The Bible Reveals Christ and His Church – Nana Yaw Aidoo

Nana Yaw Aidoo

We shall do two things in this article. First, we shall trace the existence of the church through the ages until its establishment. Second, we shall look at how Jesus Christ like a golden thread runs through the message of the Bible.

What is the Church?

The word “church” translates the Greek word ekklesia, a word which literally means “a calling out.” It is a combination of two Greek words–ek, which means “out of” and klesis, which means “a calling.” Ekklesia to the Greek, referred to an assembly of citizens, called out by a herald that they might discuss and act on matters that concerned the state. When used by the writers of the New Testament, it refers to “…that body of people whom God, by the power of the gospel of His Son, calls out of the moral and spiritual darkness of this world, that they might know, love, and serve Him as His own people” (Larry Deason, The Love of Christ in the Local Congregation, pp. 7, 8). Ekklesia appears 117 times in the New Testament. Seventy-seven times it is translated church, 37 times, churches, and three times assembly.

The word church is used in two senses in the Bible. First, in a universal sense to refer to all of God’s children in the world (cf. Matt. 16:18). Second, in a local sense to refer to a congregation of God’s children in a given locality (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2). Other names which denote the church include; the body (Col. 1:18), the house of God (1 Tm. 3:15), the kingdom (Col. 1:13), the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17), the flock of God (Acts 20:28), the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16) and the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-32). This lesson would be incomplete if we fail to point out the fact that the Bible speaks of only one (literally) church. Forever, God’s Word is settled on this issue. Men may speak of an “invisible Church” with many branches or denominations but the Bible speaks of only one, pre-denominational and un-denominational church. (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). There is only one church just as there is only “one God and Father of all.” (Eph.4:4-6). We have no denomination in mind when we speak of “the church.” When we say “the church,” we have in mind the only one for which Christ gave Himself (Eph. 5:25). This is the church that is the object of our study in this article.

The Church Promised

Our burden in this article is to trace the existence of the church and we begin by affirming that the church is not a divine after-thought but was in the eternal purpose of God. (Eph.3:9-11). In the beginning when sin first entered the world, there came the promise of a system for the remission of the sins of men, a system which included the church. To the serpent, God said; “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen.3:15). The bruising of the heel of the seed of the woman evidently referred to the minor wound that Satan gave to our Lord when he influenced men to send Him to the cross. However, Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman gave a mortal wound (head bruising) to Satan when He resurrected from the grave.

Genesis 3:15 is the first intimation of a Redeemer and His work in all of the Bible, and included in this promise is the church which He would build despite His own death (Matt. 16:16-18). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only person in all of history to found a religion and build His church after He died, and that promise is contained in Genesis 3:15 (Jerry Brewer; “Liberalism’s View of the Church.” The Blight of Liberalism, ed. Michael Hatcher, 2oo5).

Furthermore, the church is seen in God’s promises to Abraham. God Almighty said to the faithful patriarch;

Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12:1-3).

The land was Canaan. The great nation was Israel. But the third promise to bless all families of the earth through Abraham’s seed (cf. Gen. 22:18) was fulfilled in Christ (Gal. 3:16) “…and in that promise was the church, the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; cf. Gal. 3:16) where those blessings reside (Gal. 3:26-27).” (Brewer; ibid).

The Church Prophesied

Further down the line in the days of Isaiah, about 700 years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed:

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 to 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 his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:2-3).

Notice the similarity between God’s promise to Abraham (see Gen. 22:18) and Isaiah’s prophecy when he said “all nations shall flow to it.” Evidently, that which all nations would flow to, would be the culmination of God’s promise to bless all families of the earth through Abraham’s seed. That which “all nations shall flow to,” is “the LORD’S house” that would “be established in the top of the mountains.” The Lord’s house is the church (1 Tim. 3:15) and thus, Isaiah’s prophecy was about the divine creation known as the church. It would be established “in the last days” and in “Jerusalem.” Around the same time that Isaiah gave this prophecy, Micah also gave a similar prophecy. (see Mic. 4:1-2).

