My Scripture Studies
Remove the Blinders - Read and Study the Bible!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What is the Church?

Depending on the translation you use, there are 70+ verses in the Bible's Newer Testament that use the phrase "the church".

The number "70" is important in the Bible. Interestingly, there were 70 nations who populated the earth after the great flood. They are seen in Genesis 10.

Not only that, some 70 people traveled to Egypt (read Genesis 46:26-27). These became the tribes or families of Israel living in Egypt (see Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5 and Ruth 4:11).

During the exodus journey, there were 70 elders or leaders of the families that were invited to the top of the mountain to the first Lord's Supper (see Exodus 24:1 or Numbers 11:16) and believe it or not, there were 70 disciples, not just 12 that met with Messiah Yeshua before He sent them out to witness in spirit and in power (see Luke 10:1-17).

Now, if we turn back and read Daniel 9:24 we see it declares 70 weeks:
"Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city
to bring the rebellion to an end,
to put a stop to sin,
to wipe away iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most holy place."
So, seventy (70) is an important Bible key and if we look into the New Testament record with a concordance in hand, we can see that the 70+ church (word) appearances are traditionally translated from one Greek word ἐκκλησία which is "ekklēsia."

But the odd thing is this, the origin for church is not the Greek word ekklēsia, it is kȳriakón. gives us the history of the word church:
"Origin of church -before 900; Middle English chir(i)che, Old English cir(i)ce ≪ Greek kȳri(a)kón (dôm ) the Lord's (house), neuter of kȳriakós of the master, equivalent to kȳ́ri(o ) master ( kŷr(o ) power + -ios noun suffix) + -akos, variant of -ikos -ic; akin to Dutch kerk, German Kirche, Old Norse kirkja."
The Greek word ekklēsia is congregation, its the word that appears by no coincidence over 70 times in the Gospels and the Epistles. The Greek ekklēsia occurs some 77 times in 76 verses in the NASB. The New Strong's Concordance gives further meaning to ekklēsia as the concordance defines this word as:
"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..."

The assembly of the Israelites. 
Are you serious??

Yes, that is exactly what it says. The original 1890 Strong's Edition gives us even more insight into the Greek meaning of ekklesia (ἐκκλησία):
"ekklesia {ek-klay-See'-ah} from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation.
(Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):--assembly, church. See Greek-- 1537 See Greek-- 2564

kaleo {kal-eh'-o} akin to the base of 2753; to "call" (properly, aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise):--bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-name (was (called))."
Did you notice the kaleo surname connection. It is the name shared within common identity by the members of a family. Yes, you read that, a family name.

Since 1890, the original James Strong concordance has been amended and re-published several times. The most recent edition I have was released in 2007. It adds the following modern explanation of ekklēsia that does not really track that closely with Mr. Strong's original:
"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".
Should we notice that what started out as coming from the surname of the called out ones that has now by popular doctrine understanding has morphed from the pulpit to pew into "religious rites, religious meetings, affairs, regulations prescribed..."

Is it important to note that the translator's of the King James Bible chose to use "ekklēsia" with its original root meaning "assembly" is found in the KJV only three times, just three (see Acts 19:32; Acts 19:39 and Acts 19:41), yet today the two words "the church" can be found many more times from the exact same Greek word ἐκκλησία.

Thank goodness we still have the Greek manuscripts.

The NIV Bible translates "ekklēsia" with its original Biblical intent in Acts 7:30 NIV as the Jewish disciple and martyr Stephen declares Moses' words as the "ekklēsia" of Deuteronomy 18:15:
"This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people. He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us. "
Why did the word church go missing here?

Considering the "expanded" modern concept of "the church" that prevails today in the form of a new Christian religion, we do have to ask ourselves: have the modern translators actually "translated" or have they inserted the former known identity of the assembly called out by God into a 'new' term not seen in the balance of the Bible?

Before you answer these questions, keep reading from the '1611' King James Bible that is based on the Textus Receptus and the translation of William Tyndale 85 years earlier. The 47 translators that gave us the 1611 Bible appointed by King James from "the Church" of England give us some defining words about "the church" direct from the martyr Stephen, the man full of faith and power, the man that did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Just before Stephen was stoned, he declared these words from Moses leading the wilderness "church" in Acts 7:36-38:
"He brought them out, after that He had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the Mount Sinai, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us"
Hey, wait a minute... are we reading the Bible's book of Acts correctly... do the words of the man of full faith and power actually call "the children of Israel" in the wilderness of Mount Sinai 1,500 years before Messiah's first coming "the church"??

