The following is copied from Bullinger, E.W. (2011-08-21). The Apocalypse or “The Day of The Lord”: Commentary on Revelation (Kindle Locations 402-404, 414-421). Trumpet Press. Kindle Edition.
THE CHURCH NOT THE SUBJECT OF OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY.
“Closely connected with this foregoing point, that the book (revelation) is Hebrew in character, and intended specially for Hebrews, is another undoubted fact, that the Church of God is not the subject of the Old Testament , either in history, type, or prophecy. Passages, etc., may be found there and used to illustrate what is subsequently revealed. But this can be done only by way of application, and not by way of teaching or of interpretation. Because, of the “Mystery” or the secret concerning the Church of God, we are told that it “was kept secret since the world began” (Rom. xvi. 25). That “in other ages it was not made known unto the sons of men” (Eph. iii. 5). That is, “from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God” (Eph. iii. 9). That it “hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to the saints” (Col. i. 26). These statements are “the true sayings of God,” and not our own. We have no choice but to believe what He says. If any hold that, in spite of all this, the Church was not “hid in God,” but was the subject of Old Testament prophecy, then we have nothing more to say to them; for, if they will not believe God, it is not likely they will believe us.
But, believing God, we ask whether the Church is likely to be the subject of prophecy in the Apocalypse, especially when its future is clearly foretold in the Epistles which contain the revelation of the Secret. There we learn what is to be the future and end of the Body of Christ. The members of that Body are merely waiting to be “received up in glory” (1 Tim. iii. 16). They are waiting for their “calling on high” (Phil. iii. 14). They are looking for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change their vile bodies that they may be fashioned like unto His own glorious body (Phil. iii. 20, 21). But all this, we submit, takes place before the Apocalypse opens. There we have, not the coming of the Lord to take away His Church, but, the revelation of the events which shall take place after the Church has been “received up in glory.” These events will take place during “the day of the LORD,” when He shall come not in grace, but in judgement; not in mercy, but in wrath. But this brings us to our fourth point. What is the meaning of “the Lord’s Day,” in chap. i. 9?”–end quote
How could this be, you might ask? It’s really quite simple.When we choose to believe Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:5, 9 and Colossians 1:26–-that this day and age in which we currently live was kept secret by God from everyone, from every preceding prophet—how could there be any prophecies concerning this time? There cannot be and there is not.one single Old Testament prophecy, which includes the 4 Gospels, that concerns the Church of God which no one prior knew anything about. As Mr. Bullinger says in the last sentence of the 1st paragraph, if you won’t believe what God said in the Epistles about the Secret, you more than likely will not believe me!
Now we will examine the Greek word Ecclesia in greater detail:
THE SEVEN ASSEMBLIES AS A WHOLE (i. 11).
(Taken from Bullinger, E.W. (2011-08-21). The Apocalypse or “The Day of The Lord”: Commentary on Revelation , Trumpet Press. Kindle Edition).
We must here, at the outset, remove the greatest source of all the misunderstandings which have arisen with regard to these seven “churches.” The fact of their being called “churches” has naturally led commentators and students of this book to infer that it is the Church of God, or at any rate the historic Christian Church, which is meant. As a first step toward removing this great evil, let us note at once that the word (…) (ecclesia), rendered “church,” is by no means limited to the restricted sense which is thus forced upon it.
Ecclesia means simply an Assembly: any assembly of people who are called out (for that is the etymological meaning of the word) from other people. Hence, it is used of the whole nation of Israel as distinct from other nations. The Greek word Ecclesia occurs seventy-five times in the Septuagint Translation of the Old Testament, and is used as the rendering of five different Hebrew words. As it is used to represent one of these, seventy times, we need not concern ourselves with the other four words. This Hebrew word is (…) (Cahal), from which we have our English word call. It means to call together, to assemble, or gather together, and is used of any assembly gathered together for any purpose. This Hebrew word Cahal occurs 123 times, and is rendered: “congregation ,” 86 times; “assembly,” 17; “company,” 17; and “multitude,” 3 times: but is never rendered “church.”
Its first occurrence is in Gen. xxviii. 3 – “that thou mayest be a multitude (margin, assembly) of people,” i.e ., a called-out people. That is what Israel was, a people called out and assembled from all other peoples. In Gen. xlix. 6 we read – “O my soul, come not thou into their secret ( Council or Senate); Unto their assembly (cahal), mine honour, be not thou united.” Here the word cahal is used, not of all Israel as called out from the nations, but of the assembly of those called out of form the Tribal Assembly (or Council) of the tribes of Simeon and Levi. Then, it is used of the worshippers, or those called out from Israel, and assembled before the Tabernacle and Temple, and in this sense is usually rendered “congregation.” This is the meaning of the word in Ps. xxii. 22: “In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee;” and verse 25: “My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation.”
We ought to use the word Ecclesia in the sense in which it is here used; and not, surely, in the newer and special sense which it acquired, and in which it is used, in the Epistles. In the Pauline Epistles we read nothing about an “angel” as having to do with the churches of God which Paul planted. When the word Ecclesia, in the Apocalypse is rendered “Church,” and the word “Synagogue” in Rev. ii. 9 and iii. 9, is interpreted of the church, it is playing fast and loose with the “words which the Holy Ghost speaketh,” and which He (God) has employed, not only for His revelation, but for our instructions. We hold that the Apocalypse contains a record (by vision and prophecy) of the events which shall happen “hereafter” in the Day of the Lord; that the whole book is concerned with the Jew, the Gentile, and the Earth, but not with the Church of God, or with Christendom; or with the latter only so far as the present corruption of Christianity ……after the Church, the Body of Christ, shall have been removed.