Hebrew Words Defined
The Church - Introduction
by Brad Scott
One of the main purposes of these lessons is to discuss the redefining of scriptural words. Some redefining does not cause life-altering changes. However, some are very important, and need to be revealed and thought about. We are in a battle with haSatan for the lives of those he wishes to deceive and destroy. We have discussed recently how knowing the truth is a continuation of YHVH's word (Yochanan (John) 8:31-32). Hasatan knows that if Yah's truth continues just like He designed it to do, then His lifesaving words will continue, as well. Hasatan hates that. The three most redefined words are faith, law, and grace. In my opinion, these three are closely followed by the redefining of the word church. Some paradigm shifts in this word are obvious to many. When preachers stand in the pulpit and proclaim that the church is not a building but YHVH's people, everyone concurs heartily. Some shake their heads and smile, conspicuously revealing that they never really thought about that. I just described most of modern Christendom. Some always knew that but betray the concept theologically. Why do I say that? Because we have been slowly programmed to believe that these people are only those of the last 2,000 years or of this dispensation. The church loves dispensationalism. Whenever there is a period of time in which there is teaching and instruction (also redefined as rules, law, and harsh taskmasters) that we are inconvenienced by, we can simply stick it into a dispensation. Disobedience by royal decree. Many will concede that in the tribulation the rules are back, and that in the millennium it seems that Sabbath and some feasts are back again. But that is explained by laying it all on the reappearance of Israel. Israel always has rules, but not us. God begins with rules, then fulfills them for 2,000 years and then goes back to the rules. So, we of the church cry FREEDOM. Hallelujah! No rules. Jesus has carried them all on His shoulders for us. Meanwhile, our society, our culture, our government, our nation, and our children rot and decay all around us as we put up another revival tent.
There are modern quips that many of us use matter of factly. I mentioned one earlier. The idea of "going to church" is certainly one. "I'm sorry honey, but I don't have time to mow the lawn right now, I've got some work to do at the church", is another. Many of us are late getting home on Sundays because "church was so late". These statements are truth simply because we have said them often enough to make them true. So, church to many of us is actually only a building. Sometimes in teaching and preaching we also make certain statements as if they are scriptural fact. The church began in Acts chapter 2. Do the Scriptures say that the church began in Acts chapter 2? No! We draw that conclusion for several different reasons. The number one reason is because we have always heard that. Just ask virtually anyone in your next Sunday school class where the Scriptures says that the church started in Acts. Most will have no clue. "That is what I was always taught" they will say. There will be some that will attempt to prove it by searching their concordance for the word church, which I shall show very soon is almost meaningless. There will be some that will ponder it for a few minutes and ask to get back with you on that one. There may be one person who knows the Scriptures well enough to quote Mattityahu (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 hades shall not prevail against it." The church is future, they will state. To begin with, "I will build" is future. "My church" is referring to the body of believers that Yeshua‘ will add to. The actual physical building is not being referenced here. The background of this statement is crucial, as well. I will address this after we have traced the formation and beginnings of this term. It has everything to do with His question about who He was and His response that they not tell anyone that He was Yeshua‘ haMashiach (verse 20). So, in keeping with our pattern so far, let us research this very important word.
The first thing I want to say about this word is very elementary, I admit. But sometimes I think that most of us really do not give much thought as to where words and ideas come from, especially words that we throw around a lot. YHVH chose to communicate to us in words, so how He defines them ought to be of upmost importance. When you read the New Testament in the Greek or the Hebrew it does not say church. Well duh! I know that. Do you really think about that? This word we are saying and defining and in many instances hanging our eternal hats on, may, and in most cases does, mean something different than our modern view may teach. Is that worth investigating? Where did this word church come from? This word has a long history. It immediately goes back to the English and Germanic word kirke. It is an old Babylonian term from the goddess Circe (pronounced "seer-say"). We get several English terms from this word, such as circle, circumference, circumstance, and circumvent, which is very revealing to me as to the real nature of this word. The goddess Circe was connected to the power of the sun, which is, of course, circular. This gives some insight to the anglo-saxon pagan practice of standing in circles. This also traces back to Constantine and his decree to blend the current pagan practices with his so-called new found faith, Christianity. The Greek word that church was translated from is ekklesia (έκκλησία). This word is a combination of two Greek words, ek normally translated as out of, and the word kaleo, as in to call. So, the word church comes from the Greek word meaning to call out. This gets us much closer to the original intent of the word. However, it is erroneous to assume that the word ekklesia is synonymous with the body of Yeshua', the true believers. This word was well known in Greek culture long before Yeshua‘ arrived on the scene. It was the very word used to describe the assembly of worshippers of every conceivable god known to the Greeks. In other words, this word is simply an assembly of people. Any people, anywhere, anytime. It is the word that the early translators chose to best represent the Greek equivalent to its original Hebrew beginning. But it only best represents it. This word appears in the New Testament over 100 times. It also begins in the Tanakh and appears there over 100 times as well. We will trace its beginnings next time.
There is one thought that I would like to leave with you to ponder. I hope to continue to show that the redefining of all scriptural terms has one common source and one common purpose, TO SEPARATE MAN FROM THE COMMANDMENTS OF YHVH, to leave man continually disobedient, lost, confused, and disconnected from the life-giving words of YHVH. I believe that the enemy knows that if he can disassociate us from so-called "Jewish" things, and reinvent a whole new religion spouting all new terms, then this plan will plant the seeds of deception. This deception would eventually lead to a scattered church. See you next time.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