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Is the assembly a miniature picture of the Body of Christ, and if so what Scripture would teach this? It seems that small assemblies cannot possibly be this.

The idea that the assembly is a miniature picture or microcosm of the Body of Christ, so that what is true of the one is true of the other, is not, I believe, taught in the New Testament. It overlooks the many distinctions between the local assembly and the Church the Body of Christ. For example, the Body of Christ cannot gather on earth in one place as the assembly. Nothing false can enter into the Body, but there can be in the assembly (Acts 20.29). In the Body there is no distinction of the sexes – "there is neither male nor female" (Gal 3.28), but in the assembly there are such distinctions (1 Cor 11.1-16; & 1 Tim 2.12-15). There is perfect unity in the Body, but an assembly can be torn by schism (1 Cor 3.3). Those who hold the view that the assembly is a miniature of the Body usually base it on 1 Corinthians 12.27 where Paul says to the Corinthians, "Now ye are body of Christ". Notice there ought to be no article here, for the assembly is body-like in character. The assembly is not "a body of Christ". If this were the case then Christ would have many bodies on earth and this, to say the least, would be a very confusing and indeed wrong thought.

I judge that in 1 Corinthians 12.27 Paul is applying lessons from the members in the human body (vv.15-26). In v.12 the body is a picture of the Church the Body of Christ. The stress there is on the unity of the body, which illustrates the unity of the one Body of Christ in v.13. In v.14 the emphasis shifts to the variety seen in the body – "the body is not one member, but many", because it is a picture of what the assembly should be. Just as every member of the human body is essential to its well being, so this should be true in the assembly. Paul is concerned about the assembly at Corinth that it be body-like in its functions. Paul is saying, "I want you at Corinth to be like the members in the human body. In the human body there is no jealousy, monopoly. or disunity. Let this be true of you at Corinth".

John J Stubbs

Will there be any at the Great White Throne who are believers (say, from the millennial age) and be found not liable to judgment?

There are three principal judgments that are yet future. These judgments are:-

Whilst the Judgment Seat of Christ will be set up in heaven, the Judgment of the Living Nations will take place on earth. It has been suggested the Judgment of the Wicked Dead will take place in space, for we read "…from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away" (Rev 20.11). At the Judgment Seat all present will be saved; in the case of the Living Nations some (the sheep) will be saved. However, at the Great White Throne none present will be saved.

The Lord Jesus spoke of two resurrections: "the resurrection of life" and "the resurrection of damnation" (Jn 5.29). Says John, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection" (Rev 20.6). The first resurrection (although taking place in phases) will have removed from the graves of earth the redeemed of the church age, the Old Testament saints, and the martyred dead of the tribulation period. Then we read, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Rev 20.5).

Those left in the grave for the second resurrection are the wicked who have died from the dawn of history until the judgment by fire from heaven that will have destroyed the rebellious army of Satan (Rev 20.9). Any who will have died under judgment during the millennial age will be included.

There will be no death to the saved on earth during the millennium. However, death will not be totally abolished during Christ’s reign; it will be exceptional but will exist as an instrument of judgment. One dying a hundred years old will be but a youth and, even so, he who dies at such an age will be a sinner under some express curse (Is 65.20).

The use of "whosoever" (Rev 20.15) does not suggest the presence of another class whose names are written in the book of life. The whole phrase "whosoever was not found written" is descriptive of a class, proving that God is no respecter of persons.

David E West


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