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When did the church begin?

Jim_Alaska

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When did the church begin? 

 

I think we would all agree that the English word “church” originates from the Greek word, “Ecclesia”. Without going into great detail I believe that we can also agree that this Greek word basically means “assembly.”

Ok, if we agree so far then we can move on to what assembly we are referring to when discussing the word, “Church.” I think it logical to begin with the promise of the church.

We find the promise here: Mat. 16:18 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.

In this promise Jesus defines what church he is talking about; He said it would be his church and that he would build it. If we take Jesus at his word we can eliminate any other church, or assembly, if you will. We can also affirm that his church did not exist before this because the words “I will build” are in the future tense.

We find the first members of his church mentioned here” 1Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

We find that he chose these apostles here: Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.

Since the office of apostle is then a “church office,” we can safely say that when he chose the twelve this is the beginning of “his church.” There are many scriptures that show that his church was in existence during his personal ministry on earth. They do not show the time of the actual beginning, but they affirm that it existed at that time. There is no scripture that comes right out and says; “The church began at this time.”

There are many that think that the church began on the day of Pentecost. But a serious study will show that the church existed before Pentecost. I’ll just mention a few here. Jesus is with his disciples here as they partake of The Lord’s Supper: Mat. 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

He sang this hymn with them in the midst of the church: Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance.
Just the fact that they partook of The Lord’s Supper presupposes that there is a church in existence at this time.

The authority of disciples in church capacity was placed in the church during Christ's earthly ministry. Mat 18:15.  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

They had the church commission to preach the Gospel before Pentecost Mrk. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Anyway, this part about the church before Pentecost is just a freebee. It doesn’t really speak to the issue of when the church was begun, but rather, when it wasn’t.




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4 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother "Wretched,"

As I have indicated before in relation to this disagreement between us, I believe that you have a wrong premise in this matter of doctrine -- in that you view the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit as being inseparably joined together.

Certainly, John 14:13-19, 25-26; John 15:25-27; and John 16:7-16 all speak concerning the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.  As such, they speak concerning the comforting work, the relational work (of spiritual fellowship with the Father and the Son), the teaching work, the testifying work, the empowering work (for faithful witnessing), the guiding work, and the glorifying work which is involved in the Holy Spirit's indwelling work.  However, none of these passages specifically references the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.  Rather, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is specifically referenced in John 3:3-21, wherein the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit is not at all referenced. 

Therefore, all of the differences between us on this matter flow out of the difference in this premise -- whether the regenerating work and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are inseparably joined, or whether the regenerating work and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different. 

(Note: Although I believe that the regenerating work and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different, I do recognize that for the church age since the day of Pentecost the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit does indeed initiate the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit for the New Testament believer.  However, because I believe that the regenerating work and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different, I can further believe that Old Testament believers were indeed regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit without ever receiving the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit at all, and that this could also be true for the Lord's disciples before the day of Pentecost.)

Concerning Luke 22:31-35, I have also indicated before in relation to this disagreement between us my belief that you have a wrong premise concerning the Biblical usage for the word "convert."  You appear to believe that the word "convert" is only used Biblically for the work of eternal salvation.  However, I have contended in the past that the word "convert" simply means to turn back from a wrong path, and that it is used Biblically both in relation to unbelievers coming to eternal salvation through repentance and faith and in relation to believers coming to restored fellowship through repentance and faith.

In James 5:19-20 God's Word uses the word "covert" in relation to a believer, saying, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."  Herein the one who needs to be converted is one who has erred "from the truth."  Furthermore, this one who has erred "from the truth" is defined as one of those whom James calls "brethren."  James is speaking to fellow believers concerning one of them as believers erring "from the truth" and needing to be converted (turned) back "from the error of his way" unto a restored walk in the way of truth.  (As such, James 5:19-20 would be speaking concerning the same need as Galatians 6:1.)  Finally, if a fellow believer is able to convert the sinning believer "from the error of his way," then that believer will have saved the sinning believer, not from the judgment of hell, but from the Lord's chastening unto death; and thereby he shall "hide a multitude of sins" from occurring in the sinning believer's life by turning him back from the way of sin and thus preventing him from further engagement in sin.

Brother "Wretched," concerning your indication that there is no point in arguing, you are correct that neither of us will move from our doctrinal position in this matter until one or the other of us changes on the points of doctrinal premise.  However, for the sake of the audience, I still believe that there may be a need for a Biblical presentation to combat what I believe is false doctrine on your part (just as I expect that you might choose to do in relation to what you believe is false doctrine on my part).

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55 minutes ago, wretched said:

Brother "Wretched,"

Well now, that changes my perspective on your position somewhat.  However, it also leaves me a little uncertain of it also.  Furthermore, it appears that I may need to explain my position a little better.  Even so, I believe that this discussion involves three different "works" of the Holy Spirit in relation to believers, as follows:

1.  The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is born again spiritually so that the old spirit which was "dead in trespasses and sins" is removed and so that a new spirit which is created after God replaces the old.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is eternally permanent for whomever experiences it.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experienced by Old Testament believers and is experienced by New Testament Church believers.

