William Andrew Dillard
THE UNBROKEN LINEAGE
It is inconceivable that a river should stop its course to the sea then some miles later take up that course again. Its very nature necessitates continuity. That principle is also true with a number of other things. Think about it!
The lineage of Jesus is given from the sides of both Mary and Joseph in Matthew and Luke. It allows no such break in continuity. While Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, it remains important that the continuity of faith lineage be unbroken. Additionally, could there be such a break in an electrical current? or, in light from its source? Yet, some people still wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? It seems incredulous to them to believe that God created a chicken which laid the egg, and the existence of the fowl lineage remains unbroken since creation. Hang on, I am going somewhere with this.
Could such a break in continuity occur in everlasting life that it should be lost and later found? Not hardly! So it is with God’s covenantal work with man. Limited covenants were made with Adam and Noah, but the expansion of a covenant for the whole species began in Abraham, and the covenant made with him continues unbroken to this day, and it shall remain in continuity to the end of the age. The Law of Moses was a subset within the Abrahamic Covenant, meant to educate God’s people both then and now to the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of mankind. It’s ultimate purpose was to be a schoolmaster to bring people of faith to Christ (the God/man Who could, and did fulfill it). But the passage of the law did not in anywise negate the Abrahamic Covenant, on the contrary, it succeeded in delivering a remnant to Jesus who became the first New Testament church; hence, the standard bearer, ground, and pillar of the New Covenant. The continuity of faith continued from the nation of Israel to the first church. Inasmuch as the first church before, during, and after Pentecost was one hundred percent Jewish; it was the true Israel of God. The bulk of the Hebrew nation was left desolate having rejected heaven’s messenger. (It will remain desolate until they look upon Him Whom they pierced). The first church perpetuated itself in accord with God’s plan, and its presence in the world today has unbroken continuity as surely as the river, the chicken and the egg, the electrical current, etc.
Of course, there are those who deny church succession, but they may wrestle with the chicken and the egg, too. “Prove it,” they say! Look again at the river, at the light beam, consider again the electrical current. Some things cannot exist without continuity, and the church of the living God to Whom Jesus promised His presence to the end of the age is chief among them all with all other claims being counterfeit, pure and simple.