- Religion and Philosophy
Upon This Rock I will Build My Church
The true meaning of Ekklesia
ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY...
Many will fill the blank with the word "church" because it is the translated word traditionally accepted used by the KJV and other translations.
Let us look at a verse Jesus said using the Greek.
ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν
"On this Rock I will build my ekklesia."
In Matthew 16:18 the word "church" isn't found. "Of course it isn't," you say, "because the Greek doesn't use 'church'" Yes, the word in Greek is ekklesia and neither is the word "ekklesia" translated correctly as "church." What Jesus built wasn't something material, nor something institutional. Ekklesia does NOT mean facility, building, temple, house, or anything of the sort. Neither does it mean organization, institution, community center, or anything of that manner.
So why do we use the word "church," and why was it translated as such in places as Matthew 16:18? Because it was handed down from tradition of the Catholic Church that used the pagan temple model and its hierarchy leadership for its structure. And it was the best word to use to form the idea that the Catholic Church held an authoritative institution so it can imply an organization that has a hierarchy structure in which the Papacy is Head. In Protestant circles (no pun intended), it was the best word used to hold the English authoritative institution by the King so it can imply an organization that has a hierarchy structure in which would enforce the King as Head of the Church of England.
Hope you are starting to get the picture.
What was Jesus building? Jesus was building a temple NOT made with hands, one that isn't a physical facility, nor an organization as an institution. This one was crafted in the Spirit as a body of His living temple; the Saints (2 Cor 6:16). The ekklesia are the called-out ones gathered. In other words the Saints assembled. It is an organism, not an organization.
So then why do we consider the PLACE we go the "CHURCH?" Misappropriation of the word "ekklesia" and a twisting of its meaning, and the adoption of the pagan example, that's obviously why. And we think that because Jesus is BUILDING his church, we must BUILD by erecting physical churches to represent the place in which we meet Jesus. However, that violates scripture:
[Act 7:48-51] 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 stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.
You "stiffnecked!!!" That is what Jesus calls you. Because you think you can make a shrine for Him to meet you when He doesn't ask for that. Man's attempt is to reach God by building something that we can make for Him to dwell. But Jesus meets us as a body assembled. Called-out ones together, whether on the street, in a barn, at a home, in a warehouse, in a facility, at a hotel, on the beach, in the nearest Cafe, at the Mall, or even in a bar. And the gathering of spirit-filled saints is what the "gates of hades cannot prevail" against (Matthew 16:18), not the building in which is the shelter. He does not require us to make something with our hands to attempt to please Him to dwell with us.
Here is another truth, folks. For those who question this (as if the example was not clear enough), you say you know what church really means; that it is the people? Then WHY do you think church is a facility in a community used as a beacon to draw neighbors in, which are saved and UNSAVED? If the ekklesia are the called-out ones, then who are the ones inside who are NOT called-out? They are UNDER the church and think they are included as the Church. Isn't that what they are told Sunday after Sunday? But if the ekklesia is ONLY the called-out ones, they are not yet ready to join the group. You have contaminated the meeting supposed to be of the SAINTS. What fellowship does light have with darkness? How can two walk together unless they agree? The unbelievers are not suppose to represent the "church." Besides that many have them functioning roles IN the church organization. Wrong!
So then the question we get is "Then how do we expect to reach people if they don't come? And we shouldn't prohibit unbelievers to come inside if they want, that just isn't love, and we cannot hold back anyone from receiving the gospel." How about the way Jesus told, to GO OUT in the world and preach the gospel, be a witness, and tell them the good news.
Oy vey. The premise of your church organization starts out faulty from the beginning. The assembly of the saints is NOT meant for the unbelievers. If they were present, they need evangelism, not a sermon on how to be a better husband or community citizen, or how to succeed. You may as well invite Tony Robbins to your pulpit. If an unbeliever, or someone of milk is present, they should be assigned someone with gift of an EVANGELIST or SHEPHERD, and be matured in the faith to receive the Word.
The functions of the body work together for the functions of the assembly. Some will go out and evangelize (as we all should be a witness and share our light). Others will start fellowships and organize them. And there are some who will shepherd others to nurture, guide, instruct, and protect them as they get up to speed to be weened from milk and learn to hear the voice of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and feed on meat. Then they will be able to teach as well (Hebrews 5:12). If everything functioned as given example of the scriptures, we have enough instruction to take care of the situations that arise. We just have to get back to the correct model.