OT Existence of the Church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dr. Bob, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Dr. Bob

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    Did the Church universal (all regenerate believers) exist in the OT?

    In the Early Church (Acts 7) sermon, knowing exactly what a "church" was (Acts 2-6 talking about the local body of believers in Jerusalem), said, "This is the same Moses who which said unto the children of Israel, 'A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear.' "This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt . . "

    There were seven OTHER words he might have used to describe "assembing" but selected (under inspiration) a word adopted by God for the "church".

    So while the local body is a reflection of the Church universal, that universal body was in the OT.

    Or was it?

    Did not want to disrupt the other thread, so on this aspect, the balcony is now open.
     
  2. Deacon

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    I came across this a few months past when working through the first chapter of 1 Corinthians.

    Why was the word "church" used here? - Simple reason for its use - the Septuagint used it in Exodus.

    The word was in common use prior to the church's existence with the meaning of an assembly of people drawn together in a common cause.

    Rob
     
    #2 Deacon, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2011
  3. humblethinker

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    I would say Stephen new exacly what the word 'ekklēsia' was. I would also say that the KJV translaters for sure new the connotations of the English word 'church'. Does any other version use the word 'church'?


    Are you saying that there are seven other words besides 'ekklēsia' Stephen could have used or seven other words that the kjv translators could have chosen? Could you explain what you mean by 'under inspiration'? It seems like you may be promoting the idea that translators are inspired, just want to make sure what you mean.

    Do you think those listening to Stephen during this 'sermon' really thought that it was Jesus of Nazareth that was leading Israel instead of Joshua, even though the KJV says "Jesus"? I would propose that the use of the words 'church' and 'Jesus' in this chapter is a poor choice of words selected by the translators in that they convey a meaning that would not be accurate.

    And then, you have the phrase "Or was it?" so I'm not sure if you are simply making a good OP or really believe what I thought you were believing.
    Thanks for the thread :) .
     
  4. Bob Alkire

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    I believe John R. Rice believed the church began in the OT, John of Japan could tell better than I, if that was his view.
     
  5. JesusFan

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    Sort of like asking if the 'Gospel" was preached in OT age!

    To my understanding, God has his corporate Body called isreal in OT, so the Church DID NOT exist until coming of the Messiah, when he 'xcalled out" His elected Body, as the Messiah would die and HS would than be sent!

    There IS a connection, as Jesus calling out the 12 Apostles to me linked them with a type of representing "true isreal" before the Lord...

    OT believers NOT same as us, as HS not indwelling them, baptising them into a Body, as Church not formed until coming of messaih, and His coming to earth in new role!
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    I appreciate what is being said here but I think there are very good reasons to think that the Church started at Pentecost. I will try to expand on this when I get more time, or you can read my article on the Church.

    http://marprelate.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/what-is-a-church/

    One very good reason not to believe that the church existed in the O.T. is that if this is so, the 'Church' placed the 'covenant sign' on infants. In my time over on the Puritan Board, I saw several Baptists become Paedobaptists due to this line of argument.

    Steve
     
  7. JesusFan

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    Wouldn't the concept of the "Church" be foreign to the OT, as paul would see it as Body of Christ with both Jews/Gentiles in it, a Mystery revealed to him by God, not to the OT prophets!
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    Good discussion. I am both reformed in doctrines of grace and progressive dispensational, so make a clear distinction of Israel (nation) and Church (bride of Christ).

    But the questions arise . . :saint:
     
  9. TCGreek

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    What about Matthew 16:18?
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    What about it? You understand language. Is Jesus talking about some future post-pentecost time?

    (Careful, since Matthew goes on in the next chapters to describe the church fully functional LONG BEFORE the cross or Pentecost)
     
  11. J.D.

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    I think there's a strong argument that the church began with Abraham. Just off the top of my head:

    1. Abraham was called out from his brethren.
    2. He was covenanted by God.
    3. He was given a sign of the covenant.
    4. He was given certain instructions concerning how to worship.
    5. His covenant was to be passed down to his children.
    6. All the nations of the earth were to be blessed through him.
    7. His covenant continues to this day (Moses, the law, did not nullify it)
    8. We believers today are the spiritual sons of Abraham, for we have the same faith as Abraham.
    9. The NT refers to Abraham as "the father of us all".
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

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    You might very well think that, and I may very well agree with you. :thumbs:

    However, it is the standard Presbyterian position that the Church commenced with Abraham (not sure where that leaves Noah etc.). The famous B. B. Warfield wrote, "The argument in a nuthell is simply this: God established his church in the days of Abraham and put children in it. They must remain there until he puts them out. He has nowhere put them out. They are still then members of his church and as such entitled to its ordinances. Among these ordinances is baptism." J.D. and Dr. Bob need to know how to counter such arguments.

