I have struggled with what I call “church-mindedness” in America for a long time. What that means to me, is that we are not kingdom-focused in America. We are focused on ourselves. So let’s discuss the difference between what these 2 words mean in relation to the gospel in the “New Testament” texts.

The New Testament uses the word “kingdom” 154 times, uses the word “church” 79 times and uses the word “gospel” 99 times. But only 4 times in the Bible (that I have found) is the word “gospel” qualified, in 3 different ways ways: The purpose, the Person (the King of the dominion) and the point.

Mt 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom

Mt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Purpose)

Mr 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; (Person)

Ac 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Point)

Mt 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching (making disciples) in their synagogues, and preaching (proclaiming) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

The “Great Commission?”

Mt 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This book is intended to be blunt. But it’s not meant as a personal attack on anyone at all. However, the truth is; Most of us show up for worship at a building once a week and we don’t even focus on the Kingdom, we focus on some music and a “sermon” , a word which cannot even be found a single time in the Bible. That’s not to say that sermons are wrong, I am looking to point out that our focus is misguided.

Let’s take a look at one of the main verse used to show that we are supposed to go to church every Sunday to hear the pastor preach a sermon.

Ac 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

The Greek word for “preached” is “διαλέγομαι”, (where we get “dialogue” from) meaning to say thoroughly, i.e. discuss (in argument or exhortation):–dispute, preach (unto), reason (with), speak. The word is more often translated as disputing or reasoning. What was he doing with his long ‘speech’? Exactly what in these versus and many more we are commanded to do: teach; more correctly translated to make disciples. To dialogue with brothers and sisters. There is an excellent Hebrew word that better describes what I believe the apostles did and we should do, it is Midrash (מדרש; plural midrashim).

We cannot do that effectively in the average “church” setting, which is why Jesus/ Yeshua gave us the example of what church discipleship is supposed to look like, and in fact DID look like for hundreds of years during and after the Apostles’ lifetimes. They were Kingdom-minded, not church-minded.

Church-mindedness is what I refer to mean, “people who see the church AS the Kingdom instead of seeing it as a tool FOR the Kingdom”. We are all wrapped up in our church service as the reason for our existence. Many of us define ourselves by what church we go to or what we do at church on Sundays, and in fact use it for self-worth or self-gain sometimes. That is the true meaning of the commandment not to use the Lord’s name in vain. Most of us incorrectly believe that the commandment (Ex 20:7) means not to say cuss words with God’s name in it. With that definition we are missing an important truth; if we have a ministry, serve in a church in any capacity or do good works for our own desires, we are doing exactly what this commandment is referring to. And that is even worse than being church-minded. It is EXACTLY what the scribes and Pharisees were guilty of.


Kingdom: Greek βασιλεία, properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively):–kingdom, + reign.

What and where is this kingdom that is to be our main focus and how do we become part of it or enter in? Well, let’s ask the King:

How do I get in?

  • Mt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
  • Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
  • Mt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Mt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
  • Mt 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Where is it?

  • Mt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (it is partly on earth and partly in heaven)
  • Mt 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

What is it like?

  • Mt 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
  • Mt 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
  • Mt 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
  • Mt 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Mt 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
  • Mt 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
  • Mt 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

What exactly is the “church”?

Mt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. {Peter: this name signifies a rock,

Notice who is building the church- Jesus/ Yeshua Himself! The Greek word is ἐκκλησία (ek-klay-see’-ah). It means a calling out, i.e. (concretely) 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 Hebrew word is qahal, קְהַל and it means the same thing for the purposes here: army* (1), assembly (95), companies (1), company (15), congregation (8), crowd (1), horde (2).

The church is everyone that is saved and is gathered up when the dead and living are gathered up for the final battle. Mt 16:18 tells us clearly that Jesus is building His church as an army against the “gates of hell”.

