The Church Defined at the Sinai Experience
Section #1: The Church from its Beginning (Genesis) unto Abraham
Section #3: The Church Defined, Recalled, & Revived
From the content of Chapter #1 it has become evident that (Firstly) the Exodus generation was “called out” of Egypt, ever to dwell in separation and holiness from Egypt, and (Secondarily) this calling was a spiritual salvation… but was everyone saved? Was every individual adult Israelite regenerated in this generation? If so, is this what the scripture constituted and exemplified as The Church in an acceptable condition, perfected in holiness? The answer to this question is profoundly significant as it relates to the doctrines of perseverance, cleanliness, and holiness. Well, my reader, what do you think?
It was prophesied that in the end of the world, “ALL Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26, Isa. 59:20), but why? Is this some “new thing” that God will suddenly decide upon at the end of the world? No, my reader. This is not a new thing but an old thing. This purpose is observable throughout the centuries of Church History because it stemmed from the ancient beginning of The Church as it was first defined and exemplified by God. All of Israel will be finally saved in the end because all of Israel was saved in the beginning, but then backslid. Had they not backslid then the conclusion of the promises, prophecies, and Covenants would have had their consummation millennia ago. Throughout centuries of backsliding it is observable that God is changelessly and unwaveringly devoted to accomplish the salvation of every living Israelite in the end of the world because this is the fulfillment of the Covenants and promises which God had formerly established, genuinely pursued, and theretofore failed to accomplish until the appointed time in the end of the world. From a holistic perspective we can see that the promises and glories of salvation have been stalled from their performance throughout the centuries because of sin and backsliding, but from what did The Church backslide? --- from the promises and glories which are promised to an “all saved” and perfectly holy Israelite people, my reader! Upon this condition salvation in The Church is experiential in full volume! This Chapter is devoted to unfold this biblical mystery in this order: The Church from its Beginning (Genesis) unto Abraham, The Church in retrospect from Abraham to the Exodus Generation, and The Church defined, recalled, and revived throughout the centuries culminating in the end of the world.
The Church from its Beginning (Genesis) unto Abraham
“Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” – Psalm 90:1
The Exodus Generation was not the first generation to become the dwelling place of God, otherwise they would have been the first Church. It is easy to assume otherwise because of the descriptive detail used to emphasize the glorious experience Israel underwent at the foot of Mount Sinai; they were the first people to whom it was spoken specifically that they were “The Church” (Acts 7:38). I ask again, is the Exodus Generation the first generation to become the dwelling place of God? No! Moses said, “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Ps. 90:1)! This generation was NOT the first generation, in all generations prior to this generation God was The Churches’ dwelling place.
Psalm 90:1 indisputably affirms the fact that since the redemption of Adam and Eve (the first generation), God was the dwelling place of The Church from thenceforth until the days of Moses… but how? My reader, The Church existed as long as salvation existed. After Adam and Eve fell the Lord preached the Gospel to them in Genesis 3:15 (speaking of the seed of Christ which would arise to crush the head of the serpent). My reader, Adam and Eve believed the Gospel and were saved! At this time, before anything breathing had experienced death, we can observe that there was an atoning sacrifice made on behalf of Adam and Eve’s sin (see Genesis 3:21, God made Adam and Eve coats of skin from the sacrifice to cover the shame of their unforgiven sin). Adam and Eve knew what was happening during this sacrifice, apparently, because from thenceforth The Doctrine of Sacrifices did perpetuate throughout their generations. Speaking joyfully in respect to the gospel-shadow provided by God, Adam said of Eve, “she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). Isn’t this amazing!? Adam and Eve just merited the physical and spiritual death of the entire human race, and yet Adam calls his wife Eve, ‘the life-giver’! This was good news! They believed the Gospel! Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, this is true, but God was within them and among them as The Church at its first beginning.
