Now that we have examined the words “christ” and “christian,” let’s turn our attention to the word “church.”
The term “church” is used today with little to no awareness as to its true origin or definition. There is already a preset interpretation in place and nobody questions its usage. We have been trained well. Our instructors were faithful to teach us what they were shown, and we merely nodded our heads and went with it.
Since the conventional definition is never questioned, a stronghold has formed in our minds and remains unchallenged. This stronghold will become more entrenched with each successive generation if we do not learn and accept the truth.
First, the church is not a building – and most of us already know that, but (if we’re honest) it is still easily the foremost thought in our minds whenever we think of church.
Second, contrary to what most have learned, the church is not a group of believers that was magically birthed in Acts 2. Think about it!
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [G1577 – ekklessia]; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Has anyone ever noticed that Peter never questioned Yeshua’s usage of the word “church” before Acts 2? He didn’t say… “Dude, what’s a ‘church’?” Why? Because he knew exactly what the Messiah was talking about.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church [G1577 – ekklessia], but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Likewise, in this chapter, Yeshua’s disciples didn’t stop Him and say, “Wait a minute! I don’t get what this ‘church’ thing is… can you please explain it more?” Like Peter, they all knew about this church.
The Children of Israel were the original church.
Unlike what christianity teaches, the Father has always had his “called out ones” – those set apart for His purposes and called to be His own.
We see glimpses of this called out people in Isaac’s blessing to his son, Jacob.
And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude [H6951 – qahal] of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
We can see that the original Hebrew word for this multitude promised to Jacob is “qahal,” which (according to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) means “an assembly, a called-out crowd of nations.” (Source)
This is a key term that you need to follow throughout the Old Testament if you want to gain a firm grasp on Israel and how this nation relates to you.
Just a few chapters later, Yahweh further blesses Jacob:
And God said unto him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company [H6951 – qahal] of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
The Father was promising Jacob not just “a nation” (commonly known as “Israel”) but a “company of nations.” Many nations would come and worship before the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In the book of Exodus, when Yahweh was giving Passover instructions to Moses, He referred to Israel, the people He was calling out, as the “qahal.”
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole assembly [H6951 – qahal] of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
This assembly would not just include the blood descendants of Abraham! No, a “mixed multitude” of people would come up out of Egypt with them.
And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
Because most christian leaders and teachers go to great pains to maintain the separation between descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and this “mixed multitude” of gentiles, nobody is taught this truth.
Now, as I was writing this section, I was going to lump the entire group of the “mixed multitude” in with Israel from this point in the narrative forward, but a friend of mine actually corrected my thinking on this.
There really were 2 groups of people that came up out of Egypt:
- the blood-born children of Israel – descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;
- the “mixed multitude” – not descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – most likely Egyptian, but it is possible that other nationalities could have been included.
This second group of people – the “mixed multitude” – were further divided over time into a third group, depending upon their desire to join themselves to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Some of the “mixed multitude” were nothing but trouble. In fact, they were the ones who yielded to their bellies and craved meat, causing the children of Israel to stumble. (Numbers 11:4-5) Members of this problematic group knew that Israel’s God had defeated all of the gods of Egypt and they wanted to be on the winning team, but they had no desire to bend their wills to the commands set forth by the Father.
They wanted to be numbered with God’s chosen people, they just didn’t want to be troubled with a lot of rules.
They never made it into the Promised Land.
But there were others of the mixed multitude who clung to the God of Israel. They had hearts like Ruth had, who would later proclaim:
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
This was the group that had caught a revelation of the Elohim of Israel and realized that it would require a forsaking of their prior ways to follow Him. This forsaking proved to be difficult, even for those who understood this, as the entire generation fell in the wilderness before the next generation went into the Promised Land.
Still, this “next generation” had enough faith and obedience instilled in them by their parents to allow themselves to be circumcised (probably the most difficult commandment to obey) before entering into the Promised Land. (Joshua 5:1-7)
God’s desire was always to have “one people” who would serve him in His Kingdom.
