The Church by Clarence Larkin

Clarence Larkin

DISCLAIMER: Larkin does not hold to the Mid Acts Dispensational position of PMI. Some editing in [brackets].

[God is overseeing two overarching programs for reconciling both earth and heaven to Himself. The prophecy program features Israel and a coming earthly kingdom having been spoken by the mouth of the prophets since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21) and the mystery program featuring the body of Christ and our inheritance with Christ in heaven that was hidden until Jesus revealed it to Paul (Rom. 16:25).

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18 KJV)]

  1. [The church] is not a continuation of the “Jewish Dispensation” under another name.

As we have seen in the chapter on the Jews, the Jews have been shunted to a sidetrack that the “Main Line” may be clear for the passage of the Church. Jesus said-“The Law and the Prophets are until John.” If the Scriptures put Moses and Law in one Dispensation and Christ and Grace in another let us respect the Divine order and not join together what God has put asunder.

  • It is not “The Kingdom”

John the Baptist came preaching that the “Kingdom of Heaven” was “at hand” and Jesus sent out the Twelve and the Seventy to do the same, but the Jewish people rejected their King, and the setting up of the Kingdom was postponed. There cannot be any Kingdom until the “Nobleman Farmer” who has gone into a “far country” to receive the Kingdom returns. Luke 19:11-13

  • It is a “Mystery”

The Kingdom was no mystery. The Old Testament prophets describe it in glowing terms. But there was something that was a Mystery” to them, and that was what was to come in between the “Sufferings and Glory” of Christ. 1Pet. 1:9-11.

That is, between the Cross and the Crown. Jesus intimated that there was to be something that He called the “Church, ” but He did not say when it should appear, or what it would be like. Matt. 16:13-15.

The “Mystery of the Church” was first revealed to Paul.

“For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of ‘The Dispensation of the Grace of God’ which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me ‘THE MYSTERY’ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that THE GENTILES should be fellow heirs and of THE SAME BODY, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel….. according to the ‘Eternal Purpose’ which He purposes in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph. 3:1-3

  • It is a “Called Out” Body [Assembly]

The word Church comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” which means “Assembly” or a congregation of “called out ones.”

But the word is not used exclusively as to the Church. Israel was an “ecclesia” or an Assembly of people “called out” from other peoples and nations, and is called in Acts 7:38, “The Church in the Wilderness.”

Any Assembly of worshipers banded together as a church or congregation is an “ecclesia.” Matt. 18:17; 1Cor. 14:19, 1Cor. 14:35.

While Israel is a “called out body” it is a “National Body,” composed exclusively of the descendants of Abraham, but the Church is not a “National Body” for it is [a heavenly body] not composed of the people of any one nation, but of individuals from every kindred, people, tribe and nation.

That Israel and the Church are distinct and separate and cannot be blended, is clear from the fact that their “election” was made at different dates, and that the “election” of the Church antedates the “election” of Israel, for Israel was chosen in Abraham from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34), while the Church was chosen in HIM (Jesus) BEFORE the Foundation of the World. Eph. 1:4-6

  • It is the “Body of Christ”

In Eph. 1:22, 23 we read-

“And hath put all things under His feet, and gave HIM (Jesus), to be the HEAD over all things to the Church which is His BODY.”

The context shows (vs. 20), that this “Headship” was not possible until Jesus had been raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of the Father. The Church, therefore, could not have been in existence before there was a Head, for God does not make headless things. The Church then is the Body of which Christ is the Head.

In 1Cor. 12:12, 13 we are told how this “Body” is formed.

“For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into One Body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into ONE SPIRIT.”

From this we see that it is the “Baptism of the Spirit” that incorporates us into the “BODY OF CHRIST.”

Therefore there could be no Church until the “Day of Pentecost.” Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:1-3

  • It is to be the “Bride of Christ”

At present the Church is a virgin espoused. Paul said to the Church at Corinth, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste VIRGIN to Christ.” 2Cor. 11:2.

In Christ’s day an espousal was as sacred as a marriage. The First Adam had his Bride, and the Second or Last Adam must have His Bride. In Gen. 2:18, Gen. 2:21-23, we are told how the First Adam got his Bride.

“The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and with the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made (builded) He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.”

Now Jesus during His life on the earth as a man, abode alone, but a deep sleep-the sleep of death-fell on Him, and out of His wounded side, as the result of the Atonement He made on the Cross, there came that from which the Church was formed, and to which the Holy Spirit gave life on the Day of Pentecost; so that, as Adam said of Eve-“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, ” so we can say of the Church-“We are members of His Body, of his Flesh, and of his Bones.” Eph. 5:29-31 [1]


[1] Adapted from Clarence Larkin’s great book, “Dispensational Truth” chapter 11 – edits in [brackets].

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