The aspect of Biblical prophecy emphasizes the New Testament church and its relationship to God’s scheme of Redemption. When one understands the church’s relationship to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, one will be enabled to have a better understanding of the essence and/or nature of the New Testament church.
We can never win the lost to Christ if and when they reject the Biblical truth that the one true church of the Lord sustains a definite relationship to that of salvation. Individuals reject the New Testament church due to the fact that they have a false view regarding such. They view such in a denominational context. If they viewed the church as the scriptures reveal such, and as God would have them view it; they would love and seek to be reconciled unto God within its borders.
In Acts chapter twenty-four we read of Paul’s defense of both his life and the doctrine of Christ before the Governor Felix. Here we note that Paul in defending the truth of God also defended the New Testament church, the case being that the word of God is the seed to perpetuate the Lord’s church. In this chapter we read the following words:
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense to God, and toward men (Acts 24:14-16).
The objective of our study is thus to give warrant by the means of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy regarding the fact that the church of Christ constitutes the collectivity of those saved in Christ by the gospel. Let us note three crucial aspects regarding the evidence set forth:
Every prophecy regarding Christ is inclusive of his church. In consideration of the finished work of Christ on Calvary one notes that the predictive promises regarding the sacrifice includes those for whom such is made (Isa. 53; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27).
When we consider prophecies regarding the ruler over the promised kingdom, such is inclusive of those who are to be governed (Micah 5:2; 1 Pet. 2:9).
Prophecies regarding the divine foundation also include the super structure (Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 16:18).
Prophecies regarding the great Shepherd are also inclusive of his flock (Psa. 23; 1 Pet. 2:5).
Biblical prophecy regarding Christ the Redeemer includes those who constitute the redeemed (Isa. 59:20; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:13-14).
There are specific prophecies regarding the New Testament church. Psalm 48:12-13 finds fulfillment in and only in the church of the Lord (Acts 1:8; Col. 1:13-14; Rev. 21:1-2).
Isaiah 2:2-3 is fulfilled by expressed teaching of inspired New Testament writers (Heb. 1:1-2; 1 John 2:18, Matt. 16:19; Heb. 3:6; 2 Cor. 3:7-10). Such indeed applies in fulfillment to the church.
Daniel 2:34, 44-45 finds fulfillment in Acts 4:11 and Matthew 16:18-19.
Christ promised to build his church. The record of this prophecy is set forth in great detail in Matthew 16:13-19. In noting this prophecy we thus conclude that such was to occur in the future to Matthew chapter 16. The church was to belong to Christ. It was to be built by Him. It was to constitute the kingdom. No power could prevail against him, the only foundation, therefore this church would stand forever. The delegated authority of Christ over his church would be found in the Holy Spirit inspired apostolic preaching and teaching.
Within the confines of that church, Christ adds all of those who are saved from sin by obedience to his gospel (Acts 2:41-47).
Our obligation is thus, by diligent search of the truth, note the prophecies relating to the Lord’s church and accept the truthfulness and the validity of such based upon their fulfillment in the New Testament (John 7:17).
Christ is the only Savior, we must therefore accept him as such. Christ is the only King, we must thus obey him. Christ is the bridegroom, we must be married to him as part of his bride, the church. Christ is the great Shepherd we must be willing to be led by him. He is prophet, let us therefore hear him.
Those who will obey do not question his authority. Neither do they seek to reject his church by addition, subtraction, or substitution (Rev. 22:18-19).