The School of Christ

ALTHOUGH THE EXPRESSION, ‘the school of Christ,’ is not found in the Word of God, the thought is suggested in many places. For instance, Paul says, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” (Gal. 3:24) The Greek word here translated ‘schoolmaster’ was the title applied to a servant kept in wealthy families among whose duties was that of leading his young master to and from school. Somewhat similarly the instructions and lessons provided for Israel under the Law Covenant were intended to lead those rightly exercised by them to receive the Messiah when he came, and to enter his school.

All who have come into Christ since that time have also entered this school to learn important lessons, and to have experiences profitable to their future life. Just as school prepares a child for the duties of life, so the lessons learned in the school of Christ prepare God’s children (1) for duties and services in the Lord’s vineyard, and (2) for service in the kingdom.

The members of the Early Church were known as disciples, which means ‘learners’ or ‘pupils.’ And our Lord represented himself as their Master or Teacher, saying, “Ye call me Master [Rabbi] and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” (John 13:13) Again, Messiah is referred to as “that Prophet” (Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:22,23); that is, the great Teacher whom God had promised to raise up for the instruction of Israel and the world.


How do we enroll in the Lord’s school? These conditions are very clearly set forth in the New Testament: (1) repentance—a turning away from sin, and recognition of Jesus as our Redeemer; (2) a willingness to come to God by him, and to be taught of him.

Before a child can begin his schooling, the school fees have to be paid, either directly or indirectly. In the case of certain private schools, these fees are quite high. So it is with the school of Christ. This school is a very select one, and the fees are proportionately high. As the Headmaster, the Lord Jesus said on one occasion, “Whosoever … forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple,” cannot be my pupil, or scholar. (Luke 14:33) Full consecration is the cost of entrance into this school to become part of the church, the body of Christ.

Just as a scholar on entering school needs textbooks from which to learn his lessons, so the scholars in the school of Christ have been provided with a textbook, the Bible; or we might call it a library of sixty-six textbooks all bound under one cover.


There are two primary requirements in every school: (1) Obedience to the general rules of the school; (2) Paying Attention properly to the lessons given. Just as in some schools the scholars are poorly taught, and thus are handicapped when the time comes for them to enter a school of a higher grade, or to keep a job earning a living; so it has been with many of the Lord’s disciples. They have entered schools professing to be associated with the school of Christ, but some of their lessons have been taught improperly.

For instance, in connection with such important subjects as Spelling and the meaning of words, they have been taught that death is spelled ‘Separation’ from God, and means life away from God. But in the school of Christ we learn that death is spelled ‘Death,’ and means the opposite of life, the absence of life, even a condition of nonexistence until the resurrection.

We learn also that the Soul does not mean something that is ‘without exterior or interior, and without body, shape or parts, and that one could put a million of them into a nutshell’ as some schools teach. Actually, the soul, according to the Christian’s textbook, the Bible, means a person or being which results when the breath of life unites with a proper organism. (Gen. 2:7) Therefore, man is a soul and does not possess a soul. Adam, when the breath of life united with his perfect organism, ‘became a living soul.’

In Arithmetic some have been taught at these schools, that three multiplied by one equals one. But, in arithmetic we learn that three multiplied by one equals three.


Another subject in school curriculum is Geography, which means learning the location of places, and is the science of the Earth and its life. There is a kind of spiritual geography corresponding to this in the school of Christ about which many would-be pupils have been badly taught. For instance, the place called ‘paradise’ is said by false teachers claiming to be professors in the Lord’s school, to be a place to which a Christian goes at the moment of death which is an intermediate state between death and resurrection.

Our textbook, the Bible, tells us something very different from this. In Genesis 2:8 we read: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden.” The word ‘paradise’ is of Persian origin and signifies a park or a garden. We have another lesson in grammar with this subject. In Luke 23:42,43 we read: “He [the thief] said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

In the ancient Greek there was no punctuation. In translating the English Bible, punctuation was added by translators, and the comma was incorrectly placed after the word ‘thee.’ The comma should properly be positioned after the word ‘To day’: “Verily I say unto thee To day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The misplacement of the comma has led to much misunderstanding regarding Paradise—where and what it is.

Jesus did not say to the dying thief, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” for both he and Jesus died that day. Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, while the thief still awaits a resurrection. But Jesus did say to the thief: “I say unto thee today, [this dark and gloomy day, when all hope of life seems lost] shalt thou be with me in paradise.” When Christ’s kingdom is set up, the curse of sin and death will be lifted, and the whole earth, in time, will become as the garden of the Lord—paradise. Both the repentant thief, and the other one as well, will be brought forth to enjoy the opportunity of receiving the blessings of that day, for the resurrection of the dead includes “every man in his own order.”—I Cor. 15:23


Another subject taught in the school of Christ is History, which might be described as a record of past events and information about the countries where they occurred. So our textbook, the Bible, gives us a record of all the important events connected with the Divine plan, and when and where they take place. For instance, we are shown that God has not been selecting the church from the days of righteous Abel onward, but that the church, which enjoys “so great salvation,” was founded at Pentecost.—Heb. 2:3; Acts 2:1-4

The Scriptures tell us the history of the universal empires which succeeded one another since the overthrow of the typical kingdom of Israel, which ceased with the dethronement of King Zedekiah. (Ezek. 21:25-27) The first of these gentile empires was Babylon, coming into universal control in 606 B.C.

