Kingdom Truth - What is the Kingdom of Heaven in the Bible?
Chapter 4, Part 1
The Church Succeeds the "Congregation"
of the Old Testament
There are two nouns in the Old Testament that stands for the 'church'. One is עדה (aw-daw) and is derived from the verb 'appoint' or 'chosen'. The other is קהל (kaw-hawl) and is derived from the verb 'gather'. These two terms are often translated as the 'congregation' or 'assembly'. The latter is sometimes translated as a 'large assembly'. So, these two words are used interchangeably. For example, in Numbers 20:1, 2, 8 and 11, the word is 'congregation' whereas in verses 4, 6, 10, and 12, the word is 'assembly'. So, the combined meaning of aw-daw and kaw-hawl in the Old Testament is equivalent to the New Testament εκκλησια (ekklhsia) - church. Since the original meaning of the word 'church' is formed by a preposition 'εκ' - (out of) added to verb 'καλεω'- (call), in its application, it has the meaning of 'congregation'. So, the 'assembly of Jehovah' in the Old Testament is equivalent to the New Testament 'Church of God'. They are both 'Israels of God' (Gal. 6:16), Abraham's offspring (Gal. 3:29), God's own possession amongst all the people and a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exo. 19:5-6; 2 Pet. 2:9). In addition, the New Testament often applied technical phrases of the congregation of Israel from the Old Testament to describe the church. Some examples are: the 'temple', 'olive tree', 'the vine and the branch', 'bride and groom', etc. All these clearly show that the New Testament church is the successor of the Old Testament congregation. No wonder in Stephen's sermon and in Hebrews, 'ekklhsia' was used in place of 'kaw-hawl' (congregation in Acts 7:38 and Heb. 2:12). Since both are organizations of the Preparation Kingdom, they are in principle the same. Only the latter has received more grace than the former because the latter is not only God's Church; it is "the church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 1:1). Also, it is "God who bought it with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). In addition, it is the body of Christ and Christ is her head. (Eph. 1:23; 5:23) Therefore, she was expected to be "the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and blameless" (Eph. 5:27). Who knows that she turned out to be just like the Old Testament congregation! While she was "...planted with the choicest vine... Then He expected it to produce good grapes, ... but produced only rotten (original meaning) ones" (Is. 5:2). How lamentable! The gracious Lord wept over Jerusalem, would He today also weep over the church in the last days?