The church, or original Greek, ekklesia, is not an institution nor is it a proper noun that is capitalized. This informal term, ekklesia, as it applies to the people of God, is a congregation or assembly; a gathering or grouping of the called-out ones of God at any time on the earth.
In one instance, Hebrews 12:23, we read about a vision describing the assembly/church of all the saints in salvation history (OT and NT) gathered in heaven. This vision meets fulfillment in Revelation 14:1-5.
It is comprised of faith-filled believers as well as faith-less unbelievers; all who gather, also known as the church visible. The formal term for believers in our times is Christian, or, as a group, Christians.
1 Peter 4:16 “But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear that name.”
The old testament ekklesia was the nation of the twelve tribes of Israel (including sojourners and proselytes), called out of Egypt to be God’s possession; a people in covenant with God. Many in the old testament ekklesia were not saved because they were not united by faith with those who listened to the good news (Hebrews 4:2). The Object of faith for the old testament saints was the Coming One; the coming Christ who is to bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). In Hebrews 11, we learn that Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:26). Continue reading “Will The Church Be Raptured?” »