G1577. ekklesia, ek-klay-see'-ah; from a comp. of G1537 and a der. of G2564; a calling out, i.e. (concr.) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):--assembly, church.
The word "church" is a pagan word that has been applied to an assembly of people. Contrary to what many people of today think that assembly is, it is NOT a building, or a system of worship, ceremonial rites, or anything else. It is an assembly of people who are called out for ANY reason. People of today usually associate the title only with so-called "Christian" groups, but there are many types and affiliations of groups that correctly merit and use that pagan title, "church."
Of the many types of "churches" in this world, and many do claim to be part of the body of Yahushua the Anointed (the Christ), quite a few are in fact assemblies of the archenemy, Satan. Although these assemblies outwardly appear to be composed of the children of our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah, they are in reality more of Satan's congregation. You have to be very careful in ascertaining the true character of any group with which you wish to associate yourself. You can identify the affiliation of a group of people, whether they are a so-called "church," business group, family, or whatever, by the products of that group. If you want to see their true products, you may have to dig a little deeper than what you can see on the surface. If they are truly children of Yahuwah, they will produce "fruit" acceptable to Him. If they are not, their fruit will be of a somewhat different nature, and many times it can be very difficult to tell the good fruit from the bad with just a cursory glance.
Remember that our Savior Yahushua called some of the leading "ministers of God" of the first century "whited sepulchers" as it was rendered in the KJV. This literally means that they were all pretty and neat and acceptable according to what they LOOKED like on the outside, but in reality they were horrible caricatures of what they were supposed to have been on the inside. A sepulcher is a tomb, or grave. To white, in the sense He meant, was to paint the outside with whitewash to make it LOOK clean, while in fact, it was internally filthy.
The exact words He used are:
MattiythYahuw (Matthew) 23: 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
There are many "churches" today who aptly fit that description due to the actions of the leaders and the people of their congregations.
Do they "raise Cain on Saturday night" but "go to church on Sunday?" Then they are NOT children of Yahuwah.
Do they "attend church every time the doors are open" but cheat on their income tax? Then they are NOT children of Yahuwah.
Do they drive a "church bus" to pick up children for "church" and then exceed the speed limit so they'll get them there on time? Then they are NOT the obedient children of Yahuwah.
Does the minister preach "hellfire and damnation" while he is having a sexual affair with some of the women in the congregation? Then they are NOT children of Yahuwah.
Do they say they believe that the Ten Commandments are the laws of Yahuwah, but attend worship services on the first day of the week (pagan Sunday)? Then they are NOT the obedient children of Yahuwah.
Does the "Board of Deacons" or the hired preacher "run the church?" Then it is NOT an assembly of Yahuwah.
A good example of what the assembly is can be found in the epistles of Sha'uwl (Paul). In his first letter to the people in the city of Korinthos (Corinth), he had this to say.
1 Korinthios (Corinthians) 1:1 Sha'uwl, called to be an delegate of Yahushua the Anointed through the will of Yahuwah and Sosthenes our brother, 2 to the assembly of Yahuwah which is at Korinthos, to them that are sanctified in the Anointed Yahushua, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Yahushua the Anointed our Master, both theirs and ours. 3 Grace to you and peace from Yahuwah our Father and from the Master Yahushua the Anointed.
Note that he identified himself and his office and he also identified to whom he was writing. The assembly of Yahuwah at Korinthos. He was not writing to the First Baptist Church of Korinthos, nor to the United Methodist Church of Korinthos, nor to the Korinthos Church of Christ, or the Korinthos Blessed Virgin Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Roman Catholic), or to the First United Christian Church of Korinthos, or to any other "church" whose name you can find in any city today. He was writing to the assembly of believers who just happened to reside in the city of Korinthos. There could be no other assembly in that city, as there can only be one group of people who are the called out of the Master in one specific area.
One area, one assembly. This is part of the unity that has been lost as the assembly has "evolved" over the centuries. As more and more pagan beliefs, rites, and ceremonies found their way into the practices of the assembly of our Master, the assembly turned further and further away from that Master. The strongest group eventually became known as the Roman Catholic Church.
