Hugh's News & Views (Chapter 2)
The books of the Bible were not originally divided into chapters and verses. Instead, each book was one undivided document. Stephen Langton, Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, is credited with first dividing the Bible books into chapters in about A.D. 1227. The dividing of the chapters into verses was a later development in the 1500s.
We can be grateful for the chapter and verse divisions of the Bible books for such facilitates the citing of particular parts of a biblical document. Imagine how difficult it would be if one wanted to cite something out of Isaiah 40 and the best he could do was to say, “Go over about two-thirds into the book of Isaiah and look for this statement.” Or one wanted to call attention to the eighth chapter of Romans and the best he could do was to say, “Go to about the middle of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Thus, the chapter and verse divisions are a tremendous aid to Bible study.
It is interesting to note that, as it turns out, several interesting details about the church are provided in Chapter 2 of various Bible books. Consider the following.
ISAIAH 2: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter (last, KJV) days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall go and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (verses 2-3, NKJV). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul identified the Lord’s house as “the church of the living God” (I Timothy 3:15). Thus, the church was to be established in Jerusalem (see Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4). It was to be established in “the last days,” the era in which God speaks to all mankind through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-4), and all nations (people of all nationalities and ethnic origins) would be members of it (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
DANIEL 2: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (verse 44). The kingdom that God would set up and which would never be destroyed was the church that Christ built and against which the gates of hades would not prevail (Matthew 16:18-19). To be saved from sin and added to the church (Acts 2:47) is the same as being delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love (Colossians 1:13). This spiritual kingdom was to be set up in the days of the kings of the fourth world empire which king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon saw in his vision, i.e., the rulers of the Roman Empire (Daniel 2:31-43). Christ was born, lived, and died during the era of the Roman emperors and His church was established in the days of those kings. The church is that “kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).
JOEL 2: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also on My menservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (verses 28-29). The apostle Peter quoted these very words on the day the church was established and by inspiration declared that they were fulfilled on that occasion (Acts 2:14-21).
ACTS 2: The last days of Isaiah 2 and the last days of Joel 2 merge in Acts 2 and find their fulfillment in the events of the first day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ. The occurrences of that day unfolded in the city of Jerusalem where the Lord’s house (church) was to be established, and on that memorable occasion, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, the word of the Lord (the gospel) began to go forth from Jerusalem. The church of Christ was established on that day, “and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Everything in the Bible pertaining to the church before Acts 2 pointed forward to that chapter, and everything in the Bible pertaining to the church after Acts 2 pointed back to that chapter. Peter called it “the beginning” (Acts 11:15). Indeed, Acts 2 is the “hub” of the Bible!
EPHESIANS 2: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit” (verses 19-22). The “middle wall of division” between Jews and Gentiles was removed by the death of Christ so “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (verses 14-16). The “one body” in which reconciliation to God is effected is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), purposed by God from eternity, foretold by the prophets, and established by Christ.
How beautiful the church! How significant the above Chapters 2’s!
November 18, 2014