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a different plan. He chose Abraham, a faithful man, desiring to establish through him one whole family again (Gen. 12:1-3; 18:18). Later the Lord raised up another man to be a lawgiver and a national leader, whom he instructed to build a sanctuary according to the pattern shown him by revelation. This was to serve as a bond of national unity. The erection of an altar on the other side of the river was condemned with great vehemence as violating the divine ideal of one people, one sanctuary, and one altar. Any possible occasion of division in the camp was not to be tolerated with indifference (Josh. 22: 11-34). This temple was designed to be a symbol of the people of God indwelt by his Holy Spirit. The symbols of the bride, the body, the fold, and the household all clearly indicate the same plan. To conceive division and faction in the ecclesia as compatible with the divine purpose is to ignore the whole trend of revelation and to misinterpret the mind of God and his design for the highest good of man as revealed in His gracious dealings with humanity throughout the ages.
But when the unsophisticated reader of the Bible looks around him for the Biblical ecclesia,
the divine church, the household of God, his unprepared mind is bewildered at the unpleasant sight of sects and divisions that have rent the people of God for centuries. The Biblical conception of one family and the sublime ideal of a loving brotherhood is all but lost in modern Christendom. Nor does the study of ecclesiastical history help him very much. To him the existence of Christian sects is a strange phenomenon, deep-shrouded mystery. The crystal flow of the celestial river that was seen sparkling down the granite bed as it was descending towards the plain seems entirely out of sight. Instead there is a turbid stream, which now appears on the surface, now disappears in the sand, and whose contents are a strange admixture of various impurities gathered from the soil of its banks. There is a sense in which the stream, though lost at times to human observation, is still flowing underground; but to regain its original purity the water must be percolated through an effective filter.
To explain and unfold the divine plan and pattern, to elucidate the origin and development of the ecclesia, to trace its gradual degeneration into corruption and its final reappearance in glory-such are the objects of the following pages. An honest effort has been made to render a sincere apology for the church of God and to explain some of the most perplexing questions of modern theology and ecclesiastical polity.
We earnestly invoke the divine guidance and wisdom upon the reader, that he may understand the deep mystery of God revealed to his church by his Spirit. May the same Spirit that conceived the plan and developed it into the divine ecclesia reveal it to his people. Amen.
John A. D. Khan. Anderson, Ind.
The Christian Church
As a result of the fall of man into sin back at the foundation of the world, Adam and Eve lost Paradise, holiness, eternal life, and the companionship of God, and reaped sorrow, misery, and death. Moreover, all their posterity fared the same result, and the whole world was enshrouded in darkness and sin. In this period, we are told, “death reigned”; that is, spiritual death, which came as a result of universal sin. Man stood in the attitude of a guilty violator of God's holy and infinite law, and hence was under an infinite penalty. Since the broken law was eternal, the penalty for its violation was eternal. The justice of God demanded that man suffer for his disobedience. God's immutability demanded that the penalty of his law be executed. To lift the penalty, he would have been obliged to abolish his law; but since that law was “holy, just, and good,” he could not abolish it and yet be the God of law and order. Thus man seemed eternally and hopelessly lost.
But mercy rejoiced against judgment. The infinite love of God for lost humanity brought his infinite wisdom and knowledge into action. That wisdom, which is far beyond our comprehension, yes, “past finding out,' schemed a way of escape, a plan of salvation. It was by providing an atoning sacrifice in the person of his own Son. This secured deliverance from the awful penalty and made the salvation of a lost world possible.
Long ages before that plan was fully revealed and opened to mankind in the coming of Messiah, the Lord cast its shadow upon earth. It takes a substance to make a shadow, and the substance must exist before the shadow. In this, the substance was the wonderful plan of salvation and redemption then hid in the wisdom and knowledge of God-a “mystery hid from generations and ages," hid in God, “kept secret since the world began”; a mystery “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men,” but “now is made manifest” “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Its shadow was the law, its tabernacle, sacrifices, blood, and service. The