Well, yes they do.

Israel has always been the original, it's not new at all, but words in translation can change meaning.

Gentiles, by choice are grafted into the assembly congregation of the God of Israel just like the mixed multitude of sojourners, strangers and aliens that left Egypt and chose to join Israel's family as they followed God into the wilderness.

They all came out of slavery, out of Egypt together through the sea and entered into covenant with God at the mountain. They all ate the same manna and drank the same water from the rock.

Whoa... wait a minute.

This is worth a pause as any religious ground you stand on may be shaking. There's good reason for that because there are no religious words in the Bible!

The congregation assembly of the God of Israel has always been made up of two anointed witnesses, Jews and Gentiles called out in covenant and grafted in as natural or as wild branches into the olive tree family like the two trees described in Zechariah 4:2-14.
And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said,
"I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold
with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps
with seven pipes to the seven lamps. 
"Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl
and the other at its left." 
Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive
trees; at the right of the lampstand and at its left?"
And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two
olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two
gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?" 
Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these
are?" And I said, "No, my lord." 
So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand
beside the Lord of the whole earth."
The restoration plan of God is Jew and Gentile, native born and adopted. Both together in covenant with God, one new man, restored by Messiah in the commonwealth Kingdom of the God of Israel.

That's what Revelation 11:4 shows us:
"These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth."
And the Kingdom constitution is the same Torah given to Moses written by the Spirit of God on stone and then hearts with Yeshua at the right hand of God in place as King of all the congregation of Israel, both native born and sojourner.

If we want to truly understand what Stephen was saying just before his death when "he saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the "right hand of God" we have to look with him at the Bible's account of the wilderness story he was proclaiming as he was stoned for his faith.

To do that, let's read from the witness of Hebrew Scripture:
And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the congregation ( `edah עֵדָה) was assembled (qahal קָהַל) at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Leviticus 8:4

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly (qahal קָהַל) of the congregation ( `edah עֵדָה) of the children of Israel. Numbers 14:5

And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them [was written] according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. Deuteronomy 9:10
In these verses, congregation is the Hebrew word is `edah עֵדָה and assembly qahal קָהַל.

If we look into the Greek words of Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17 we can see Messiah Yeshua words are described using the Greek term "ekklēsia" to describe assembly, the congregation `edah עֵדָה that extends from one end of the Bible to the other.

As noted, Strong's shows us that and Strong' matches the Hebrew `edah 149 times in 140 verses in its Hebrew concordance and the Hebrew `qahal 123 times in 116 verses.

Wow!! We need to look much closer at this Greek word "ekklēsia." Words are important.

The first English translation of the Greek texts of the New Testament we have today were completed by William Tyndale. He was an amazing linguist who was gifted and fluent not only in Greek and Hebrew but also in French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish as well his native English.

Tyndale's translation of the Greek New Testament was the first to be printed in English... the first. Not only that, his translation was the first to make use of a printing press despite what you've heard. His translation was completed in 1525 while he was in hiding in Germany and it was printed in 1526 in Switzerland during the Reformation. In it he introduced a new word to the English language, it is "Passover" from the Hebrew word "Pesach."

Yes, that is the truth of the matter, William Tyndale gave us the word "Passover."

Tyndale's Bible was published years before 1611, and the word church (he spelled it 'churche') only appeared two times as written by one of the world's greatest linguists. You can read his search keywords in Tynsdale's New Testament thanks to the amazing people at © 2002. You can also read Tyndale's New Testament as it appeared in its original print format from "The Matthew Bible".

"The Matthew Bible" also known as "Matthew's Version," was published in 1537 by John Rogers, under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew." It combined the New Testament of William Tyndale, and as much of the Old Testament as Tyndale had been able to translate before being captured, in-prisoned and put to death for his translation work. Rogers added the translation of Myles Coverdale of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, except the Apocryphal Prayer of Manasses. It is thus a vital link in the main sequence of English Bible translations." Excerpted from

You can also view it online in a copy of Jugge's Tyndale New Testament. The website Bibles-Online notes:

"The 1552 Jugge's Tyndale New Testament. One of the earliest available New Testaments by William Tyndale. It is based on his final lifetime revisions. This New Testament was most assuredly the edition that the great reformers in Geneva would have used in preparation for the 1557 Geneva New Testament. The Jugge editions were printed during the brief reign of the reformer boy King Edward VI."

