When was the church of our Lord established?

At Acts 7:37-38 the scripture speaks of Moses and the church in the wilderness. Question: Did the church that we read about in the New Testament begin with Moses and the children of Israel when they were delivered from the Egyptian bondage? The answer is no! The word “church” as used in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word “ekklesia,” which means, “that which is called out of.” Thus in the above scripture reference, it pertains to Moses and the Israelites being called out of Egyptian slavery by Jehovah. The church of the New Testament is made up of those who have been called out of sin into the spiritual family of God (1 Timothy 3:15).

When Jesus promised to build His church upon the truth that He is the Son of God, we know that it had not been built prior to that time (Matthew 16:13-18). Therefore, it did not begin with John the Baptist because he was already dead when our Lord promised to build it. In fact, Jesus taught at Matthew 11:11 that those who would be in the kingdom would be greater than John the Baptist. This would be true because they would have greater blessings. John taught that the kingdom was at hand (meaning that it was still future, but near, Matthew 3:1-2).

The words “church” and “kingdom”, when referring to the redeemed are used interchangeably (Matthew 16:18-19). During Christ’s personal ministry He promised that some of them living at that time would not die before the kingdom came with power (Mark 9:1). After His resurrection, Jesus instructed those who would be His apostles to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high (Luke 24:49). Prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus informed His disciples that the kingdom would come with power after the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:6-8). The Holy Spirit did come upon them on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2). From that time on the church (which is His spiritual kingdom) was spoken of as being in existence (Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13-14).

--Dub Mowery


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