Copyright © October 2018
Hebrews 9:16-17: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
A testament is a will. For there to be a testament, there must be a testator. The testator establishes the testament and vouches that is true. A testament appoints an executor who is given the job of carrying out the terms of the testament. The executor is alive when the testator establishes his will. His job begins when the testator leaves this earthly realm.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, proclaimed what is called the New Testament (His will) while He was walking on the earth leading and teaching His assembly (church). He proclaimed that testament verbally as recorded in the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Other books of His New Testament further define His will for His executor.
Christ named the executor of His will. He not only named his executor, He ordained, created, and established His executor. His executor was founded by and built upon the Rock which was Himself (Mt. 16.18; Mt. 21.42-44).
- was a local visible assembly composed of His followers whose names were written in heaven (Lk. 10:20);
- practiced baptism (Jn. 4:1-2);
- had ordained preachers (Mk. 3.13-20);
- observed the Lord’s supper (Mt. 26:26-28);
- was given church discipline (Mt. 18:15-20);
- had the keys to the Kingdom (Mt. 16:19);
- was commissioned to continue with the promise of perpetuity (Mt. 28:18-20);
- worshipped, praised and blessed God (Lk. 24:52-53);
- at the King’s command waited at Jerusalem for the promise of the father (Ac. 1:4);
- to be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Ac. 1:5);
- received from Christ, the testator, the special empowerment—the baptism with the Holy Ghost (Ac. 2.1-4)—as promised (Ac. 1.5, 8);
- resulting in converts being added to their assembly (church) (Ac. 2.41);
- since He (God the Son upon whom the Holy Ghost descended and abode upon at His baptism (Mt. 3.16, Mk. 1.10, Lk. 3.22, Jn. 1.32)) would no longer be with His assembly, He baptized His assembly with the Holy Ghost; and, in His timing as reported in the book of Acts, indwelt all believers with the Holy Spirit;
- met for prayer (Ac. 1:14);
- had business meetings (Ac. 1:15-26).
Our Lord commissioned His assembly, his church, as His executor. When He left the earth and ascended unto heaven, He left His executor the job of executing His will:
- Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Jesus speaking to the eleven after His resurrection).
- Mark 16:15-16: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Jesus speaking to the eleven after his resurrection).
- Luke 24:46-47: “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
- Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Jesus speaking to His assembly, the apostles, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, his brethren, the disciples; see Acts 1:14-15).
His executor, His local assembly (church), is the only visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God until His return. At this time, each such assembly is the depository of His Kingdom. Each is to serve as God’s spiritual embassy in the earthly nation in which it exists. Each is to represent God’s interests, and to carry out His laws and ordinances. The flag of each is that of the power which sent it out, not the flag of the nation it is in. Each local assembly (embassy) is to submit to the One who sent it. Citizens of the sending nation who are not ambassadors (not part of the embassy) do not have the authority to operate in that embassy.
If you disagree with me, please inductively explain why. In other words, do a word by word study of the Bible on this matter, going from the specific words to the conclusion. Please do not start with a conclusion and then cherry pick verses out of context to try to support your position.