God's Church
Prophecy in Motion
by C. Elden McNabb

A Predominant Theme

There is a theme woven throughout the Old Testament of something existing or being built, then being removed or destroyed, and later restored.  The city of Jerusalem is a prime example of this.  It was built, and later was destroyed by the Babylonians.  Then, after the captivity, we hear the cry of triumphant, “So built we the wall!”

I have already shown that God’s Church in the New Testament was the fulfillment of that city.  What happened to it?  Where is it today?  The prophet Isaiah showed that it would become apostate.  He said, “How is the faithful city become an harlot!  It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isaiah 1:21-27).

After the glory of God was lavished upon God’s Church in the first century of the Grace Age, the Church forsook the way of God and went into the corruption of idolatrous worship.  However, Isaiah continued, “I will turn my hand upon them – and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning:  afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, The Faithful City” (Isa. 1:21-26).  This shows that The Twelve will be restored and functioning in the Church when Jesus returns.

In Isa. 51:9 and 52:1-2, God used the precept of rising again, as from the dead, prophesying of the Church.  He said, “Awake, awake, put on strength, as in the ancient days.  O Jerusalem, the holy city: Shake thyself from the dust.”  Paul applied this prophecy to us, saying, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).

If every Christian is a part of God’s Church, these Scriptures would be meaningless, because The Church could not die, unless Christianity was completely eradicated.  There are various allegories which embody this theme.  I will list only three of them here:

1) Abraham dug some wells.  The Philistines stopped them.  Later, Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father (Gen. 26:18).  And he named them by the same names that his father had named them

2) Job had seven sons and three daughters together with great wealth.  Then he lost it all, but “the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.”  The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.  God also gave him seven more sons and three more daughters (Job 1:19 and 42:10-13).

3) Solomon built the temple.  The Chaldeans destroyed the temple.  Later Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Joshua, the son of Josedech, rebuilt the temple (Ezra 5:11).

The allegory of the wells which Abraham and Isaac dug, shows us that there was to be three phases of God’s Church, in both the early and the latter days, besides the phase in which a covenant is given.  In the case of the early disciples, the three phases are not clear, just as they are not clear in the wells which Abraham dug.

Jesus fulfilled Abraham’s covenant at Beersheba when He sealed the New Covenant with his blood.  Afterward, there were three more phases of The Church: the building and perfecting of it by Peter, the preserving of it by James, the Lord’s brother, and the decline of it under the leadership of Jude.

In Isaiah 12:3 he said, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  Peter’s testimony surely confirms that the early disciples did just that.  He said their experience was “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  However, “the Scriptures cannot be broken.”  So, when the early disciples had fulfilled the prophecies concerning them, the wells were stopped.

The three wells which Isaac and his servants dug later are very distinct.  That is because the divisions of God’s Church among the Gentiles were to be more distinct than those in the early Church.  But we will consider Isaac’s wells a little later.


Most of us are familiar with the Church being called a temple, because that is what is emphasized in the New Testament.  And they were not idly using home spun metaphors.  They were speaking to us as the oracles of God.

Consider the reference to the Temple in Acts 7:47-48.  “Solomon built Him an house.  Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” By contrast, the New Testament Church was “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 1:22-23; 2:15-22).  God came and went from the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple, and when the Church was built, God began to come and go from the Church. (Acts chs. 4-6; Heb. 10:1).

 The Shadow:  In 1 Kings 6:37-38, we are told, “In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, and in the eleventh year, was the house finished.  So was he seven years in building it.”

The Fulfillment:  By the middle of the fourth year of Jesus’ ministry He had laid the foundation of the Church, ordaining twelve apostles and seventy prophets (Eph. 2:19-20).  In the next seven years Peter finished building it, and God filled it with His glory (Acts 4:23-5:17).

After His resurrection, Jesus made Peter “ruler over His Household, to give them meat in due season” (Matt. 24:45-47).  Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?  Feed my lambs; Feed my sheep.”  Peter thought the office would have been given to John, “that disciple whom Jesus loved.”  That is why he responded to Jesus, saying, “What shall this man do?”  Apparently Jesus had other plans for John (John 21:15-21).

Peter obeyed the Lord, and by the end of seven years he had led the Church to perfection, fulfilling the “seventieth week” of Daniel 9.  With the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, he had built the spiritual Temple upon the foundation which Jesus had laid.  And soon after that he opened the way of salvation to the Gentiles.

     When Peter finished that job, God confirmed his work with mighty signs and wonders, and filled that house with His glory.  God’s glory was so great upon them that when Ananias and Sapphira defiled that holy sanctuary, they fell dead at the feet of Peter and The Twelve.  The Holy Scriptures show that The Twelve Apostles are the altar of the Spiritual Temple, and they defiled it, and died (Heb. 13:10; Num. 7:2-11; Exodus 20:24-25).

When Peter had fulfilled his commission, Jesus made another appearance to him in fulfillment of 1 Kings 9:1-3.  At that time, Jesus also appeared to James, and above 500 brethren at one time, then to Paul. [1]

Unsung Prophecies

The writers of the New Testament did not always tell us that the events they were writing about were the fulfillment of prophecy.  Acts 6:1-8 is a prominent example of this.  At a glance it may seem to be more an account of secular events than spiritual.  Actually it is an account of the fulfillment of the prophecy in Proverbs 9:1-2.  “Wisdom hath builded her house.  She hath hewn out her seven pillars.  She hath also furnished her table.”  These “seven men, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,” were a lot greater than what most of us think of “deacons” being.  They were the seven pillars in the House of God, hewn out after “wisdom (had) builded her house.” They were also the direct fulfillment of Job’s first seven sons.

The allegory of Job prophesies of the abundance of the good things of God in the early Church; the loss of it all in the “dark ages,” and the restoration of that abundance in these latter days.

The three phases of the Church under Peter, James and Jude, are typified by Job’s first three daughters.  Peter brought it to perfection.  Jesus then appeared unto James and gave him the job of preserving the Church until his death.  Then Jude was given the oversight of the Church, to sustain it in its final years.

The death of Job’s family prophesied of the demise of The Church.  It foreshadowed the loss of the Seven Men of Wisdom in Acts 6; hence the loss of the function of the Seven Spirits of God (Rev. 2:5).  He said, “there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the (seven) young men and they are dead.”

Samsons seven locks” prophesied of the same thing in a different precept.  “Delilah called for a man to shave off the seven locks of his head; and his strength went from him” (Judges. 16:19).  Later, when his hair was grown again, Samson destroyed the temple of idolatrous worship.

Those “seven men, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,” were the flames of fire on the spiritual candlestick, the Church (Rev. 1:20).   Those flames were snuffed out, but later, Job had seven more sons, and Samson’s seven locks grew again.  And these two events prophesied of the reviving of the Church in the last days of the Grace Age.  Therefore, we know that God will raise up another seven men shortly before the return of our Lord.  Then shall the flames of the Seven Spirits of God burn brightly in God’s Elect once more.

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[1] See Paul's account in 1 Cor. 15:1-8.  This could not have happened during the forty days, during which Jesus was with them after the resurrection.