Hebrew Words Defined
The Church Part 3
by Brad Scott
I hope and pray that I have given some fundamental background to the word church. The conclusion to this matter is very simple. The church, as it is commonly used in Scripture, is an assembly of people who believe and follow YHVH. In the New Testament it is called the body of the Messiah - Ephesians 1:23; the children of God - Yochanan (John) 1:12; the faithful in Yeshua‘ the Messiah - Ephesians 1:1; believers - 1 Timothy 4:12; saints - Romans 1:7; Avraham's seed - Galatians 3:29; a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people - 1 Kefa (Peter) 2:9; and a host of other titles. In the Tanakh, the assembly (church) is called believers of YHVH - Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 15:6, Divre-Hayamim Bet (2 Chronicles) 20:20; Avraham's seed - Mizemor (Psalm) 105:6; the faithful - Havakuk (Habakkuk) 2:4; a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people - Shemot (Exodus) 19:5-6; and a host of other titles. The most frequent title is Israel.
This is not the time to do a detailed study of Israel. We will do that another time. I will deal later with the fact that Israel is the name of the nation of people who YHVH foreknew would accept his words and preserve them. They are the name, as a nation, of people who would be YHVH's assembly. They are YHVH's assembly (church) as a nation of people. That "nation" of people now is called the body of the Messiah (Christ). YHVH foreknew that the assembly called Israel would fall into unrighteousness and unbelief, and they would reject Him for a foreknown period of time. But they would reject Him as a nation. He also knew that they would return to Him as a nation. In the meantime, individuals, whether Hebrew or of the nations, would come to know this same Messiah, by the preaching of the gospel, and be individually planted into the one and same Messiah. Israel as a nation is still in unbelief. Virtually all the prophecies in the Tanakh concerning Israel speaks of them coming back to the land as dry bones and then at some point will be restored by faith in the Messiah (Yechezeq’el (Ezekiel) 37). This assembly is referred to again as the nation Israel. Meanwhile, there is still only one assembly. There has always been one assembly. There are not two assemblies with different means by which to enter. Entrance into the one assembly has always been by faith only. This is very clearly taught in Ephesians chapter two, verse 21. The building that YHVH is constructing is in two sections. The foundation and the structure are built together, "in whom all the building fitly framed together grows into an holy temple in YHVH." More on this at a later time.
Before we move on to our next word I need to take the time to correct a misstatement I made in part 2. The Devariym 4:10 reference is not the first mention of the term qahal (church, assembly). As I have said in the past the first mention is very important. The first mention sets the foundation for what a word is going to mean, especially symbolically, for the rest of Scripture. The very first mention of qahal is in Bere’shiyt 28:3. Verse 3 reads in the Hebrew, "veel shadday yevarek ‘oteka veyapherka veyarebeka vehayiyta loqehal ‘ammim". This reads in the English as "And may El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful, and add to you and may you become an assembly of nations." Here, YHVH is foretelling that the seed of Avraham is to come through Yitzchaq (Isaac) and Ya‘aqov (Jacob) and eventually to produce the Messiah. YHVH's church is always HIS assembly. It has many names throughout the Scriptures, but it is always His assembly. It did not begin in Acts chapter 2. The believers in Acts 2 were gathered to OBSERVE a feast to YHVH, Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, not to BEGIN the assembly. This leads us to ask the obvious question. What is the promise they were waiting for? It has been traditionally taught that the promise was the inaugural appearance of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). But this is a huge oversimplification, not to mention leading to the erroneous belief that the Ruach haQodesh was not working in the salvation of believers in the Tanakh. There are several more words that need to be properly defined before we tackle this subject.
Next time, we will research the word repentance. This word, more than any other, must be defined from its origin. This word has been so twisted and mangled, that it bears little or no resemblance to its original meaning, and has misled literally millions of so-called Christians. We are going to get a little controversial, but I believe with all that is in me that YHVH is crying out to His church today to turn from their wrong ways and turn back to His ways. See you next time.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