I believe we are living in a time where the Holy Spirit is highlighting the word Ekklesia (Greek for Church, Kehila in Hebrew) in order to help us rediscover and walk in its original meaning.
Throughout Scriptures we see the secular language of the day being used to communicate spiritual realities in the kingdom of God. Consider the original meaning of the word apostle: before the New Covenant was written, the Phoenicians and Greeks would send out a fleet of battle ships for specific missions, or to sail to foreign lands with the purpose of colonizing new territory. The captain on the lead ship was called the ‘Apostle.’ The church is supposed to be like these ships, led by apostles, who have been sent out by the King to colonize and influence the earth with the culture of heaven.
Called out to Govern
The definition many today are giving for Ekklesia is not rooted in its original context and meaning. Centuries before the New Covenant was written, the Greeks were using the word Ekklesia to describe a group of citizens called out for governmental purposes. This group was made up of about 6000 men over the age of 18. They would meet on a regular basis to discuss and vote upon new law proposals, come up with military strategy and elect magistrates.
Though the Greeks invented this word, it was really the Romans who adopted, developed and implemented the ‘Ekklesia’ and its function into the heart of their empire. The Ekklesia was gathered around the Roman Emperor/king to hear and record his words. Then they were to see that his will and desires were being implemented across his kingdom.
This is how we as the Ekklesia are called to function, as rulers under the supreme Ruler – King Yeshua. We have been called out from the kingdom of darkness to gather around our King in nearness and intimacy (Col 1:13). We are to hear His voice and act as scribes who record His will, plans and strategy. Then, under His authority and in partnership with Him, we are commissioned to obey and act upon what we heard in His presence (Matt 28:18-20).
Advancing the Kings Agenda
This is what Yeshua was getting at in Matt 16:13-19 when He asked His disciples,
“Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ (anointed king), the Son of the living God.”
– Matt 16:13-19
Then Yeshua declared He would build His Ekklesia upon this revelation. (Of course, in the original dialogue Yeshua used the Hebrew/Aramaic Kehila, but the later Greek readers of the Gospels would hear/read “Ekklesia.”) In other words, “You have seen Rome’s Ekklesia function in governmental authority under their king, but now is the time to establish My Ekklesia, of whom I am the head and King, and the gates of hell will not be able to stop the advancement of My government.”
The original governmental meaning of Ekklesia in the New Covenant is directly related to the mandate God gave to mankind in Gen 1:26:
“Let us make man in Our image… let them have dominion… over all the earth.” – Gen 1:26
This speaks of ruling, governing, bringing order, administration, protection, maintenance and more. We have been called to rule over all the earth, its creatures and resources.
We are moving closer to the restoration of all things. Part of this process includes the global Ekklesia of Yeshua rediscovering her original identity and calling as a governmental body of people called out to rule the earth and every sphere of society under King Yeshua’s leadership (Acts 1:8).
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, July 31, 2015.