SEED & BREAD
(Originally published 10 Dec. 79)
In the study on "What Does kaleO Mean?" (Issue No. 87), it was pointed
out that, by the rule of usage in the New Testament, this word means to
position, to appoint, to place, to name, or to designate ó all these
terms being synonymous, agreeing in the sense of declaring a person as
being oneís choice for an office or position. It was also shown that to
call, summon, invite, and bid are secondary meanings.
Then, in the study on "What Does ekklEsia Mean?" (Issue No. 97) it was
shown that this word was formed by the addition of ek (out) to the
verbal adjective klEtos, and that this combination means out-positioned,
also, that this word can be applied to any individual, company, or
nation that has a position out of another. Individuals, companies, and
even a nation such as this can be traced throughout the Bible. In
considering these, the word ekklEsia will be used as an English word,
without italics, and will be spelled as in the Greek. This word is a
participle; that is, a word that combines the characteristics of a verb
with an adjective. It can correctly be parsed as a verbal adjective, and
in Scripture is used as a noun.
The mysterious man Melchizedek, whose name means "my God is righteous,"
was a priest of the most high God (Heb. 7:1), and he was the king of
Salem. His position, both as king and priest of that city-state, was out
of God. Therefore we can truly say that he was an out-positioned or
ekklesia man. See Gen. 14:18-20.
The next ekklesia man we need to consider is Abraham. God said of him:
"He is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live" (Gen.
20:7). These words tell us that he was a "prophet-priest," and he was
this because God declared it. His position was out of God. He functioned
as such to Abimelech (Gen. 20:1-18). It is also clear that his position
is a permanent one, and that he will function as such in the kingdom of
God (Luke 13:28, 29).
The divine position of Moses is easy to discern. He was a judge-priest
in Israel (Exodus 18:15, 16), and he was truly an ekklesia man. At first
he was alone in this, the only man in Israel with an official position
out of God. However, this changed, and in Exo. 18:18-24 we read of an
arrangement, made at the suggestion of Jethro, that added about 80,000
men to the judges in Israel. This configuration, even though approved by
God, still left too heavy a burden upon Moses, and at his complaint, God
arranged to ease the burden (Num. 11:10-15 ó See Issue No. 97). These
seventy men are actually called ekklesia in Acts 7:38, and are referred
to as the body of Moses in Jude 1:9.
Aaron is an outstanding example of an ekklesia man. His position as the
high priest of Israel was out of God. Of him it was said: "And no man
taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called (kaleO) of God, as
was Aaron" (Heb. 5:4).
Many more such men could be cited. All the prophets such as Isaiah,
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel had their positions out of God, and could be
designated as ekklesia men in harmony with the way the Greeks used this
term. The boy David was only a shepherd, but after his anointing to be
king of Israel he had a position out of God. This position is a
perpetual one. Death interrupted it but did not end it. David will again
be the Shepherd-king of Israel in the day when God governs the nations
of the earth. See Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Hosea 3:5.
It is, however, in the New Testament that the truth concerning ekklesia
men shines forth clear and strong. The disciples of Christ were simply
learners. They had no position out of Him. They were not ekklesia men
individually and did not form an ekklesia collectively. However, at one
point in His ministry, after a night of prayer, He called unto Him His
disciples. Out of these He chose (elected) twelve, whom also He named
apostles (Luke 6:12, 13).
The full significance of this action has long been ignored and
stultified. The very fact that it followed a night of communion with the
Father should denote its importance. In this action, Jesus Christ, who
was Godís apostle (Heb. 3:1), gave of Himself, even of His substance
(essential nature) to these twelve men, resulting in each one becoming
an outpositioned one, or an ekklesia man. Individually and personally
they were an ekklesia, and collectively they became the ekklesia to all
However, it should be noted that they could not be an ecclesia
collectively unless each one was ecclesia personally. The United States
Senate (a legislative ekklesia) is an example of this. It must be made
up of a hundred men who individually are Senators, men whose positions
are out of their states. You cannot become a senator by joining the
senate, and you cannot form the senate by organizing a hundred ordinary
These twelve men at this point became the foundational ecciesia, the
very rock upon which the Lord declared He would build of Himself the
ekklesia. The presence of Judas among these creates no problem. The Lord
will do the cleansing work that eliminated Judas, even as He will purge
all others that should be eliminated before He presents it to Himself as
a glorious ekklesia, not having spot, wrinkle, or blemish. See Eph.
