Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"This word church has diverse significations" Pt 1 & 2

“This word church has diverse significations” Pt 1 of 4

These were the words of William Tyndale. Do you know of William Tyndale? Well if not, Tyndale is father of the first English Bible. He is the man responsible for the first translation of Greek and Hebrew Scriptures into the English language. In 1539, Tyndale's New Testament and his incomplete work on the Old Testament became the basis and in large part content of the Great Bible. This was the first "authorized version" issued by the Church of England during the reign of King Henry VIII. Your KJV bible, NIV, ESV, NLT, NASB and the countless other English renditions of the bible are in large part due to the work of Tyndale. Tyndale’s was the first English translation to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, and the first to take advantage of the new medium of print, which allowed for its wide distribution. So what did it cost Tyndale to translate the bible into English for you and me and the rest of the English reading world? The answer is his life. His translation was taken to be a direct challenge and attack to the supremacy of both the Roman Catholic Church and the English church and state. In 1535, Tyndale was arrested by church authorities and jailed for over a year. He was tried for heresy, strangled and burnt at the stake in 1536. Some of the accurate words and phrases introduced by Tyndale did not sit well with the hierarchy and power controls of the Roman Catholic Church, using words like "overseer" where the Church preferred "bishop," "elder" for "priest,", “love” rather than “charity”, among others. More controversially, Tyndale translated the Greek "ekklesia," (literally "called out ones") as "assembly/congregation" rather than "Church." It has been asserted this translation choice "was a direct threat to the Church's ancient non-scriptural claim to be the body of Christ on earth. To change these words was to strip the Church hierarchy of its pretensions to be Christ's worldly representative (and to strip away their powers), and to award this honour to individual worshipers (common people like you and I) who made up each congregation across the nations, towns, cities, neighborhoods and families."

Tyndale was burned by the collaborative efforts of the Roman Catholic Church and King of England for his treasonous crime of translating the scriptures into the language of the layman. He was killed because the church and state didn’t want ordinary people like you and I to be able to read, study, meditate and learn from scriptures so that we could seek and find the Lord for ourselves. No, they wanted control of that, control of the truth, control of the message, and control of the people. To have this they essentially needed control of scriptures to ensure that their traditions, customs, practices, rituals, doctrines and theology would be fed to the ignorant people, accepted and followed by them without question, challenge or contest. With control of the written word, they deceptively took the role as mediator (the middleman) between God and men. They wanted sole control of the written word because they knew of the power it possessed. With it they could falsely play the role as man’s link to God and Jesus Worldly Kingdom. Yes, the church wanted to be the God’s physical Kingdom on earth and the link between God and man; the anti Kingdom of God, the anti-mediator, and the anti-christ. Behold!How much they have accomplished since then…

Tyndale, a true believer and follower of Jesus (unto death) thought otherwise to the plans and intent of the church. Here are some of his quotes:

§ I had perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to stablish (establish) the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.

§ Take heed, therefore, wicked prelates (high-ranking members of the clergy, eg.bishop), blind leaders of the blind; indurate and obstinate hypocrites, take heed …. Ye will be the chiefest in Christ's flock, and yet will not keep one jot of the right way of his doctrine …ye keep thereof almost naught at all, but whatsoever soundeth to make of your bellies, to maintain your honour, whether in the Scripture, or in your own traditions, or in the pope's law, that ye compel the lay-people to observe; violently threatening them with your excommunications and curses, that they shall be damned, body and soul, if they keep them not. And if that help you not, then ye murder them mercilessly with the sword of the temporal powers, whom ye have made so blind that they be ready to slay whom ye command, and will not hear his cause examined, nor give him room to answer for himself.

§ I defie the Pope and all his lawes. If God spare my life, ere many yeares I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest.

§ Christ is with us until the world’s end. Let his little flock be bold therefore. For if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes, or whatsoever names they will?

§ Mark this also, if God send thee to the sea, and promise to go with thee, and to bring thee safe to land, he will raise up a tempest against thee, to prove whether thou wilt abide by his word, and that thou mayest feel thy faith, and perceive his goodness. For if it were always fair weather, and thou never brought into such jeopardy, whence his mercy only delivered thee, thy faith should be but a presumption, and thou shouldest be ever unthankful to God and merciless unto thy neighbor.

§ If God promise riches, the way thereto is poverty. Whom he loveth, him he chasteneth: whom he exalteth, he casteth, down: whom he saveth, he damneth first. He bringeth no man to heaven, except he send him to hell first. If he promise life, he slayeth first: when he buildeth, he casteth all down first. He is no patcher; he cannot build on another man’s foundation.