Ac 2:47 And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Ac 2:34-35 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Every time the word church is in the Bible it is referring to all believers with one exception: when the Spirit/ Bible is referring only to members of the universal Body of Christ on Earth in a specific region ie. the church at Rome, Ephesus, Babylon, Philippi, Laodicea etc. (2Th 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:)

Did these churches in different regions have a 501c(3)? No, of course not. Did they have buildings specifically for “church”? No. Does that mean we shouldn’t have buildings? Of course not- Buildings are amazing tools for the Church to use for ministry in spreading the gospel of the kingdom and discipling. Unfortunately most “churches” don’t use their buildings for ministry, they use it for the church body (themselves). Of course there are exceptions of all kinds, I am just speaking generally,

That is another way of being church-minded rather than Kingdom-minded; are we using our 501c(3) non-profit buildings for the growing of the Kingdom as Jesus commanded …or are we using them to hang out with each other??

Mt 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

What if the place to hang out is in each other’s homes, the place for discipleship is in each other’s homes, the place for learning the Bible is in each other’s homes, the place to share our sins and hold each other accountable is in each other’s homes, the place for Spiritual growth is in each other’s homes, the place for worship and prayer and praise is in each other’s homes, the place to break bread (or have have communion) is in each other’s homes! But the place that we “go out from into all the cities and villages” is our community centers, the 501c(3) run facility that gives us the ability to hold a lot of Leaders and Followers (people, the true church, the Kingdom Army) who want to work in the Kingdom, and forge battle against the gates of hell, also known as church buildings. Why instead, do we use them so that everyone can show up and sit down for an hour listening to songs and sermons. And worse, why do we spend most of our time and effort (as Leaders or Followers) on that one hour of “church service”? What if we tried something new?

We are called out, not called in

What a difference a preposition can make. I heard a preacher saying on the radio once that “the only place for you to serve the Lord is in a local church. If you are not a member of a local church you can’t do any work for God. God created local churches and it is the ONLY place He created for His work”.

I entertained his thought and his message, hoping that he would help my understanding of the place and role of church buildings as he understood it, which most people call the “local church”. He did, but not in the way he intended or I expected.

Armies need Generals, Lieutenants et. al; leaders that have a vision. A leader’s number one priority is to protect that Vision (because it is God’s Vision, not his or hers) and disseminate that vision to His troops, we don’t have troops; we don’t have sheep (although it was prophesied that in the last days, shepherds would feed off of His sheep in Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah). Jesus/ Yeshua said “Feed MY sheep” to those who would be shepherds. Luckily, we know exactly what those leaders are supposed to look like

What are the leadership positions in the church?

1Ti 3:1+ This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

It is my personal opinion, and treat it as such, that all of these names are somewhat interchangeable and were never intended to define what the organizational structure of what we Americans call “church” is supposed to look like. Office of bishop, deacon are less titles than descriptors:

Bishop, “ἐπίσκοπος” means literally to oversee. The root word being a verb; to dig(into God’s word?). There does seem to be a somewhat distinguishing factor between bishops and deacons in this text. I have gone back and forth many times on what this is implying. As it pertains to HomeGroups, I am fairly settled that it is sufficient to assume it could be (or is) referring to the dual roles necessary in HomeGroups- the hosts and the leaders/ overseers.

The word deacon (διάκονος, διακονου) means to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christ-like deacon:–(ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the “office” of a deacon.

The word office is not even there in the Greek, “office of a deacon” is just the word “διακονeo”. “office of a bishop” is the same way, just the word ἐπίσκοπος. So why have our translations added the word office? For clarity of what the translator understood of course. I don’t believe there was some Nicolaitan conspiracy necessarily, but I haven’t ruled it out in some cases.

Similarly, one word- ἱερατεία, is used for “office of the priest”. So the word “office” is simply translated into the English Bible in these places by inference, by the choice of the translators.

Furthermore, in the following verse, the word translated “office” is the word διακονeo- “deacon”, so why is it rarely translated as such?:

Ro 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office

In the following verse, the same English word “office” is the word “πρᾶξις” which means “practice”

Ro 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.