2.  The infilling work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is governed and empowered by the directing influence of the Holy Spirit so as to accomplish God's will.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is a temporary work that is not automatically permanent.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experience by some Old Testament believers in order to perform a "special" calling for the Lord.  On the other hand, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is available unto all New Testament Church believers, as we deny the lusts of our selfish flesh and submit under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  As such, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit can "come and ago" for a New Testament Church believer, based upon that believer's choice to deny self and submit unto the Spirit.

3.  The indwelling-sealing work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer experiences the holy influence of the Holy Spirit from within and in union with his or her regenerated spirit so that the believer continually experiences a divine "draw" from within toward the objective of transformation unto perfect Christ-likeness.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was never available unto any Old Testament believers.  Rather, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is only experienced by New Testament Church believers, that it began to be experienced by New Testament Church believers on the day of Pentecost, that since the day of Pentecost it is initiated for a New Testament Church believer at the moment of regeneration, and that it is a permanent work of the Holy Spirit for all New Testament Church believers.

Now, Brother "Wretched," I must ask for you to reveal wherein you agree and wherein you disagree with my position as presented above.

Furthermore, I would ask WHY you do not believe that Old Testament believers were regenerated - if indeed you believe that the regenerating work and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different works.

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle

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On ‎9‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:39 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother "Wretched,"

Well now, that changes my perspective on your position somewhat.  However, it also leaves me a little uncertain of it also.  Furthermore, it appears that I may need to explain my position a little better.  Even so, I believe that this discussion involves three different "works" of the Holy Spirit in relation to believers, as follows:

1.  The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is born again spiritually so that the old spirit which was "dead in trespasses and sins" is removed and so that a new spirit which is created after God replaces the old.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is eternally permanent for whomever experiences it.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experienced by Old Testament believers and is experienced by New Testament Church believers.

I agree with objections (is that allowed?). But please bear in mind, it is mainly due to the lack of matching wording: there doesn't seem to be much objective evidence of this occurring in OT believers from a strictly verbiage standpoint. No passage indicates it "clearly" in wording IMO. Albeit, I do concede that you may be correct in this from the standpoint of descriptive similarities in the "end result" of what actually happened with believers in the OT and NT. 

2.  The infilling work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is governed and empowered by the directing influence of the Holy Spirit so as to accomplish God's will.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is a temporary work that is not automatically permanent.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experience by some Old Testament believers in order to perform a "special" calling for the Lord.  On the other hand, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is available unto all New Testament Church believers, as we deny the lusts of our selfish flesh and submit under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  As such, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit can "come and ago" for a New Testament Church believer, based upon that believer's choice to deny self and submit unto the Spirit.

This seems reasonable to me Bro Scott.

3.  The indwelling-sealing work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer experiences the holy influence of the Holy Spirit from within and in union with his or her regenerated spirit so that the believer continually experiences a divine "draw" from within toward the objective of transformation unto perfect Christ-likeness.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was never available unto any Old Testament believers.  Rather, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is only experienced by New Testament Church believers, that it began to be experienced by New Testament Church believers on the day of Pentecost, that since the day of Pentecost it is initiated for a New Testament Church believer at the moment of regeneration, and that it is a permanent work of the Holy Spirit for all New Testament Church believers.

I absolutely agree on this point (no objections)

Now, Brother "Wretched," I must ask for you to reveal wherein you agree and wherein you disagree with my position as presented above.

Furthermore, I would ask WHY you do not believe that Old Testament believers were regenerated - if indeed you believe that the regenerating work and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different works.

 

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18 minutes ago, wretched said:

 

On ‎9‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 6:39 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother "Wretched,"

Well now, that changes my perspective on your position somewhat.  However, it also leaves me a little uncertain of it also.  Furthermore, it appears that I may need to explain my position a little better.  Even so, I believe that this discussion involves three different "works" of the Holy Spirit in relation to believers, as follows:

1.  The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is born again spiritually so that the old spirit which was "dead in trespasses and sins" is removed and so that a new spirit which is created after God replaces the old.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is eternally permanent for whomever experiences it.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experienced by Old Testament believers and is experienced by New Testament Church believers.

I agree with objections (is that allowed?). But please bear in mind, it is mainly due to the lack of matching wording: there doesn't seem to be much objective evidence of this occurring in OT believers from a strictly verbiage standpoint. No passage indicates it "clearly" in wording IMO. Albeit, I do concede that you may be correct in this from the standpoint of descriptive similarities in the "end result" of what actually happened with believers in the OT and NT. 

2.  The infilling work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is governed and empowered by the directing influence of the Holy Spirit so as to accomplish God's will.  I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is a temporary work that is not automatically permanent.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was experience by some Old Testament believers in order to perform a "special" calling for the Lord.  On the other hand, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is available unto all New Testament Church believers, as we deny the lusts of our selfish flesh and submit under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  As such, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit can "come and ago" for a New Testament Church believer, based upon that believer's choice to deny self and submit unto the Spirit.

This seems reasonable to me Bro Scott.