He will not work until all be past remedy, and brought unto such a case, that men may see, how that his hand, his power, his mercy, his goodness and truth, hath wrought altogether. He will let no man be partaker with him of his praise and glory. His works are wonderful, and contrary unto man’s works.

§ The preaching of God’s word is hateful and contrary unto them. Why? For it is impossible to preach Christ, except thou preach against antichrist; that is to say, them which with their false doctrine and violence of sword enforce to quench the true doctrine of Christ. And as thou canst heal no disease, except thou begin at the root; even so canst thou preach against no mischief, except thou begin at the bishops.

§ As Christ compareth the understanding of scripture to a key, so compareth he it to a net, and unto leaven, and unto many other things for certain properties. I marvel, therefore, that they boast not themselves of their net and leaven, as well as of their keys; for they are all one thing. But as Christ biddeth us beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, so beware of their counterfeited keys, and of their false net; which are their traditions and ceremonies, their hypocrisy and false doctrine, wherewith they catch, not souls unto Christ, but authority and riches unto themselves.

§ Where no promise of God is, there can be no faith, nor justifying, nor forgiveness of sins: for it is more than madness to look for any thing of God, save that he hath promised. How far he hath promised, so far is he bound to them that believe; and further not. To have a faith, therefore, or a trust in any thing, where God hath not promised, is plain idolatry, and a worshipping of thine own imagination instead of God.

§ I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God's Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me.

§ This word church has diverse significations.

After the death of Tyndale, the King of England eventually allowed the bible to be printed in English for all the people to read. And just about all of the Tyndale’s translations made it into the KJV and the countless other versions that have followed. The fifty-four independent scholars who created the King James Version of the bible in 1611 drew significantly on Tyndale's translations. One estimation suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's, and the Old Testament 76%. The translators of the Revised Standard Version in the 1940s noted that Tyndale's translation inspired the great translations that followed, including the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishops' Bible of 1568, the Douay-Rheims Bible of 1582–1609, and the King James Version of 1611, of which the RSV translators noted: "It [the KJV] kept felicitous phrases and apt expressions, from whatever source, which had stood the test of public usage. It owed most, especially in the New Testament, to Tyndale". Many scholars today believe that such is the case. Moynahan writes: "A complete analysis of the Authorised Version, known down the generations as "the AV" or "the King James" was made in 1998. It shows that Tyndale's words account for 84% of the New Testament and for 75.8% of the Old Testament books that he translated.[35] Joan Bridgman makes the comment in the Contemporary Review that, "He [Tyndale] is the mainly unrecognized translator of the most influential book in the world. Although the Authorised King James Version is ostensibly the production of a learned committee of churchmen, it is mostly cribbed from Tyndale with some reworking of his translation."

Much of Tyndale’s work made its way into your bible, BUT BUT BUT BUT… what didn’t make it in there? What critically important and significant word didn’t make it in there? What remained unchanged? What one word could the powers that be not afford to have changed in your bible? What one word could they not give up? What one word, if you had to pick one, do you think of all of Tyndale’s translation was linked to his death? What word would cost Tyndale his life in your estimation? What one word do you think threaten the false supremacy, false power, false control, false authority and deceptive influence the church had over the people? Did I just give the answer away…“This word church has diverse significations.” How true Tyndale, how so true!

This word church has diverse significations” Pt 2 of 4

The Lord says we should not argue over words. And this article is not intended to do that. It is to 1) share a truth that has been revealed to me on the substance of what Jesus Christ said He is building (He the Builder and Owner) when He said, “on this rock I will build My Ekklesia (wrongly translated as church), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” And 2) to preach against what Jesus is NOT building, that is, what men are building in vain under the lie that what they have built and are continuing to build, is what Jesus is building when He said "on this rock I will build My Ekklesia". For "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Ps 127:1" For I am convicted as Tyndale was that, “The preaching of God’s word is hateful and contrary unto them who rebel against God. Why? For it is impossible to preach Christ, except thou preach against antichrist; that is to say, them which with their false doctrine and violence of sword enforce to quench the true doctrine of Christ.” Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus did not come to bring peace to this fallen, sinful, wicked world, but a Sword. The Sword, which is the Word of God, divides the truth from the lies, the truth from the half-truths, the humble from the arrogant, the righteous from the unrighteous, the holy from the unholy, the innocent from the wicked, the hot from the cold, the true from the false, the sons of obedience from the sons of disobedience, the children of love from the children of the Wicked one. His Sword will and is cutting all that is not of God and casting it into the fire so that all that remains and abides forever is that which is of God; purity, holiness, righteousness, joy, peace, love and all the unsearchable and infathomable riches of God and His Christ.

