The Creation of “The Church, Which is His Body”
When was the historical beginning of today’s “church, which is His body” (Eph. 1:22b-23a)? For years this question has been asked and debated. Yet, it is one of the easiest questions to answer, Being found in connection with the Scriptures, one cannot miss it.
When did the heavens and earth begin? Most any Sunday school youngster can tell you that they began when they were created. It is that simple.
When did Adam begin? Again, the testimony of the Scripture is true and simple. Adam’s beginning was on the day of his creation. He did not exist before and he did not begin to exist as a person until sometime after his creation. God planned the creation of Adam in Gen 1:26, but Adam’s actual creation is recorded in Genesis 2:7.
Likewise, the church was planned and chosen “before the foundation [Grk. katabole, overthrow] of the world” (cf. Eph 1:3-4), but it never had a beginning until it was actually created (Eph 2:15).
We can emphatically say that nothing that exists had its beginning before it was created.
All kinds of theories have been brought forward as to the time of the beginning of “the church, Which is His Body.” Some would have it begin in Eden, some have it beginning in the wilderness, others have it beginning with John the baptizer, many have it beginning with a Jewish feast called Pentecost, a few have it beginning at Acts 9, or 10. Several say Acts 13, some say Acts 19. Occasionally, somebody timidly says that maybe it began with Acts 28:28.
It could be that one of these is right. We are pretty sure that not more than one of these could be right! The reason is obvious. Today’s church of “the one new man” could not be created at two different times.
Eph 2:14-15. For He [Christ] is our peace Who hath made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and Hath Broken Down The Middle Wall Of Partition; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, the law of commandments in ordinances; for to CREATE in Himself of the twain one new man.
Here then is the creation of the “one new man,” the “body of Christ” of which Christ is “the Head.”
Of course, somebody is sure to say that this does not tell us the time. But look again. Did you notice that this creation comes when the middle wall of partition is broken down?
When is the last we hear before Ephesians about the middle wall still up? Look in Romans. There, time after time, we find that the Jew is still first, the Gentile grafted in, Gentiles partaking of Israel’s blessings, and the like. Just look at Romans 2:9-10; 9:4-5; and all of chapter 11. As late as Romans 15:27 Gentiles were partaking of the spiritual things of Israel. The Gentiles had no salvation of their own (cf. Acts 28:28).
Now, since this church was made-up of Jewish and Gentile believers who once had the kingdom hope and calling, this new church (assembly) cannot begin at any time before Gentiles were blessed at Acts 10 in the House of Cornelius at Caesarea. Neither can we see its beginning at any time before Acts 28:28, while the middle wall was still up. There is only one possible time for this new creation to be made and that is somewhere between the events of Acts 28:28 and Eph 2:15.
Those who are spiritually instructed have no difficulty in arranging the rest of this puzzle, for we know nothing exists before it is created.
(Adapted from Oscar M. Baker (originally published in TFT, May 1970)