To those who are willing to receive membership in the church is the “times of restoration of all things, whereof God spoke my the mouth of his holy prophets that have been of old” (Acts 3:21). The restoration of all things spoken of by Peter in Acts 3:19 is the time of the church which will culminate in the wiping away of the world and reception to Heavenly glory. Jesus’ work is one of restoration (Acts 26:18; Acts 3:21). The work of the church is one of restoration in preparation for eternity when God will make all things new. This great time in which we now live, was foreseen by the prophets already past.
The protevangelium was first announced by God to mankind in the Garden. He pointed out that the woman’s seed (Gen. 3:15) would be victorious over the serpent (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). This the first glimmer of hope is the first mention of the Gospel.
The promises to Abraham helped to develop the ancient’s longing for the church. God developed his purposes through Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Some 18 centuries after Abraham, Christ was born under the Law in order to fulfill it and make his own perfect law of redemption (Galatians 3:16). In this way all the nations of the earth are blessed (Genesis 12:3).
The promise to Judah made in Genesis 49:10 is a prophecy of the church age. God revealed “the scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (bearer of peace) come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.”
The prophecy recorded by Samuel. Acts 3:24 specifically refers to Samuel as one of the prophets who foretold of the church age. This occurred in 2 Samuel 7:16 with Samuel’s illustration of a house and a kingdom. The church is described as both a house (1 Tim. 3:15) and a kingdom (Matt. 16:19).
The prophecy of David made in the Psalms declare the church age. We often see the Messiah pictured in the Psalms (Ps. 22 etc.). However, Psalm 110:3 says, “thy people shall offer themselves willingly in the day of thy power, in the beauty of holiness”.
The prophecies made by Isaiah are among the most vivid. Isaiah saw the church as “the mountain of the house of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:2). Again, the New Testament retrieves this “mountain theme” in Hebrews 12:22 and “the house” in Hebrews 3:6. Isaiah predicted the birthplace of the church in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; cf. Luke 24:46-49). Those from every nation heard the Gospel preached there (Acts 2:5). They then received the “sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3). The prophecies given to Isaiah were too great to comprehend then, but they are experienced now by God’s people (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).
The prophecies made by Jeremiah are among the most hopeful. The spiritual Israel and Judah would receive a new covenant written internally on the hears and minds (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:6-13 & 2 Corinthians 3:3).
The prophecies made by Daniel are among the most powerful. With the lens of prophecy, Daniel saw through 6 centuries in order to behold the church of Christ (Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 12:28-29; Colossians 1:1, 13).
The prophecies made by John are among the most urgent. Immediately before its establishment, John saw the church coming with her Lord. His work was to prepare a people for the King (Luke 1:17). By calling them to repentance and baptism, John made ready a people (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:4). However, John himself was not actually a member of the church (Matthew 11:11). Like David prepared the stones for Solomon to build the temple, John prepared a people for the Lord to build the everlasting temple, the church. The law and the prophets were until John (Matthew 11:13). and after him came the climax of all previous inspiration in Christ’s church.
In the fulness of time (Galatians 4:4), according to his eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11), the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom was revealed to humanity!