A Scriptural Refutation of
The Teachings of Zane Hodges,
Joseph Dillow and the
Grace Evangelical Society,
with Respect to
the Future Inheritance,
Glory, and Destiny of the Church –
Christ’s Beloved Body & Bride
Particular aspects of the nature, reign, inheritance, heavenly glory, and infinite blessing of Christ’s beloved Body & Bride (comprised exclusively of all believers saved from Pentecost to Pre-Trib Rapture) in and with her Head, Life & Bridegroom:
Section 1: The Union and Organic Oneness of Believers with the Risen & Ascended Christ; the Nature of the Church as the Heavenly Body and Bride of Christ.
(14) “Wives, [submit yourselves] to your own husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is head of the wife, as also the Christ is head of the assembly. He is Saviour of the body. But even as the assembly is subjected to the Christ, so also wives to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your own wives, even as the Christ also loved the assembly, and has delivered Himself up for it, in order that He might sanctify it, purifying it by the washing of water by the word, that He might present the assembly [His Bride] to Himself glorious, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any of such things; but that it might be holy and blameless. So ought men also to love their own wives as their own bodies: he that loves his own wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as also the Christ the assembly: for we are members of His body; we are of His flesh, and of His bones [the heavenly Eve of the 2nd Man, the Man out of heaven, the Last Adam]. Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be united to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. This mystery is great, but I speak as to Christ, and as to the assembly.” (Eph. 5:22-32)
“A mystery is something that was not revealed of old, and which could not be known otherwise.... The mystery means that which was kept secret, not that which could not be understood, which is a human notion of mystery; but an unrevealed secret, – a secret not yet divulged in the Old Testament but brought out fully in the New. What, then, is this mystery? It is, first, that Christ, instead of taking the kingdom, predicted by the prophets, should completely disappear from the scene of this world, and that God should set Him up in heaven at His own right hand as the Head of all glory, heavenly and earthly, and that He should give the whole universe into the hands of Christ to administer the kingdom and maintain the glory of God the Father in it. This is the first and most essential part of the mystery, the second, or Church’s part, being but the consequence of it. Christ’s universal headship is not the theme spoken of in the Old Testament. You have Him as Son of David, Son of man, Son of God, the King; but nowhere is the whole universe of God (but rather the kingdom under the whole heavens) put under Him. In this headship over all things, Christ will share all with His bride. Christ will have His Church the partner of His own unlimited dominion, when that day of glory dawns upon the world.
“Hence, then, as we know, the mystery consists of two great parts, which we have summed up in Ephesians v. 32; ‘This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.’ Thus the mystery means neither Christ nor the Church alone, but Christ and the Church united in heavenly blessedness and dominion over everything that God has made. Hence, as we saw from chapter i., when He was raised from the dead, God set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, ‘and put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church.’ It is not said, ‘over the church,’ which would overthrow, not teach, the mystery. He will be over Israel and over the Gentiles, but nowhere is He said to reign over the Church. The Church is His body…. [which] conveys an intense degree of intimacy, full of the richest comfort and the most exalted hope. The saints who are now being called are to share all things along with Christ in that day of glory. Hence it becomes of the greatest interest to know what the nature of the Church is.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 114, 115)
“God has given Him, in fact, to be Head over all things to the assembly which is His body, – Head over all things, which is that inheritance itself of which Paul has been speaking. He is Head in the full power of such a place to the assembly. All that is implied by the place He has, implies the blessing which is to be to the Church, united as it is to Him now in the nearest way that could be attained – His body; the apostle does not hesitate to add ‘the fulness of Him who filleth all in all.’ What things to bring together! Here is One who is possessor of divine fulness; no other could fill all in all, and yet the body is His fulness. He is not complete without it. In God’s thought and purpose, Christ would be incomplete if His body had not its place too; how near and wonderful a place, – ‘His body,’ filled with His love, energized with His mind, working out His thoughts as our bodies work out the thoughts and purposes of our minds! It is in resurrection, of course, that He becomes this Head….Thus, the Church could have no existence until after He had risen from the dead. Search throughout the Old Testament, you will find nowhere the first hint, even, of any company of people as the body of Christ. You will find saints put under Him for blessing, you will find His rule over man, but such a relationship is to be found nowhere, such a relationship could not, in fact, exist until Christ as Man had risen from the dead and become, therefore, the fitting [heavenly] Head for such a [heavenly] body. Then the body itself must be brought into being, and thus the descent of the Spirit follows the ascent of Christ to the throne of God.” – F.W. Grant (The Numerical Bible, Vol. VI, Acts to 2 Corinthians, p. 329)
