The prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the New Testament
church are a strong proof of the inspiration of the Scriptures.
So numerous are the Old Testament statements of the nature of the
Christian dispensation and prophecies which were fulfilled to the
letter in its establishment that it is, indeed, difficult to understand
how anyone can fail to believe. The prophecies respecting
Christ's virgin birth, His sinless life, the agony and pain in His
death on the cross, His triumphant resurrection as Savior and Lord, and
His exaltation to the throne of David at the right hand of the Father
to reign throughout the Christian age as the Head of the body, the
church, together with all the prophecies which described the church
itself, constitute the most effective proof that this book which we
call the Bible is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy
3:17,18). Furthermore, these prophecies utterly defeat the theory
that the church was simply an afterthought in the mind of God.
Every prophetic description of the Kingdom or church (Matthew 16:16,18)
shows that it was established on the day of Pentecost after Jesus'
resurrection (Mark 9:1; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4), and was part of
God's "eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our
Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).
When a person takes the position that the Kingdom has not been
established we cannot take it passively. It is not a matter of
little consequence; it is an outright denial of Biblical
Inspiration. The predictions through "holy men of God"
declared that the Kingdom would be established, and Paul, in
Colossians 1:13, indicated that its establishment had already taken
We learned from Ephesians 3:11 that from eternity God planned to
establish a kingdom into which men could be translated from the power
of darkness (Colossians 1:13). The Godhead foresaw the necessity
of building such an institution. It was completely through their
grace that the church was planned, designed and established.
There was nothing inherently good in man that demanded such a
kingdom. God predestined that all who would enter and work in
this kingdom would be given the gift of eternal life, and all who
rejected this kingdom He predestined to eternal condemnation. God
only predestinated certain groups to life and to destruction not which
individuals should be saved and lost regardless of their
character. Furthermore, God has given each individual the power
to decide to which group he will belong. Jesus said, "Ye
will not come to me that you might have life." (John 5:40;
6:44,45). The decision is man's responsibility, not God's.
After God drove Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, He promised
that the seed of woman should bruise the head of the serpent. The
church did not remain in God's purpose alone, but He revealed it to man
in the form of promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God
promised that in Christ or in his body, the church, all nations would
be blessed. (Please read Genesis 12:1-3; Galatians 3:16;
Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13;
Ephesians 1:22,23). Thus God began to teach man of the coming
kingdom. Man was to be trained by the law of Moses to receive the
promised Messiah (Galatians 3:24,25). It remained for God
to further man's knowledge of the coming church by speaking of it
through the prophets from Moses to Malachi.
In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses said to the Jews, "The Lord thy God
will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy
brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." This
foretold the authority of the Head of the church. He was to come
through the Jews, like Moses, and when he would speak, spiritual Israel
should hearken to him. In quoting this same prophecy Peter said,
in Acts 3:23, "It shall come to pass, that every soul, which will
not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the
people." It is no wonder that Paul referred to Jesus saying
that He is "the author of eternal life unto all them that obey
him" (Hebrews 5:9). He has all authority (Matthew
28:18). It is His place to command; it is ours to obey. Our
attitude must be, "Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth; command and I
The church or kingdom again appears in prophecy in the days of
David. The great king of Israel wanted to build the house for
God, but the Lord through Nathan, the prophet, forbade him, saying,
"Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in.... Furthermore I
tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house. And it shall
come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy
fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of
thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an
house, and I will stablish his throne for ever"
(1 Chronicles 17:4-12).
This interesting prophecy sheds a great deal of light on some
present-day theories. God would not allow David to build his
house because he had become a man of blood, but promised to rebuild the
house of David, and set up in the heavens his throne forever.
(Read 1 Chronicles 17:1-13; Amos 9:11,12; Acts 15:16,17.) James,
a pillar in the early church, quoted this prophecy in Acts 15:16,17 to
convince the brethren that the Gentiles should hear the Gospel.
He said that God had promised to set up the kingdom and throne of David
in order "that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and
the Gentiles upon whom my name is called" (Acts 15:17). This
prophetic description of the kingdom or church promised all classes of
people equal rights to citizenship.
Therefore, we are commanded to "have not the faith of the Lord
Jesus Christ with respect of persons" (James 2:1). In
Christ, in His church there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free,
rich nor poor. Some people make distinctions among members, but
that is sinful; it was never intended that way. If the kingdom
has not been established, according to James, we as Gentiles have no
right to the Gospel or to salvation.
After David, Isaiah foretold more of the church. In Isaiah
2:2-4 the prophet said, "And it shall come to pass in the last
days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the
top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all
nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and
say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to
the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways and we
shall walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the
nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords
into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not
lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more." This majestic announcement tells when the church was
to be established, where it was to be established, what its work was to
be, and the nature of its peaceful influence in a world of war and
The time of its establishment was to be in the last days. The
last days began on the day of Pentecost immediately after the
resurrection of Christ. (Read Acts 2:1-17; Hebrews 1:1; 9:15-17;
Acts 11:15). The place of its establishment was to be in
Jerusalem. It was in this very city that the events of Acts 2
took place. The work of the church was to make known to the world
the "manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:8-11). The
word of the Lord was to go forth from this people, the church. In
Acts 2:4 the Apostles, in sending the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,
"began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance." The
sweet peace and benevolent influence of the church on this sinful world
has gone nearly unnoticed. Perverted religions have caused
national turmoil, chaos and blood-shed, but the influence of the true
church has been to bring peace between man and man.
Denominationalism with its wrangles and disagreements does not fit this
prophetic description of the true church. The goodness and
pleasantness of Christian unity are better signs that the prophecy has
That great harbinger of the Lord, John the Baptist, came into the
wilderness of Judea prophesying, "the kingdom of heaven is at
hand" (Matthew 3:2). John's purpose was to prepare the way
for the coming of the Lord and the establishment of the kingdom.
The material which went into the building of the church on the day of
Pentecost began to be prepared by John. He made successful and
courageous preparations. His courage in denouncing those things
about Herod which were contrary to the principles of the kingdom of God
led to his death. Dying at the wish of a revengeful wicked woman,
John left a courageous example of preaching against sin. He not
only condemned the sins of the society in general, but he marched right
into the palace of Herod and denounced Herod's adulterous union with
his brother Philip's wife. This act of courage cost John his
life, but it gained for him a great reward (Matthew 11).
After John's death, Christ, in Matthew 16:18, prophesied of His
church saying, "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it." No one was to
labor in vain on the church for the Lord was its builder.
Moreover, it was to be built on the bedrock truth that Christ is the
Son of God. This promised to make it unmovable and irreplaceable
(Hebrews 12:28). It also promised to give inspired men the keys
of the kingdom, so that no human vote or permission to enter it is
We have noticed that the church appeared in prophecy many
times. Its head, its nature, its work, its foundation, its
influence, and its destiny were described by "holy men of
God," who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"
(2 Peter 1:21).
[Lord willing we will look at the establishment of the
church later. -- R.N.]