Incredibly, Tyndale's translation did not have the word "church" in it to reflect the believers of Messiah, instead his focus was the called out assembly just as the Greek 'ekklēsia' intended.

He knew and understood that the Greek "ekklēsia" was the same as the Hebrew word "qahal." There's no word "church" except for two instances within Tyndale's translation in Acts 14:13 and Acts 19:37. But hold on to your church hat, because in both cases:

Hold on to your pew... Tyndale referred to the word "church" 
as an assembly of pagans, NOT as believers in Messiah!!

Look for yourself... just click here. But give it time, the Tyndale Bible website can be a bit slow, but it's well worth the wait.

In 1525, Tyndale translated the Greek word "ekklesia" meaning the "called out ones" simply as "congregation" and in the olde English of the day, he spelled it as "congregacion." It's the proper English way to translate "ekklesia."

Check it out: "And I saye also vnto the yt thou arte Peter: and apon this rocke I wyll bylde my congregacion. And the gates of hell shall not prevayle ageynst it." Matthew 16:18

Tyndale’s translations were condemned in England, and like his own horrific murder, copies were burned in public places. The sad news is that his use of the word "congregation" challenged the authority, traditional doctrine and name of the Roman Catholic "church." Tyndale's message was very simple: don't confuse the "church" with the congregation, the "ekklēsia," the true body of Christ (Messiah).

There is more to the story that you should know...

Tyndale’s translation of the Greek word "presbuteros" as the word "elder" instead of "priest" also challenged the authority of the institution of the "Catholic Church" because Tyndale stripped away the power of Catholic priests granted by the "Church" hierarchy. The word "elder" showed that Catholic priests do not administer the "Church." It was the role of the elders, which implied that the power rested in the hands of the people, the assembly of believers, the body of Christ, the congregation, not a relgious institution of men. Finally, Catholic doctrine was challenged by Tyndale’s translation of the Greek word "metanoeite" as "repent" instead the Catholic doctrine to "do penance".

Tyndale believed that it was through faith that one was saved. This differed from the views of the establishment of the Catholic "church," which followed the teaching of those that caused problems in Galatia. The Catholic teaching was that salvation was granted to those who believed in Jesus and lived accordingly to their "Church" doctrine that required one to participate in the seven Catholic sacraments to earn salvation, but the Bible never teaches that. That's why Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians. Religious men were telling the Galatians they had to be circumcised to be saved.

Just eight years before Tyndale's 1525 English Bible was produced, a German man also strongly disputed Catholic teaching. His opposition was focused on indulgences. Unlike the teaching of the Catholic church, Martin Luther did not believe that freedom from the judgment for sin could be purchased with money by paying a priest. Luther wrote against the practice of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517 and five years later, in 1522 he published his German translation of the New Testament.

Luther's writings that opposed religious church tradition caught the public eye in Germany and his writings contained truth, but he eventually mixed truth with lies and eventually turned against the Jewish people. He hated the fact that they wouldn't respond to his teaching and his version of the gospel because they would not convert to Christianity and give up their Jewishness. When his evangelical efforts at conversion failed, he became bitter. You see, the thing is that Luther's form of gospel required that a Jew turn his back on the his family heritage and convert. In Luther's view, they were no longer a Jew despite the fact that Jesus, rather Yeshua was a Jewish man, a rabbi, the Son of God and King of the Jews. He forgot the words Jesus gave the woman at the well:
"Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." John 4:22
To understand the protest of the Protestant Movement we have to look closely at Luther's essays and teachings against the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, because in his anti-Semitism, he wrote against the Jewishness of Jesus.

Luther's words were so vehement, Hitler's Nazis quoted him as justification for their mass murder, genocide and grave tribulation we know as the Holocaust (also called Ha-Shoah in Hebrew).

Luther's published writing of "On the Jews and Their Lies" in 1543 proposed the very horrific, incomprehensible atrocities Hitler carried out including setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish books, forbidding rabbis from teaching, confiscating Jew's homes, businesses and money. Luther wrote these vehement anti-semitic words: "We are at fault in not slaying them."

Enough on Luther, back in England the Greek words translated in William Tyndale’s English New Testament revealed that a Believer had to repent of sin with a sincere heart, and God would forgive. Tyndale's English Bible from the Greek differed from John Wycliffe's manuscripts from the Latin Vulgate that preceded Tyndale's translation from Greek manuscripts by some 125 years.