So why so much translational confusion with church leadership offices? Biblically, I see zero reason to suppose/ assume that either of these are “church positions” or offices, they are just practices of leadership whether in a HomeGroup environment or any other setting. .


Let us look next at “elder” in the New Testament. There are only 9 verses that mention the word and I will underline the ones that even remotely seem to refer to an “office” of elder:

Lu 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

Ro 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. {elder: or, greater} {younger: or, lesser}

1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

1Ti 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

1Pe 5:5 ¶ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

2Jo 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

3Jo 1:1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

So 6 verses can be used to describe what an elder is without inference. But we are really left with only 4 scriptures that we can use to discern the role or office of an “elder” because in the last 2, John was SPECIFICALLY referring to himself as the writer of the letter and an apostle, not an “office”. And it gives us zero insight into what an “elder” is or does, so we can exclude those which leaves us with 2 scriptures in the New Testament to define an elder:

1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

What are the possible definitions of “an elder”? What is the etymology and English definitions during the time when Bibles were being translated into English?

Adjective: (of one or more out of a group of related or otherwise associated people) of a greater age. “my elder daughter”, Noun: a person of greater age than someone specified.Etymology: “senior citizen,” c.1200, from Old English eldra “older person, parent” (used in biblical translation for Greek presbyter); see elder (adj.). The Old English for “grandfather” was ealdfæder.

So, in English there is no record before 1200 a.d. to give us insight (The KJV was written in 1611). In terms of English there is no definition that involves anything but age-related explanations (supported by the Bible, 1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.)

So to answer the question whether the 2 remaining scriptures were referring to age or office I ask, “how old was Peter when he wrote 1 Peter”? 1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Domitian in AD 81 which means Peter was 80 years old when he wrote it, and also he was an apostle, not an elder. Do we think that lends credence to his statement “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder,” meaning that he was in a position of authority or that he had a “church position”, or does it simply mean he was a senior citizen, an older mature and experience gentleman?

But in recent history we have gradually created a different definition.

Wikipedia: An elder in Christianity is a person valued for his wisdom who accordingly holds a particular position of responsibility in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions (e.g., Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism) an elder is a clergy person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of Word, Sacrament and Order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions (e.g., Presbyterianism, Baptists), an elder may be a lay person charged with serving as an administrator in a local church, or be ordained to such an office, also serving in the preaching (in this case referring to teaching done during church gatherings) and/or pastoral roles. Though there is technically a distinction between the idea of clergy elders and lay elders, often the two concepts are conflated in everyday conversation (for example, a lay-elder in the Baptist tradition may still be referred to as “clergy,” especially in America).

If we say it is more plausible Peter was putting himself in an age bracket or that John is negated by the fact that he was an apostle that leaves only one single scripture in the entire New Testament to justify the idea that our churches should have elders as an actual office, much less being a salaried position:

1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

1Ti 5:19 κατα πρεσβυτερου κατηγοριαν μη παραδεχου εκτος ει μη επι δυο η τριων μαρτυρων

We can all agree, I hope, that no doctrine should ever be built on 1 verse without 2 or 3 witnesses if we are not even to bring an accusation without more than 1 witness. When I was about 17 I wrote a brief “thesis” that I called, “the theory of unjustified necessity” where I noted an observation; namely that everything I saw that really had no purpose in the world seemed to focus all its energy, time and money on creating a need for its existence. The easiest-to-understand example I can think of to explain it is computer antivirus companies creating viruses. Or Homeland Security creating terrorists. Or Elders teaching how the church needs the office of elders. Now Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying that Elders do his on purpose. We all do what we were taught to do by people who thought they were teaching us correctly.