    My position is that the Church had its beginning at Pentecost. The Church is the body of Christ. It is to be a body of believers, not a mixed multitude like Israel. It is the 'Mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now [post Pentecost]disclosed to the saints' (Col 1:26. cf. Eph 3:5).

    I believe that Matt 16:18 is highly relevant. Our Lord said that He 'will' build His church. It was not yet existing. I see nowhere else in the NT that contradicts that. Christ told His apostles that He had chosen them 'Out of the world' (John 15:19). He did not choose them out of the Church!

    The Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20). They cannot be the OT prophets, partly because the Apostles come first and partly because a little later Paul refers to Apostles and prophets in a context that can only be NT (Eph 4:11).

    The reference to ekklesia in Acts 7:38 has no force in this respect. Ekklesia in and of itself means only an assembly or congregation (3 times in Acts 19). It is the Church of Christ that is an assembly of Christians (1Cor 1:2-9 etc.).

    Steve
     
  13. JesusFan

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    thanks!
    To my understanding on this, the Church was to be built upon the person of the messiah, Jesus Christ...
    His death and resurrection would be the building block for his Church, and that the Holy Spirit "role" under new Covenant would be to baptise people at conversion into the "Church" and to idwell them personally

    Church built on a brand new Covenant with God established by Messiah, NOT based on any OT Covenant , Abrahamiac or otherwise!
     
  14. J.D.

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    I suggest you check out what the NT says about Abraham's covenant and his faith and how it applies to believers in Christ. When you look at the whole picture, you'll see that the New Covenant is actually an extension and continuation of the Abraham Covenant. Abraham was justified before circumcision and before the law. He was justified by grace through faith just as we are today.
     
  15. J.D.

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    Oh, I'm ready to distinguish my doctrine from the peadobaptists, and I'm sure Dr. Bob is also.

    The thing is that the whole reformed family agrees on this principle: The covenants feature things similar, and things different. The presbies see a parallel similarity between circumcision and baptism; we see a difference - yes, baptism is the visible "sign" of the New Covenant, but must be prefaced by a credible profession of the invisible sign of the New Covenant, which is circumcision of the heart.
     
  16. glfredrick

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    While I buy what was said about the Abrahamic covenant, I think, by the example of the NT church, that we need to go all the way back to the Noahic covenant instead. It was there that the Church Counsel returned when advising Paul how to act among the Gentiles.

    Was the "universal church" in the OT? Yes. Was it the New Covenant church of the NT, and prophesied by Jeremiah, Isaiah, Joel, etc.? Not yet, but after Christ, yes. Christ is the dividing line, but those of the OT who were justified by faith are included in the same "church" that all believers are incorporated into, that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Note also that the later New Covenant church is "grafted in" to the existing branch, which rather deals a death blow to traditional dispensationalism (and also most of covenant theology).
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yes but my heart doesnt have a foreskin:laugh: (sorry couldnt resist)
     
  18. JesusFan

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    Are the Ot believers actually though included in the Church, as the Body/Bride of Christ?

    Wouldn't they be part that is raised/resurrected up by God with new bodies to enjoy the Lingdom rule/reign of Christ upon earth at His second advent?


    Think the Church was "brand new" in NT age, as Messiah came in that time, died, and was raised by God...

    So the Church was in plans of God from eternity, not known in OT, so see this as "brand new" Covenant between God and man!
     
  19. michael-acts17:11

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    In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Heb 8:13)

    And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. (Heb 9:15-18)

    Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Heb 10:19-20)

    And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Heb 11:39-40)
     
  20. HankD

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    Dr Bob, as I see it, the distinction between Israel and the church was made in the abrahmic promise that he would become a mighty nation and be a blessings to all the nations through his seed.

    The one Kingdom of God (at the end of the day) being comprised of Redeemed Israel and the Church of the Firstborn.

    I believe this distinction is carried through to the Book of Revelation (Chapter 21) where by metaphor a distinction is made between Israel and the church. i.e. The twelve Gates and the twelve Foundations.

    Though distinct they will live forever as one body in the New Jerusalem.

    HankD
     

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