Tyndale's translation opposed Catholic tradition, his English Bible revealed to its readers that a Believer did not have to earn salvation by conversion to Catholic religion, instead his translation revealed salvation, eternal life is a promise given by God to all that believe in faith of Messiah and choose to walk His walk, not follow "church" doctrine requiring seven Catholic sacraments.

The truth in the end cost Tyndale his life.

The question posed is what is the "church" and is it new? Let's look to more witnesses, this time from both the Strong's and Vines concordances that tell us the word "ekklēsia" is derived from two Greek root words. They are: "ek" and "kaleō". So, just what do these words mean:

Strong's tells us that "ek" means: "out of, from, by, away from".

Vines tells us: "The primary meaning of ek is "out of," e.g., Matthew 3:17, "a voice out of the heavens"; 2Corinthians 9:7, lit., "out of necessity."

Strong's also tells us that "kaleō" means:
1) to call a) to call aloud, utter in a loud voice b) to invite

2) to call i.e. to name, by name a) to give a name to 1) to receive the name of, receive as a name 2) to give some name to one, call his name b) to be called i.e. to bear a name or title (among men) c) to salute one by name
To call out by name... and Vine's tells us that "kaleō" means:
Call, Called, Calling: derived from the root kal--, whence English "call" and "clamour" is used

(a) with a personal object, "to call anyone, invite, summon," e.g., Matthew 20:8; 25:14; it is used particularly of the Divine call to partake of the blessings of redemption, e.g., Romans 8:30; 1Corinthians 1:9; 1Thessalonians 2:12; Hebrews 9:15

(b) of nomenclature or vocation, "to call by a name, to name;" in the Passive Voice, "to be called by a name, to bear a name." Thus it suggests either vocation or destination.
Together, the two Greek words that we use as assembly at their root means the ones called out by name. Now let's look and see what "assembly" means in Hebrew, the language of the Bible. To learn, let's go back to the wilderness journey of "the assembly" whose destination was the land promised to Abraham.

"The assembly" found in the Hebrew Bible is the word קָהֵל "qahal". Strong's says "qahal" means "assembly, company, congregation, convocation". Today, we also call this a "community". A community of Beleivers.

Now, from a third witness: the Believer's Study Bible from Thomas Nelson, tells us, "the a compound word coming from the word kaleo, meaning 'to call,' and ek, meaning 'out of.' Thus...'the called-out ones.' Ephesians 5:23, "This 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 Greek word ekklesia occurs 115 times in the Greek New Testament and 74 times in the Septuagint and it refers specifically to the assembly of Israel, assembled before God,. The first use of ekklesia in the Septuagint is Deuteronomy 4:10, when all Israel and the sojourners with them were  assembled at the rock of Mount Sinai to receive God's covenant. In Deuteronomy 9:10 and 18:16 this time is called "the day of the assembly."

So when we see that the Newer Testament tells us that Yeshua said "upon this rock I will build My assembly" in Matthew 16:18, we have to know Messiah did not create a new thing. More than that, we have to realize Jesus was not talking about Peter but about what was revealed to the disciple:

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God. And Yeshua answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

The assembly of the people of God are to be built on the rock of Messiah the Son of the living God.

Now we can see that "qahal" and "ekklēsia" are in full agreement, in community if you will.

Indeed, all of the Bible declares "the assembly" the "ekklēsia", the "qahal" was first seen at Mount Sinai. After all, the Bible tells us Jesus commanded:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, 'Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" Matthew 10:5-7

"But he answered and said, 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel'" Matthew 15:24
Many gloss over this thinking it is too difficult to understand, but if you believe that Jesus is God in man's flesh, that He is like John says, the Creator, then you have to deal with the fact that Jesus (Yeshua) is the messenger, He is "the angel", "the prophet" that was raised up paying the curse of sin at the crucifixion tree (Galatians 3:3).

He is also the "One" that Stephen was talking about at the right hand of God. As God in the form of a man, it was Yeshua that was there speaking from the burning bush in the wilderness and it was our Creator that was there speaking to "the assembly" in the wilderness from the mountain top.

Do you notice the wilderness?

