IX ECCLESIOLOGY Doctrine of the Church or
the Teaching of the Church
The word Church (called out assembly) is made up of all who
believe in Jesus Christ as Savior (Old and New Testament). The Universal Church, refers to
all believers in eternity who are saved and those who are and still to be saved in this
world today. All saints are members of the eternal Kingdom of God, and the Body of Christ
today can refer to the church either as a whole or when the believers are meeting together,
Ephesians 1:22,23, this is today's program where God is calling men to
Dispensation of Grace started in the mid Acts, the historical account found in
8-13 and the program will be completed at the rapture.
Whenever speaking or studying the word church in the Bible, one needs to ask
which church, in what
dispensation are you reading about or teaching. (The words, the called out assembly, is equivalent to the same Greek word for church, and used even for other types of assemblies in
Acts 19:32,39; also the word is used for the church or assembly of believers
in the Old Testament before,
then used to describe believers after Jesus Christ's resurrection,
20:17). The New Covenant was implemented at,
Acts 2, and is not to be confused with a
dispensation. A dispensation is not 'a covenant and a covenant' is not a
There are some names which clearly describes accurately the
church of today:
I. The New Covenant became operational at Pentecost, it fulfills the first stage of the redemptive covenant looking forward to the Deliverer. The New Covenant is the redemptive completion of the
provision for humanity's eternal salvation, Galatians 4:4-7.
C. Israel as God's Nation was ordained the stewards who were to be the dispensers of
the New Covenant, but failed in the Dispensation of Promise as the old testament prophecies foretold they would, Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 3:17-26. After the Nation of Israel's failure, the
70th week of Daniel was to be carried out in the world, to bring in the Dispensation of the Kingdom in which King Jesus would reign on the throne of David, Daniel 9:24, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 7.
However, God revealed a New
program and made all humanity equally responsible. This new ordained instrument, in now the stewardship
which was a mystery, the church, identified as the body of Christ, He would work redemption. This new organism's made-up is all believing humanity that would be the stewards to the rest of the world.
Today's program for believers will end with the rapture, believers caught up to Heaven and
those who are not saved will be left behind going into the seven-year Tribulation judgment. The Seven-Year Tribulation is where God goes back and finishes the prophetic judgment which was postponed.
Today's dispensation is called
by different names, the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Mystery Dispensation, the
Dispensation of Equality, and the parentheses dispensation, (or overlaid
dispensation). These names all describe
an aspect of the dispensation which makes it uniquely different from all the other dispensation, Ephesians 3:9 the word fellowship should be translated dispensation of the mystery, Ephesians 1:1-3 - dispensation of grace, Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2 - the dispensation of equality, and Romans 11; Acts 13:46-47; 18:5-6, 28:20-28 - parentheses/overlay dispensation.
The parentheses age
describes the insertion or overlay of today's program coming between or
overlaying the Nation of Israel prophetic fulfillment of the 70th week of
Romans 11:7-10 cf.
25-29. God inserted the dispensation of today
which separates this prophetic program of Israel that is part of the mystery
revealed to the apostles. The Apostle Paul wrote todayís dispensation, and it is preventing the seven-year tribulation period to
begin. After this dispensation is completed, do to failure of believers and
permeation of wickedness of non-believers, the prophetic tribulation will take place bringing
completion, Romans 11:25-27; II Thessalonians 2:5-8 cf. I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Part of the mystery of this dispensation is the continuous judgment on the
Nation of Israel called 'Time of the Gentiles', Luke 21:24. The Time of the Gentile
judgment ends with Christ Jesus literally returning to earth and the remnant Nation of Israel restored to God's chosen in the time called 'The Day of
the Lord' this follows the last of two phases of the Time of the Gentiles,
Zephaniah 1-3 (The dispensation of today I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and the tribulation period or 70th week of
Daniel, also call the time of God' wrath on earth, Revelation 20), Zephaniah 3:15,20; 3. The actual Time of the
Gentile began in the Old Testament when the Nation of Israel went into
captivity, first Israel's Northern then Southern tribes.
The dispensation of equality expresses the
truth that all are responsible to God and one race is not held up over the
others. We are called to respond to Christ Jesus on an equal operating
The name which the Apostle Paul used was the
dispensation of the Grace of God,
Ephesians 3:2. The context of the passage in Ephesians encompasses all the thoughts
that the others describe.
The historical events
which took place after the coming of the Holy Spirit are as follows: the
offer given to the Nation of Israel to repent as a nation,
Act 3, shadowed by the
Nationís rejectionas the ordained nation,Acts 4-7, and finally by rejection the Holy Spirit with the stoning of Steven. Instead of
going into the 70th week of Daniel, the judgment prophesied in the Old
Testament, you see it postponed with the insertion of the mystery dispensation
which begins the transition, Acts 8-13, (this is where one program start coming to an end [in this case it will only be temporally stopped] and a new program
beginning, taking the place of the old). By the end of the Acts period (Note 28:28), the old program or dispensation is overlaid completely by the new dispensation.
The transition begins were Israel losing their stewardship temporally as the
dispensing Nation of the New Covenant and temporally losing their privileged
position. This brings the historical shift from the Nation of Israel to the
mystery dispensation, parentheses age, or the Dispensation of Grace into
operation. The transition into this dispensation comes historically with the
saving of Saul in,
Acts 9. God changed Saul's name to Paul by Acts 13:9. Paul is
ordained by God to be the apostle of this dispensation, Acts 9:15-17;13:2,9; Romans 11:13; Galatians 2:8; II Timothy 1:11.
The dispensation of today, the Dispensation of Grace as seen through the transition period:
It was given to Peter in a vision by our Lord in,
Acts 10 and
the salvation of Cornelius.
