Symbols, Types, and Names of the Church


Having seen that the Church was both prophesied and typified in the Old Testament, we note a umber of types and symbols as well as names and titles of the Church in both Old and New Testaments. The very fact that the New Testament writers repeat the same things show that these may be viewed as types and symbols and that the Hermeneutical Principles of Type and Symbols may be safely applied.

A. Symbols and Types of the Church

1. In the Old Testament
a. The Garden of Eden–Genesis 1-2; Song 1-8.
b. The Tabernacle in Eden; the glory, worship and sacrifice–Genesis 3.
c. Adam and Eve–Genesis 2-3. Christ and His Bride–Ephesians 5:23-32. Romans 5:14.
d. Altars of sacrifice–Genesis 3:8. Lamb slain. Revelation 13:8.
e. The Ark of Noah–Triune salvation of God. Genesis 6-8. Christ and His Church.
f. The Tabernacle in the Wilderness—God’s Dwelling. Exodus 25:40; Ephesians 2.
g. Israel–The Church in the Wilderness. Acts 7:38.
h. Israel, as the Holy Nation–Exodus 19:1-6; I Peter 2:5-10.
i. Enoch, the Translated Saint–Genesis 5; Hebrews 11:5, 6.
j. Noah–Rest after Judgment–Genesis 6-8.
k. Jacob–The Anointer of Bethel, The House of God–Genesis 28.
1. Jacob’s Ladder–Genesis 28; John 1:51.
m. Joseph, the beloved son–Genesis 37-50.
n. Priestly ministry of Aaron and Levites–Exodus 28-29; Leviticus 8-9.
o. The Golden Candlestick–Exodus 25:31-40; Revelation 1-2-3.
p. The Vineyard of the Lord–Isaiah 5; Matthew 21; John 15; Psalms 80.
q. The House of the Lord–Isaiah 2:1-5. Temple of Solomon. Joshua 22:19; Isaiah 57:15; Ephesians 2:21-22; Isaiah 56:7.
r. The Flock of God–Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 34; John 10.
s. The Bride of Jehovah–Isaiah 54; Revelation 21:9.
t. The Life of Samson–Weak, strong, falling, restored Man–Judges 13-16.
u. Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones–Ezekiel 37.
v. The Firstborn–Numbers 1-2-3; Hebrews 12:22-24.
w. The Army of the Lord–Exodus 13-14; Numbers 1-2-3.
x. The Heritage of the Lord–Joel 3:2.
y. The Branch of the Lord–Isaiah 4:1-4.
z. The Congregation of the saints–Psalms 149:1; 89:7.
It will be seen that many of these things are repeated also in the New  Testament.

2. In The New Testament

a. The House of the Lord–Hebrews 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5; I Timothy 3: 15; I Corinthians 3:16.

b. The True Israel of God–Galatians 6:16; 3:16, 29; Romans 9-10-11.
c. The Olive Tree–Romans 9-10-11.
d. The Mystery Kingdom–John 3:1-5; Romans 14:17; Matthew 13.
e. The Sons of God–Romans 8:1-19; Exodus 4:22-24; John 1:12-14; I John 3:1-2.
f. The New Jerusalem Bride City–Revelation 21-22; Matthew 5:14; Hebrews 11:10- 16.
g. The Royal Priesthood–Revelation 1:6; 5:9, 10; Hebrews 7; I Peter 2:5-9;  Psalms 133.
h. The Flock of God–John 10; Psalms 80:1-2; Acts 20:20-28.
i. The Army of the Lord–Ephesians 6:10-18.
j. The Church or the Assembly–Ephesians 3:1-12. Hebrews 12:22-24.
k. The Body of Christ–Corinthians 12:27;Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18.
1. The Camp of the Saints–Revelation 21-22; Numbers 1-2-3.
m. The Royal Seed of Abraham–Galatians 3:16, 29; Genesis 22.
n. The Overcomers–Revelation 1-2-3.
o. The Church of the Firstborn–Colossians 1:17, 18; Hebrews 12:22-24.
p. The Holy Nation–I Peter 2:5-9; Exodus 19:1-6.
q. The Golden Candlestick–Revelation 1-2-3.
r. God’s Husbandry–I Corinthians 3:9.
s. God’s Heritage–I Peter 5:3.
t. Mt Zion–Hebrews 12:22; Revelation l4:1-2.
u. The Pillar and ground of truth–I Timothy 3:15.
v. The Vine and Branches–John 15.
w. The Bride of Christ–Ephesians 5:23-32.
x. The Light of the World–Matthew 5:14; John 8:12; Isaiah 60:1-3.
y. Peculiar Treasure/People–I Peter 2:5-9; Matthew 13:44; Exodus 19:3-6.
z. God s chosen people–I Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 10: 15; 11 Corinthians 6: 16;  Psalms 100:3.