Could Satan himself have infiltrated the churches in the world and especially in America through seminaries promoting unjustified necessities of church offices and seminaries being required to produce graduates in order to hold positions? It makes much more sense that he would do that than to think that he is personally involving himself in each and every one of our lives- he is not omnipresent like God is-

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

And just because I understand all leadership positions to be the same “office” doesn’t mean it is wrong to have elders as the name we use to describe leadership. The Bible is not all-inclusive in how to be a great leader or very specific about any office or gift. It gives some great instruction and examples of leaders and their expected characteristics. And there is plenty of leadership material that I read to supplement my leadership regiment outside of the Bible. But when we see see everything dependent upon some hierarchy of church order or office, that too is a form of church-mindedness. The very mention of the word “church” paints this picture in our mind of the pastor, the elder, the attendees (tithers), the visitors, and those outside of “our church”. That picture is so far removed from the gospel of the kingdom I wouldn’t even know where to begin listing out the discrepancies.

Also, it does makes sense to specify the leadership capabilities or giftedness the way the Bible does; As the CIO, no one comes to me and asks how well their guitar sanding is, I don’t know the first thing about sanding guitars. But I know how to build an ERP with a chart of accounts and a bill of materials and services for products and calculate the cost of goods sold and create reports for it, etc.

We are a body made up of all different parts. So I believe our giftedness can change to fit the scenario. Sometimes we need the gift of faith, sometimes we need the gift of tongues or prophecy etc. But what about actual offices in the kingdom besides the ones that describe all of us?

“Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers”

“Eph 4:11 καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλου”

So He himself gave us the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastor- teachers

It is my personal opinion, that this is the one place in scripture where the actual “offices” are named in one verse, rather than using descriptors. Certainly you can find other places where these are mentioned, but not all together. And if you will notice the word “some” is used prefacing the “office“ in every instance but the last one. In the last instance, you will notice something rather strange in the Koine Greek- ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλου- this is very difficult to translate to English and you almost always see it not translated at all or translated as a dash or hyphen; Pastor-teachers (shepherding disciplers). Those in a dual role of discipleship where we are both teaching some and learning from some at the same time.

For many years that is what I have specifically, personally called any “office” other than “minister”, but minister is the same as the others in my opinion; another descriptor. I don’t see them tied to only one local church- and personally I don’t agree that it should be for others either, for any of us. Feeling called to a church to serve locally and not simultaneously looking at the Kingdom globally as a whole is in my opinion, “church minded” and shows a lack of maturity and understanding of Scripture and what the kingdom is supposed to look like. It is also my opinion (I could be wrong) that each of these offices are related to Era’s in God’s prophetic timeline.

While prophecy is certainly a gift, there are no more prophets (Hebrews 1:1). There are no more Apostles because you have to see Jesus/ Yeshua to be an Apostle (Acts 1:21). There were 12 prophets and 12 apostles in the Bible. There were also 4 major prophets but that’s another book to be written. I believe Pastor-teachers are the leadership “office” until the “fullness of the gentiles come in”, and one day maybe there will be 144 thousand Evangelists.

Like prophecy, there is still a gift of evangelism, but not an office necessarily. Those with the gift of evangelism are those with the gift of sharing good news that they have found someone else who is annointed to be a pastor-teacher. Offices are not chosen by those holding the office and they cannot be earned, we have to be anointed/ appointed and understand when the time has come to not only be called by God, but more importantly when it is time to be sent. In the kingdom, we are all ambassadors, messengers, heralders and we are called to minister by leading from behind, not lording over. We lead as pioneers, not priests. But Jesus/ Yeshua did not put up a sign-up sheet to volunteer as an apostle or prophet. And I digress.

These points on being kingdom-minded are why I have serious concerns for church-minded believers and their misconceptions of “ἐκκλησία”. Not because I fear they are on the cusp of fire and brimstone; Jesus/ Yeshua Himself said that even the shepherds who teach others to sin will still be in the kingdom, they will just be least in the kingdom.