Confirmed as God's program to all apostles
Then given and explained to Paul by our Lord directly by revelation,
Galatians 1:11-2:10 and written by Paul (Recorded in his twelve books of the Biblical New Testament,
(Romans through Philemon).
E. The Church today (the called out assembly) is
called the Body of Christ (equality of all based on the cross and the finished
work of Christ or New Covenant). Every believer today has the responsible to
carry out the operational functioning of God's program, I Corinthians
5:16-21. Believers are to express out verbally the message of salvation to
humanity and live reconciled to God through Christ Jesus our Lord,
Corinthians 5:18-22. The stewardship, the church today, the Body of Christ is God's ordained
instrument today that is to carrying out this dispensation through a local
church as individuals united by the Holy Spirit,
Daniel's prophecy says that there would be an interval between the sixty-ninth week and
Daniel's prophecy also lets Israel know the conditions that they would
be living under as God's chosen people,
Daniel 9:26-27, but does not reveal the
mystery as given through Paul.
Peter's profession and our Lord's response,
Matthews 16:18 that
a church would be established against which the gates of Hell will not prevail also does not
reveal this dispensation as found after the Nations rejection of responsibility. Also, in
the Lord's earthly ministry He presented the church (the universal called out assembly) in
mystery form in the parables of,
and the Lord's prophecies also telling of the Nation of Israel's problems
which Daniel prophesied in the Old Testament,
Luke 22, but does not disclose the mystery as found after,
prophecy tell God's love for Gentiles, but the mystery shows equality with
the Jews a new ordain institution.
II. The Local Church as an organization is made up of saved
members who have been water baptized by immersion for public identification with Christ in
His death, burial and resurrection,
Romans 6:1- 4,
A. The purpose of the Local Church is:
To carry out the principles and precepts of
B. For a local church to exist there must be a functional leadership
made-up of Elder and Deacons.
The word Elder, Pastor or Bishop refer to the same person.
1:5-7 uses Elder in verse five and Bishop (or overseer used in the NIV) in verse seven; also in Acts 20:28 Paul addresses the elders of Ephesus,
20:17. Paul admonishes them to feed or to pastor the Church of God, Acts 20:28. He also
points out that they are overseers or bishop (the same word).
IV. The mission of the church is to reach the
world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, II Corinthians 5:18-21
and make disciples according to the teachings stated above. The believers are to
be representatives of Jesus Christ wherever or whatever their "niche" of life takes them,
II Corinthians 5:11-21
telling of the message of reconciliation. The citizenship of the believer is
Cooperation without the sacrifice of Biblical standards is
required of all believers and separation is necessary when Biblical standards are at
Distinctive characteristics that have been identified as a true Christian:
Born again membership, by repentance, accepting Jesus Christ's work on their behalf (salvation not by one's own works), faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and believing Jesus' deity or the Godhead of one God,
Autonomy of the local church, the called out believers uniting together,
Stewardship of believers, believers with the responsibility with proclaiming the message of reconciliation,
Two church offices, elder, deacons,
Independent local church, independence from other churches and denominations,
Separation of church and state, separation from a church government and God supreme over both,
Two ordinances, the Lord's supper and baptism,
Security of the believers, regeneration is eternal, once Born again you cannot lose your salvation because it is not dependent on you, but on Christ Jesus and His finished work.
V. The dispensational interpretation of the Scriptures
is not a movement. It is
important for a clear understanding of the Word of God! Dispensational study gives understanding of interpretation, so to handle
the Word of God correctly. Dispensational understanding opens up truth so not to mix God's program
for today with other programs of the past and future programs.
The dispensational approach to the Bible is not a movement or a disease, but
it is the study of the administrations of God throughout history and identifies
Though God never changes, He has changed His method
dealing and operation with humanity from one dispensation to another. Salvation has always
been by God's grace, faith has always prerequisite for one's believing application. Faith in the promised One, Jesus Christ has always been applicable; the Old Testament saints
looking forward to Christ and New Testament saints look back to the cross. However, there
are differences in the responsibility in which the people were to live at various points in human
history. God has demonstrated in providing different dispensations to show humanity their absolute failure to meet God's holy requirement and standards
apart from His grace.
2. There are seven
governing principles which operate in a dispensation and can bring about possible change:
1. Universal Principle which Transcend all dispensations,
Each dispensation has a beginning with governing rules and
3. Rule that changed from one dispensation to another,
4. The Institution chosen and responsible to carry out Godís
5. The sin and failure of the dispensation which brings the final judgment
The Transition from one dispensation to the next
The Judgment and consequence on the world.
The church is not to be viewed as the same as the
Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.
3. The Kingdom of God is:
The sphere or realm in which the sovereignty of God is
acknowledge and His will or desire obeyed,
This includes all of God's redeemed and all of God's angels.
4. The Kingdom of Heaven:
Relates to the offer of the earthly kingdom to Israel,
The reign of Christ in the Millennium and
The eternal fulfillment after the Millennium
The coming together of Kingdom of God and
the Kingdom of Heaven in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Time,
(The church today, the Body of Christ, refers to the
dispensation of God which started with Israel's rejection and ends with the Rapture.)
The rapture of the Church ends this dispensation where as
the Second Coming relates to the earthly position when Jesus Christ touches the earth
ending the Dispensation of promise and the beginning of the dispensation of the
The Rapture of the Church relates to Him coming in the clouds.
will not touch the ground.
Rapture is instantaneous and will be done by taking believer out of the world.
It will be an event where Jesus will
call those who have received Him as personal savior up in the clouds to be
I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
those who have died before and those living will take part in this event.