Constitution: Appendix

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Appendix: Use of the word “Church”*

This discussion is for clarification only, and is not an “official” part of our Constitution.

Yeshua said, “… on this rock I will build my miqra, and the gates of She'ol will not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) When his words were translated into Greek, the word ekklesia was substituted for the Hebrew miqra. A comparison of the two words will show the accuracy of that substitution. (Source: http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/)

ejkklhsi ekklesia
  1. a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
    1. an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
    2. the assembly of the Israelites …
arqm miqra
  1. convocation, convoking, reading, a calling together
    1. convocation, sacred assembly
    2. convoking
    3. reading

The inaccuracy of the common interpretation in the modern church comes not in the translation from Hebrew miqra into Greek ekklesia, but rather in the later translation of the Greek word ekklesia into English. We do not necessarily object to the use of the word “church.” However, it should be understood that the use of the word “church” in the English New Testament has no valid linguistic reason or precedent beyond Gentile tradition. It is a mistranslation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is a valid translation of the Hebrew word miqra, which should be translated as either “called out” or “called out ones.”

The word arqm (miqra) is repeatedly used in the Tenakh to speak of the holy convocation or holy assembly of the faithful, particularly for the observance of the Feasts of ADONAI. The word is based on the root word arq (qara') which means to call and commission or endow, to be chosen, or to be called out, or to be named. It is specifically used of those who are “called by the name of YHWH” in 2Chron 7:14; Isa 43:7, and Isa 45:4. We therefore conclude that Yeshua's Miqra includes the faithful of Israel both before and after the cross, into which holy assembly the believing Gentiles have been grafted or adopted.

“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you. So you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified! For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won't spare you! So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off! Moreover, the others, if they do not persist in their lack of trust, will be grafted in; because God is able to graft them back in. For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree! For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra'el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; and that it is in this way that all Isra'el will be saved. As the Tanakh says, ‘Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer; He will turn away ungodliness from Ya'akov and this will be My covenant with them, … when I take away their sins.’” (Romans 11:17-27 CJB)

The modern English word “churchmay be derived from the Middle English word chirche or kirke, which in turn is derived from the Greek word kyriakos, which literally means “belonging to the Lord.” Although it cannot be absolutely proven without a shadow of doubt, there is significant evidence to be found that the modern English word “church” is derived from the Middle English word chirche or kirke, which is related to “circle,” which is in turn related to the name of the false goddess Circe, and refers to the practice of worshipping Circe while standing in a “circle.” [For a further discussion of this subject, go here and here.]

Though many see no contradiction or conflict in using the word “church” to apply to a congregation of Messianic Believers, we strongly object to the anti-Semitic practice of using the word “church” to  teach or support any form of “replacement theology” in which the Gentile believers in Yeshua either replace, succeed, or supersede Israel in God’s Plan of Redemption, to teach any form of separation between Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Yeshua, or of artificially elevating Gentile believers to an imagined position that is superior to God’s elect people Israel.

We are firmly convinced that neither Yeshua nor the Shliachim intended to start a “new religion,” but rather only to fulfill, complete, and correct what was missing or incorrect in Judaism. We therefore believe that the most valid form of worship is that practiced by Yeshua and His talmidim (disciples). We have therefore chosen to identify ourselves with that group of believers that is known variously as “the Messianic Movement,” “Messianic Judaism,“ or “Messianic Restoration.”

We further believe that much of the conflict that exists between Jewish believers in Mashiach and Gentile believers in Mashiach has been caused by anti-Semitic and anti-Gentile language that has crept into the household of faith. For example, the word “Jesus” is nothing but a compounding of errors. Nobody who every knew Yeshua in the flesh ever referred to Him by that word. In fact, it grammatically impossible to say that word in either Hebrew or Aramaic, as neither language has the “jay” sound.

The Hellenistic Nazarenes — Gentile Believers and Jewish Believers who longed to “be a part of” the Greek culture — transliterated His name from Hebrew into Greek as “Iesu.” When the “church” became centered in Rome and the Greek Scriptures were translated into Latin, the Romans added an "s" on the end of His name (because virtually all masculine Latin words end in “s”) making it "Iesus.” Then the Germans came along during the Reformation and changed the “I” to a “J” making the word “Jesus.” And then the men who translated the Latin and German version of the Scriptures into English didn’t bother to correct the error; likewise, only a very few later translators have bothered to correct the error. In the meantime, as more and more Gentiles were brought into Messianic Judaism, Yeshua became thought of less as the Jewish Messiah and more as the “Gentile God.” [For more on the name “Jesus” go here.]

As the Gentile “church” became more and more anti-Semitic and the persecutions “in the name of Jesus” became increasingly severe, Jews around the world began to hate that word more and more, and for good reason. But just stop and think how difficult that persecution would have been if the Gentile “Christians” had remembered that they were nothing more nor less than “adopted” members of a distinctly Jewish sect. And how much more difficult it would have been to persecute Jews “in the name of” Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. [See also the discussion on the word “Jehovah.”]

To help “restore” the Biblical faith to that form practiced by Yeshua and the Talmidim, we have chosen to identify ourselves as a Torah-observant Messianic Jewish fellowship, refer to ourselves as Miqra instead of “church,” and follow the Jewish forms of worship.

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* Source: several different editions of Webster's Dictionary, which is almost universally accepted to be an authoritative source of etymology for the vocabulary of "Standard English" — that form of English which is the accepted standard for verbal and written communication in the United States.

There are many within the so-called “Messianic Restoration” who object to the use of the word “church.” We believe that they do so for two reasons: (1) because of the historical persecution of the Jews by the apostate Roman “Church” and (2) because of a misunderstanding of the etymology (the linguistic source) of the word, many of them believing that the word is pagan in origin, being derived from the name of the demon Circe. Although I personally believe the latter to be true, I have not been able to find any reliable linguistic source to definitively support that origin of the word “church.” [For a further discussion of this subject, go here and here.] [RETURN]

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