CHURCH HISTORY IN PROPHECY Some theologians have taken the position that the church is not mentioned in the Old Testament. While this is theoretically correct, it is also incorrect. Correct in that the specific word “Church” is not ever mentioned. It is incorrect in that the prophets in the Old Testament had several prophecies that were in fact showing and picturing the church that would be in full view in the future program of God. OLD TESTAMENT CHURCH PROPHECY Romans 15:9; II Sam. 22:50; Ps. 18:49 Paul the Apostle justified his preaching to the Gentiles by referring to several O. T. prophecies that spoke of a time when God would be praised by the Gentiles. Rom. 15:10; Dt. 32:43; Rev. 19:2 The O. T. teaches us that a time would come when the Gentile nations would rejoice with the Jewish nation. Rom. 15:11; Ps. 117:1-2 Again Paul writes under the influence of the Holy Spirit that God had prophesied a day when all the Gentile nations would praise the Lord along with the Jewish nation. Rom. 15:12; Is. 11:10 Once again in this verse Paul refers to an Old Testament prophetic scripture that spoke of a time when Messiah comes, (the root of Jesse), that the Gentile nations will seek after Him and find hope, peace and rest. Rom. 15:21; Is. 52:15 These verses help us understand that there was a time when God was not dealing with the Gentile nations and they in turn wanted little to do with God. However, God would some day allow His word to reach all the nations and the Gentiles would hear and understand God. Is. 42:1, 6-7; 49:6b These prophecies tell of a time in the future when Christ includes the Gentile nations into His program. He then tells of a time when His salvation offer reaches the ends of the earth. Genesis 12:1-3 The cornerstone prophecy regarding the inclusion of the Gentile nations into God's salvation plan is to be found in the Abrahamic Covenant where God promises Abraham that “in thee, shall ALL the families (nations) of the earth be blessed.” CHURCH PROPHECY FULFILLED Matthew 16:18 The first specific mention of the “Church” is found in Matthew when Jesus makes His famous statement that “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Though Satan has tried and continues to try and destroy the church it has prevailed. Acts 2:1-4 It is believed by most bible historians and commentators that the church was formed on the day of Pentecost. All the current believers were gathered together in one place when God met them in the person of the Holy Spirit of promise. Acts 2:14-41 The Apostle Peter preached the first Gospel sermon shortly after being filled with the Spirit and three thousand Jews were saved. The Apostles were not yet told to go also to the Gentiles. Acts 10:9-16, 34-35 The message from God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles was given to Peter in a vision. As he wondered what the vision meant another vision given to Cornelius made it clear. Acts 15:6-19; Amos 9:11-12 Once the Gospel was declared to the Gentiles this caused a crisis within the leadership of the Apostles. A conference was held and the outcome was that the Gospel was meant to be available for every person that would come to a saving knowledge of Christ was welcome. Acts 18:6 Near the end of Paul's second missionary journey he became frustrated with the constant resistance of the Jews to the Gospel. This frustration prompted Paul to declare his turning away from his efforts toward the Jews and began his mission to the Gentile world. This decision helped fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus in (Acts 9:15) when Jesus said that Paul would “bear my name to the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” From that time forward the church began to be predominately Gentile. Today the Jews are still resisting the Gospel and the church is largely Gentile.