The points of disagreement regarding what I believe are common misinterpretations of ἐκκλησία, the Greek word for “church”, are not intended to be against any person who has them and in no way do I desire to argue or convince anyone of my beliefs through debate. But I do want all to be confident that each of us are not following another gospel. And here is the main error of ἐκκλησία’s origins, the foundation of everything else on which the idea of the rest is based:

When was the church born?
One of the biggest cause of the confusion leading to church-mindedness is the following misconception:

“The “church” was literally “a called-out assembly.” Its birth took place when the first disciples responded in faith to “Follow me! But most important it happened on Pentecost.”

This is COMPLETELY untrue, but it is what most Christians believe. The “Law of first mention” is the practice of defining a word by going back to the place where God mentioned it.Now, I will say, there is in my opinion another dimension to discuss this deeper by separating conception from birth, that however is far too in depth for the purpose here. Let’s start by going back to the first mention of the idea.

The law of first mention for ἐκκλησία using the Septuagint takes us back to:

Ex 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

When we start at the law if first mention of “Assembly”, we will quickly find 2 main words in Exodus 12; qahal (קְהַל) and edah (עֵדָה),

edah is the feminine of ed, from which we also get the term “Moedim”, or appointed times (מוֹעֲדִים) which directly connects the Church to the feasts of the LORD, but that too is another book.

This means that the “church”, was formed NOT at the 1st century Pentecost (Shavuot) in Acts but rather at the first Pentecost (Shavuot) ever- in the book we call Exodus. And if we go to the first verses of that book, we see it more clearly defined what identity was established leading up to when the church was born:

Ex 1:1 ¶ Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

Remember, the end is in the beginning. Exodus 1:1 sounds a lot like James 1:1 and the 144 thousand of Revelation if we have eyes to see.

So the true definition of the Assembly, ἐκκλησία, or the church as people like to call it is, the multitude of witnesses who assemble or congregate with a common testimony and culture- God’s church, the saints. This is CLEARLY mentioned in several NT passages, but none are so clear on how to identify them as this one:

Re 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

As already stated, every instance of the word church in the NT when quantified, is quantified by geological location, not “local congregations”; The church at Corinth, Ephesus, Thyatira, Philipi, Laodicea, Thessolanica or Rome et al, including the reference of Jesus/ Yeshua using the word ἐκκλησία in the New Testament Greek or qahal (קְהַל) in any Hebrew or Aramaic New Testament.

Mt 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Several issues exist with the assumption that Jesus used the word ἐκκλησία , but I will minimize it to 3. First, Jesus was talking to His disciples who were Jews and spoke Hebrew as well as Aramaic and possibly Greek and Latin. Americans are about the only people in the world who only speak one language. I know many scholars will say Hebrew was a dead language, but that simply isn’t true and scores of Archaeological finds can prove that. So it’s a false assumption that Jesus actually used that word, although he may have used a similar Aramaic word. It was simply translated into Greek when the gospel according to Mathew was translated.

Google search “Hebrew Mathew” and we will find overwhelming evidence that it was originally written in Hebrew, not Greek. I would argue the entire new testament was possibly originally written in Hebrew/ Aramaic but it’s a subject that can only be debated, not yet proven. There are endless Hebrew Idioms that don’t translate well into Greek that are a great evidence as well as verb object combinations, but I digress. It really doesn’t matter regarding manuscripts because we have ZERO original manuscripts. Everything we have is a copy of a copy and almost every copy we have of antiquity is Greek.

The Church in the Wilderness, or dispersion
This is an excellent way to think about the church, and I would argue that it is the ONLY way to think about church. And here comes the complete paradigm shift just in case you haven’t had your mind blown already.

We are to be kingdom-minded because the apostles were. In the first chapter of the Acts of the apostles, We see what they were ALL about.

Ac 1:1 ¶ The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Jesus/ Yeshua had spent His whole ministry teaching them. He explained to them about the kingdom of God for 40 days in His glorified body, He explained to them the Scriptures, He supernaturally opened their eyes to the Scriptures (Lu 24:45), and when they came together with Him, what was the NUMBER ONE question they needed to know the answer to? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?! We will discuss later about what that really means, but sufficient for now is the fact that the apostles were very kingdom-minded.

