By calling the Church 'the seven-branched candlestick which bears the light of Christ' (see the opening of this chapter), Irenaeus expressed two
184 Aquinas reflects on the Church, particularly but not exclusively, when he deals with the grace of Christ as the head of the Church (ST III q. 8 a. 1—6) or with the sacraments (ST III. qq. 60—90). The Blackfriars translation of the Summa Theologiae gathers together in a general index his scattered references to the Church (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1981), lxi. 82^.
185 Head of the Spanish Inquisition from 1483 until 1498, the year of his death, Tomás de Torquemada was confessor to the sovereigns, Ferdinand V and Isabella, and apparently influential in their decision to expel Jews from Spain in 1492.
things: the origin of the Church in the Jewish people and the role of Jesus in founding this new assembly of God's people. The OT spoke of the people at Mount Sinai when they received the Ten Commandments and entered a solemn covenant with God as 'the gathering' or 'assembly (e.g. Deut. 5: 22; the synagoge in the LXX or Greek version) or as their ecclesia ('that which has been called out' in the Greek of Deut. 9: 10; 18: 16). The NT applies synagoge ('synagogue' in English) to Jewish schools or places of worship. Jesus visited synagogues (e.g. Mark 1: 39; Luke 4: 16—30, 31—8, 44); later St Paul and other early Christians used synagogues for dialogue and debate with non-Christian Jews (eg. Acts 13: 14-23; 17: 1-2, 10-12).
For Christian assemblies or congregations the NT uses ecclesia,186 and does so in various ways. There are 'house' churches or believers meeting in particular homes (e.g. Rom. 16: 5); the 'local' churches or congregations of Christians living and meeting in particular regions or towns such as Jerusalem (e.g. Acts 8: 1; 11: 22); and the 'universal' Church or entire body of believers throughout the world (e.g. Matt. 16: 18; Acts 9: 31; Eph. 1: 22). This term occurs frequently in the Book of Acts, in the letters of Paul, and in the Book of Revelation, and only nine times elsewhere in the NT, including three occurrences in Matthew's Gospel but with no examples in the other three Gospels. The most famous of these three instances comes undoubtedly in Jesus' words to Peter: 'On this rock I will build my Church' (Matt. 16: 18).
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