Jesus does give the true believer His own peace, not the counterfeit peace of the world. It is not the peace in money, the peace in a job, the peace in a house, the peace in a family, or any other carnal peace that men seek which does not last. His peace is the peace that is within, the peace of the heart, soul and spirit that is never lost because of what is happening to the flesh or in the world; it is an eternal, not of this world: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

Ekklesia does not mean church

The true and accurate translation of the word Ekklesia, where Jesus said, I will build My Ekklesia, and all other places it is used in the New Testament, is “congregation” or “assembly” and NOT church. The word...ekklesia....is a compound word coming from the word kaleo, meaning 'to call,' and ek, meaning 'out of.' Thus...'the called-out ones.' The Ekklesia of the Messiah are the congregation/assembly of the ones called out from the world by God onto Jesus, who rescues them from sin and death makes them into a new creation and gives them the gift of eternal life. Ekklesia, " is the same word used by the Greeks for their assembly of citizens who were 'called out' to transact the business of the city. The word...implies...'assembly.' Tyndale preferred congregation. Simple enough, no? You see ekklesia was a common word used by the common greek speaking people, just like assembly and congregation are common words used by us common English speaking people. Jesus didn’t forge a new word when He first used ekklesia which is recorded in the original Greek scriptures. He did not create the word church as a new word for men to use. He did not make it a holy word or a word of any special significance. The word in itself is powerless, it grants no authority, right, privilege, no supremacy, no divinity, no holiness, no righteousness, NOTHING. All these reside in Jesus Christ alone. They reside in the Creator. Merely slapping His name on an Ekklesia, or a church, or a congregation, assembly, gathering or building doesn’t make Christ the builder, or founder or head of that entity. Christ does not become the SUBSTANCE of whatever men use His name in association with just by mere mention or print or display of Jesus, God or Holy Spirit or the other names/titles of God on whatever person, place or thing or any noun out there. No matter how many times people want to use His name for whatever thing there is out there, it does make it Jesus’ personal possession or affiliate. In this world, what hasn’t been done in His name? What the world that men call “good” and evil hasn’t been done in the name of Jesus? You name it and someone has said it is from or by or through or of Jesus Christ and God. Many things have been done in His name and continue to be that are not His Will. Yes many things are done in error using his name but should not be so. Just because one might say my ekklesia, or church or congregation or building is built for or by Jesus Christ doesn’t make it true or false. What will determine the substance is FIRE.

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day of the Lord will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 Peter 3

Why the inconsistency?

Ekklesia is used 115 times in the King James version of the New Testament. But, ekklesia is translated "church" in 108 times of those times. What about the three (3) appearances of ekklesia in the New Testament where it is NOT translated as “church”? The other three appearances of ekklesia are in the Book of Acts, Chapter 19.

The story line concerns Demetrius, who starts a riot in Ephesus. Demetrius, a silversmith, made shrines to the goddess Artemis. Paul and his ministry partners had created a great disturbance in Ephesus by proclaiming the kingdom and the ekklesia. Demetrius’ trade in silver shrines was adversely affected and he wanted Paul and his buddies out of town. Demetrius follows a simple plan. Start a disturbance, blame it on Paul, the known "trouble-maker," and get the sheriff to run him and his partners out of town. However, things did not happen like that in the Roman City of Ephesus. The citizens of Ephesus were educated in the Greek way of considering new ideas and thoughts and then arriving at their own deduced decisions. They gathered in a "town meeting" to hear new philosophies—they gathered as the ekklesia. The regular people shared, discussed, debated and finally they collectively came to a decision on a matter. They did not gather to hear one man’s voice, and take from one man’s counsel, obey one man’s instruction and order and then go home and call it a day. No. The citizens of Ephesus, in a gathered assembly, would decide the dispute between Demetrius and Paul together.

The other three times the word ekklesia appears in this story about Demetrius and Paul, they are translated "assembly" —which embodies the true meaning of ekklesia as the "called-out ones" or those called to assemble/congregate.

The Ephesians were "called-out"—from their everyday pursuits—to an arena to hear the "charges" and counter-charges. The citizens would then decide for themselves the issues.

The Ephesians did not go to "church" to play church.

To translate the word ekklesia to “church" in this passage would have misled the reader, (that’s you), about Demetrius and Paul and what the people of Ephesus were doing! They did not go to "church" to settle their dispute nor did they go to church to worship God or met God or experience God or get blessed by God. The citizens of Ephesus gathered as the ekklesia to decide for themselves on the dispute between Demetrius and Paul. So in Acts 19, the powers that be didn’t want to mislead you in this way concerning the definition and use of the word ekklesia. But how about in the 108 other places it is mentioned? Were they so cautious and consistent and honest with their translation of ekklesia as they were in Acts 19? Or were their different motives? We know how father of the English bible, William Tyndale, would answer this, how about you?

