TGOC Bible Class Curricula – The Church of Christ (1st Quarter) – Lesson 3 - The Prophecies of The Lord's Church
1. Hundreds of years before the church was established, men of God (called prophets) were already talking and writing about it. The prophets were men through whom God delivered His messages about things that were going to happen in the future. The prophets we will cite in this lesson (along with approximate dates): Isaiah, Micah, Joel, Daniel, and Zechariah (Old Testament); John the Baptist and Jesus (New Testament).
I. ISAIAH (740-680 B.C.)
2. The prophet Isaiah penned one of the most used prophecies concerning the coming of the church in Isaiah 2:2-3: “2In 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.” Four important facts about the Lord’s church are mentioned in this passage:1
3. A. The Church would come in the “Last Days”. When are the last days? Hebrews 1:1-2 reads:“1 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.”
4. The Hebrews’ writer indicates that in the days of the prophets, God spoke to the people many times and many ways, but in “these last days” speaks through His Son. Well, if He speaks through His Son in the last days, then the last days refer to the final age of humanity which is governed by the doctrine of Christ, that is, the teachings of Christ under the New Testament. The last days will continue until the end of time.
5. B. The Church would be chief over the mountains and hills. Mountains and hills often refer to governments and powers. Isaiah is referring to the power, influence, and staying power the church would have. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that Hades itself would never be able to destroy what He would build because He would resurrect from the dead. Kingdoms and powers and governments have come and gone since the church was established - but the church is still here!
6. C. All nations would flow into it. At the beginning, the gospel was preached to the Jews first (John 4:22; Acts 11:19; Romans 1:16). However, the Jews as a whole rejected Jesus and did not the words of the only One who could save them (John 1:11; 9:22; 10:19, 24-28). The gospel, then, was preached to the Gentiles. The example of the conversion of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 is significant in that it is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Cornelius was the first Gentile convert; and his conversion opened the door of the church to all nations (both Jew and Gentile).
7. D. The Church would come when the Law went forth from Jerusalem. We have learned that the church would come in the time of Christ. If we can pinpoint the time when the Law went forth from Jerusalem, we can determine when the church was established. In Acts 1:4-5 Jesus told his disciples, “4 Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
They were going to receive a gift from God, namely, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then He tells them in Acts 1:8 “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.”
8. After receiving God’s gift of the Holy Spirit they would begin witnessing for Jesus Christ. They would spread the Good News; they would reveal the new law of Christ. When did this happen? In Acts chapter 2, we learn how the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and they were endowed with power and began to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ for the first time. This was on the Day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus (historians place it around A.D. 30-33).
9. II. MICAH (740-700 B.C.)
The prophet Micah made the same prophecy as did Isaiah (word for word in Micah, chapter 4). Two prophets of God living in different places at different times had the very same thing to say about the coming of the church. This lends credibility to the inspiration of the Scriptures and the truthfulness of their predictions.
10. III. JOEL (830-750 B.C.)
In Joel 2:28-32, the prophet of God made these predictions.“28 And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions….32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
Luke records the prophecy of Joel in Acts 2. Instead of the word “afterwards” Luke uses the words “Last Days” (referring to the New Testament age). Joel gives us several predictions about the coming of the church.
1. God would pour out His Spirit (which happened on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2).
2. In Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance. Zion and Jerusalem refer to the same place. The apostles preached and offered the hope of deliverance to the people for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 2:38).
3. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. This calling requires some action on the part of the caller (Acts 22:16). Peter told the Jewish audience they must repent and be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of God (Acts 2:38). When the about 3000 souls did this, the Lord added them to the church. (Acts 2:47)
11. IV. DANIEL (605-536 B.C.)
One of the great accounts in the Bible is the account of Daniel the prophet of God and King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 2:36-44 “36 ‘This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. 39 After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.’”
12. This dream bothered the King so much that he could not sleep. He sent for his magicians and sorcerers and asked them to interpret the dream. They could not. Daniel was brought to him and by the power of God, he interpreted the dream. The 4 parts of the image represented the four great empires. The head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire, which Nebuchadnezzar ruled. The arms and chest of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire. The belly and thighs of brass represented the Grecian Empire, and the feet of iron mixed with clay represented the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire lasted from about 27 B.C. to about A.D. 476. Daniel prophesied that sometime between these dates God would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed. These other kingdoms would crumble and fall, but the Kingdom of God through the Messiah would endure forever. It pointed to the establishment of the Lord’s church.
13. V. ZECHARIAH (520-470 B.C.)
In Zechariah 1:16 the prophet speaks about the coming of the church: “16 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” It is clear that the promise of God was to establish the church in the city of Jerusalem. We will discuss this further when we study the establishment of the church.
14. VI. JOHN THE IMMERSER (A.D. 26-28)
The prediction of John the Immerser is found in Matthew 3:2:“2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The appearance of John the Immerser on the scene was not accidental. He came in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, as recorded in Isaiah 40:3. John does not tell us when or where the church would come. He simply warns the people that they needed to change their hearts and lives because the kingdom was near. From the message of John we learn that the church had not, at the time of his message, been established.
15. VII. JESUS (A.D. 28-30)
Jesus Himself prophesies about the coming of the kingdom. In Mark 9:1, He made the following prediction to some of His disciples. “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.” From this statement we learn the following:
1. The Church had not yet been established.
2. When it came it would come with power.
3. Some of them would not die until they saw it come.
Chapter 3 Review
1. The coming of the Church was foretold about _________ years before it happened.
2. List the 4 predictions of Isaiah:
3. When are the “Last Days”? ______________________________________
4. Which prophet prophesied the same thing as Isaiah? ___________________
5. What were the 3 parts of Joel’s prophecy?
6. Zechariah prophesied that the Lord’s House would be established in ___________________.
7. What did John the Baptist prophesy? ____________________________
8. Jesus said that the _______________ would come with _________________.
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