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The Establishment of the Church

08 Jul

The_Church_Of_Gods_Choice_Title_PicThe Importance of knowing when the church began

It is a matter of identity so that one may be able to distinguish it from Old Testament agencies and from religious institutions of modern human origin.

It is also in order to identify its laws so that one may see when the law governing the church of God went into effect.

The church was foreshadowed in the Old Testament

The Old Testament spoke of those things in the Old Law which were “copies” and “shadows” of “the good things to come”

(Hebrews 9:11)  “When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.”

(Hebrews 9:23)  “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”

(Hebrews 10:1)  “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.”

The church was not in existence in Old Testament days. Acts 7:38 refers to the host of Jews who were in the wilderness not to the church of Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 16:18)  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

(Acts 7:38)  “He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.”

Old Testament worthies desired to see its time.

(1 Peter 1:10-12)  “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, {11} trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. {12} It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”

The Establishment of the Church is a subject of prophecy

Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-2 both prophesy of its beginning.

(Isaiah 2:1-4)  “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: {2} In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. {3} Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. {4} He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

(Micah 4:1-2)  “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. {2} Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

It was to be established:

  • In Jerusalem
  • In the “last days” (the age ushered in by the New Testament is the “last days.” (Acts 2:16-17)  “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: {17} “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

(Acts 2:16-17)  “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: {17} “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

(Hebrews 1:1-2)  “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, {2} but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”

The prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (604-562 B.C.) indicated the time of its establishment:

(Daniel 2:31-35)  “”You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue–an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. {32} The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, {33} its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. {34} While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. {35} Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The four kingdoms of the vision

  1. Babylonian, the head of gold. The Babylonian Empire fell in 536 B.C.
  2. Medo-Persian, the breasts and arms of silver. Established by Cyrus, king of Persia (538-530 B.C.); it fell in 330 B.C.
  3. Greek or Macedonian, the torso and thighs of brass. Formed by Alexander the Great in 336 B.C. after his father, Philip of Macedon, had laid the foundations for it. It was divided among Alexander’s generals after his death in 323 B.C.
  4. Roman, the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. It was established as a world power by Octavius Caesar in 30 B.C.

“In the days of these kings” (vs. 44), therefore, refers to the time of universal empires and “struck the image upon its feet” signifies the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom which would take place after the beginning of the Roman empire and during its existence.

The New Testament begins its accounts while the Caesars still ruled the world. “In those days John the Baptist came preaching”

(Matthew 3:11-12)  “”I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. {12} His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.””

(Luke 3:1-3)  “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar–when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene– {2} during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. {3} He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

The church was not established by John. He preached that the kingdom was “at hand” or approaching (Matt. 3:1-2). He was not in the kingdom: (Matthew 11:11)  “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The church was not established during the personal ministry of Jesus.

The church was yet in the future while Jesus was upon the earth.The kingdom was “at hand.”

(Matthew 10:7)  “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.'”

(Mark 1:15)  “”The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!””

The kingdom had “come near.”

(Luke 10:9)  “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.'”

He  taught His disciples to pray for the coming of the kingdom.

(Matthew 6:9-10)  “”This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, {10} your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

He promised to build His church.

(Matthew 16:18)  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

His disciples were not in the kingdom.

(Matthew 18:1-3)  “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” {2} He called a little child and had him stand among them. {3} And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

He promised the kingdom would come in that generation.

(Mark 9:1)  “And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.””

The beginning? On the Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus.

The kingdom was to begin and the law go forth from Jerusalem.

(Isaiah 2:1-3)  “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: {2} In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. {3} Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

(Luke 24:47)  “and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

The law went forth from Jerusalem on the Pentecost following the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ:

(Acts 2:37-38)  “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” {38} Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

That day of  Pentecost was the beginning of Christ’s kingdom and church:

(Acts 2:1-4)  “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. {2} Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. {4} All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

(Acts 11:15)  “”As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.”

The “power” is evidence the kingdom came on Pentecost. The kingdom came with power.

(Mark 9:1)  “And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.””

The power was to come with the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 1:8)  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost. Therefore, the kingdom came on  Pentecost.

 (Acts 2:1-4)  “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. {2} Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. {4} All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

The law going forth from Jerusalem is evidence the kingdom came on Pentecost. The law was to go forth from Jerusalem.

(Isaiah 2:1-3)  “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: {2} In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. {3} Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

The apostles were commissioned to preach

(Matthew 28:18-20)  “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been

given to me. {19} Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””

(Mark 16:15-16)  “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. {16} Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

But they had been instructed to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come and guide them before beginning:

(Luke 24:49)  “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.””

The  Spirit came on Pentecost and the preaching of the Gospel, the law of the kingdom, began on Pentecost:

(Acts 2:31-38)  “Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. {32} God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. {33} Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. {34} For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand {35} until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”‘ {36} “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” {37} When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” {38} Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

After that Pentecost, both the church and kingdom were always spoken of as in existence:

(Acts 2:47)  “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

(Acts 5:11)  “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”

(Acts 8:1)  “And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.”

(Acts 11:22)  “News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.”

(Acts 13:1)  “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.”

(Acts 14:27)  “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

(Colossians 1:13)  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,”

(Revelation 1:9)  “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in Church

 

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