Not realizing the context of the verse they are proclaiming, Christians proudly quote Paul’s letter to the Galatians and say:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
In their desperate attempt to proclaim freedom from what Yah has put forth, they don’t realize that Paul is referring to God’s original intent to have one people obeying the commands He set forth from the beginning.
It was always His desire to have His “qahal” – ONE people with ONE set of instructions.
Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country, for I am the LORD your God.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation [H6951 – qahal], and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance forever in your generations. As ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
Let’s be honest. If most Christians had been alive during the time of the exodus, they would have been part of the “mixed multitude” that wanted to be a part of the winning team (Israel) without the obedience commitment.
But Yahweh explicitly set forth conditions for being included with those who wanted to enter the Promised Land.
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;…
And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
Why did Yahweh set forth these conditions? Because He wanted a love relationship. He desired to accept them by His grace into His “qahal,” so He gave them a chance to respond in love to His love for them.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not grievous.
The Relationship Between the Greek “Ekklesia” and the Hebrew “Qahal”
Yahweh still had His called out ones (“qahal”) in the New Testament.
Although there is some debate on the subject, the earliest confirmed manuscripts included in the New Testament were written in the Greek language. In these writings, we see the Greek word “ekklesia” used instead of the Hebrew word “qahal.”
The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament). Each time the word “ekklesia” is used in the Septuagint, you will see the Hebrew “qahal” used in the Tanakh. For all intents and purposes, it’s the same word with the same definition. The only difference is that one is Greek and one is Hebrew.
Not only are the two words connected via the Septuagint, but you can also see the relationship in the New Testament references to the Tanakh!
For example, when Stephen was talking to the council, he made reference to Yahweh’s “church” in the wilderness:
This is he, that was in the church [G1577 – 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…
The “ekklesia” Stephen spoke of was the “qahal” that Yahweh brought out of Egypt!
Also, in the book of Hebrews, when the author quotes the Psalm of David, the word “ekklesia” is used as the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “qahal.”
Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church [G1577 – ekklesia] will I sing praise unto thee.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation [H6951 – qahal] will I praise thee.
So there is a direct connection here, as it is the same word!
Because it is the same word and because Yahweh did not divide the Bible into the Old and New Testaments (man did), it should come as no surprise to us that “qahal” and “ekklesia” are the same functionally, as well.
We will discuss that functionality in the next post.
So then, where did “church” come from?
This next part is going to be difficult for many to swallow.
As I’ve stated before, when we read “church” in the Bible, we already have a preset definition in our minds. We have been so brainwashed… so indoctrinated… that the error has taken a firm root. The very idea that church could be anything other than what we’ve learned is repellent to us. But our definition of the word is as errant as the word itself.
The truth is, etymologically speaking, “church” is in no way related to the Hebrew “qahal” or the Greek “ekklesia.” It is a translation – which is where the translators (at their own discretion) tried to come up with a word that best matched (in their view) the word being translated.
When John Wycliffe translated the first Bible into English in 1382 (over 200 years before the KJV), he didn’t even have the Greek manuscripts available to him, so he had to translate from the Latin Vulgate – to many, a perverted Catholic translation. In this translation, we find the earliest usage of the word “church.”
And Y seie to thee, that thou art Petre, and on this stoon Y schal bilde my chirche, and the yatis of helle schulen not haue miyt ayens it.” (Wycliffe, c1382)
So what, Kevin? So Wycliffe decided to use the term “church” in place of “ekklesia?” It’s the same thing!
Before we study the historical usage of “church,” let’s look at our modern day definition. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (pub. 1992) defines “church” as:
- A building for public, especially Christian worship.
- often Church
- The company of all Christians regarded as a spiritual body.
- A specified Christian denomination: the Presbyterian Church.
- A congregation.
- Public divine worship in a church; a religious service: goes to church at Christmas and Easter.
- The clerical profession; clergy.
- Ecclesiastical power as distinguished from the secular – the separation of church and state. (link)
This definition seems pretty agreeable to our current definition. Paraphrased… a church is a group of Christians, usually assembling to worship in a church building, with a veiled emphasis on the building.
But before we blindly accept this meaning, we must understand that definitions for words can be modified over time, either inconspicuously through societal perception or blatantly, through the will of those writing the laws, dictionaries, etc. This is what happened to “church,” and we can see this evidenced in dictionaries and other historical references.