When the protest against the Roman Catholic Church occurred, the Protestant (meaning those who protest) "church" became extant, following many of the errors instituted and maintained by their mother, the harlot of Rhome (Rome). Soon after this "Reformation" occurred and this anti-Roman Catholic "church" made its appearance, many people began to realize that all still was not correct in the assembly of which they were a part, and they could tell it by reading for themselves what the word had to say. Unhappily, many of these people who disagreed with the actions of the body with which they were associated, when they split and formed their own group because of the doctrinal differences, went from error to error. They had a little light, but not enough to conform their beliefs to only those found in the scripture. Many had much difficulty parting themselves from practices which they had known all of their lives (Roman Catholic) and did not realize that they were still exhibiting characteristics that were part of that "church" but not part of the scripture. They continued to "baptize" infants, and they "baptized" by sprinkling or pouring water on the head of the recipient instead of immersing them as the word means and the scripture teaches. Some realized this particular error and did correct it, while many others did not. They kept the separation of "Laity" from the "Clergy," which is not found in the scripture. They continued to meet and worship on the pagan day of the Sun and call it the "Christian Sabbath." This list could go on for awhile.
These types of erroneous actions have compounded themselves until today what passes for the assembly of our Master has few characteristics that were to be found in the assembly at the time of the delegates while it retains many of the characteristics found in the pagan church of Rhome. The delegates foretold this event and since they were talking with the authority of Yahuwah, it should surprise no one that it has happened just as they said.
Sha'uwl went on to say that we should not have these doctrinal differences. How can the people in the assembly of our Savior believe different things about that Savior, practice different things in the worship and fellowship with that Savior, and still say that they are following Him as ONE body? That's like saying that your foot has blue skin while your leg is purple and your face is green, and they all use different blood to stay that way.
1 Korinthios (Corinthians) 1:10 Moreover I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Master, Yahushua the Anointed, that you all speak the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, moreover you may be perfect in the same mind and in the same opinion.
Are we all speaking the same thing? Do we have divisions among us? Are we perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment?
Yahushua prayed that in Yahuchanan (John) 17: 21
That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22 And the splendor which You gave Me I have given them that they may be one, even as We are One.
Are all of the believers in His name ONE, as He desired us to be?
11 For it has been declared to me of you, my brothers, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you says, "I am of Sha'uwl, and I of Apollos, and I of Keph, and I of the Anointed. 13 Is the Anointed divided? Was Sha'uwl impaled for you? Or were you immersed in the name of Sha'uwl?
Now reread verse 12 in this manner.
Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am a Baptist, and I am a Methodist, and I am a Catholic, and I am Church of Christ.
Is this the way it should be? Yahuwah forbid.
We have to be ONE in Yahushua, or we are NOT acceptable to Yahuwah.
Ephesios (Ephesians) 4:1-6 I therefore, the prisoner of the Master, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love. 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Master, one faith, one immersion, 6 One Eloah and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Do you believe the scriptures are in fact the word of Yahuwah? Do you believe that we must be in obedience to His will as found in His word? Then it is time for you to become a true ecumenicist.
ec·u·men·i·cal (ek' yu-me'ni-kel) also ec·u·men·ic (-men'ik) --adj. 1. Of worldwide scope or applicability; universal. 2.a. Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church. b. Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions. --ec'u·men'i·cal n. --ec'u·men'i·cal·ism n. --ec'u·men'i·cal·ly adv.
The ecumenicists that you meet on the street don't mean what is spelled out in the definition above when they use the word. What they mean is that all of the denominations need to be tolerant and accepting of one another, respecting their differences, and that they work together for whatever goals they have set.
As you can see, that is NOT what the word means. To be truly ecumenical does not mean to accept the differences in the assemblies that use the name of our Sovereign. It means to DO AWAY WITH THOSE DIFFERENCES. The only way this can be done is for everyone to turn to the Yahuwah and His word. Accept ALL of what He has to say and not just the parts you like. Quit believing what man has to say about what Yahuwah had to say. Listen to Yahuwah ONLY. He has given us the means to do this. Now it is up to us. If we desire to be His children, we will, nay, WE MUST, do it His way. Then there WILL be unity in His body. Everyone WILL speak the same thing. Everyone WILL be of one mind and judgment. There can be no other way.
Ibriym (Hebrews) 13:8 Yahushua the Anointed. The same yesterday, and today, and forever.