Because Adam and Eve were instructed by God concerning The Doctrine of Sacrifices and Offerings, Cain and Abel were practicing this form of worship to God Almighty. Both men brought forth an offering unto the Lord, Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was denied (Gen. 4:1-5). God was obviously in their midst as One who walked among them in saving fellowship and communion. Just read the Chapter and see it for yourself, my reader! For example, as Cain and Abel were making their offerings unto the Lord in the very next moment we can read, “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen” (Gen. 4:6)? Because Cain and Abel were in constant communion with God, the Lord spoke to Cain! And take note, Cain was not at all surprised to hear the voice of God. Cain and Abel were knowingly in the presence of God at all times because God was their dwelling place IN ALL GENERATIONS! In confirmation to this, therefore, after the judgment of Cain’s punishment for murdering Abel was verbalized, Cain lamented, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, Thou hast driven me out…from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth” (Gen. 4:13-14). This was the very first historical instance of Church excommunication, my reader. The Church was the place and people among whom God’s face did continually shine, according to the lamentation of Cain. This is what Cain understood The Church to be! The outer-regions exterior from this place and people was, as Cain said, the place of the doomed: the fugitives and vagabonds to whom belonged The Death Penalty (Cain was afraid he would be slain when he was found by men in later generations, separated from the godly seed).
As Cain went out from The Church to build a city and begin a family lineage, the fallen seed began (Gen. 4:16-24). Until the time when apostasy was found in Cain (“if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door”-Gen.4:7), he was accepted by the presence of God in sweet communion. After Cain’s falling away he resumed the nature and spirituality of fallen humanity, the nature which John attributed to “the children of the Devil” (1 Jn. 3:10). Scripture speaks of Cain that he is, “of that wicked one” (1 Jn. 3:12), because he gave himself over to the family of the Devil in that he murdered his own brother. With Abel then dead and Cain reprobated, The Church could not continue. Adam and Eve needed another child to continue the godly seed from which would spring the Messiah (the Man of whom it was promised to Satan, “It shall bruise thy head”-Gen.3:15), so God appointed unto them Seth in the place of Abel. From the family of Seth the spiritual seed of God was perpetuated in The Church (Gen. 4:6-32) according to the promise, “Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Ps. 90:1).
Why do I dogmatically affirm that Seth’s family was the spiritual seed of God, The Church?
The Lord said from the very beginning, speaking to the Devil, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The work of the Devil did not come to an end in the Garden of Eden. All we see in the Garden of Eden is the Devil, and he was certainly at enmity against Eve. Through this enmity Satan allured Adam and Eve into fallenness, this is true, but through this fall Satan became a father. Through this fall it became possible for the Devil to have a spiritual family among the human race, a thing which never existed before this time. Notice how God said, “I will put enmity between…thy seed [the devil’s seed] and her seed [Eve’s seed]” (Gen. 3:15). We know there was enmity between the Devil and Eve, this is evident from their conversation at the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but take note, my reader: the inspired text foretold the enmity of two different seeds, two different families (family lineages), thus the fallen seed through Cain existed alongside the redeemed seed of Seth, The Church.
As long as these two seeds dwelt in separation one from another, salvation was perpetuated among the people of God, The Church, but when the holy was mingled with the unholy, damnation ensued. God testifies to mankind what happened, saying, “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. 6:2). Who are “the sons of God”? Adam was recognized by God and known among all mankind as “the son of God”, according to Luke 3:38, and everyone after him who was of the seed and Family of God in salvation were, likewise, God’s sons and daughters. Therefore the text uses this term, “the sons of God”, to describe the people of God, the Family of God, The Church. Tragically, “the sons of God” took wives of all that they chose, a thing which has been perpetuated throughout every generation of apostasy leading up to the New Testament. When it says, “the sons of God” took wives “of all which they chose”, it meant that, like Esau, they forsook the godly lineage of The Church, God’s Family, to marry the wives of the fallen seed which sprung from Cain (an excommunicated apostate). Take note, when God lamented the backsliding of His sons in Genesis 6:3; He did not lament the apostate and reprobate lineage which was already God-forsaken.