Origins of the word church

The word “church” is said to come from a different Greek word “kuriakon,”. Kuriakon actually means “pertaining to the lord.” It is actually used correctly twice in scripture: 1 Cor 11:20 The “ Lord’s [ kuriakon] supper;” and Rev 1:10, the “ Lord’s [ kuriakon] day.” In those passages it is the supper belonging to the Lord and the day belonging to the Lord respectively. Kuriakon was not a newly forged word when it was incorrectly and erroneously picked to translate Ekklesia. It had long been in use by pagans (idol worshippers) to mean “a religious building” originally and later used by fallen Christians who were following pagan customs. Christians originally didn’t use buildings, which distinguished them from the pagans whose focus was on buildings, statues, rituals and physical objects. The faithful earlier Christians did preach in temples and synagogues (they did, because they went to where the people were, they went everywhere and talked to everyone they were led to share the gospel with, sometimes even they tried going to places to share the gospel but were prevented by the Holy Spirit to go there. Act 16:6-7. Yes the Holy Spirit leads the true servants of God to where and where not they are to share the gospel!!), but there was never an emphasis, obligation, requirement, responsibility, compulsion, duty, necessity or importance about these places of “worship” and residence nor a special importance of the type of people. He said to them that were led by the Spirit to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (to everyone)” Mark 16:15 and “go and make disciples of all nations” Matt 28:19. There was nothing special or significant or noteworthy about where the saints met to fellowship either. They were never devoted to their place of fellowship and worship but were rather devoted to the fellowship itself, with Christ and among each other. They had real, active, personal and sincere relationships with Jesus and each other as brothers, sisters and a family in the Lord. There was absolutely nothing binding or holy to their place of fellowship and worship. Can the same things be said about the churches as they are today? Could you, ask that the location of your gathering be changed? Could you ask that you and a few people from your church meet at your home on Sunday instead of coming to church service? How would your pastor feel about this? For how long could such a thing last?

The words "kuriakon" and "ekklesia" are not synonymous by any stretch of the imagination and there is no justification of the use of “church” for ekklesia. Unless of course one has a built-in bias in shifting the meaning of the word from “the people” to “a building”. Or maybe one prefers the darkened understanding that men today have ascribed to what the church is and what it is about.

It interesting to see that even the most popular online bible concordance gives a variety of definitions of what Ekkleisa means, even various “Christian” meanings for your selection:

1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly

a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating

b) the assembly of the Israelites

c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously

in a Christian sense

1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting

2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake

3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body

4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth

5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

So what is your pick? Is what you, your fellow church members and your leaders say the church is and what actually happens in your church and what actually comes together to be called your church all in sync and in line with each other and the will of the Father? Is Jesus the builder, the architect, the head, the foundation and substance of your church and the churches of your friends and other family members’ , and the churches you see on tv and the churches of the pastors you hear on radio and those you check out on the internet? Behold:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25

But Solomon built Him a house.

However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

‘ Heaven is My throne,

And earth is My footstool.

What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,

Or what is the place of My rest?

Has My hand not made all these things?’

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you." Acts 7:47-51

Every time we hear or read the word church, a veil rests over our minds and our hearts harden. No matter how much you tell yourself that the "church” is not just the building but other things, you still think that the building is important, you still give it some special significance (you tell people to come to church don’t you?) —along with all the services, customs , activities and various components that are setup for it existence, functioning and operation. You still give special importance to all the baggage and weight that comes with churching. What do unbelievers think when you tell them “come to my church”, “come to the House of God”, “come to where Jesus lives”? What kinds of things do you say to convince the person to come to your church? What does a Christian who has bounced from church to church think the church is? How would you divide or distinguish your church from the rest? Isn’t yours different and unique from the others? Or would you say you are all the same? What makes your stand out? Your pastor? His teachings? Your membership? Your choir? Your various church departments? What makes your so special? What makes your church, church?

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem (where the Temple was and “temple worship” was done) will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know... But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:20-24

Has God not said He does not dwell in temples, nor is He served by human hands? How do you justify your church and the other churches of men and all you and they do in the name of service and worship to God? Has this hour not come and even passed, where we are to no longer worship God in temples, synagogues, mountain tops and churches? Isn’t it time now to seek the Lord’s desired worship, worship in true and in spirit? Hasn’t the curtain of the temple been torn in two from top to bottom? Has Christ not risen? Has the temple not been destroyed as Jesus prophesied? Have we not the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world and the world’s style and manner of worship onto God, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, the will of the Father that gets you into heaven and not great church works you do and the “Lord, Lord” “Jesus, Jesus” “Hallelujah, Hallelujah” that you say when you are playing church!

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