Just the fact that we have one definition of a word does not mean that we are correct in our use of that word. In order for us to find the original intent of a word’s usage, it is always best to go back to the earliest sources and look at how it was used.
In the case of “church,” we can see changes even as recently as 1909 (the same century as the American Heritage entry), in the New Webster’s International Dictionary.
Church (church), n. [ME. chirche, fr. AS. circe, fr. Gr. kyriakon the Lord’s house, fr. kyriakos concerning a master or lord, fr. kyrios master, lord, fr. kyros power, authority; akin to Skr. gram mighty , bold Olr. caur, cur, hero. Cf. KIRK.] 1. A building set apart for public worship, esp… 2. A place of worship of any religion, as, formerly, a Jewish or pagan temple or a mosque. Acts six. 37.
Look! We’re going back less than 100 years and the definition for church has already changed from being exclusively Christian to a building set apart for worship in any religion!
Lidell and Scott’s Greek English Lexicon (published in the same year as the 1909 American Heritage Dictionary), conveys an uncertainty of “church.” In the entry for “klukos,” from which church allegedly came, it says:
Of or for a lord or master (speaking of a secular lord). Assumed to be original of the Teutonic kirk, kirche, or church, but how this Greek name came to be adopted by the northern nations rather than the Roman name or Greek name ekklesia has not been satisfactorily explained.”
Let’s go back even further. In Smith’s Bible Dictionary from 1884, page 452, we read:
the derivation of the word ‘church’ is uncertain. It is found in the Teutonic and Slavonic languages and answers to the derivatives of ekklesia, which are naturally found in the romance languages and by foreign importation elsewhere. The word is generally said to be derived from the Greek kyriakos, meaning the lord’s house. But the derivation has been too hastily assumed. It is probably associated with the Scottish kirk, the Latin circus/circulous, the Greek klukos, because the congregations were gathered in circles.”
Ebenezer Cobham Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable of 1898 says this about “church”:
The etymology of this word is generally assumed to be from the Greek, Kuriou oikos (house of God); but this is most improbable, as the word existed in all the Celtic dialects long before the introduction of Greek. No doubt the word means ‘a circle.’ The places of worship among the German and Celtic nations were always circular. (Welsh, cyrch, French, cirque; Scotch, kirk; Greek, kirk-os, etc.) Compare Anglo-Saxon circe, a church, with circol, a circle.”
These older entries show us that the term “church” did NOT apply exclusively to christians or a christian gathering place. We can also see a relationship to the Latin “circus” and Celtic “circle.”
Already armed with this information, I found the ponderings of this guy particularly compelling.
I am in touch with many people who spend much time doing word studies, and play around with what has been called “etymology,” that is the study of word origins. I also read much material from different authors who have traced many of our “church” words to pagan mythology, especially Greek, Roman, Babylonian, and German or Teutonic mythology. Most of you are not aware of the fact that English is really a part of the German language. As a matter of fact, about 90% of the words in the King James Bible are German in origin. The English peoples are also called Anglo-Saxons. The Webster’s Dictionary says under Anglo-Saxon “A member of the nation created by the consolidation of Low German tribes that invaded England in the 5th and 6th centuries, together with native and Danish elements, which continued as the ruling power of England until the Norman Conquest.” Their language dominated England. Even the name England reflects this. I point this out so that you are aware of how German or Norse mythology has much to do with many of our English words.
Now Webster says that the root of this word “church” is a Saxon word “circe, or circ, or cyric.” Those of you who are versed in Greek mythology or in the Greek language should begin to be raising your eyebrows. This information is so embarrassing that Webster did what he could to hide this in his first edition, but later editions made it easy to uncover. In the Original Webster’s under the word “circ” are the simple words “see circus.” Who says our Father doesn’t have a sense of humor? But it gets more interesting than that! The first entry as to the etymological meaning and origin of the church is “circe.” Now for those who are versed in Greek, this connection is so obvious and embarrassing that Webster did not put this noun in his dictionary, but he did put the adjective which is “Circean” I cannot prove it, but I think this omission was intentional. Under “Circean” we find the following definition: “adjective; Pertaining to Circe, the fabled daughter of Sol and Perseis, who was supposed to possess great knowledge of magic and venomous herbs, by which she was able to charm and fascinate.” Later editions of Webster’s finally had the courage to enter the noun under which we find more information: “Circe noun [L., fr. Gr. Kirke.] In the Odyssey, an island sorceress who turned her victims by magic into beasts but was thwarted by Odysseus with the herb moly given him by Hermes-Circean, circaean adj..”