Prophecies show that the ‘lease’ of power given to the gentiles to rule, was to last for a period of 2,520 years, 606 B.C. - A.D. 1914. Following this, their ‘lease’ having run out, these empires have been disintegrating in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. (Dan. 12:1) “In the days of these kings [the last representatives of gentile power] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” (Dan. 2:44) A mere statement of these scriptural truths shows how misinformed many are who profess to be teachers in the school of Christ. They tell us that God’s kingdom is to be set up through their gradual conversion of the world.


Another subject taught in the school of Christ is Needlework. This is suggested by the text, “She [the bride of Christ] shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” (Ps. 45:14) Spiritual needlework is one of the most important subjects in which the Lord’s disciples are instructed. It consists of the working into our robe the ‘needlework’ of the Lord’s imputed righteousness, the graces of character so perfectly illustrated in the character of our great Teacher and required of every one who would graduate from the school of Christ. The main lines of this pattern may be seen in II Peter 1:5-7.


In every properly conducted school there must be Discipline. For the eternal well-being of the Lord’s pupils in his school, strict discipline is kept. Unruly ones are at times “delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (I Tim. 1:20) Those who neglect their covenant involving the sacrifice of the justified human nature may have to be delivered over to Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, that the Spirit [New Creature] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”—I Cor. 5:5

The school of Christ, inaugurated at Pentecost, is not to remain open forever, but only until the close of the Gospel Age when the Headmaster of the house will rise up and close the door. At that time we are told that many will have a desire to enter this school. Some will seek to enter in, and “shall not be able.”—Luke 13:24

The question is asked, “What about the eternal destiny of these, as well as of all who have never heard of the school of Christ?” Further, “In view of the fact that one object of the Lord’s school is to prepare the pupils for eternal life, what about all those who have heard the Lord’s invitation, but who fail to take advantage of it?” The Bible answers that in the Millennial Age God has arranged to open another school into which all mankind (apart from the members of the true church) will come as pupils, that they may be prepared for the eternal earthly blessings of the kingdom of God.—Isa. 2:2-4

The price for being educated in the school of Christ is very costly. “Whosoever … forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) But for the Millennial Age school, there will be no cost. (Isa. 55:1) No sacrifice will be required in that day but obedience to the law of the New Covenant, according to ability. This will be required of each one. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”—Micah 6:8

Prior to the nineteenth century there was no compulsory education. During the present Gospel Age, when the Lord’s school is open, entrance into it is voluntary. But membership in the future Millennial Age school will be a compulsory one, even as schooling today is required for all children. But the same great Prophet will be the Teacher (Acts 3:22,23), and his assistants will be those who have graduated from his school of the Gospel Age.—I Cor. 6:2


Just as a student when going from one school to another, is put into the first, second, third or fourth grade according to the progress he has previously made, even so it will be in the great school of the Millennial Age. Although the great majority of the world of humanity is not now in the school of Christ, all are registered in a school—the school of experience. According to the way they have used their lives under present imperfect conditions, each one will be graded to a higher or lower placement in the new school which is intended to prepare them for eternal life.

Some who have practiced the principles of righteousness to the best of their ability at the present time, may quickly reach the top grade in the Millennial Age. Others, having been awakened to shame and contempt (Dan. 12:2), will have to begin in the very lowest grade of the school, having willfully refused to give heed to the textbook, the Bible. Others have never had an opportunity for instruction in righteousness provided in the Word of God, having been blinded by the Adversary.—II Cor. 4:4

Just as some students need very little discipline, while others have to be punished repeatedly, so it will be with mankind. Many stripes or few stripes will be the order of that day. (Luke 12:47,48) At school, examinations at the end of the term show which scholars have profited by the instruction received, and prizes are offered for those who pass well. Just so, at the end of the teaching of a thousand years, the day of final examination will come. Satan is to be loosed out of his prison to tempt mankind, and the great Teacher will then note how the world responds to these tests.—Rev. 20:3,7,8

Mankind will have to pass this examination so well that only those receiving 100% marks will gain the great prize of eternal life. The requirement of the great Teacher and Judge is nothing short of perfection, and perfect love will be the universal law.

The successful candidates will hear the Lord’s cheering message, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34) Then the words of the wise man will have their complete and perfect fulfillment: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6) Never again will there be an outbreak of sin, and consequently death will be vanquished forever!—Rev. 21:4

Elihu says, “Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him?” (Job 36:22, RSV) Could any other teacher achieve such glorious results? May we show our gratitude for all that is being done for us by learning well the lessons of the present time. And let us never reach a condition where we think we have nothing more to learn.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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