The established "Christian" religious system, which manifests itself in the term "church", is NOT of YEHOVAH God. It will become very clear, by studying the Greek words found in the New Testament, that the term which YEHOVAH God intends His people to refer to themselves, and live by, is ECCLESIA, and that it is RADICALLY different from the term "church" used in our day. As you read this article the truth will dawn on you that Christians today have been fed a LIE, and that they have been enslaved by the religious systems of men. If you truly love YEHOVAH God and the Messiah -- and desire to follow them in total obedience -- then you must seriously consider the facts that follow. We encourage each and every person who claims to be a Christian to PRAY, FAST AND SEEK YEHOVAH GOD concerning the important differences between how the first Christians lived and how Christians live today.
Let's look at some modern-day situations which may help your understanding.
(1) There are several derivative languages from the old Biblical Greek language, now referred to as the Latin languages. If you plug in the word "church" to a translator program, here's what you come up with in those languages:
Modern-day Greek is still -- εκκλησία.
Spanish -- iglesia.
French -- église.
Italian -- chiesa.
Portuguese -- igreja.
You can still see the tie in Spanish and French, and indeed, if you are speaking to a Spanish-speaking person, they will fully understand your use of the word ekklesia. Today, we have historians who are referred to as "revisionists," meaning that they have been re-interpreting history, sometimes altering or leaving out selective parts, for prejudicial reasons. As a result of King James translation in 1611, a revisionist event took place, and the understanding that the Messiah's called out ones were not a building, institution nor a set of rituals, was lost. Now, in the twenty-first century, you'll have a difficult time finding people who understand the concept of what ekklesia is because of this revisionism.
(2) In Mohammedan Islam, the word used by most English speaking people, when translating the Arabic word allah, is god (or God). It is well known that the Arabic word allah is the word for the pagan Arabic moon god, yet the mistake is made to translate allah as if it means The Creator of the universe -- which it most certainly does not mean! This has been a slip in translation that Mohammedans use to their advantage, so western thinkers don't catch the fact that they truly do not worship the same God as Hebrews and Christians. All gods are not equals, and none are God, especially allah, the moon god of Arabia.
The Correct Meaning of the Term "Church"
(The following information is found in the ACMTC Library and at BenWilliamsLibrary.com).
Let's start by defining the term "church." This word comes from the Old English and German word pronounced "kirche." In Scotland it was "kirk."
The following entries are from the Oxford Universal English Dictionary:
"Church [Old English cirice, circe; Middle English chereche, chiriche, chirche; whence churche, cherche, etc.: - Greek Kuriakon...]"
"Kirk. The Northern English and Scottish form of CHURCH, in all its senses."
In the earlier Greek It was pronounced "ku-ri-a-kos" or "ku-ri-a-kon." As you can see, this word doesn't even resemble the Greek word "ecclesia" whose place it has usurped. The meaning of "Ku-ri-a-kos" is understood by its root: "Ku- ri-os," which means "lord." Thus, "kuriakos" (i.e., "church") means "pertaining to the lord." It refers to something that pertains to, or belongs to, a lord. The Greek "kuriakos" eventually came to be used in Old English form as "cirice" (Kee-ree-ke), then "churche" (kerke), and eventually "church" in its traditional pronunciation. A church, then, is correctly something that "pertains to, or belongs to, a lord."
Now, as you can see, there is a major problem here. The translators broke the rules in a big way. When they inserted the word "church" in the English versions, they were not translating the Greek word "kuriakos", as one might expect. Rather, they were substituting an entirely different Greek word. This was not honest! The word "church" would have been an acceptable translation for the Greek word "kuriakos." However, not by the wildest imagination of the most liberal translator can it ever be an acceptable translation for the Greek word "ecclesia." Are you following this? Consider it carefully. This truth will answer many questions you've had about churches, and the Kingdom.
