The whole Bible is divided into five great divisions, each determined by its subject-matter.
1. The Old Testament has for its subject the King and his coming Kingdom, in promise and prophecy.
2. The Four Gospels the Kingdom offered and rejected. The King crucified by Israel in the Land.
3. The Acts and earlier Pauline Epistles; the King and Kingdom re-offered (iii.19-21); and rejected, by the Dispersion in Rome (Acts xxviii.25, 26).
4. The Later Pauline Epistles. The Kingdom in abeyance. The King made Head over all things to the Church.
5. The Apocalypse. The Kingdom set up with Divine judgment, in Power-Glory. The King enthroned.
Then, during the fourth of these, we have the Epistles relating to the Mystery - the Church of God - during this present interval, while the King is in heaven and His Kingdom is in abeyance; and, while the preaching of |the gospel of the kingdom| is suspended, and |the gospel of the grace of God| is proclaimed. Of course, if there is no difference between these two pieces of |good-news,| and the kingdom is the same thing as the Church or Body of Christ, then there is an end of the whole matter; not merely of our task, but of the Bible itself. For, if words do not mean what they say when used of a plain, literal, matter of fact like this, then words are useless for the purposes of revelation altogether. We have concealment and confusion in its place; and an Apocrypha instead of an Apocalypse.
But, believing in the perfection of God's words, and not merely of his Word, we submit that we have here a first great reason for our proposition, that the Church (the body of Christ) is not the subject of the Apocalypse.
It will be easier to receive this when we come to accumulate the evidence. We submit this first reason, simply asking our readers to believe what God says.