The Church is God’s Witness in the earth (Acts 1:8; Isaiah 43:10).

The Church is God’s New Covenant people (Isaiah 43:21; Exodus 6:7). Natural Israel were cut off because of unbelief, except for a remnant (Romans 11:5, 20). Gentiles are grafted in by faith and grace.

These promises are New Covenant promises (Galatians 3:29; Hebrews 8:6-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34). God is visiting the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name (Acts 15:14; I Peter 2:10). This people is God’s holy nation, composed of Jew and Gentile.

So God has given many pictures of Israel, His people in the Old Testament, which the New Testament now applies to the New Testament Israel of God. The same language is used of both Old Covenant and New Covenant people. Each picture gives a new and different facet of truth of His people. They are pictures of relationship between Christ and His Church. One cannot see Christ without seeing His Church and vice versa.

In order to gain insights into each of the above symbols and types of the Church, used in the Old Testament and then confirmed by the New Testament, the Hermeneutical Principles of Interpretation that should be used are:

* The Symbolic Principle
* The Typical Principle
The Old Testament was preparatory to the New Testament as the bud to the flower

B. Names and Titles of the Church

The Church or the Ekklesia is known under various names or titles also in the Scripture. The most frequent is ”The Church”, used about 114 times, 96 speaking of the “local Church” and 18 speaking of the ”universal Church”. The one speaks of saints in a given locality, the other is all-inclusive of saints in heaven and earth. The multiplied names of denominations and organizations and sects are but the making of men. They speak of the names of Babylon and generally are a terrible testimony to our divisions. There is but ONE NAME God has given to the Church and the believers collectively and that is simply “The Church”. The Name that the Church is to bear is THE NAME of the LORD JESUS CHRIST! (Ephesians 3: 14, 15). It is the family name, the uniting Name. None dare place upon the Tabernacle, or the Temple, where God’s Name was recorded, their own tribal name. Israel, consisting of twelve tribes with their own names, was collectively known as “THE CHURCH in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38).

Following are the various designations in the New Testament of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. The Church in the Wilderness. Used once of Old Testament Israel (Acts 7:38).
2. The Churches of Christ. Used once only (Romans 16:16).
3. The Church of God. Used 6 times (I Corinthians 1:2).
4. The Churches. About 37 times (Acts 9:31).
5. The Church. Approximately 76 times (Acts 18:22).
6. The Church of the Firstborn (Hebrews 12:23). Once only.
7. The Church of the living God. Once only (I Timothy 3:15).
8. The Churches of God. Once only (I Thessalonians 2:14).
9. The Church of the Thessalonians in the Father and in Christ (II Thessalonians  1:1). Once only.
10. The Church which is His Body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Several times.
11. The Body of Christ (The Body of the Anointed One). Above 20 times (I  Corinthians 12:27).
12. The Christ (I Corinthians 12:12). Head and Body together constitute “the Christ”.

(Note–Acts 19:37. “Robbers of Churches” = Greek “Hierosulos”, Robbers of the Temple buildings, NOT “Churches” as congregation of the Lord.)

THE CHURCH therefore is the corporate title of the people of God, regardless of their geographical locality.