“But Ephesians i. points us not merely to the heavenly glory, but to the union under Christ of the heavenlies and the earthlies – of all things both which are in the heavens and which are on the earth. It is not that all are to be reduced to the same level, but that all must be gathered in one united system, as having one head over all, even Christ. But the church is not included in any of these things. We are not confounded with either; on the contrary, we are spoken of as those who have obtained an inheritance in Christ over all. The church is not to be a glorious people only, over which Christ is to reign. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ – not merely heirs under Christ, but with Him – according to the blessed type given at the very beginning of man’s history, where, while Adam had the glory of being head over this lower world, his wife shares the dominion in virtue of her union with him. The church is the spiritual Eve of the Lord Jesus, the bride of the last Adam. This may somewhat explain the force of the words in Ephesians i. 10, 23, and it shews us the importance of the day we are looking at in Revelation xx. For ‘the thousand years’ answer to this very period, when the administration will be in the hands of the Lord Jesus, the exalted and manifested Head over all things, and the church will share all along with Him.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Book of the Revelation, p. 433)
“…He is the head of the Church, which consequently shares His place of exaltation over all things heavenly and earthly, as being the bride of the true and last Adam. ‘He has made Him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.’ Christ fills all in all; but the Church is that which fills up the mystic, glorified man, just as Eve was necessary to the completeness of God’s thoughts as to the first Adam. The Church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” – William Kelly (Lectures on Philippians and Colossians, p. 41)
“Let me look at Christ, and I see there the very life that God has given me, and the hope of it too, even as to the inheritance. Who would dare to say, it is presumption for Christ to have it? Nay, but it is what is due to Him. God loves and delights in Him as man so well, that He could not keep back a single thing that He has made from Him. He is the heir of it all; and we, hidden in Christ, can enter into the fulness of His calling, and into the inheritance, because we merge into union with Christ. And as you can only know the calling and the inheritance in the full knowledge of Christ, so it is also with ‘the exceeding greatness of his power’ [1:19]…. Nothing less than to be one with Christ is what we have here. Therefore it is added, that this blessed One, under whose feet God has put everything, has been also given to be head over all things to the Church. It is not said, ‘head over the church,’ but ‘head over all things to the church.’ (Ver. 22.) The Church shares His place of headship over all; but as His body, in inseparable union with Him. The glorified Man has universal exaltation over all the creatures of God; and this He shares with us, and will soon manifest as our portion with Him. The Christian is now a member of Christ’s body – now, therefore, by the Holy Ghost, in the most intimate association with Christ, not only as having life in Him, but as enjoying oneness with Him who is the supreme exalted Head over all. He is a member of His body; and although it was not to Eve directly that God gave the dominion, yet did she share it by His will. It was given to Adam, but by association Eve had it along with Adam. So the Church has it as the dependent and associated Eve of the heavenly Man, the last Adam. This gives us at once a bright view of what our calling is, and why God looks for complete separation from the world. In the time of the Protector in this country, it would have been improper for any one that held to the royal family to seek or even accept a post of honour. So with the Christian now. We belong to One who is hidden away from the earth – exalted now into this universal headship. The world that we see is not yet put under Christ practically, though to faith all things are; but we know that He is exalted, ‘head over all things to the church.’ We belong to Him, and He would have our hearts lifted up above all the present scene. The Church is ‘His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.’ (Ver. 23.) It is the complement, or that which fills up Christ, looked at as man risen from the dead. As Son of God He, of course, requires nothing to complete His glory; but as man He does. He would no more be complete in His resurrection-glory without the Church, than Adam would have been without Eve. And God has, in the counsels of His glory, so ordered it. He meant, from all eternity, that when His Son became this blessed, glorified man, He should share for His own honour and praise all the glory He had as the risen man with those who were by nature poor, dead sinners, but now delivered from their sins, and made one with Christ on high. By the Spirit now given He communicates the knowledge of it to them while in the world, that they may be in spirit and ways entirely above the world.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 58-60)
“To say…that ‘some of the Church will not be accounted worthy of [inheriting] the kingdom at the judgment-seat of Christ,’ is to assert the strange doctrine without one word of proof. The exhortation to walk worthily is valid; the deduction of harsh dealing with failing saints is a fable. The idea that the question of reigning is decided at the judgment-seat is inconsistent with the likeness to Christ consummated at His coming to present the church glorious to Himself (not part but the whole), and then bringing us into the Father’s house, [such an idea] is a monstrous one.” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 177, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly )
Any room left here for non-persevering, unworthy members of His glorious Body & Bride to be dis-jointed heirs, rather than joint-heirs of Christ, to be dismembered and cast into outer darkness, with weeping & gnashing of teeth?