A couple of years ago Dr. Ernest Martin sent me a photocopy of an old book written in England with a cover page that went as follows: “The MYTH OF KIRKE: Including the visit of Odysseus to the Shades. An Homerik Study by Robert Brown, Jun., F.S.A..” It had a quote from the famous Milton on the title page that read, “Who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun?” It appears at the present time few people know her for who she really is. Dr. Martin opened my eyes and since then I have spent much time gathering the pieces to reveal Circe, Church, the daughter of the Sun, who mixes venomous herbs in “a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of the fornication of the earth.” (link)
Was that last entry a little too far out in left field? I understand, maybe you’re right. But we have to take into consideration the following.
We’ve already established that “church” and “ekklesia” are not connected. It was the best translation that Wycliffe could find, using the Latin Vulgate. But soon after, William Tyndale did translate all of the New Testament (and roughly half of the Old Testament) from the Greek. He also used the word “church” – but only in two places.
Then Iupiters Preste which dwelt before their cite brought oxe and garlondes vnto the churche porche and wolde have done sacrifise with the people.
For ye have brought hyther these me whiche are nether robbers of churches [pagan houses of worship] nor yet despisers of youre goddes.
Both references point to pagan places of worship.
Tyndale’s translation was condemned by the Catholic church. He was strangled to death and burned at the stake. (Foxe, John (1570). Actes and Monuments)
This is all about walking in truth.
I have received a lot of feedback about my harsh words towards Christianity and those who call themselves Christians. Believe me, I consider all constructive feedback seriously.
But let me get one thing straight. I in no way believe that I have the right to judge anyone, as far as their eternal destination. I thank the Father that I do not have that role! I never intended to come across as saying that all christians are bad people or that they are not serving the Father in the capacity that they know.
But we are living in a day and age of information. The truths of history are being revealed and the dots are connecting for many of us. We can no longer hide behind the thin veil of ignorance or choose the convenient over what is true.
My question to you is, “Do you love what is true, or do you choose to love and believe the lie?”
- If you love what is true, it will require change, as long as you choose to pursue it.
- If you love and believe a lie, I am not your judge… but the Scriptures are overwhelmingly stacked against you.
The truth is that the modern usage of the word “church” is an extremely poor translation of God’s original intent, robbing those who identify with it of their true identity, as well as perverting its original meaning.
Yah has always had his “called out ones” – those set apart for His purposes, called to be His own. They have always been one body with one mind and one doctrine.
And the church, as we know it, is currently living up to its name as well, as we see pagan sun worship rituals and other errors becoming more and more prevalent. Take a step back and look for yourself… all roads are leading to Rome.
What’s the deal, Kevin? Are you just trying to decimate everything that I’ve been raised with?
No, that is definitely not my intent. Please believe me when I say that my only motive is to reveal the truth to you.
I understand that this post and the last were very difficult for some of you to digest. It’s never easy when someone takes a dearly held belief (you could also replace belief with “label” or “institution”) – possibly a belief/label/institution that you’ve invested your whole life into – and shows you evidence that slaps it in the face.
But do you want to continue living in a lie, just because it is familiar and comfortable, or do you REALLY want to know and live the truth?
In the last couple chapters of the book of Revelation, we receive some dire warnings.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth [G5368 – phileo – to love, approve of, sanction] and maketh [G4160 – poieo – to make, to do] a lie.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
Wouldn’t it be wise to heed these warnings, since we are SO CLOSE to the end of the age?
So where does all this leave us? Is our faith for nothing? Heavens, NO! There is hope… there is a people who will be included in the “qahal/ekklesia.”
We’ll talk about these holy people in the next post.