Dispensationalists allege that it was wholly unknown in Old Testament times, i.e., the prophets never spoke of it, and that it was merely introduced as a sort of “interim measure” after the Jews rejected Christ, and God’s plan to establish the “kingdom” had to be postponed. A more erroneous view could not be imagined.
This concept of the church is false for two reasons: It contradicts the explicit testimony of the New Testament. It contains an absurd implication.
Let us consider these two matters.
First, the Scriptures are quite precise in their affirmation that the “church” was in the mind of God from the very beginning. Note Paul’s testimony:
“[T]o the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11; emphasis added).
Underline “church,” and then “eternal purpose,” and connect them with a line. The term “purpose” translates the Greek prothesis, which suggests the idea of setting forth a thing in one’s view, i.e., a plan (Arndt & Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon, 713). Hence, it is evident that the church was not an “afterthought,” as some millennialists allege; rather, it was an element of the divine plan from eternity.
Second, the allegation that the “church” was but an “interim measure” reveals that the devotees of this dogma do not even understand what the “church” is. The “church” is simply the body of saved people. Note this: Jesus is “the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23).
Circle “church” and “body” and connect them. The church is the saved!
If it were the case that God did not have the church in mind at the beginning, and throughout the Old Testament era, then it would follow that the Lord never envisioned salvation at that time! And that notion is repeatedly contradicted by the Scriptures (cf. Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:2,20). Make notes to this effect.