The Church of God that Jesus and the Apostles AttendedMarch 16, 2023
Today, there are numerous churches in the world. However, when Jesus came to this earth, how many churches did He establish? How many truths did Jesus teach? We all know Jesus came to this earth and preached one truth, and established one church. Then, what was the name of the church that Jesus established and the apostles attended? What kind of teachings did they keep in that church? Does the church that they established and attended still exist today? Let’s learn about the Church of God that Jesus established 2,000 years ago.
In order to understand this, we first need to look into how the Bible describes the church that Jesus and the apostles attended. Although there were many different bodies of believers 2,000 years ago, there was only one church that believed in Jesus as the Messiah. And, like all organizations, the church established by Jesus and attended by the apostles had a name. What was the name of that church?
What is the name of the Church established by God?
1 Corinthians 1:1-2 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours
The Apostle Paul wrote 14 of the 27 New Testament books. Among the letters, he directed the message of the letters to the members of the church Jesus established. Then, how did he acknowledge the church members of the church Jesus established? “To the Church of God in Corinth”. This church was located in Corinth, a region in Greece. This shows that the name of the church Jesus established 2,000 years ago, was titled, “The Church of God”. Let’s look at another verse to confirm this:
Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
Some may not know that Paul, before converting to being a Christian, was known as Saul, a Pharisee and expert in the Law of Moses. He intensely persecuted the people who believed in Jesus and their church organization, citing them as heretics. There was only one church organization that believed in Jesus at the time. What did Paul call the believers in the church that believed in Jesus? “How intensely I persecuted the Church of God…”. He called the church organization that believed in Jesus, “The Church of God”. Let’s look at one more example:
1 Corinthians 11:22-26 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Concerning this, Apostle Paul was referring to the desecration of the Holy Supper of the Passover of the New Covenant. In the Old Testament law, the Passover was kept by slaughtering a lamb and shedding its blood for the forgiveness of sins. However, Jesus established the church that kept the Passover of the New Covenant, using bread and wine symbolizing the body and blood of Jesus, rather than slaughtering a lamb. What did Paul call that church? “Or do you despise the Church of God…”. Paul called that church “The Church of God”.
Therefore, we can conclude that the name of the church established by Jesus and attended by the apostles was called, “The Church of God”. Therefore, if we want to attend the church that Jesus established, we should find the church called, “The Church of God”.
How can we distinguish the Church established by God?
However, there may be multiple churches called, “The Church of God”. How, then, would we be able to distinguish the church that Jesus and the apostles attended from another church? We need to understand some teachings that the Church of God had 2,000 years ago.
Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
From this verse, we can see that the church Jesus established was also known as “Zion”. What, then, is “Zion”?
Isaiah 33:20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken.
The Bible describes Zion as “The city of our festivals”. Then, what are the “festivals” mentioned here?
Leviticus 23:1-44 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies… “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord… The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins… “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath… Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord… “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts… “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord… “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest… So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord.
The festivals of the Lord indicate the ones above, listed as follows: The Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Day of Firstfruits (Day of Resurrection), The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
These feasts are grouped into three times:
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles…
This means that there are three categories in which the feasts are divided into: The Festival of Unleavened Bread (The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread), the Feast of Weeks (The Day of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks), and the Feast of Tabernacles (The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles).
In Hebrews, it says that the church that Jesus established is called “Zion”. This indicates that the church that Jesus established kept these feasts recorded in the Bible:
Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read.
Acts 17:2-3 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said.
Acts 18:4 Every Sabbath he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
We can see here that Jesus and the apostles kept the Sabbath day, worshipping on Saturday every week. What other teachings did they keep?
Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover… While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The church that Jesus established also kept the Passover, once a year at the appointed time.
Luke 24:1-35 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus… He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words… As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him…When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight… They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Acts 20:6-7 But we sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days. On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
The early Church commemorated the resurrection of Jesus, the Resurrection day, by breaking bread that day, as the fulfillment of the Day of Firstfruits:
1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Therefore, Jesus’s resurrection was the reality of the Day of Firstfruits.
Acts 2:1-3 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
The early Church also kept the feast of Pentecost.
John 7:2,15,37-38 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near… Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach… On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles as well, setting the example for the apostles and the church members to keep as well:
John 13:15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Therefore, when Jesus observed the Feast of Tabernacles, it undoubtedly signaled to the members of the church to also observe that feast.
We are able to see some of the teachings of the early Church clearly, that will allow us to properly find the Church of God that Jesus established and the apostles attended. Then does this church, keeping these teachings, exist today?
Yes, it does! The Church of God that existed 2,000 years ago still exists on this earth, keeping all these feasts. Millions of members exist all over the world, firmly keeping the teachings that Jesus established in joyful assembly.