Three Bible Churches

Justin Johnson

Ephesians 1:10 says that in the fullness of times all things will be gathered together in Christ. Only from that vantage point can we see the saints from all time in union.

However, if we step back into history where the times have not been fulfilled, then we find that God has delivered different instructions to humanity at different times. Those instructions change the message of the church. Some even change the nature of the church.

Dispensational Bible study at its core attempts to understand these differences and reconcile them to God’s eternal plan in Eph 1:10.

A large sum of your Bible speaks about one of three separate groups of saints. Three different churches with three different messages with responsibilities to God. If these churches are rightly divided it will solve much doctrinal confusion in the church today.

  1. The Church in the Wilderness is referenced by Stephen in Acts 7:38. It refers to the nation Israel following Moses to the Promised Land. These people operated under God’s instructions in the Old Covenant or Mosaic Law. This message and mission continued up to and through Jesus’ earthly ministry.
  2. The Church in the Temple is referred to in Acts 2:44-47. This church which was “added to” at Pentecost was formed by Christ himself from the remnant of believing Israel. God’s instructions for this group were the fulfillment of prophecy in the kingdom and the New Testament. Faith that Jesus was the Messiah was required along with water baptism. Peter, James, and John are the leaders of this group that will sit on twelve thrones in the coming earthly kingdom.
  3. The Church, the Body of Christ is referred to by Paul in Col 1:24. This church began with Jesus saving Paul by his grace “out of due time” (1 Cor 15:8). The message of this group is said to be a “mystery” and “kept secret before”. It includes Jews and Gentiles together but not under a law system. Their conversation is in heavenly places.

Today, God is building his church which is the body of Christ. We should be careful not to take instructions to the Church in the Temple or the Church in the Wilderness as our instructions or we may be building with the wrong material (1 Cor 3:13).

Not every instruction in the Bible was written to you or about you. When we try to determine if an instruction from the Lord is written to us we should ask “who is speaking?”; “which church are they speaking to?”; “is it the church God is building today?”

This helps to locate God’s instructions written to us. It also carefully separates doctrinal confusion that can occur when we borrow instructions from another church.

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Published: August 22, 2009
Last Modified: October 22, 2016
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