides in the vine. John 15. Well, what life does the branch have apart from the vine? The answer is none.


If it's cut from the vine, it loses its life. So there is this unity of the body in the head and we share fully in his life. The church takes on the new life of Christ and identifies herself with him and everything that he is. So Christ's life, Christ's message, Christ's purposes then become ours. So there is to be this fundamental unity. What is true Christ becomes true of us then, as we're united to Him. And then forth. Last is the interdependence of each member and the interdependence of each member. And this is the aspect of the metaphor that is developed at length by Paul in first Corinthians 12 to 14, particularly in Chapter 12, First Corinthians 12, where the whole notion of. The body of Christ is here taken to indicate the contribution that various members of the body make to the whole. So if all were and I well, you could see, but it couldn't walk, it couldn't do other things. If all were near, it could hear, but it couldn't do other things. So God has so made the body of Christ to have multiple members so that every member contributes to the common good. And you know this from experience that the tiniest member of your body, if something's wrong with it, wow, it can really mess you up. I mean, stub your toe tonight, walking to the bathroom, stub your toe and find out what a really badly injured little toe can do to you. Just amazing how much we are interconnected in our physical bodies. And that's true in the body of Christ as well. So we help one another or hurt one another depending upon the things that we do. This is why, you know, certain things in the church.


You wonder why Paul and Peter talked as much as they did about relational issues in the church. I mean, First Corinthians is just filled with it, isn't it? You know why? Because members to the body of Christ can bring tremendous harm by gossip, by infighting, by selfishness, by immorality, by these different things. On the other hand, members of the body that contribute to the well-being of others using their gifts, you know, for the building of the body of Christ, can bring great blessing and benefit to the body of Christ. So it is an amazing thing to realize that God so designed that the church be affected by what we do to one another. I mean, he Kiki could have done it differently, couldn't he, where he just, you know, took us all in isolation and grew us up in Christ. He could have done it that way, but he decided to do it this way. We're in relationship with one another. We use God given gifts to build one another up in Christ. And what a tragedy when we use that interconnectedness to harm the body rather than to grow up the body of Christ. Okay. I think we have time for one more metaphor that we'll look at. This one is the bride of Christ. Number two, in fact, I often have said perhaps I even have said it this semester. And here I can't remember that Christian women ought not wince at the fact that in many passages in Scripture, you Christian women are referred to as sons of God. And the reason that's a good thing, at least in a number of contexts, where that is, you know, gender inclusive translations that translate that children of God do not do you any service or the rest of us.


By doing that, you ought to think of yourself as a son of God, because in certain context it is the son who receives the inheritance of the Father. And so if you want an inheritance, you need to be a son. Okay, So certain contexts appeal to women, female Christians to think of them as sons. Well, men. Guess what? We have our gender confusion issues as well. All men and women in Christ need to think of ourselves as comprising the Bride of Christ, the Bride of Christ. So men need to think in the role of the bride to the bride groom. The role of the wife to the husband. In relation to Christ. Let me give you some key passages in Corinthians 11 to second Corinthians 11 two four. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, says Paul. Four I betrothed you to one husband that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. You get what he's saying? He said, You're engaged, you're betrothed to Christ. But the wedding has not been consummated. When the wedding is consummated, I want to present you to Christ a virgin. So, in other words, live your life as one who is given wholly to him and don't spoil and mar this upcoming wedding that's going to take place by giving yourself to another. Which of course, all through the Bible, as you know, the analogy has been drawn regularly between idolatry and adultery. Right. I mean, think of the Book of Joseph as a great example of that idolatry and adultery. I mean, there's so closely and I think the reason God uses that analogy is because a marriage relationship is very much like our relationship with him. It number one, it is a relationship.


It isn't just a legal thing or, you know, it is a relationship and it's a covenant bond. And it's a place where it's a relationship in which there is trust, allegiance, devotion, commitment, loyalty. So to go after another God, to unite yourself to another, apart from Christ, is like committing adultery in a marriage. So it's really a sobering thing. So here Paul is saying, in other words, he wants them to finish their lives. Holy people. So I betrothed you to Christ. I want to present you before him a pure virgin. Revelation 19 seven through nine. Revelation 19 seven through nine indicates this upcoming marriage Supper of the LAMB. Blessed are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper, the LAMB. These are the true words of God that I fell at his feet to worship at the heart of him. I'll quit reading there. And then also Revelation 21, verse nine, 21, verse nine. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me. And he said, Come here and I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb. So now the marriage has taken place and it's not a bride anymore. It's a wife, a wife of the lamb. Well, a couple of things about this metaphor that are conveyed. First, Christ's unconditional love, unconditional love, and of course, is probably comes out clearest in Ephesians five, where the analogy is made. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, Ephesians 5:27, that is, Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that He might present her to himself pure without any spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she should be holy and blameless and notice holy and blameless.


You hear that phrase in Ephesians 5:27 Ephesians 1:4 We have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless. That same power is used again in Ephesians five of what Christ will do. So the accomplishment of our election, the fulfillment of why we were elected, we are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before Him is accomplished by Christ. So this unconditional love that he has for the church to love. So husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church gave him. So for her to seek her best, to bring about her well-being, to bring about her purification. And of course, this unconditional love is real love. It seeks what is best for his bride, not what his bride necessarily wants. But what he knows is best. And he will not fail. And the other truth that is conveyed in this is the church's purification that we are to be before Christ as a bride awaiting our wedding day. Imagine what you would think of an engaged woman while planning the wedding, while waiting for the day to come shacked up with another man. How vile. How vile. So here we are to think of ourselves as an engaged bride waiting for the wedding day. And we are to be pure. We are to be devoted to him. Devoted to him. I think about this when I see engaged couples, because oftentimes you see this displayed in an engaged couple. The engaged woman has such a tenderness who want to please this man who is going to be her husband, that he has such a longing to romanticize his bride. You know, I mean, there is this both of these things are just so much more evident.


You know, oftentimes with an engaged couple. And so put yourself in the place of the bride, the one who is awaiting the day of the marriage. And you want to stand at that wedding pure. So this whole emphasis on purity is conveyed in this metaphor. May God help us to be pure people.