The multitude of Israelites who became disciples of the Lord Jesus
certainly required that there be men with a position out of Christ in
order to handle all the complex matters that would arise among them. The
actual functioning of this ekklesia in the days of our Lord on earth is
clearly set forth in Matt. 18:15-20. The context shows that these words
were spoken to the larger company of the disciples in the presence of
the twelve. They had come to ask a question, and to His answer the Lord
added the following words: "Moreover, if thy brother (a fellow disciple)
shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and
him alone: and if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother, but
if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in
the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established"
Two steps are presented in this passage. If the first one produced no
result, it then became a legal matter and the second step should provide
witnesses so the matter can be properly presented to the ecclesia. As
believers, living in and under Godís administration of grace, we can
take the first step if we so desire, but we cannot righteously take the
second step. If the first fails, then we can only fall back on the
directive given in Eph. 4:32: "And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, dealing graciously (charizomai) one with another, even as
God also in Christ deals graciously (charizomai) with you.
However, among the disciples in the time of our Lord it was a different
matter. If the first two steps failed to produce the desired result,
then the offended one with his witnesses was to tell it to the ekklesia,
men with a position out of Christ who could bind or loose a matter upon
earth and it would be bound or loosed in heaven. If the offender refused
to hear the ekklesia, then he was to be treated as a man of the nations
and a tax-gatherer (Matt. 18:17). Scofieldís statement that this passage
deals with "Discipline in the future church" is a theological absurdity.
It should be carefully noted here that the whole twelve did not need to
be present in order to deal with such matters. In this context the Lord
declared that if any two of them agreed on earth as touching anything
they shall ask, it shall be done for them (Matt. 18:19). Two apostles
made a quorum. Our Lord emphasized this by saying: "For where two or
three are gathered in My name (under My authority) there am I in the
midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
For anyone to take the two statements cited above and apply or relate
them to prayer or to meetings where the attendance is small is a
misappropriation, a misapplication, and an abuse of Scripture to the nth
degree and should be branded as theological japery. Let there be no
misunderstanding. There was during the Lordís earthly ministry a band of
twelve men who were individually ecclesia men, and who were collectively
the Lordís ecclesia, and they functioned as such. Anyone who received
these men as Christís commissioned ones (apostles) also received the
Lord Jesus (Matt. 10:40).
The word ekklEsia must not be restricted to divine positions and
appointments. If one had a position out of another, the word ekklEsia
could be used of him. When we read: "There was a certain rich man, which
had a steward" (Luke 16:1) it is evident that this stewardís position
was out of the rich man, who had delegated to him some of his own power
and authority. Therefore, this steward was an out-positioned man and
could be described as ekklesia. From this it becomes apparent that
Paulís greeting to the ekklEsia that was in Philemonís house (Phm. 1:2)
was to his administrator, an individual who was a part of his household.
In Acts 19:32, 39, and 41 we find the Greek word ekklesia three times.
It is translated "assembly" in all these occurrences, and this would not
be a bad translation if we understand what an assembly is. This was a
legislative and judicial assembly, and all such must be composed of
All members of the California State Assembly must have a position out of
the district that elects them. They form a legislative assembly which
meets at certain stated times, or when called into session by the
governor. If they should meet on their own volition, it would not be a
legal assembly. No group of men can get together and organize an
assembly. An assembly must be organized out of assemblymen, even as an
ekklesia must be composed of ekklesia men.
In my own opinion the word ekklEsia reaches its highest peak when it is
used of Jesus Christ. This is found in Ephesians 3:10. The position of
Jesus Christ is out of God.He is the preeminent outpositioned One. It is
through Him that the manifold widsom of God is now being made known to
the sovereignties and authorities among the most elevated. To Him
belongs such a task and the glory of it.
Issue no. 115