Another identifying characteristic of the church is the proper birthplace. Consider the fact that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 says, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” If we were to hear of a Christ born in another place, he would be an impostor. This same reasoning can be applied to the church.
Jerusalem was the birthplace of the church. This was prophesied in Zechariah 1:16: “Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” A similar prophesy is also found in Isaiah 2:2-3. In the New Testament, Jesus stated in Luke 24:46-47 that the church would be established in Jerusalem: “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
These prophecies were fulfilled in Acts 1:12-14, where it reads, “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” In Acts 2:1, when the day of Pentecost came, the apostles were all together in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit came upon them and Peter preached the first gospel sermon.
The Lord added the first converts to the church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47). If you find a denomination established in Germany or America, you have not found the Lord’s church. If you find Catholicism in Rome, you have not found the Lord’s church. If you find Hinduism, Confucianism or Islam in India, China, or Mecca, you have not found the Lord’s church. Look back to Jerusalem and you will find the church which Jesus established (Matthew 16:18).