Two hundred years after Isaiah and Micah had prophesied about the Lord’s house, Daniel in interpreting a dream by the pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, also prophesied about a coming kingdom. In the dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a statue with a head of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet that were part iron and part clay. This statue was broken into pieces by a stone that was cut out without hands (i.e. of divine origin) and which became a great mountain that filled the whole earth. (Dan. 2:31-35). Daniel interpreted the dream and noted that the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar or the Babylonian empire, the breasts and arms of silver represented the Medes and Persians, the belly and thighs of brass represented Alexander the Great or the Grecian empire, the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay represented the Roman kings and the stone that was cut without hands represented God’s kingdom (i.e. the church) that would be set up in the days of the Roman kings (Dan. 2:36-45). In another vision about the kingdom, Daniel noted that someone like “the Son of Man” ascended to “the Ancient of days” and was given an indestructible kingdom. (Dan. 7:13-14). This was fulfilled in the ascension of Christ, the Son of Man (John 3:13), and in the events of the first Pentecost after His ascension. (Acts 1:9-11; 2:1-36). Thus, the church which existed in promise now existed in prophecy.

The Church Imminent

Now in the days when the Roman kings ruled the world (Luke 3:1), John, the forerunner of Jesus Christ (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3), came preaching that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. (Matt. 3:2). After John was put in prison by Herod, Jesus Christ also began preaching that the kingdom of heaven or of God was at hand. (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14-15). Not long after this, Jesus Christ picked some men to be His apostles, and gave them a message to take to the house of Israel. He said to these men; “And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7). In Caesarea Philippi, alone with His apostles one time, Jesus Christ said He would build His church, which He called “the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19). Furthermore, He said some of His apostles would be alive to see “the kingdom of God come with power.” (Mark 9:1).

From the foregoing, it is evident that during the preparatory ministry of John the baptizer and the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, the kingdom or the church which Daniel prophesied would be established in the days of the Roman kings was imminent. It was imminent because both these men preached that it was “at hand.” Two thousand years after John and Jesus Christ, false teachers continue to teach that the kingdom is “at hand.” We wonder whether Paul had 2,000 years in the future in mind when he wrote this of his death; “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Tim. 4:6). And more, the theory that the kingdom or the church existed in the time of John and Jesus is unquestionably false. Pray tell, why John and Jesus Christ would preach that the kingdom was “at hand,” if it already were in existence? Pray tell, why Jesus Christ would teach His disciples to pray for the kingdom to come, if it existed in His time (Matt.6:9-10)? Pray tell, why Jesus Christ would promise to build a church that was already in existence (Matt.16:18)? Pray tell, why the disciples of Christ were expectant of an already existing kingdom (Mark 15:43)? And finally, pray tell why in the shadow of Christ’s ascension, the apostles still enquired about the kingdom (Acts 1:6)? The kingdom or the church did not exist in the time of John and Christ. Rather, it being prepared, was preached with a sense of nearness or imminence.

The Church Perfected

After His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus Christ in the space of forty days, appeared to His disciples and taught them things that pertained to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3). In the last of these appearances, He charged His apostles to wait in the city of Jerusalem till they be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49). After the ascension of Christ, the apostles returned to Jerusalem, where they waited ten days until the day of Pentecost. And on that fateful day, the “power from on high,” which Christ promised the apostles came. The inspired historian wrote;

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

Now watch carefully. In Mark 9:1, Jesus Christ said the kingdom would come with power. That is to say, the kingdom and the power would come at the exact same time. In Acts 1:8, He also said that the power would come with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came, and with Him came the power, then it follows that God’s eternal purpose, the church, which through the ages was promised and prophesied and was in the time of John and Jesus Christ imminent, had come. Let us notice some of the prophecies about the church that were fulfilled.

  1. It would begin in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-3; Acts 2:5).

  2. It would be established in the last days (Isa. 2:2; Acts 2:17).

  3. It would begin in the days of the Roman kings (Dan. 2:44; Luke 3:1).

  4. Christ would ascend, then the kingdom would come (Dan. 7:13-14; Acts 1:9-11).

Friends, every prophecy about the church (you name it), was fulfilled with splendid accuracy. From this point onwards, the church is spoken of as an organism in existence. The saved were added to it (Acts 2:47), fear came upon it (Acts 5:11), it was persecuted (Acts 8:1), among other things. Moreover, after Acts the second chapter, the disciples no longer prayed for the coming of the kingdom, neither did they expect it any longer. Rather, we see people already in the kingdom (Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9).