Most Christians tend to call a church building “the house of God”. But Stephen tells us this no building is required: "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what will be My place of repose?" Acts 7:48-9

Paul taught this as well, asking: "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

Let's look even closer to Stephen's witness just before his death:
"He brought them out, after that He had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church {a.k.a. the "ekklēsia", the assembly of Israel} in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us" Acts 7:36-38
Wait a minute... many also preach that "the church", the congregation of called out ones was something "new" that started in an upper room at Pentecost in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. But if we look closer, the Bible shows us much more... there is and has always been one body, one assembly, one faith, one family of the One God of Israel.

Indeed, as you have seen this is the exact perspective of Stephen the first martyr for His belief in the Messiah of Israel.

Paul wrote:
"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Master, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:3-6
If we continue to look deeply into the Bible's storyline, we have to notice that Peter wrote to five (5) people groups that were living outside of the Promised Land. According to the King James, he called them "strangers". But again, if we look closely at the Greek, we can learn much more about the meaning and depth of the Bible. The word the King James translators used as "strangers" is the Greek word "parepidēmos". 1Peter 1:1:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout 1) Pontus, 2) Galatia, 3) Cappadocia, 4) Asia, and 5) Bithynia…
Remember, the Greek word is "parepidēmos". Strong's tells us it means: "the people that are living in a land that they are foreigners in."

Peter is writing to five people groups but he is not writing to people that are "native" to the areas of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia or Bithynia, but rather to people that were not originally from those regions of Turkey.

We must also consider the seven epistles from Paul. His famous letters were written to: 1) the Romans, 2) Corinthians, 3) Galatians, 4) Ephesians, 5) Philippians, 6) Colossians and 7) the Thessalonians.

There is a shared group that received these letters of encouragement. The Galatians received a letter from each witness to Messiah. These two letters were sent to those living in the land we now call Turkey, a land that also contained the ancient cities of not only Galatia but Ephesus, Pontus, Bithynia and Cappadocia. We may call it Turkey, but history calls it ancient Anatolia. It was founded by none other than the Hittites at the time frame of Abraham’s journey from Ur.

The Assyrians stormed into this area and took over about 400 years after the Hittites arrived… this happened near the time that the families of Jacob were baking bricks in Egypt. They were the 12 families that had descended from the 70 that had sojourned to Egypt as, you guessed it... "strangers".

So, if we look back to the time window of 722-734 BC when the “Assyrians” assaulted Northern Israel and took them captive as slaves… we have to ask just who were the Assyrians? Some of them were the ancient Hittites. But where would the Assyrians have taken their booty of slaves from the ten tribes of Northern Israel?

Back home, that's where. They would have taken them to the areas that Peter wrote his letters to.

Consider these words:
"Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." Romans 11:25

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:5-6
Jesus, or rather "Yeshua", the Hebrew name that literally means "salvation" sent His disciples to the lost sheep, to the lost people of a congregation called Israel.

Salvation is to the Jew first (Romans 1:16), and it's clear, Peter was following the instruction of his Master, Yeshua the Messiah when he wrote his letters.

Many confuse the "fullness" of the Gentiles" thinking it only means a time of full measure or count of Gentiles coming into the knowledge and belief of Jesus as Savior. But that is the surface of Paul's deeper message as he taught of Jacob's prophecy about Ephraim in Genesis 48:17-20.

The fullness of the Gentiles can refer to those keeping the way, 
the Torah walk of the Jewish Messiah.

Paul was revealing an amazing prophecy written by Moses of the time we are in today as Gentiles, the nations (aka non-Jews) are returning to the Jewish roots of their faith.

After all, that word fullness in Greek is plērōma and a key meaning is “keeping” and in Deuteronomy we see it 7 times as the Hebrew word shamar: to keep, guard, observe.

Today, a remnant of Gentiles are returning to the Jewish root of the faith because:
“I ask instead: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says: "I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation without understanding." Romans 10:19

“I ask then, did they stumble so as to lose their share? Absolutely not! However, because of their trespass, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.” Romans 11:11

“I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, in the hope that I may provoke my own people to jealousy and save some of them.” Romans 11:13-14
Paul's understanding was that he was a part of Jacob's blessing given to Ephraim and that was not "a mystery" to Peter either.

Peter was a part of the small group that asked Jesus…
"Is it at this time that you will restore the Kingdom to Israel?”
Acts 1:6
Notice that Jesus did not correct them and say He was creating a new religion or a "church." Believe it or not, Jesus did not inspire Peter or Paul to start a new religious system called Christianity.

