In the preceding 3 posts I have established beyond any doubt that the miscalled “churches” in The Apocalupsis of John are in reality assemblies or congregations of Jews, members of the Nation of Israel. To give you an example of how unsound some believers can be, a woman, whose blog I used to follow, said to me, “If Jesus called them churches, then that’s what they are!” Unfortunately Jesus has had nothing to do with how translators have chosen to translate most of the words in the Bible. Out of 17 Bible versions or translations in my PC Bible program only these 3 translate ecclesia properly:
John to the seven assemblies that [are] in Asia:
YLT- Young’s Literal Translation
4 John to the seven assemblies
4 John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia:
WEB- World English Bible
If you are a serious workman of the Word or want to be you must invest in some PC Bible program or buy a lot of Bibles! On my way home from NY last Sunday by way of Chicago I had the opportunity to sit next to a young Jewish girl who had recently become a Christian. She was very well versed in the “mainstream” doctrines of Christianity. She was surprised to hear many things I had to say about beliefs she held and took a copious amount of notes on her phone. I was able to show her from the Scriptures (on her phone) passages which substantiated what I had to say, but she could not find one Scripture to substantiate anything she believed! Everything she believed hear-say and much of that was heresy!
She was even astonished to see from 1 Corinthians 10:32 that the apostle Paul established that there are only 3 types of people in the world; Jews, Gentiles and the Church of God. She was equally surprised to see these verses:
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.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
She was insisting that she was a Jew for Jesus. What an absurd belief. I tried to explain to her that once a Jew or a Gentile became born again of the spirit of God by confessing Jesus as their Lord and believing God raised him from the dead, they became members of the Church of God. She could not let go of her ancestry and she could not understand how I could be of the seed of Abraham. She really imploded when I told her that Abraham was a Gentile and not a Jew!
Abram is first mentioned in Ge. 11:26; his name was changed to Abraham in Ge. 17:5. Jacob isn’t mentioned until Ge. 25:26 and his name was not changed to Israel until Ge. 32:28. The word Jew is not mentioned until the book of Esther and then it applied to a descendant of Judah. Abraham is called a Hebrew in Ge. 14:13 which means a descendant of Eber. Eber is first mentioned in Ge. 10:21. Eber lived 464 years; see Ge. 11:16.
I could go on and on, but the point you need to see is that the word Hebrew had nothing to do with Jews or Israel originally; that Israel did not exist in Ge. 11. Therefore Abraham could not have been a Jew, but rather a Gentile.
The most astonishing thing that this young Jew for Jesus had to say to me was that no one could be a Christian or a member of the Church of God without confessing and believing that Jesus was God incarnate. I asked where she got this from in the Scriptures and she did not know precisely. I showed her Romans 10:9 where it says to confess Jesus as Lord which she said means God, because God is the “Lord” God. I proceeded to show here in Acts 2:36 that God had bestowed His title as Lord upon Jesus. Jesus is my Lord, my master. Nowhere in the Pauline Epistles does it talk about the Lord God or the Lord our God. They show God as our Father and Jesus Christ as our Lord! Lord is used 241 times in the Epistles which are written directly to the Church of God and never is the title attached to God!
To the Jew God will always be the Lord; but to the Christian, Jesus is our Lord, not our God. Here is what Lord means, in case it is not clear yet:
NT:2962 kurios, kuriou, ho
he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord
a. used universally, of the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner Matt 20:8
is a title of honor, expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants salute their master, Matt 13:27; 25:20,22; Luke 13:8; 14:22, etc.;
c. this title is given:
to God, the ruler of the universe Matt 1:22 (OT, Gospels and Revelation)
to the Messiah; and that:
to the Messiah regarded universally: Luke 1:43
to Jesus as the Messiah, Acts 10:36
d. of Christ (In the Epistles)
(from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Don’t be afraid to comment; I will not delete any comments but will publish all.
