“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus, knowing that He would be rejected (Luke 17:25) and that the resistance from the Jewish leaders would not lead to ushering in the kingdom, announced the creation of His Church … the ecclesia … which would continue His work of calling men to repent and be ushered into His kingdom.
“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
Christ repudiated the work of the Pharisees because they were fruitless, nor did they represent the kingdom of God in a meaningful way. Since they would not, another way had to be employed to reach the unsaved. That way was the Church which now has a global reach.
“… And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The Church would “officially” begin at Pentecost following the ascension of Christ into Heaven (Acts 1) and the endowing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). While the early Church consisted mostly of Christ’s disciples and Jews at that time, the vast majority now, not surprisingly, is Gentiles. Despite its early challenges … attempts to stop its growth by both the Jewish leaders and the Roman Empire … the Church is world-wide and still growing. This too is not surprising since Christ stated that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
The work of the Church fills the gap period between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. This gap allows the Church to broaden its reach across the world, which fulfills Christ’s stated goal to His disciples to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).