"Ecclesia" is an entirely different word with an entirely different meaning than "kuriakos." In fact, the Greek word "kuriakos" appears in the New Testament only twice. It is found once in I Corinthians 11:20 where it refers to "the Lord's supper," and once again in Revelation 1:10 where it refers to "the Lord's day." In both of those cases, it is translated "the Lord's..." -- not "church." This word does not appear again in the New Testament. Nonetheless, this is the unlikely and strange history of the word "church" as it came to the English language. Eventually, through the manipulation of organized religion "church" came to replace "ecclesia" by popular acceptance. Again, we must emphasize the importance of knowing word meanings in order to know the intent of those who wrote the Scriptures.
The Correct Meaning of the Term "Ecclesia"
Now, let's look at the word, "ecclesia". This Greek word appears in the New Testament approximately 115 times. That's just in this one grammatical form. It appears also in other forms. And in every instance, except three, it is wrongly translated as "church" in the King James Version. Those three exceptions are found in Acts 19:32, 39, 41. In these instances the translators rendered it "assembly" instead of "church." But, the Greek word is exactly the same as the other 112 entries where it was changed to "church" wrongly.
In Acts 19, "ecclesia" is a town council: a civil body in Ephesus. Thus, the translators were forced to abandon their fake translation in these three instances. Nonetheless, 112 times they changed it to "church." This fact has been covered-up under centuries of misuse and ignorance. The Greek word "ecclesia" is correctly defined as: "The called-out (ones)" [ECC = out; KALEO = call]. Thus, you can see how this word was used to indicate a civil body of select (called, elected) people.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
"In the New Testament, "ecclesia" (signifying convocation) is the only single word used for church. It (ecclesia) was the name given to the governmental assembly of the city of Athens, duly convoked (called out) by proper officers and possessing all political power including even juridical functions."
Obviously, in Greece an ecclesia had no resemblance to a church. An "ecclesia" was a civil assembly in Athens even before the writing of the New Testament. In the Oxford Universal English Dictionary (considered the standard for the English language) the word "ecclesia" is listed in its English form as used by our English forefathers. (Nowadays, only forms of the word appear -- like, "ecclesiastical").
Quoting from the Oxford Universal English Dictionary on the word "ecclesia":
"Ecclesia [mediaeval Latin, and Greek -- from: SUMMONED] -- A regularly convoked assembly, especially the general assembly of Athenians. Later, the regular word for church."
Thus, two of the most prestigious word resources in the English language confirm the fact that an "ecclesia" was originally a select civil body, summoned or convoked for a particular purpose. What, then, did the writers of the New Testament mean when they used the word "ecclesia" to describe a Christian body of people? We can assume that they intended to convey the original Greek meaning of the word: a body of Christians called out of the Roman and Judean system to come together into a separate civil community. It meant a politically autonomous body of Christians under no king but YEHOVAH God and the Messiah; under no other jurisdiction but that of YEHOVAH God. No man ruled them! Only the Messiah under YEHOVAH God. And that was the reason these same Christians ran into trouble with kings and rulers; were arrested, crucified and martyred. They dropped Caesar as their King and took up the Messiah.
In Acts 17, verses 1-6 we see that Paul and Silas had a reputation that preceded them. They were "turning the world (system) upside down." What was their inflaming message? Were they telling the people to find a minister and support him; go to church every weekend; be nice to their neighbors? Could this have been the message that set the city fathers against them? Or maybe they were asking people to send their tithes to them so they could build a nice church or develop a Christian recreation center? No? What then? What were these guys doing that was "turning the world system upside down"? The answer is found in verse 7:
"Whom Jason hath received (into his house): and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus."
Now is that clear? Do you see what they were doing? They were announcing ANOTHER KING! Not Caesar! This was a king who was bigger than Caesar. They were forming civil bodies that no longer looked to Caesar as their king. They were forming civil outposts for the Messiah's conquering army! They were at war!
Paul and Silas weren't "church builders" like preachers today claim. They weren't proselytizing people from one church or synagogue to another. They were kingdom builders! They were dethroning rulers in the minds of the people and alienating them from the mental hold Caesar had upon them through heathenistic (central) government. They were teaching the principles of Christian government. They were putting forth the call of YEHOVAH God to whomever would hear and obey, and those whose hearts responded to the call became citizens of the Messiah's kingdom and joined themselves to the ecclesia, or community of believers.
