"The Heavens Do Rule" (continued)
Here are some important and significant features in this first introduction of the Church in the New Testament. The Lord is the Builder of His Church; "I will build My Church" (compare Zechariah 6). hell is against this building of the Church but the Sovereign Lord says: "The gates of hades shall not prevail against it." This implies that there is conflict. The binding and loosing in His name on earth and in heaven speaks of sovereign authority, and makes the Church to be the Administrative instrument on earth of that sovereignty as it (the Church) is in touch with the throne of heaven: and this in relation to government.
The vital and all embracing fact is that the Church is built on the revelation of who the Lord Jesus is: He asks "Who say ye that I am?" ... "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God": "... On this rock I will build." The Church is the administrative instrument of that sovereignty.
It is striking that the Church is introduced as the Lord Jesus turns from Caesarea with set purpose towards the Cross, by which He will secure the Church and the consummation of the purpose of God. Link Matthew 16 with Revelation 1, and there we see the Lord Jesus with the sovereignty in His hands, and there it is connected with the Church: Why? Because the Church is intended to be the Administrative Instrument of that sovereignty. "I saw in the midst of the candlesticks ONE like unto the Son of Man ... when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead ... He laid His right hand upon me, saying fear not ... I am alive for evermore and I have the keys of Death and hades, write therefore ... and send to the seven churches" (Revelation 1:13, 17, 18, 19 and 11).
All the political divisions of this earth come under the hand of Christ, for nations represent the political divisions of this world, and His authoritative commission is "therefore go ye to all the nations." He does not say they will not kill the messenger, or that evil does not exist: but the issue is secured and revealed as already possessed. The book of Revelation sees it already in being, for Revelations is the issue of Matthew 16, "I will build My Church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it." "All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew). "Therefore go to the nations, I have all authority, and I send you unto them; hell shall not prevail against you."
Pass to the Epistle to the Ephesians, and we see that God the Father hath made the Lord Jesus "to sit at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named ... and He hath put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is His body" (Ephesians 1:20-23). "God being rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us ... made us alive together with Christ ... and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4, 6). He is seen far above all authority and every name that is named: now we have to see the link between Him and ourselves in this: it is necessary and vital. We have always got to see the instrument of government - the Church in relation to its spiritual elevation, as seen in the Ephesian letter, "far above all." It is very significant that the rule of the Heavens is so emphasized in Matthew and brought out in various ways: and Matthew is the Gospel that introduces the Church in the New Testament.
(continued with # 8 - (Symbols of Spiritual Ascendency)