When the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen.6:3), and, scripture affirmed, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5), He grieved most of all for the foundational cause of the unprecedented worldwide wickedness. What foundational cause, you wonder? Paul gave reference to the answer, when he said, “Only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). This is, namely, the removal of the Church through “a falling away”. Paul is careful to say, “that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (2 Thess. 2:3). This is because the right-standing Church is a successful resistance to the progress of wickedness in the earth; and, on the contrary, when the Church is taken out of the way… alas! Wickedness will have no bounds, its increase will be unprecedented, and the earth’s population will be wiped out in the process of time. In this manner, the events which forewent the worldwide deluge in the old world (2 Pet. 2:5) do also, at this present moment, forego the worldwide fire which is nigh at hand (2 Pet. 3:3-10). “The greatest tragedy, ever, is a sick Church in a dying world!” – Leonard Ravenhill
At this ancient point in time, when the godly seed mixed with the ungodly seed, when saints mixed sinners resulting in the Great Falling Away of that age, then God decided upon the end of the world. 120 days thence, the end would come (Gen. 6:3)! This was just enough time for Noah to give birth to children, build an ark, suffer reproach, and preach righteousness! Soberly considerate, my reader… One man stood against a world of sinners! This is a real fulfillment of The Great Falling Away of the Church (the persons and people in and among whom the Holy Spirit dwelt). The world cannot end “until He [the Holy Ghost] be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). Alas, these forbidden marriages! These inordinate unions! This Church Impurity! Whatever remedial judgments were wrought upon the backslidden Church proved to be of no avail… hence the wickedness was boundless in growth. Oh, the fearfulness of the Last Days, the hour in which we live! “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)?
The Last Days process is very clear: If the Church does not live and is rather overthrown, her witness is silenced. If her witness is silence, the only existing conflict and hindrance to sin is removed. If all hindrance to wickedness is removed, wickedness abounds! Thereby… the end will come. When “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth”, and, consequentially, He decided to annihilate the whole world, He saved Noah and his family because they were the only residue of “faith on the earth” (Gen. 6:4-7, Luke 18:8). The Church mixed with sinners and only 8 sons and daughters of God were left! All others were saints-turned-sinners! When The Church forsook holiness and separation from once-born sinners and began to marry them, the sons of God forsook God’s way. The Lord said, “all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth” (Gen. 6:12), even though He strove with the backsliders with all longsuffering (Gen. 6:3). Not so with Noah and his family! It was written that Noah was “a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). Long before Noah was the last man standing, so to speak, Enoch named his son Methuselah (meaning “at his death the end shall come”) as a prophetic sign of coming destruction (Gen. 5:22). It is obvious that God was striving with His apostate sons by raising up Enoch as a prophet (see Jude 1:14-19), but to no avail. The godly seed, The Church, was in the midst of rampant apostasy while the longsuffering of God strove with the sons of God, and waited “nine hundred sixty and nine years” (Gen. 5:27). Take a sober look at widespread damnation which besieged The Church, my reader --- when separation was lost salvation was lost!
As a further confirmation of how sophisticated the worship and practices of The Church had existed from Adam to Noah, see how Noah lived according to the commandments which were delivered unto him through The Church, the godly seed, being passed down through the centuries - at the gathering of every kind of beast the Lord spoke to Noah in terms of The Clean & The Unclean to differentiate between the animals (see Gen. 7:2). How did Noah know what was clean and unclean, except this doctrine had been perpetuated throughout the generations of The Church, as Moses said (“Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations”-Ps.90:1)? Noah was not surprised by this doctrine, not at all, because it was ordinarily known among the sons of God, The Church. Sadly, the fallen seed began again in Noah’s son, Ham, then to corrupt the new world which existed after the flood. The two spiritual families existed at enmity one to another yet again, until, at last, Abraham was called out into sanctity to restore Church Purity in his generation, God saying, “Get thee out from thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a Land that I will shew thee” (Gen. 12:1-3). No matter how discrete the chronicles of scripture convey any generation from Adam to Abraham, the promise of Psalm 90:1 still stands as a memorial to us that The Church existed and lived-through-it-all, though not without temporary seasons of backsliding. [Note: the conclusions listed in this section may seem unwarranted and forced, but when the reader is familiarized with the course of The Church as it existed throughout the centuries these conclusions become obvious. An in-depth study of The Church as it will be expounded throughout the centuries will prove the veracity of the word of Solomon, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).]