By Bill Brandstatter
One of the most familiar passages to many Christians is Matt. 16:18. There Jesus states, “…Upon this rock I will build my church”…; but what was the church that Jesus saw when He spoke those words? He no doubt knew about what the Old Testament writers said regarding the church.
Jesus knew about the prophecy of Daniel pertaining to the kingdom. When the church came, the kingdom came. Daniel prophesied that God would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed. (Dan. 2:44) Later Jesus told Peter He would give to him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 16:19) The establishment of the church was in the eternal purpose of God. (Eph. 3:11) Since Jesus was with the Father in the beginning and involved in Creation, He no doubt knew all about the establishment of the church in New Testament times. (John 1:1, 2)
Jesus read and knew about the prophecy of Isaiah pertaining to the Lord’s house being established in the top of the mountains, and all nations flowing into it. (Isa. 2:2-3) Later the apostle Paul described the church as the “house of God”. (1 Tim. 3:15)
Jesus knew that the name of God’s people in the church would change. Being familiar with the writings of Isaiah, He read Isaiah 62:2 where Isaiah stated that the Lord would give His people a new name which the mouth of the Lord would utter. He also knew that God’s servants would be called by another name. (Isa. 65:15) That name was first used in Acts 11:26 when the disciples were first called Christians.
Jesus knew about the day that the church would be established. Peter stated that “all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as man as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:24) Jesus being familiar with Old Testament writings, no doubt knew what those days were. He also knew what Joel wrote in Joel 2:28-32. This is what Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost. He prefaced Joel’s words by stating, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” (Acts 2:14)
Jesus no doubt knew about the establishment of the church was in God’s plan before He even came to earth. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus and told them that the church was in the eternal purpose of God. (Eph. 3:11) Jesus was there in the beginning. (John 1:1-2) Today we have at our disposal a lot of information about the church. We have His words. We have the words of the apostles. Yet with all the information available to us many still are confused regarding the church. Jesus read about the church; we can too. Will I believe what is written, accept it, and obey it? Jesus would want me to since the church belongs to Him. (Matt.16:18; Acts 20:28) We can read the same verses that Jesus read. With all this information there should not be any problem with understanding about the church. Perhaps we need to look again at the church that Jesus saw.
– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/