|"...not by observation - the Kingdom is within." Luke 17:20-21|
Part Two - the Church
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge I reject you from being a priest to Me. And since you have forgotten the law of YHVH, I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6
"…remember all the commandments of YHVH, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my Words, and be holy to YHVH." Numbers 15:39-40
In the light of exploring who Israel is, it is just as important to come to an understanding of who Israel is not. Since words mean things, what terminology we use is important in understanding concepts presented to us in scripture. Christians have typically understood the Bible to be made up of two testaments – the Old and the New. This is an error in translation and in thinking. The word translated testament is the Greek word diatheke (click on highlighted words to view content), and is actually translated as "covenant" more times than it is "testament". The Hebrew word for covenant is beriyth which means "covenant, alliance, pledge". There is also an inference between the words "old" and "new" that what is newest supersedes what is "oldest". That concept is simply not seen when scripture is viewed from the Hebrew perspective it was written in (see Who's Word Is It? for more insight). The Tenakh or the Original Scriptures are not an "Old Testament." They make up the completeness of YHVH’s everlasting covenant with Israel. What has come to be known as the "New Testament" is in reality a fulfillment of that everlasting covenant. They are not two testaments or even two covenants - they are one. If we are to remain students of Truth, it becomes imperative to rid ourselves of words that continue to promote inferences which are in opposition to the Truth contained in scriptural concepts (2Corinthians 10:5). Consequently, these articles use the terms "Tenakh" or "Original Writings" when referring to what has been classically called the "Old Testament" and "Messianic Writings" for what has come to be inappropriately called the "New Testament."
Most Christians see the term "replacement theology" primarily as a reference to "the church" being the anointed replacement for the Jews who forsook God - those who "had their shot and blew it" causing them to be cast off from His promises. But would these same Christians be so quick to embrace "replacement theology" if they were aware of the more insidious and underlying implication it carries of actually meaning replacing the Only True Holy One of Israel with something else - a system of thought that divorces Christianity from the historical reality that spawned it? What we serve, what we give ourselves to is what we worship (Matthew 4:10, Deuteronomy 11:16). To see replacement theology for the idolatry it is requires revelation - a paradigm shift in approach to the words of scripture. Throughout scripture, YHVH tells His People to remember Who He is. To believe in YHVH is to remember His Nature shown in and through His Deeds - revelation is history, not theology. The knowledge spoken of in Hosea 4:6 at the top of this article is the knowledge of YHVH's Nature expressed in His Words and Deeds. To be separate from that knowledge is to be destroyed (John 17:3). The previous articles of this series (the Gentile, and the Covering). set forth the scriptural concept that what has come to be known as "the church" to actually have been in existence long before Yom Shav'out (Day of Pentecost) and was known as qahal, the "assembly" - but it was not a "gentile church". Even Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) said so:
|"This is the one (Moses) who was in the church (ekklesia) 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 7:38|
Interestingly the NKJV, NASB, NIV, NLT, YLT, ESV and others don't translate ekklesia as "church" in this passage. When the entire chapter is read in context, it is clear that the ekklesia Paul is speaking of isn’t a "gentile church" but Israel! Let's examine yet another verse from the Messianic Writings:
|"Saying, I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." Hebrews 2:12|
What is being quoted here is taken directly from Psalm 22:22 that reads: "I will declare your name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise you." Clearly David is also speaking of Israel – and the author of the book of Hebrews is quoting him. The Hebrew word used for "congregation" in Psalm 22:22 is qahal, (kaf-hey-lamed) meaning "assembly". In the Original Writings, we find this word used well over 100 times and is always translated as "congregation" or "assembly" Perhaps the most interesting thing about this word, however, is that it is always in reference to Israel - but never to gentiles. Thus, since the authors of the Messianic Writings were Hebrew and were writing from the Hebrew perspective they were raised in, viewing the Greek word ekklesia from their vantage point means they were never conveying the idea of a "gentile church".
the Congregation of YHVH
Subsequently, when the King James version of the Bible was completed in 1611, it had become very important to the crown to retain the word "church" in the text to support the state's authority over it. It was on this premise that King James made fifteen specific edicts (scroll down through the text to see them) that were forcibly applied to that translation. Edict number three stated that this bible was to retain the word "church" in the translation and it was not to be replaced with the word "congregation". He made this a specific edict because he had no authoritative jurisdiction over the congregation (assembly of people) - but he did have that authority over the church (physical buildings). He did not want the word "assembly" associated with the original meaning of the Original Writings which meant "congregation" to prevent an undermining of that authority. He obviously knew the correct translation, but he didn't want it in there in order to retain control over "the church".
The proof of this assertion is found in the first English Bible, the Tyndale Bible, translated sometime between 1524 and 1526. The Tyndale Bible never once used the word church. It used the word assembly or congregation (see Acts 7:38 anew). The Tyndale Bible did use the word "churches" once in Acts 19:37 to describe pagan temples. It is Strong’s #2417 hierosylos and means "guilty of sacrilege". In other words, it means that the hierosulos (translated by Tyndale as churches) is spoiling YHVH's Temple. It is a false temple! Interestingly, this preference for the word "church" was what was passed on to the KJV translation, even though the word used there in Acts 19:37 is NOT ekklesia. The Greek word ekklesia was falsely translated church in the King James Version from a word used to describe pagan temples!
The earlier Tyndale version had correctly translated the Greek "ekklesia," as "congregation" rather than "church." It has been asserted this translation choice "was a direct threat to the Roman Catholic Church's claim to be the body of Christ on earth (but as Tyndale made clear, a non-scriptural claim). To change these words was to strip the Church hierarchy of its pretensions to be Christ's terrestrial representative, and to award this honour to individual worshipers who made up each congregation." (ibid, Brian Moynahan, William Tyndale "If God Spare my Life" Abacus, London ISBN 034911532 p72). It is because of his refusal to repent over his translation of the bible and for making it accessible to the public that William Tyndale was burned at the stake by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.
...what do these words really mean?
YHVH has always had but one assembly and Her Name is Israel. The question of this series has been, "Who is Israel?" - but the more important question is, have you joined her? Or, now equipped with this knowledge - are you going to just keep "doing church"?
Part One - the Gentile
Part Two - the Church
Part Three - the Bride
Part Four - Children of the Bridechamber
Part Five - the Covering
Part Six - the Land
"But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His Name,|
He gave the right to become children of YHVH." John 1:12
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.