Today, let's look at the connection between the church and the kingdom. We'll begin with more of what Jesus said in Matthew 16: 18-19:
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Here, Jesus mentions the church and the kingdom in these verses. What is the kingdom that he is referring to?
To answer that question, we will go back into the Old Testament. Daniel relates a story of how King Nebuchadnezzer had a dream. The king saw in his dream a huge statue. Its head was gold, chest of silver, middle and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. Then a stone that was not cut by man struck the feet and broke the statue to pieces. Daniel goes on to interpret: the head was King Nebuchadnezzer's kingdom. Then a kingdom inferior to his would take over and then a third and forth. Of that fourth kingdom, Daniel says: "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever," (Daniel 2:44) Remember what Jesus said to Peter? "...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) His church/kingdom is so strong it will last forever and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Jesus and John the immerser both preached that the kingdom was at hand or near.
Now, we will fast forward to after Christ's resurrection. If we look at history, it is during the time of Roman rule that Daniel spoke of the kingdom that would be established coming into existence. The book of Acts records this about Jesus: "He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3) The disciples were eager for him to establish a kingdom because they asked in verse 6, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus answered them in verses 7 and 8: "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
In Acts 2 they received that power from the Holy Spirit and began to preach and teach on the day of Pentecost. Peter (remember Jesus gave him the keys to the king quoted Old Testament passages (Joel) that had prophesied of that time and the events fit with those things that had been prophesied in other scriptures as well (Isaiah 2). What we learn is that the kingdom prophesied was the church Jesus promised to build. We can study more evidence of this in another lesson, however, both were spoken of as coming in the future before the events of Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost and both are spoken of as already being in existence after this chapter.
More about the church in part 3.