(More on Revelation in the next post).
Now we will examine the Greek word Ecclesia in greater detail:
THE SEVEN ASSEMBLIES AS A WHOLE (i. 11).
(Taken from Bullinger, E.W. (2011-08-21). The Apocalypse or “The Day of The Lord”: Commentary on Revelation , Trumpet Press. Kindle Edition).
We must here, at the outset, remove the greatest source of all the misunderstandings which have arisen with regard to these seven “churches.” The fact of their being called “churches” has naturally led commentators and students of this book to infer that it is the Church of God, or at any rate the historic Christian Church, which is meant. As a first step toward removing this great evil, let us note at once that the word (…) (ecclesia), rendered “church,” is by no means limited to the restricted sense which is thus forced upon it.
Ecclesia means simply an Assembly: any assembly of people who are called out (for that is the etymological meaning of the word) from other people. Hence, it is used of the whole nation of Israel as distinct from other nations. The Greek word Ecclesia occurs seventy-five times in the Septuagint Translation of the Old Testament, and is used as the rendering of five different Hebrew words. As it is used to represent one of these, seventy times, we need not concern ourselves with the other four words. This Hebrew word is (…) (Cahal), from which we have our English word call. It means to call together, to assemble, or gather together, and is used of any assembly gathered together for any purpose. This Hebrew word Cahal occurs 123 times, and is rendered: “congregation ,” 86 times; “assembly,” 17; “company,” 17; and “multitude,” 3 times: but is never rendered “church.”
Its first occurrence is in Gen. xxviii. 3 – “that thou mayest be a multitude (margin, assembly) of people,” i.e ., a called-out people. That is what Israel was, a people called out and assembled from all other peoples. In Gen. xlix. 6 we read – “O my soul, come not thou into their secret ( Council or Senate); Unto their assembly (cahal), mine honour, be not thou united.” Here the word cahal is used, not of all Israel as called out from the nations, but of the assembly of those called out of form the Tribal Assembly (or Council) of the tribes of Simeon and Levi. Then, it is used of the worshippers, or those called out from Israel, and assembled before the Tabernacle and Temple, and in this sense is usually rendered “congregation.” This is the meaning of the word in Ps. xxii. 22: “In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee;” and verse 25: “My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation.”
We ought to use the word Ecclesia in the sense in which it is here used; and not, surely, in the newer and special sense which it acquired, and in which it is used, in the Epistles. In the Pauline Epistles we read nothing about an “angel” as having to do with the churches of God which Paul planted. When the word Ecclesia, in the Apocalypse is rendered “Church,” and the word “Synagogue” in Rev. ii. 9 and iii. 9, is interpreted of the church, it is playing fast and loose with the “words which the Holy Ghost speaketh,” and which He (God) has employed, not only for His revelation, but for our instructions. We hold that the Apocalypse contains a record (by vision and prophecy) of the events which shall happen “hereafter” in the Day of the Lord; that the whole book is concerned with the Jew, the Gentile, and the Earth, but not with the Church of God, or with Christendom; or with the latter only so far as the present corruption of Christianity ……after the Church, the Body of Christ, shall have been removed.
One of the more important times of the Christian calendar is what we call Easter, yet for as much as we think we know about it, there is much to be learned. Approaching the subject seems as exhaustive as an hour of the suffering that the Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah, experienced. It seems to me that such an important time, culminating in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, more time should be spent than a few hours in Sunday School when we were children. A key ingredient that has led to some misunderstanding, in general, of the Bible is that it is an Eastern Book, written from the mindset of an Easterner as opposed to a Westerner.
In the East a new day begins at Sunset and the pre-day at dusk. The weekly Sabbath of Saturday, for those who observe it, are in a hurry to get home on Friday, before sundown, so they can observe that holy day properly. In the West we chose 12 midnight to begin our days because it is probably a lot more consistent. 12 midnight is always 12 midnight; while sunset changes 365 days a year, not too consistent. This makes it real easy for those of us who read the Bible to lose 12 hours and sometimes even 24 of a timeline, from here and there.
