The Word “Ecclesia” stems from two main words – “ek” meaning “out of,” and “kaleo” which means “called or summoned.” There were such authoritative civil bodies existing in those days. One in every major town or city.
One of the most well known statements concerning the Ecclesia of Christ was the first time Jesus mentioned it, as recorded in the Gospels.
The account can be found in Matthew 16:13-20:
Peter answered Jesus by telling him (Jesus) who He really was – “The Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (v.16)
Jesus replied by telling Peter that He would build His Ecclesia upon the rock(foundation) of that amazing revelation.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My ‘church’ (Ecclesia) ; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (v.18)
This was the first time Jesus talked about His Ecclesia. Don’t forget that there was already an ecclesia in that community. It had been there for a long time. I am not talking about the assembly (as discussed in our previous session); but the lawful assembly – the civil body.
Jesus said that He will build His Ecclesia (oikodomēsō mou tēn ekklēsian) on the main rock of the revelation of who He was – The Christ – Son of the Living God. This was similar to the sermon on the mount when He narrated a parable of a wise man building on a rock (Matt. 7:24).
After His promise to build his own ecclesia, he made it known that this “ecclesia” wouldn’t just be a general/local assembly. He attributed it to the second category- a powerful civil body.
Remember that this kind of the Ecclesia was a civil body duly convoked(called out) by the officials, and were given all political power including judicial functions.
Jesus did the same with His own Ecclesia. He continued in His promise:
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (v.19, NASB).
Just as the ecclesia of Athens and Ephesus were given the power by the government, Jesus spoke of the authority that the government of Heaven would give to his own ecclesia.
Authority of the Ecclesia of Christ
All in his Ecclesia were given access (keys 🔑) to the kingdom (government) of Heaven. Different levels of access depicts different kinds of keys. In your house, there are several doors 🚪, each with keys. The more keys you have the more access you get into different areas of the house. You get the idea? But that’s not our main topic for now.
The Ecclesia of Christ represents another kingdom from another world – another king, Jesus Christ. Paul and his fellows turned the world upside down by proclaiming messages from that kingdom. They didn’t speak of Ceasar of the Roman Empire but Jesus Christ of Heaven’s Empire (Acts 17:6-7). Check that passage out!
This Ecclesia of Christ was to be connected and work hand in hand with, and under the supervision of the Government of Heaven. When a matter arises, they find out what the Government wants done, and immediately they exercise their full authority to allow (loose) or forbid (bind) on earth what had been decreed by their Government in Heaven.
The verse up there, that’s how it should be rightly translated. (Ambassadors don’t tell the Government what to do. It’s rather vice versa. Jesus only did the Father’s will, not vice versa)
Judicial Authority of the Ecclesia of Christ
The Ecclesia of Christ was given political and judicial authority from the Government of Heaven to judge and rule its colony here on earth. Jesus knew about the ecclesia of the present kingdom of Rome in his day. He even spoke about that (not his) ecclesia:
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (lawful assembly – ecclesia) and if he refuses to listen even to the church (ecclesia), let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Matthew 18:15-17 NASB
He advised the people of his day on how to settle matters with each other. There was a civil body ecclesia in every town of his day. (He wasn’t referring to HIS ecclesia. He hadn’t died yet to produce one.)
Can you see how Jesus complimented their authority? He mentioned that if that person ignores the instructions of that ecclesia (called out from that local community), they had the full authority to pass judgement – denounce him from being a member of that community.
And every one else had to yield to that order.
After Jesus complimented the authority of that ecclesia, he compared them to the one He will build (v.18-20). Their authority was not just of that city or community, it was of the whole earth. His ecclesia need not to be the entire gathering; just two of them in agreement is more than enough to execute judicial authority.
Judgement is not punishment. It’s a legal term. Just like a Judge passing judgement after a hearing. It can go both ways.
Paul spoke of the Ecclesia of Christ extending far and wide – the world systems of this earth, affairs of life, and even angelic beings (1 Cor. 6:2-3).
Isn’t it wonderful to know who you are as a member of Christ’s Ecclesia? It surely is. Don’t swell up with pride though; and never forget that your authority is only as powerful as the decree from the Government of Heaven.
Connect and be ready to listen and discern what Heaven wants, and trust me; no matter how impossible it may seem on the earth, you’ve been given the full power and authority from Heaven to perform it. All the best in your ruling!
(Author of the “Tree of Righteousness: Planting of Yahweh.” Please check it out for a small fee. Thanks)
Here ends our little series on the Ecclesia Chronicles. I hope you enjoyed it!