3.  The indwelling-sealing work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer experiences the holy influence of the Holy Spirit from within and in union with his or her regenerated spirit so that the believer continually experiences a divine "draw" from within toward the objective of transformation unto perfect Christ-likeness.  Furthermore, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit was never available unto any Old Testament believers.  Rather, I believe that this work of the Holy Spirit is only experienced by New Testament Church believers, that it began to be experienced by New Testament Church believers on the day of Pentecost, that since the day of Pentecost it is initiated for a New Testament Church believer at the moment of regeneration, and that it is a permanent work of the Holy Spirit for all New Testament Church believers.

I absolutely agree on this point (no objections)

Now, Brother "Wretched," I must ask for you to reveal wherein you agree and wherein you disagree with my position as presented above.

Furthermore, I would ask WHY you do not believe that Old Testament believers were regenerated - if indeed you believe that the regenerating work and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit are distinctly different works.

Brother "Wretched,"

I thank you for your response; and yes, it is permissible to agree with "objections" (or, at least, hesitations).

Through your response it appears that we may be a bit closer in this matter than I had previously thought.  Concerning your "objections" (or, hesitations) in relation to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit for Old Testament believers, I must acknowledge that the terminology of the Old Testament is NOT nearly as clear as it is for New Testament believers.  However, the evidence of the "end result" realities is enough for me to hold (without any actual doubts) that Old Testament believers did indeed experience the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

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On 9/10/2016 at 5:33 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

As has occurred in past discussions between Brother "Wretched" and myself, I am compelled to disagree with his position that the apostles were not regenerated until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

In John 17 our Lord Jesus Christ delivered a prayer unto the Father on the night before His crucifixion.  Within that prayer in John 17:14-16, our Lord made the following statement concerning His disciples, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."  Twice in this passage our Lord declared that His disciples were not of (that is -- out of as a source) this world in the same manner as He Himself was not of this world.

So then, in what manner was our Lord Jesus Christ not out of this world?  We find the answer in John 8:23-24, 39-47.  In this passage our Lord Jesus Christ engaged in a discussion of rebuke against the Pharisees and scribes.  In John 8:23 He declared in rebuke unto them, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."  Herein our Lord delivered two parallel statements of contrast.  Against the Pharisees and scribes, He proclaimed that they were "from beneath" and that they were "of this world."  As such, we can conclude that to be "of this world" means also to be "from beneath."  However, in contrast our Lord proclaimed that He Himself was "from above" and "not of this world."  As such, we can conclude that to be "not of the world" just as our Lord was "not of the world" means to be "from above" instead.  Even so, since the disciples were "not of the world" as the Lord was "not of the world," they were instead "from above" as He was "from above."  So then, what is the only way for a lost sinner to be "from above"?  Answer -- to be "born of God," to be "born again."

Furthermore, in John 8:42 our Lord Jesus Christ declared in rebuke against the Pharisees and scribes, "If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me."  As such, we can further conclude that to be "of this world" means, not only to be "from beneath," but also to not possess God as one's heavenly Father.  Again in the opening portion of John 8:44, our Lord Jesus Christ declared in rebuke against them, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."  As such, we can further conclude that to be "of this world" means to be "from beneath," to not possess God as one's heavenly Father, but to possess the devil as one's spiritual father.  Finally, in John 8:47 our Lord Jesus Christ declared in rebuke against them, "He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."  As such, we can further conclude that to be "of this world" is to not be "of God."

Yet our Lord Jesus Christ was "not of this world," but was "from above" (as per His declaration in John 8:23).  Even so, He was the spiritual opposite of these Pharisees and scribes against which He was delivering His rebuke.  He was indeed "of God," and God the Father was indeed His heavenly Father.  In like manner, His disciples, who were "not of the world" just as He was "not of the world," must also have been indeed "of God" with God the Father as their heavenly Father.  So then again, what is the only way for a lost sinner to be "of God" with God the Father as his or her heavenly Father?  Answer -- to be "born of God," to be "born again."  In fact, to deny that they were "born of God" is to deny every occasion wherein our Lord Jesus Christ referred to the Father as their heavenly Father.

Excellent points!  Here is another.  Back to the passage concerning the Lord building His church.

Matthew 16:18:  "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."

What is the rock spoken of here?

Matthew 16:15-16:  "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The rock concerns Peter's profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it is the Lord Jesus.  One making this profession of faith may be added to the church by baptism.

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Um... Acts 7:2-53 - What about what Stephen said - 

2  And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

3  And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

4  Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

5  And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

6  And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.

7  And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

8  And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

9  And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

10  And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11  Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.

12  But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

13  And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.

14  Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.

15  So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,

16  And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

17  But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

18  Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.

19  The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

20  In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:

21  And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.

22  And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

23  And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

24  And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

25  For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.

26  And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?

27  But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?

28  Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

29  Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

30  And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

31  When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,

32  Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.

33  Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

34  I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

35  This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

36  He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

37  This is that Moses, 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.

38  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:

39  To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,

40  Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

41  And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

42  Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?

43  Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

44  Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.

45  Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;

46  Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

47  But Solomon built him an house.

48  Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

49  Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

50  Hath not my hand made all these things?

51  Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

52  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

53  Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

 

Has that definition changed?

Edited by Genevanpreacher

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