By the Church’s very nature, as Christ’s heavenly Body & Bride in eternal union with Him, she is necessarily a joint-heir of, and Queen with, her Husband – all by pure, sovereign and infinite grace! on the ground of His infinitely precious blood and her position in Him Who is her very Life as risen, ascended, and glorified at the right hand of God.
(15) “Let us rejoice and exult, and give Him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7,8)
“The marriage of the Lamb is about to be consummated....The harlot, which claimed to be the bride, being judged, the true bride of Christ is seen in glory. And it is the marriage of the Lamb. His joy is now filled full for He receives her, who is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. The second Man, the last Adam, is joined to her who is to rule and reign with Him…. the scene is a heavenly one. This marriage does not take place on earth…. this marriage is in glory…. The bride of Christ to become the Lamb’s wife is the Church of the New Testament. All who accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord since the day of Pentecost constitute the bride of Christ. The Church began on Pentecost and her completion will be the translation to glory (I Thess. 4:17). She is both the body of Christ and the bride of Christ, as Eve was of the body of Adam and also his bride. The Church is the nearest and the most beloved object of His loving heart. But how has she made herself ready? And what does it mean, ‘And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white for the linen is the righteousness of the saints’? The grace of God has supplied the robe and the precious blood is her title to glory. In this respect she was ready. But the words here refer us to the judgment seat of Christ, that award seat before which we must appear. Then the hidden things are brought to light and the wood and the hay and stubble are burned (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Then ‘every man shall have praise of God’ (I Cor. 4:5) and what grace accomplished in each one and through each will be manifested. And the clean white linen ‘is the righteousness of the saints.’ The word ‘righteousness’ is in the plural. It means more than the righteousness which we are in Christ…. It includes all the blessed results in life and service produced by the Holy Spirit, the practical righteousness of the saints. And yet even these need the washing in that precious blood without which all is unclean and unholy. And so it is grace after all, as indicated by the word ‘given’ [in the phrase ‘given to her’, the Bride, in v.8, and also by the exhortation to give God the glory and credit for both the Bride’s preparation and the arrival of the marriage of the Lamb, in v.7]…. He himself has made her ready and removed every spot, every wrinkle and every blemish. God grant that we His people may daily meditate on this coming glorious event, the marriage of the Lamb, and walk worthy of [walk in a manner in keeping with having] such a Lord and such a calling.” – Arno C. Gaebelein (Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1224)
“The wording of verse 7 is unusual and must not be overlooked. In normal parlance the wedding is spoken of as the marriage of the bride, but here it is ‘the marriage of the Lamb.’ And rightly so, for the chief joy is His. It takes place in heaven, and no details are given…. For this glorious occasion the bride of necessity had to make herself ready. The preparation includes: (1) acceptance of the marriage offer of the Lamb, which is regeneration; (2) the desire to be properly clothed for the wedding; (3) a willingness to receive what is given her for the joyous event. When the bride clothes herself, it is with the finest of apparel. Her basic clothing is the garment of salvation, which she received at her acceptance of the Lamb’s gracious offer of marriage (cf. Isa 61:10). Now in addition to the initial clothing she has given to her (still all of grace) bright, clean fine linen. It is identified as the righteous acts (Gr is plural, dikaiomata) of the saints. How has she obtained these? It is inescapable that the judgment seat of Christ has already been held in order to grant rewards to [all of] the saints for faithful service to Christ (cf. II Cor 5:10). What a recognition day that will be!”