Jesus said He came to gather the lost sheep, both Jew and Gentile into the Kingdom of God, not lead a group to switch the Sabbath to a Sunday "church" service. The service we are to do is the service of Messiah as the body of Messiah wherever we are. That service in the wilderness of life, not in a pew.

Please, please don't get me wrong, the mission of the Messiah, in His own words is to "restore" the assembly, the lost sheep, the people that God calls out by the name that He has given to them... "Israel", the people that have been scattered and lost in the wilderness around the globe, adopted back into the ways of The Lord Elohim, the God of Israel.

Yeshua is still calling the lost back into His Kingdom today across the globe. But this work is 24/7/365 and there is no building, no denomination or religion needed to accomplish it, just Messiah Yeshua - Jesus.
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27
Yeshua is calling the lost back to His Kingdom. Is it any wonder then that Revelation 21:12 tells us there are twelve gates into "New Jerusalem" named after the twelve tribes of the children of Israel?

You too can be a part of "the assembly" - the community of a faithful family to enter into the gates, you too can be a part of the called out ones of the God of Israel, it's an open invitation to everyone to follow Messiah and walk in His ways in spirit and truth just like Abraham.

You don’t have to fill out a membership form or give money. All you have to do is repent, believe, surrender your life and be set free to walk like Yeshua and tell others about Him. He is the Messiah, King of all Israel, both native and sojourner grafted in. There's no need to worry about choosing a denomination either, your set free in Messiah to follow Him.
“It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1
The guidebook on how to be set free from religion and having a real relationship is the Bible, not a denominational doctrine nor this website for that matter, and 'the teacher' is the Spirit of God:
"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read…" — Isaiah 34:16
The "book of The Lord" is your instruction manual for living in the Kingdom of God, so pick it up and read it every day and consider that when Jesus spoke these words... the New Testament had not been written:
"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." — John 5:39
So start at the beginning, search the Scriptures just as we are instructed to do.

If you choose in faith to follow the Savior and "walk" in the Scriptures that testify of Him, you will be a part of "the assembly" that seeks to follow God out of slavery to sin. To do this shows love for God and what He has done. It is what the Apostle Paul and James wrote about:
"So faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1Corinthians 13:13

"Even so, faith on its own without works is dead." James 2:17
What does all this mean?

The authority we are submit to as an assembly is our Creator God revealed by the Written Word and the living Torah. Over the span of 19 centuries since Yeshua walked and taught throughout Israel, the traditions of men have added to the faith. Today, the opportunity is to make a conscious decision to return to a scripture lifestyle in action as an assembly before the God of Israel.

As Jesus taught in Matthew 5, the Torah still stands, the commandments are still valid and the Feasts of The Lord are eternal for His ekklēsia.

For me, Matthew 5 teaches we are to honor the Feasts described in Leviticus including the weekly Sabbath and even watch what we eat because God's instruction is there to protect us. For some it means its time to take a last look at Santa's Christmas and wave goodbye to the Easter bunny and Halloween. It means saying hello to the week long celebrations of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Sukkot. It even means seeing Hanukkah in John 10.

The Torah declares there is one law His ekklēsia, that means the Israelite and the same law for the foreigner wishing to follow and worship God. All of us are worth a half-shekel, in essence, that means that there is no separation in the Bible and there is no separation worship for the Jew and non-Jews. Ultimately, that means we are to become one new man, united and restored.

If you do not know your Messiah, it is time for you to know Him. You can return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp to show others how to do the same. Yeshua must not only be The Lord our lives as individual believers. He must also receive pre-eminence in the life of our communities, He is the head of the ekklēsia.

Messiah is calling to build His ekklēsia, a “faith community” and as He builds, He uses us as “living stones” loving our neighbor being “built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Messiah” (1Peter 2:5).

God is the sovereign God of the whole House, the ekklēsia of Israel.

Each Sabbath day and the Feasts of The Lord are the set apart times which God has appointed for His people to assemble together for “holy convocations” (See Leviticus 23:2). The Hebrew word translated “convocation” (mikra), means a calling together.

YHVH is a loving God and He has provided the way to offer His salvation and eternal life to you and those you know. You can accept His gift of eternal life. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of any willful sin, ask God's forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua.

You can do this now!

Today is the time. If you know you need to get your life right with God, don’t wait for tomorrow, get it right with Him now!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17
Tell others about His life death and resurrection!

And, if you can, gather with others in a set apart assembly, an "ekklēsia" to worship Him and study His word, it is the Book of Life.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

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