Church and State Destroy Liberty
The Oxford Dictionary also has an interesting entry under "congregation":
"...used by Tyndale* as a translation of 'ecclesia' in the New Testament, and by the sixteenth century reformers instead of "church." (*William Tyndale was the fifteenth century reformer and Bible translator murdered by the church)"
Tyndale was willing to die for YEHOVAH's word and truth. He didn't like the word "church." Instead, he used the word "congregation." Now that tells us something! Godly Tyndale, and other sixteenth-century reformers who were more reputable, did not like the word "church." They used other words like "congregation," "governmental assembly," etc.
When you consider the fact that an "ecclesia" was "a civil body politic", this is strong proof that the Christian ecclesias we read about in the New Testament were independent civil bodies of Christians -- independent from worldly kings and governors, ruled by the Theocratic government of YEHOVAH God's spirit. They wanted freedom to serve YEHOVAH God and the Messiah. They weren't building and attending churches! Please understand! The pattern laid down in the New Testament bears no resemblance to what we know today as "church". YEHOVAH's people are meant to live by the ecclesia pattern -- together in communities, holding all things common, under the government of YEHOVAH God through His anointed leaders. Quit saying "church" when it is supposed to be "ecclesia"! It's an important step in retrieving your brain from the trap of religious confusion.
Christian Civil Body
Independent self-government under the Messiah and YEHOVAH God! That is what the ecclesia represents -- not a religious organization for meeting on weekends. The Bible does not indicate that churches would eventually take the place of ecclesias. The change of words was not sanctioned by Scripture. There is NO Scriptural authority for Christians to build churches, attend churches, or support churches! Churches are ungodly organizations designed for and by the heathen.
We should be forming and defending ecclesias instead of the disgusting churches with their con games, entertainment, cultic mystery, childishness, and heathenistic worldly nonsense. We once used the word "church" to describe ourselves, but no more thank YEHOVAH God. We're doing our best to break that image. It's a slow process, but we're putting the old church ways behind us.
The Idolatry Must Stop
If you profess to follow the Messiah, then it's time you quit voluntarily feeding the anti-Christ beast. Men who want to sincerely follow the Messiah must wean themselves from worldly governments and churches. It is the height of absurdity for a Christian to attend and support the very institutions which are destroying his relationship with YEHOVAH God. Those who voluntarily support man-made religious church systems, by believing and teaching that they are good in any way, or that they help us, or that we need them, are still living in a dream world of deception. The ecclesia system, with it's Theocratic government and individual responsibility, is capable of freeing us from the bondage of religion. True peace and liberty cannot be found outside of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah. YEHOVAH's system is the ecclesia system. Freedom awaits all those who will break away from the religious slavery of church and become a humble bond-slave of Yeshua the Messiah. We must stop idolizing men in their religious hypocrisy and let the Messiah once and for all be our king!
So, there is really no other choice for those who would truly follow the pattern laid down for us in YEHOVAH's Word. We must do the same thing the apostles did. We must form ourselves into actual communities under the guidance of YEHOVAH's anointed and appointed leaders, called out and separated from the world, with none other than Yeshua the Messiah as our ruler and king. In other words, ECCLESIAS!
As a whole, Christians have departed from the pattern laid down in the book of Acts and have built, according to their own wisdom, an artificial, phony, putrefying religious mess called "church". It's time to REVOLT against the wisdom of our religious flesh and get back to the wisdom of YEHOVAH God. It's time to re-evaluate and re-examine everything about how you think the true followers of the Messiah should live. It's time for REVOLUTION against DEAD RELIGION! We are determined to change the way the world thinks about how true followers of the Messiah should live. We have been following the ecclesia pattern for over 10 years and have seen the blessings and power of YEHOVAH God every step of the way. YEHOVAH God does miracles for those who are willing to sacrifice ALL.
Occurrences of Ekklesia in the Original Greek Texts
(Substitute the phrase "called out ones" for ekklesia)
Matthew 16:16: "... upon this rock I will build my ekklesia..."
