THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH

By Kevin Rutherford

 

Through the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzarís dream, Daniel was able to prophesy concerning the establishment of Godís kingdom (Daniel 2).Godís kingdom would be the one to be established during the days of the 4th kingdom (Daniel 2:44).The fourth kingdom is identified by history as the Roman Empire. During the days of the Roman Empire Jesus predicted the establishment of His kingdom (Matthew 16:18, 19).In fact, His followers were told the kingdom would be established during their lifetime (Mark 9:1).This shows us very clearly that Godís kingdom was established in the first century.We can narrow the time of the establishment of Godís kingdom even further when we note that Jesus promised the kingdom would come with the power (Mark 9:1).Jesus then told His disciples that they would receive the power when the Holy Spirit came upon them.The Holy Spirit came upon them on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:1-4).Therefore, that is the day upon which Godís kingdom was established.

Daniel received a vision of his own one night (Daniel 7:13, 14).In this vision He saw Jesus receiving His kingdom from the Father.Danielís vision showed this taking place shortly after Jesus ascends into heaven.The ascension of Jesus Christ is recorded for us in Acts 1:11.Shortly after Jesus ascension the kingdom was established (Acts 2).

From Danielís prophecies and from Jesusí promises we can see that the kingdom spoken of in prophecy is the church which Jesus Christ established. Jesus used the terms ďkingdomĒ and ďchurchĒ to refer to the same institution in Matthew 16:18, 19.Also, all of the prophecies concerning the fulfillment of the kingdom point to Acts 2, and this is the chapter in which the Lordís church was established (Acts 2:47).

These prophecies show us that God has planned for a long time to establish His church through His Son Jesus Christ.Paul lets us know that the church is a part of Godís eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:10, 11).Before the beginning of time God had planned His church.

As already noted in our discussion of the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the church/kingdom, the church was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.In Acts two the apostles received the miraculous immersion in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in languages they had never studied before.Then Peter stood up to preach the first Gospel sermon, and those who responded were told to ďrepent and be baptizedĒ (Acts 2:38). That day about 3,000 souls were baptized into the Lordís church (Acts 2:41).The Bible says ďand the Lord added to the church daily those who were being savedĒ (Acts 2:47).ĒHe could not have added to what did not exist.The church existed because it had just been established.

The only church that can be pleasing to God is that one which Jesus Christ established on the Day of Pentecost in AD. 33 (Acts 2).He promised to build only one (Matthew 16:18).The apostle Paul taught that there was only one (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 4:4).No other church existed in Acts chapter two.