“But another important element of every wedding is the guests, so John is instructed to indicate the blessedness of those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb [Rev. 19:9]. These are the friends of the Bridegroom (cf. Jn 3:29); the guests are seen in another figure as the virgins, the companions of the bride (cf. Ps 45:9, 14). They are probably all Old Testament saints. All others than the church are the guests at the marriage supper. Lest some reader consider these words to be too good to be true, the mediating angel (cf. 1:1) informs the apostle that the words are sure and certain, because they come from God.” – Charles L. Feinberg (A Commentary on Revelation: The Grand Finale, p. 135,136)
“Not only is the harlot’s day over, but the consummation of the bride’s blessing is come. It is important to observe that this is not the moment when the Lord comes to receive the heavenly church. It is a scene in heaven, not the Lord Jesus meeting His saints in the air. A few verses lower down we do get heaven opened, and Christ comes out of it, and the saints follow Him. Nothing, therefore, can be more simple or certain than the inference that the saints were already there. They must have been in heaven before, in order to follow Christ thence when He comes to judge. Now, I ask, how did they get there? They are not said to be now taken up to the Father’s house. We have the old familiar parties in heaven. But we have a new fact: the bride is married in heaven – the one for whom Christ reserves the brightest grace and glory – she gets ready; and now is announced, not merely the song of triumph, because of the judgment of evil, but the marriage of the Lamb. ‘Let us be glad and rejoice.’”
“And now I would just ask you to pause before going farther. Is it too much to suppose that the bride, the Lamb’s wife, is a different symbol, that is, represents a class of saints different from these blessed ones who are invited to her marriage? Who is it that God means by these two distinct symbols? As to the bride, the Lamb’s wife, few would have the least difficulty. Almost every one sees in her the church – the one that is constantly presented in the New Testament scripture as the heavenly bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. One turns to Eph. v., where this relationship is brought out, and the development in her behalf of the fulness of Christ’s affections. Observe, by the way, that there it is not merely a question of a future epoch, because the Holy Ghost shews that this is a relationship established now. ‘Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.’ It is true, from the very first moment when God began to form the church on earth by the presence of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”
“For I repeat, we are put into this relationship with Christ at the present moment. It is not that we have the hope merely of being made the bride of Christ by and by: we are espoused to Christ now. We shall have the marriage or the actual consummation by and by, when all the members are brought in. But the great and blessed and practical thing for our souls is, that we are brought into this position of union now. It is not only that the affection on which the marriage is grounded is true now; but more than this, the Holy Ghost is on earth uniting the saints to Christ in heaven, and making them as truly one with Him now as they ever will be. When Christ comes, there will be the removal of all hindrances – the putting aside of what Satan employs to make us forget our relationship to Christ, and the change of our vile body according to the body of His glory. But it is important to remember that our oneness with Christ as His body depends on the presence of the Holy Ghost, who has knit us up with Christ in heaven. We are one with Him now.”
“We have all, I suppose, been in the habit of assuming that if a man [in a past or future dispensation] is a saint of God he necessarily belongs to the church, and that there is only one common blessing for all saints of all times. Here you find the contrary laid down plainly, and upon the face of scripture. You have here a marriage supper, and one singled out for especial joy, called the bride, the Lamb’s wife (composed, it may be, of myriads of people, but here recognized in unity of blessing, being united under one term, that of ‘the bride,’ to shew that they have the same portion of love and blessedness). But this is not true of all saints [i.e., those of other dispensations], for there are others who are not in this position; they are present as guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb, not as His bride.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Book of the Revelation, p. 392-395)
“This marriage is the great anticipation of Christ. Paul tells us the story in Ephesians 5 – ‘Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself up for it.’ His love for the Church is immeasurable, unchanging, infinite. It is in the very nature of the case, peculiar love. Christ wept over Jerusalem, for there was, and is, a special tenderness of our God toward those to whom He was the Messiah, and over whom He will be King on David’s throne. He had ‘compassion on the multitude’ as He does today. He gave Himself a ransom for all. But His love for His Bride, the Church, is, as it must be, and that, eternally, a peculiar, particular, husband’s affection, and that without measure!… In an earthly wedding, especially a wedding of the favorite one of the house, how all the relatives and also the servants of the household are stirred! Now Jehovah God appointed and directed the first wedding, in Genesis 2, and our Lord’s first miracle at Cana of Galilee celebrated with ‘the best wine’ another wedding. But Ephesians 5:25, 31 and 32 proclaims that every marriage sets forth anew the relationship of Christ and the Church! It is, therefore, the height of holy joy to every heavenly being, this marriage of the Lamb!”
