THE BODY OF CHRIST
THE BODY OF CHRIST and the BRIDE OF CHRIST
There is a clear divide between the Body, and the Bride of Christ. That division is at Acts 28:25-28, and is a direct consequence of the failure of Israel to acknowledge and accept Christ Jesus as Messiah of Jehovah God.
In 1Cor. 12:27; Paul in this reference seems to clearly define the pre - Acts 28:28 Christians as the body of Christ, (it has to be said that different teachers and groups have different interpretations, as to the status of Christians re- the body of Christ, prior to the end of Acts), but that is due to many years of miss-teaching and misunderstanding of Scripture, which is now hidebound in the Training Syllabus' of Colleges etc.; where the Acts 28:25-28 dividing line is not acknowledged!
In Eph. 3:6; Paul clearly shows in this narrative that Gentiles "should be fellow heirs and of the same body"; Ephesians is dated approx. AD 61/62, and is one of the 7 letters that Paul wrote post Acts 28:28; and therefore of special significance to Christians now, as the post Acts 28:28 body of Christ! The significance of this is that the Stewardship of God's purpose in His Word, had passed or was passing from the Jews to the Gentiles; because of the Jewish rebellion against Christ Jesus Messiah! Had that rebellion not taken place, there would have been a smooth development from the situation with the Jews in AD 30; into the God planned Jew and Gentile amalgamation into the "One body"; which now awaits completion in the future, (present date: Sept. 2020)!
The significance of 1Cor. 12:27, and Eph. 3:6, is that the former was written pre. Acts 28:28, and the latter post Acts 28:28. In the former the Jew is still first in the purpose of Almighty God, i.e. they still held the mandate to declare God's Word in truth. Their failure to accept Christ Jesus as Messiah at the last of Paul's visits to the Roman Synagogue, placed them in the position of "Lo-Ammi", not My people, (a temporary state).
The Gospel of Redemption and the Kingdom (Millennium) has since been given to the Gentiles to declare, who since that time are the Stewards of the Word of Truth, and still are at the present time.
The most likely definition of the Bride of Christ, is all people, Jew or Gentile who accepted Christ as Messiah and Saviour up to Acts 28:28; and also, righteous OT Jews and Gentiles as per Hebrews, and probably many “Overcomers” of Revelation. These are joined by millions of 'dispersed' Jews, who are the remnants of the Diaspora. From these some appear to have a life on Earth in the flesh in the Millennial, with Temple Ritual and Service; and will form "Jesurun" (ideal and upright Jacob/Israel, Isaiah 44:2; and see; Duet.32:15; 33:5; 33:6.) and will eventually be “married” to Christ and (His body; ie. post Acts:28-28 Christians), as described in Rev. 19.
The clear definition of the body of Christ, is all people on Earth of all nationalities, who have trusted Christ Jesus for Salvation since Acts 28:28, (approx. AD60), and whose destiny is a “Glorified body”, (Phil.3:20-21) as per Christ’s when they are raised or translated, at the return of Christ to Earth; (Matt.24).
It is clear from Scripture that the group before Acts 28:28 are still Jewish in emphasis Rom. 4, and blessed through Abraham, therefore their inheritance and future function is on the Earth, Gal. 3:6-9 & 4:22-24. Whereas the post Acts 28:28 group have their inheritance in the Heavenlies, Eph. 1:3, 2:6, 3:10 and 2Tim. 4:18.
There is no doubt that there was a special calling through Peter and others starting at Acts 2 to the Jewish people. Peter describes in Acts 2 what was happening in the giving of the Spirit, that had been promised by Christ Jesus prior to His Ascension. The word (Ekklesia) is used in the first Chapter of Revelation in what are called the 7 Churches, (but should have been translated the 7 Ekklesia; ie. The 7 called out Groups) and the linking of that description to the Jews at the beginning of the Acts period is clearly similar.
The implications of this for the study of Revelation are profound, and show (in the view of the writers) that the giving of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus for special purpose of their evangelism to the Jews which started at Pentecost, and ceased at Acts 28:28; cannot re-commence with the Jewish Nation until similar conditions approximate again on Earth. The conditions in Revelation show much turmoil, and the wording shows that they can again call on the Power of the Holy Spirit in their situations.
This shows that the groupings of peoples described in the early parts of Revelation (the seven Churches/Ekklesia) are under a new set of conditions, not those of Acts period or Grace period. The Age of Grace is then finished, and “works” and “overcoming" are paramount. The "Overcomers" are a special group of people with special rewards, and special enabling by the Spirit of Christ, see the first 3 Chapters of Revelation.
The fact of the body of Christ being post Acts 28:28 (in the definition of the apostle Paul), and up to an as yet unknown date in the future, shows that they are not the same grouping as the "Overcomers" of Revelation.
In Romans 11, is described the use of the Gentiles by God, to try to draw Israel back to Him, as is shown in the Acts period. Post Acts 28:28 shows a temporary casting off of Israel "until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25). When that has happened, Israel shall be saved by Messiah Christ Jesus (Rom. 11:26), because they are elect people (Rom. 11:28), because of the promises of God to their forefathers.
There is therefore a future relationship between the body (Christ's people), and the Israel of the future described in Revelation, Ezekiel, Zechariah and elsewhere. They are not of the same grouping, (i.e. Christ and His people, called His body), and (the true Israel called in the OT "Jeshurun"). From descriptions in the books mentioned, Israel is drawn together from their present "diaspora" worldwide, to their "promised land" and the borders promised to their forefathers. The Millennial is a period of 1000 years of dwelling in their "promised land", and during that period they and their King (Christ Jesus Great David’s Greater Son, Psm. 132:11, 2Sam. 7:12 & Jer. 23:5) will be revered by the Nations of the world that have survived into the Millennial, after the "sheep and goat judgement", see: Sheep and Goat Judgement. They are called a "Kingdom of Priests unto God" Ex. 19:6 and Rev. 1:6, see: A Kingdom of Priest unto God, and their function as such will be to the Nations of the world.
Christ and His people (His body) appear to have a very elevated function, part of which is Earthly and partly Heavenly. Very little detail is given as to this function but the Apostle Paul, gives some understanding in his writings. We know that Christ Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem during that period as the Jewish Messiah, and we know also that His body (His people) "are ever with Him". The implications therefore as to the functions of the 'body' during the Millennial appear to be very wide!
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