Notice if you would that according to Isaiah, “…all nations shall flow unto…” the Lord’s house or church. Friends, that could only be possible, if the door into the church were opened. Thus, Peter, who was the bearer of the keys of the kingdom or church (Matt. 16:19), had to open the door into the church for “…all nations” to “flow unto it.” This he did when in response to a question by his auditors (Acts 2:37), he said; “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (unto—ASV 1901) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Luke records that; “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:40-41). The Lord’s church, the kingdom, is in existence and has been for two millennia and only those from among the nations who repent of their sins, confess their faith in Christ and are baptized unto the remission of their sins “shall flow unto it.” “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Jesus Christ: The Golden Thread of the Bible

The Bible is God’s gift to the world for the saving of the souls of men. Thus, no man can be saved separate and apart from the Bible. But as Jesus Christ, is inseparably linked with the salvation of men’s souls, then the Bible is necessarily a book about Him. When we say Jesus Christ is the golden thread of the Bible, we mean He is the Bible’s focus, “the one all-pervading subject of the Word of God as a whole.” That this is so, is easily seen in the following verses.

And he said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (Luke 24:44).

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, we have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph (John 1:45).

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (John 5:39).

The Bible’s one great subject and theme is Jesus Christ and an appreciation of this fact would, as E.W. Bullinger noted, help us “…. understand words, and hints; apparently casual expressions, circumstances, and events, which in themselves, and apart from Him, are meaningless.” Take for example, Genesis 22. Was it by chance that Isaac the son was taken on a three-day journey by his father, Abraham, with wood laid on him to be sacrificed on a mountain? Do we not see in this account, a foreshadow of the death of Christ, the Son, with the journey representing three days in the grave and the wood representing the old-rugged cross?

Seeing that it is not difficult to see and understand that Jesus Christ is the focus of the New Testament, we shall briefly look at how Jesus Christ like a golden thread runs through the message of the Old Testament.

Christ in the Pentateuch

He is the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 3:16), the paschal lamb (Exo. 12:11; 1 Cor. 5:7), the sin offering, offered outside the camp. (Exo. 29:14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 13:11-12), the fiery, brass serpent, set upon a pole and lifted up. (Num. 21:8-9; John 3:14) and the prophet from among His brethren and like unto Moses. (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:20-23).

Christ in the Historical Books

He is the captain of the Lord’s host (Josh. 5:13-15; Heb. 2:10), the Kinsman-Redeemer (Ruth 3:9; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:11), the son of David, who would build a house for God and forever sit on David’s throne (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Acts 2:30), the wise King who attracts men from the uttermost parts of the earth to the one true God (1 Kings 10:1; Matt. 12:42), the chief ruler from the tribe of Judah (1 Chro. 5:2; Matt. 2:6) and the golden scepter of mercy in the hand of the Almighty King (Esth. 4:11; John 3:16).

Christ in the Wisdom Books

He is the incarnate redeemer (Job 19:25; Matt. 1:20-21), the good Shepherd (Psa. 23; John 10:11), the strong tower into which the righteous run and are safe. (Prov. 18:10; Acts 4:12) and the bride’s beloved, the altogether lovely (Song. 5:16; Eph. 5:22-32).

Christ in the Major Prophets

He is the Messiah who suffers (Isa. 53; Acts 8:32-35), the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:30), the Son of God (Dan. 3:25; Mark 1:1) and the Son of man (Dan. 7:13; Matt. 26:64).

Christ in the Minor Prophets

He is the son out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:15), the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28; Mark 1:8; Acts 2:33), the everlasting ruler from Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:4-6), the stronghold in the day of trouble (Nah. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:19), the Branch who would build the temple of God and be both priest and King (Zech. 6:12-13; Heb. 8:1) and the messenger of the covenant (Mal. 3:1; Heb. 10:9).


Though not exhaustive, this brief study proves that our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed “the one all-pervading subject of the Word of God as a whole.” This is He of whom it is written; “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8-9). If we would believe and obey the things He taught, then with confidence we can say, “we have found him…Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

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