6. A Hebraic Insight
A HEBRAIC ROOT INSIGHT
CHURCH From the Greek kyriakon, which means “the Lord’s House.” In the N.T., the Greek word ekklesia is translated “church” (which actually means ‘called out ones’. The Church then as a body of saints is called out of the world), but not in any radical sense of separation. (We are in the world but not of it, so as John writes we do not love the world or love (covet) the things within it). The Church is to be holy, set apart to serve God (2 Thess. 2:13; Col. 3:12) and to be a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). The Church is to be one body (John 17). The Church is to witness to Christ, who called us out of darkness and made us to be light within the world (1 Peter 2:9). As individual Christians and as the Body of Christ we must be in the world – as salt, light, and leaven – but not of the world, not participants in the evil found there.
In Matthew 18:17; Acts 15:41; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 7:17; 14:33; and Colossians 4:15, the word refers to a local body of believers in Christ. In Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 15:9; and Ephesians 1:22, it refers to the Body of Christ, the Church in the larger sense. The Church was intended to be the instrument for establishing the kingdom of God on earth, a kingdom “whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
The Church of Jesus Christ was born at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts (see all of Acts 2). The Church has three grand tasks that are never complete and embody its very reason for existing:
Worship, praising God in all aspects of life;
Making disciples, teaching its own to mature in Christ; and
Evangelism, teaching others the good news of God’s love. See Ecclesiology.
See: F.J.A. Hort, Christian Ecclesia (Macmillan 1990); H.Kung, The Church (Sheed and Ward 1967); P.H.Miller, The New Testament Church: Its Teaching and Its Scripture (Westminster 1932); W.Robinson, The Biblical Doctrine of the Church (The Bethany Press 1960); R.L.Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Moody 1972).
THE COMPACT DICTIONARY OF DOCTRINAL WORDS by DR. TERRY L. MIETHE.
Bethany House Publications. Minneapolis. Minnesota 55438. Copyright 1988 Terry L. Miethe.
Like a skilled physician, Dr. Terry Miethe has succinctly and successfully identified and briefly explained more than 550 theological concepts, upon which the Holy Scriptures are built.
From the foreword by Dr. Harold L. Wilmington (author of Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible).
As in any academic discipline, the Church has developed a rather highly specialised vocabulary that often leaves lay Christians in the dark. Yet this very vocabulary was intended to communicate important aspects, shades of meaning and insights into Christian truth and teaching. Thus the need for a dictionary to help those without special training to understand these words and benefit from them. A reference work to help you better understand and communicate God’s truths.
About the author:
Terry L. Miethe holds six earned degrees with honours, including a Ph.D in philosophy from Saint Louis University and a second Ph.D in theology and social ethics from the University of Southern California. He has taught at several schools, including Saint Louis University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Regent College, Vancouver B.C. and the University of Southern California. He has lectured in over twenty colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and England and is currently the Dean of the Oxford Study Centre, Oxford, England. He has authored eleven books and is listed in eighteen editions of Who’s Who, Who’s Who in Religion, Personalities of America, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Dictionary of International Biography and Contemporary Authors.
The English word Church first came into being in the 3rd century well after the canon of the New Testament was finished. The English language was developed in the Anglo-Saxon period of the 3rd and 4th century. It is then a Gentile word that our Lord would not have used at the time. When the Lord spoke in Matthew 16:18 it would have been in Hebrew/Aramaic and this statement was then recorded for us into Greek. The Lord Yeshua actually said, He would build the Lord’s House just as in like manner Isaiah recorded for the Lord that ‘My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all people.’ Isaiah 56:7.
We should also note that the name Church is not seen within the eternal order but the Israel of God is, as is the New Jerusalem with its Gates named after the 12 Tribes. Sadly, there are those amongst us who seem to forget that we are the ones who have been grafted into a Hebraic Olive Tree but we are also the ones producing fruit for Him as He said we would.
We may also note how James writes of some showing partiality in James 2:2 when a rich man comes into one of our synagogues – episunogogue – a meeting place for the called out ones. He does not use the word Church but again he would not know this word as it is now used to define a meeting place or assembly.
Paul refers to us as the Commonwealth of Israel within the Dispensation of Grace in Ephesians chapter 2 and also as the Household of God. As the Messianic Community grew apart from its ‘Hebraic roots’ new names came into being that helped to separate us from unsaved Israel and the rest is history. Although the term Church is acceptable it can also be unhelpful in Jewish evangelism which is all about friendship and education. By adding in or replacing words we have caused a separation intentionally or unintentionally, which has caused confusion and misunderstanding. Paul warns us not to boast against the natural branches in Romans 11:18 and in Romans 11:11 we can read that ‘salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.’ To be made jealous in that we have her Messiah and are part of God’s promise to include those Gentiles called out of the nations. But have we done this? Have we made Israel jealous? Replacementism is something that is being addressed by end time reformers raised up by God as we come alongside Israel in prayer and deed before His second coming to save and rescue His ancient covenant people. May the remnant continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Maranatha and Baruch haba b’shem Adonai.
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