Matthew 18:17: "... tell it unto the ekklesia, and if he refuses to listen even to the ekklesia..."
Acts 2:47: "... the Lord added to the ekklesia daily..."
Acts 5:11: "... fear came upon all the ekklesia..."
Acts 7:38: "This is the one who was in the ekklesia..."
Acts 8:1: "... on that day, a great persecution arose against the ekklesia in Jerusalem..."
Acts 8:3: "But Saul began ravaging the ekklesia, entering house after house, dragging off men & women..." (Note: No "church" or central meeting place mentioned here).
Acts 9:31: "So the ekklesia throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace..."
Acts 11:22: "The news of them reached the ears of the ekklesia at Jerusalem..."
Acts 11:26: "... met with the ekklesia and taught great numbers, the disciples were first called Christians..."
Acts 12:1: "... Herod laid hands on some amongst the ekklesia, in order to mistreat them..."
Acts 12:5: "... but prayer for him was being made fervently by the ekklesia to God."
Acts 13:1: "Now there were at Antioch, in the ekklesia that was there..."
Acts 14:23: "... when they had appointed elders for them in every ekklesia..."
Acts 14:27: "And when they had arrived and gathered the ekklesia together..."
Acts 15:3: "Therefore, being sent on their way by the ekklesia..."
Acts 15:4: "And they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the ekklesia..."
Acts 15:22: "Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole ekklesia..."
Acts 15:41: "... traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the ekklesia."
Acts 16:5: "So the ekklesia were being strengthened..."
Acts 18:22: "... he went up and greeted the ekklesia..."
Acts 20:17: "... and called to him the elders of the ekklesia..."
Acts 20:28: "... the ekklesia of God, which he purchased with his own blood."
Romans 16:1: "... the ekklesia which is at Cenchrea..."
Romans 16:4: "... all the ekklesians of the Gentiles..."
Romans 16:5: "... greet the ekklesia that is in their house..." (No "church" mentioned here!).
Romans 16:16: "... all the ekklesia of Christ greet you..."
Romans 16:23: "... Gaius, host to me and to the whole ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 1:2: "... to the ekklesia of God which is at Corinth..."
1 Corinthians 4:17: "... just as I teach everywhere, in every ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 6:4: "... who are of no account in the ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 7:17: "... thus I direct in all the ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 10:32: "Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the ekklesia of God..."
1 Corinthians 11:16: "... we have no other practice, nor have the ekklesia of God."
1 Corinthians 11:18: "For, in the first place, when you come together as a ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 11:22: "... or do you despise the ekklesia of God..."
1 Corinthians 12:28: "... God has appointed in the ekklesia, first apostles, second prophets..."
1 Corinthians 14:4: "... one who prophesies edifies the ekklesia."
1 Corinthians 14:5: "... so that the ekklesia may receive edifying."
1 Corinthians 14:12: "... since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the ekklesia."
1 Corinthians 14:19: "... in the ekklesia I desire to speak five words with my mind..."
1 Corinthians 14:23: "If therefore the whole ekklesia should assemble together..."
1 Corinthians 14:28: "... let him keep silent in the ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 14:33: "... for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the ekklesia of the saints."
1 Corinthians 14:34: "Let the women keep silent in the ekklesia..."
1 Corinthians 14:35: "... it is improper for a woman to speak in ekklesia."
1 Corinthians 15:9: "... I persecuted the ekklesia of God."
1 Corinthians 16:1: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the ekklesia of Galatia..."
1 Corinthians 16:19: "The ekklesia of Asia greet you..."
2 Corinthians 1:1: "... to the ekklesia of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia..."
2 Corinthians 8:1: "... which has been given in the ekklesia of Macedonia..."
2 Corinthians 8:18: "... the gospel has spread through all the ekklesia..."
2 Corinthians 8:19: "... he has also been appointed by the ekklesia..."
2 Corinthians 8:23: "... they are messengers of the ekklesia..."
2 Corinthians 8:24: "Therefore openly before the ekklesia show them proof of your love..."
2 Corinthians 11:8: "I robbed other ekklesians, taking wages from them to serve you..."
2 Corinthians 11:28: "... there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the ekklesia."
2 Corinthians 12:13: "For in what respect were you treated as inferior to the rest of the ekklesia..."
Galatians 1:2: "... to the ekklesia of Galatia.."