Because the last week of Jesus’ life is such a detailed study I am going to pass it off to one of my Teachers, John Schoenheit, of Spirit and Truth Fellowship International.
Another related teaching of John’s is , “Did God Really Forsake Jesus Christ on the Cross?”
Enjoy Holy Week, as never before!
The reason there is so much misunderstanding about the Return of Christ, is that he does not just return once. The actual aspects of his Return are rolled up in the word Parousia, Coming. Jesus’ ministry was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Jews.
The 2nd Coming of Christ will be for the sake of Jews as well. But, there is another aspect of the Parousia that is not recorded in the Gospels of Mt, Mk, Lk, or Jn. The reason it is not recorded there is because no one knew anything about it, including Jesus.
No one knew anything about this aspect of the Parousia until it was revealed to Paul the apostle, by the ascended Christ. Jesus and the apostles expected him to come back 7 years after his ascension. The time that has lapsed between then and now is that of the Sacred Secret, which was hidden in God from the foundation of the world.
The event that serves as the end of this time period is Christ’s Coming for his Saints, those of us who have believed without first seeing. This aspect of the Coming of Christ is commonly known as The Rapture of the Church. There is nothing written about it in the gospels or the Book of Revelation.
1 Th 4:16-17
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. NASU
At the Rapture, Jesus does not set a foot on the earth; he is not on a white horse; he is not prepared for battle; and no one else sees him at all; he comes part way from Heaven to meet us and we return with him. No fanfare, no earthquakes, no fire from Heaven, etc. Additionally there will be no sign to prepare you if you are not all ready now.
What you read about in the gospels, Revelation and a few places in the epistles is when he returns 7 years later “with” us.
1 Th 3:13
so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. NASU
See in my book at http://www.fredswolfe.com
Jesus once said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” Prior to Christianity, only Jews had the promise of Salvation. Their Salvation (as well as ours) was not only something in the future, beyond the grave, but something here and now as well. The word alone is used three times as much in the Old Testament as it is in the New. To the Jews it meant Deliverance, Victory, Rescue or Safety.
For anyone who has read even a little of the OT one can see how often Israel prayed for deliverance from their enemies and how many times YHWH delivered them. (Might not be a bad idea today as well.) I have read that Salvation in this day and age has relatively no value for one’s current circumstances, but, nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever it meant for Israel it certainly means for us who are born again, as well.
In Moses day, salvation could be seen: “But Moses said to the people, Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord (YHWH) which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord (YHWH) will fight for you while you keep silent.” NASU
The same was true of David: “And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord (YHWH) in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence. 4 “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies. 2 Sa 22:1-4 NASU
WOW! Just look at these verses and realize the relevance of salvation for us today! In those days these words were used to describe everything attributed to God, Yahweh (YHWH). For us, they are also now attributable to Jesus, whom YHWH made both Lord and Christ. (I cannot help but explain something here for those who may not know: LORD in all capital letters in the OT is the proper name of God, YHWH. Some translation say Jehovah, but the most accurate is YHWH. There is a difference between Lord and LORD. Jesus is our Lord. His and our Father is our LORD.)
Jesus Christ was YHWH’s plan for Salvation to Gentiles who would be grafted in to fully share in the promises of God to Israel and their inheritance! This is exactly what it says in the gospel of Luke. This is what Simeon declared when Jesus was brought to the Temple some forty days after his birth: Lk 2:30-32, for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” ESV
All these aspects of salvation are available are available, now, today, to all who positively affirm what Romans 10:9 and 10 says, which is part of Paul the apostles prayer to God for Israel! Salvation is not something currently out of reach; it is readily obtainable. Get it now, while supplies last!
(See Chapter IV, page 19 of my new book at http://www.fredswolfe.com)