“The bliss of the marriage of the Lamb is without limit. It is the PERSONAL DELIGHT of Him who created all things! No other love has the person-toward-person character of marital love. Parents love their children because they are their children. Brothers and sisters alike have a love of natural relationship. Friendships are based on common interests. But the love of bridegroom and bride is a delight each in the person of the other. This is why marital love is so often so wholly unexplainable! We say, ‘What did he see in her?’ or, ‘Why did she choose him?’ There is no answer but one – love. This love of Christ’s for His Bride is the love that is ‘strong as death . . . a very flame of Jah,’ that ‘many waters cannot quench,’ of the Song of Songs (8:6, 7 – margin). Let us dwell upon the words, ‘Christ also loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF up for it.’ He values His Bride as Himself. And upon her, He lavishes His personal affection, without limit, constantly, and for evermore! For we read in Revelation 21, after the thousand years have passed, that she is still ‘as a wife adorned for her husband.’ Here then is a marital love, a tenderness, an appreciation, and a delight, that will grow for ever and for ever. Oh, wonder of wonders, that such a record can be written! Christ will never change in His affections! What must the ages hold for the wife of the lamb! And the love of that Bride, the wife of the Lamb, will correspond to that of her husband – unceasing, increasing, for ever and for ever! Have you known a husband and wife whose love deepened as the years went by, whose satisfaction with each other was such as to keep them together constantly, of their own mutual will; whom neither ‘society’ nor ‘business,’ nor outside pleasures could separate? Let such a happy marital existence be a whisper to you of what Christ and the Church will enjoy more and yet more for evermore!”
“We read, ‘It was given unto her.’ The preparation for this marriage, ‘the supreme event for which the ages are waiting,’ is an absolute bestowal of divine grace…. it is a special granting from God to prepare herself for this great climax. Again, to ‘array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.’… Garments are woven little by little; and thus were woven the materials for her, the Bride of Christ…. all the works wrought through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit in and by the saints of the Bride will all belong alike to that holy Bride: for the whole Church is the Bride. Linen represents manifested righteousness, and this is ‘fine linen, bright and pure.’ It has that same ‘exceeding white and glistering’ appearance as her Lord’s raiment had on the transfiguration mount – of glory as well as purity. In other words, the Church will appear, all of it, in raiment wholly befitting Christ, her glorious Bridegroom. She herself had no righteousness; Christ Himself is her righteousness and her standing. She is one with Him. But now all those blessed Spirit-led works, those ‘righteous acts’ of the saints while on earth, are wrought to produce an array manifestly befitting the Bride, herself, without ‘spot, blemish or any such thing’ – in this unspeakable scene!…Is it [the Marriage] not Christ’s presenting ‘the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,’ described so rapturously by Paul in Ephesians 5?” – William R. Newell (Revelation: A Complete Commentary, p. 298-299, 301-302, 304-305)
Who is it, then, that would have the height of absolute temerity and effrontery to attempt to ravish, rend, mutilate Christ’s beloved Bride (having just been transfigured, made all glorious, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any of such things) after their long-awaited Wedding and upon her return with Him to this earth to set up and celebrate their (His and her) Millennial Wedding Banquet, by carving her up into pieces and casting some of those members into outer darkness – outside their Wedding Banquet and outside her adorable Husband’s precious presence! The Bridegroom would not stand for it! (let alone be Himself the One to execute such judgment [Matt 24:50-51] on His beloved!!).
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