Galatians 1:13: ".. I used to persecute the ekklesia of God beyond measure..."
Galatians 1:22: "... I was still unknown by sight to the ekklesia of Judea..."
Ephesians 1:22: "... and gave Him as head over all things to the ekklesia."
Ephesians 3:10: "... manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the ekklesia..."
Ephesians 3:21: "... to Him be the glory in the ekklesia..."
Ephesians 5:23: "... Christ also is the head of the ekklesia..."
Ephesians 5:24: "But the ekklesia is subject to Christ..."
Ephesians 5:25: "... Christ also loved the ekklesia and gave Himself up for her..."
Ephesians 5:27: "... that He might present to Himself, the ekklesia in all her glory..."
Ephesians 5:29: "... Christ also does the ekklesia..."
Ephesians 5:32: "This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the ekklesia."
Philippians 3:6: "... as to zeal, a persecutor of the ekklesia..."
Philippians 4:15: "... no ekklesia shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone..."
Colossians 1:18: "He is also head of the body, the ekklesia..."
Colossians 1:24: "... His body, which is the ekklesia..."
Colossians 4:15: ".. and the ekklesia that is in her house..."
Colossians 4:16: "... have it also read in the ekklesia..."
1 Thessalonians 1:1: "Paul, Silvanus and Timothy to the ekklesia..."
1 Thessalonians 2:14: "... became imitators of the ekklesia of God..."
2 Thessalonians 1:1: "Paul, Silvanus and Timothy to the ekklesia..."
2 Thessalonians 1:4: "... we ourselves speak proudly of you among the ekklesia..."
1 Timothy 3:5: "... will he take care of the ekklesia..."
1 Timothy 3:15: "... the household of God which is the ekklesia..."
1 Timothy 5:16: "... let not the ekklesia be burdened..."
Philemon 2: "... and to the ekklesia in your house..."
Hebrews 12:23: "... to the general assembly and ekklesia of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven..."
James 5:14: "... Let him call for the elders of the ekklesia..."
1 Peter 5:13: "... the ekklesia who is at Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings..."
3 John 6: "... and they bear witness to your love before the ekklesia..."
3 John 9: "I wrote something to the ekklesia..."
3 John 10: "... and puts them out of the ekklesia."
Revelation 1:4: " John to the seven ekklesia in Asia..."
Revelation 1:11: "... send it to the seven ekklesia..."
Revelation 1:20: "... the angels of the seven ekklesia and the seven lamp stands are the seven ekklesia."
Revelation 2:1: "To the messenger of the ekklesia at Ephesus..."
Revelation 2:7: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 2:8: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia at Smyrna..."
Revelation 2:11: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 2:12: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia in Pergamum..."
Revelation 2:17: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 2:18: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia in Thyatira..."
Revelation 2:23: "... and all the ekklesia will know that I am He..."
Revelation 2:29: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 3:1: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia in Sardis..."
Revelation 3:6: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 3:7: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia in Philadelphia..."
Revelation 3:13: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 3:14: "... to the messenger of the ekklesia in Laodicea..."
Revelation 3:22: "... hear what the spirit says to the ekklesia."
Revelation 22:16: "I, Jesus, have sent my messenger to testify to you these things for the ekklesia..."
Which Term Should We Use -- Church or Ecclesia?
by HOIM Staff
As a whole, Christians have departed from the pattern laid down in the book of Acts and have built, according to their own wisdom, an artificial, phony, putrefying religious mess called "church". It's time to re-evaluate and re-examine everything about how you think the true followers of the Messiah should live. Christians today have been fed a LIE, and they have been enslaved by the religious systems of men.
all credit for this article to the
Hope of Israel Ministries - staff
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Courage for the Sake of Truth is Far Better Than Silence for the Sake of Unity!
Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.