“Ecclesia” is the actual New Testament Greek word that is wrongly translated “church” in most English Bibles. The translators got it wrong … probably intentionally. This has resulted in the mistaken belief that “churches” are the same as the “ecclesias” spoken about in the Bible.
“Ecclesia” does not mean “church.” The Greek term for “church” is “kuriokon” – not “ecclesia.”
The English term “church,” which comes from the Greek term “kuriokon,” means “the lord’s” (i.e., a thing belonging to a lord … anything belonging to any lord). “Ecclesia,” on the other hand, is correctly translated “the called-out ones.”
Everyone today wants to use the term “church.” But the word “church” (“kuriokon”) does not appear even once in the Greek text. The word “church” should not even be in any English version of the Bible.
Jesus and his apostles never referred to a “church,” and did NOT establish churches. They spoke of ecclesias, and established ECCLESIAS: bodies of called-out followers of Christ. These were bodies politic — societies … not churches.
Churches are non-biblical institutions popularized during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine (306 AD – 337 AD). The Roman Catholic Church was the result of Constantine’s reforms, and is its most prominent example. The thousands of smaller denominations (churches) are variations on the Roman theme, not Christ’s theme. Churches were created by the Roman state for the purpose of bringing subjects into compliance with the Roman government and pacifying them. Churches today are still Constantinian in nature and are NOT the “ecclesias” established by Jesus and his apostles. A church organization has no resemblance to a Biblical ecclesia.
The New Testament ecclesias established by Jesus and his apostles functioned after the manner of the Greek ecclesias described in the article below … as independent and free instruments for the orderly maintenance of societies. Christ’s ecclesias were the body politic of his followers who considered themselves under his jurisdiction and not subjects of human kings and/or governments of men. Jesus was their King, and no other power could usurp His authority in their hearts. Regardless of earthly rulers, the allegiance of true Christians was strictly with Jesus and no other … and subsequent history records these Christians’ struggle against the many usurping ruling systems that are at constant war against the Kingship of Christ. Christians who were recognized as actual followers of Christ were always hated and often persecuted and martyred. Governments of men have waged war against Christ’s Kingship. The state’s creation of “church” has been one of its main instruments to enslave people and bring them into subjection and trick them into abandoning the Kingship of Christ.
Today the state stands as the usurper of Christ’s Kingship, and the churches help the state by confusing the people and bringing then into subjection. The ecclesias of Christ offered the people an opportunity to become citizens of a different jurisdiction … the jurisdiction of New Jerusalem (i.e., the Kingship of Christ). The option of citizenship in New Jerusalem (described in Revelation 21-22) is available to all who believe in the real Jesus. However, man-made governments and churches have worked tirelessly to confuse and obfuscate this truth so that a very few men can rule over the nations of the Earth. Most people today don’t even know that Christ’s Reign even exists.
The “dragon” of Revelation 12:15 (the Beast System) has flooded the Earth with lies and propaganda to cover up the fact that there is an option other than government-by-man. That option is the Kingship of Christ, administered through his ecclesias. Thus, true history has been covered up, and there is an ongoing war between the kingdoms of men -vs- the Kingship of Christ.
The article below, from ABOUT.COM, explains the actual meaning of the term “ecclesia” as it was known and used in the context of first-century vernacular of the Greek-speaking world. This definition can be verified at several websites which you can find on your own. This is corroborated by every reference about the Greek language and culture. It corroborates the truth that Christ’s ecclesias were not churches; not religious. Christ’s ecclesias interpreted and administered God’s laws among families and societies. They bore no resemblance to the organized churches of post-Constantine times.
For a complete study of this issue from a Biblical perspective see WHAT IS THE ECCLESIA – (benwilliamslibrary.com).
(The following definition of “ecclesia” is quoted from ABOUT.COM. I cite it, not because it defines the Biblical ecclesia of Christ, but rather because it defines how the term was used during the first-century. It was a political, non-religious term for an assembly of citizens who gathered to discuss issues of law and politics. It was a body politic made up of citizens interested in discussing and working out the issues of everyday life. The “ecclesia” was not religious, nor was it associated with a “church” until much later … during the time of Constantine The Great who chose the term “church” (“kuriokon”) for his Mithraic state religion which he falsely called “Christianity.” When the English translators obligingly changed the word “ecclesia” to the word “church” they might just as well have changed the name “Jesus” to the name “Mithras” – the Persian god worshiped by Constantine. -ed)
ABOUT.COM Ancient / Classical History
What Was the Ecclesia?:
Ecclesia (Ekklesia) is the term used for the assembly in Greek poleis (bodies politic). The ecclesia was a meeting place where the citizens could weigh in on issues in the political process.
Where was the Ecclesia?:
Normally at Athens, the Ecclesia assembled at the pnyx (an open-air auditorium west of the Acropolis with a retaining wall, orator’s stand, and an altar), but it was one of the jobs of the boule’s prytaneis (leaders) to post the agenda and location of the next meeting of the Assembly. On the pandia (‘All Zeus’ festival) the Assembly met in the Theatre of Dionysus.
Membership in the Ecclesia (Assembly):
At 18, young Athenian males were enrolled in their demes’ citizen lists, and then served for two years in the military. Afterwards, they could be in the Assembly, unless otherwise restricted. They might be disallowed while owing a debt to the public treasury or for having been removed from the deme’s roster of citizens. Someone convicted of prostituting himself or of beating/failing to support his family may have been denied membership in the Assembly.
The Schedule of the Ecclesia (Assembly):
In the 4th century, the boule scheduled 4 meetings during each prytany. Since a prytany was about 1/10 of a year, this means there were 40 Assembly meetings each year. One of the 4 meetings was a kyria ecclesia ‘Sovereign Assembly’. There were also 3 regular Assemblies. At one of these, private citizen-suppliants could present any concern. There may have been additional synkletoi ecclesiai ‘Called-together Assemblies’ summoned at short notice, as for emergencies.
Leaders of the Ecclesia (assembly):
By the mid-4th century, 9 members of the boule who were not serving as prytaneis (leaders) were chosen to run the Assembly as proedroi. They would decide when to cut off discussion and put matters to a vote.
Freedom of Speech:
Freedom of speech was essential to the idea of the Assembly. Regardless of his status, a citizen could speak; however, those over 50 could speak first. The herald ascertained who wished to speak.
Pay of the Ecclesia:
In 411, when oligarchy was temporarily established in Athens, a law was passed prohibiting pay for political activity, but in the 4th century, members of the Assembly received pay in order to ensure the poor could participate. Pay changed over time, going from 1 obol/meeting — not enough to persuade people to go to the Assembly — to 3 obols, which could have been high enough to pack the Assembly.
Acts of the Ecclesia:
What the Assembly decreed was preserved and made public, recording the decree, its date, and the names of the officials who held the vote.