By Jack Eberle
The word church is greatly misunderstood by religious people in our age perhaps not so much by rightly dividers. We taught our children as they were growing up to refer to a church as a church building. Rightly-dividers are familiar with the phrase Church Who is His Body. The KJV uses the inanimate which, but since the actual church is made up of people, the relative pronoun should be translated who instead of which since the form is the same. So, to reiterate, a church is not a building.
Right-dividers recognize also that there are different churches mentioned in The Scriptures. The word ECCLESIA in the Greek means called-out group. We would assume that since the term is included in His Word, that it would have some spiritual relevance. Matthew 16:18 may be the best known of Scriptures speaking of church. on this rock will I build the assembly of Me The connotation here is that this is more of an earthly phenomenon. Confusion reigns when folks want to take the body as a spiritualization so that it can be reconciled with this statement to Peter. Certainly folks are free to spiritualize and consider figures of speech as they wish. However, God is not speaking casually and off-handed as folks may do. The Scriptures are of no private interpretation (II Peter 1:20). God is the maker of our brains and mouths. He certainly knows how to speak clearly to us. Clearly the church of Matthew is not the same as the church of Ephesians. Again we look at Acts 7:38 to see Moses as one who was in the church in the wilderness. This could not be the church of Matthew 16:18 because God said, I will meaning future. The Mosaic church of Acts 7:38 was speaking of an earlier time. Acts 8:3 speaks of Paul ravaging the church. This could not be the church of the Body because Paul hadnt even been given the mystery and was not even a believer in Christ at this point. Afterwards in I Corinthians 15:9, Paul speaks of persecuting the church, but it still is not the church of the Body because he hadnt been given the truth of the One Body which we see in Ephesians. Another pre-Body passage is Acts 19:1-40 which deals with things concerning Gentile believers in Jesus as The Christ, but not as Head of His Body. James 5:14 speaks of the elders of the church, but James was written to the 12 tribes which are in the dispersion. Thus, not to the church Who is His Body. Eph., Php., Col., Phm., I & II Tim., and Tit. speak of the Church Who is His Body. This is the church which is His will for the present time. Their destiny is the upon-heavenlies with Christ. He has already paid the price and sealed this truth.