A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
Edition No. 22          May 1, 2003
The Voice of Jesus
"This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
"Church" in Matthew 16:18
The False Teaching
 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (ekklesia), and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18) The use of "church" in translating this word misleads everyone.  Men assume that Jesus had a view of his ekklesia similar to the church.  Here is a typical interpretation: those "called out", the fellowship of believers, the organized society of Christ, the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Most commentators simply assume this view and do not further define ekklesia. The churchmen include in this word all the ideas to which they apply church, but for most it comes down to the organized society of Christians throughout the world, even though there are many such organizations on earth, each specified as church: the Catholic Church, Christian Church, or a similar definition. Nearly all see it in Matt. 16:18 as applying in a universal sense to everything on earth that men call church. Another such view is this: The ekklesia is God’s people viewed together as a new and whole community.
It a community on the earth, local or universal. This is false.
Exposing the Error
Christendom has misdefined church (ekklesia), beginning with the epistles and Acts of the New Testament. Few consider that Jesus had a different idea when he said ekklesia. It is true that it means an assembly called out, as the Israelites were called out of Egypt to assemble in the desert (Deut.31:30, Sept, Acts 7:38). But Jesus had other uses for the word, as when he applied it to the synagogue, a gathering of Jews (Mt. 18:17). But the assembly of Mt.16:18 can be understood only if we look for the one assembly, or gathering, that Jesus entered into the world to build. A second NT Greek word that means essentially the same thing is sunagoge, which comes from sunago (to gather) and we apply it to a gathering of Jews. The Christians used ekklesia only to distinguish their gathering from that of the Jews in synagogues. Both words are equivalent to the Hebrew, qahal, (to call or to call together an assembly of people) in the Septuagent, where they are so applied. Another thing very revealing in our text is that Jesus is assembling (building) his ekklesia on a certain foundation.  Read more.
Declaring the Truth
Jesus looked to a completely different assembly that was the end goal of all his work.He said of this gathering: Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered...and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, (Matt. 24:28,31)  As explained by the evangelist, Jesus died to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (Jn. 11:52) Thus he will assemble the ekklesia at the Resurrection, having called them out of the world, as God called Israel out of Egypt to gather elsewhere. This is not that which men call Church. Jesus spoke of children of God on earth like this: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mt:18:20) This gathering is not the ekklesia of which there is but one. In all these cases, gather is sunago or episunago that in Greek is equivalent to ekklesia that he is building. The foundation is that specified in Mat. 7:24: Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock. Read more.