Father always intended to return the Kingdom of heaven to Israel, the wild olive tree that would be grafted back into the natural olive tree, Judah. But are those who claim to be “lost sheep of the house of Israel” wild branches if they were once part of the same root? Consider the meaning of these:

Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Ro 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

It is my belief that our entire eschatology looks completely different when we realign our understanding to these foundational Truths of Scripture that we have overlooked because we have been blind in part according to the God of Israel and have been church-minded rather than kingdom-minded.

The story of the prodigal son is a parable about Israel and Judah, as noted in other chapters, not the church-minded lost sinner as taught having the conventional definition of mainstream christianity. Every human being is a child of God unless he has had his name blotted out. However, technically the church is the restored kingdom of Israel and Judah under Messiah’s restored Covenant of God, everyone has a place and a purpose in that kingdom unless they choose to forfeit it. The mystery of the church is also the mystery of the two houses as referred to in the “new testament” as becoming one and being able to be married to the Messiah after being divorced:

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Israel and Judah becoming one flesh- as the husband and wife (Adam and Eve) have been shadow-pictures of the restored kingdom called Israel, the Bride for the Husband from the foundations of creation- also becoming one flesh, one Body with the Messiah. The evidences are all over the Bible once the blinders are removed! The Northern and Southern parts of the Kingdom re-uniting are like Judah coming out of the rib of Israel, Israel coming from the rib Jesus, Eve from the rib of Adam and reuniting. Reconciliation of family from beginning to end, the end from the beginning. DEEP stuff. The family is a wheel-within-a-wheel throughout history into eternity in a new heavens and Earth in a mind-bending reality that unfolds in many directions simultaneously. It’s more complicated than any human will ever be able to fully fathom.

It is VERY difficult for mainstream Christians to grasp this because of our church-minded confirmation bias, our love of our institutions’ continuity, and our grace-alone/ faith-alone comfort zones that daily give us a clean conscience for our lukewarmness and our one-dimensional western mindsets. In addition, this kingdom-mindedness is only seen by those who seek the face of the Father diligently and those who have hearts that desire to please the Father, instead of the preaching and teachings of men; those with hearts of flesh and not stone.

I don’t mean those words in a harsh manner at all. Church-mindedness is certainly the path that we all start on, which leads to the kingdom-mimnded path if we are continually growing and overcoming to the end. Almost no one hears about the good news or Jesus/ Yeshua without a knock on the door, a tract, a church-minded VBS invitation or something similar. But that’s just the beginning of the path to being kingdom-minded.

I have NEVER been so confident in the Word of God, the Truth has NEVER made so much sense and connected so many of the dots and cleared up so many of the confusion of errors and mistranslations. Switching from primarily studying Greek to studying paleo-Hebrew and the Biblical Hebrew of the text has proven to me beyond a shadow of ANY doubt that the Bible is irrefutably true and my family is taught the kingdom-minded path that Jesus/ Yeshua spoke of regarding the Instructions from His Father. And I just want to share that kingdom- mindedness with others If I do nothing else.

His burden is light, His Yoke is not hard; We can be set apart from the world by following His Instructions and it’s not only easy, it’s enjoyable to die to self and do things His kingdom Way. Most scholarly writings/ pens are excellent and are part of the Path in my opinion, but they are not the end of the Path and there is error mixed in with Truth all along the way until we get to the last days. Most Christians get to a point of learning and they plateau in their learning and separate based on their set of beliefs into like-minded, church-minded denominations instead of continuing to learn and becoming more kingdom-minded. This is especially true of scholars. I know because I was there once; I thought I knew just about everything there was to know, but Father humbled me to make my heart right for even more Spirit and Truth- to show me that I really don’t know anything. He is MOST gracious and deserving of glory and kingship. And I am thankful to be able see the the kingdom-minded, mind of Christ that we are all called to have in us (Phil 2:5).

Author: emartinie

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