Diligence pays off when it comes to the Word of God. Do you read to finish or to connect with God? Dig deep with Him.
5 The plans of the diligent [those who study to learn] lead to profit [a profitable outcome] as surely as haste [reading simply to finish] leads to poverty [spiritual ignorance].
Studying to learn sometimes takes a little digging. In a podcast I was listening to yesterday, I learned that the word, “church (ekklesia),” is more accurately translated, “gathering,” or “a religious congregation.” I looked it up online by typing “Lexicon Matthew 16:13” and then finding the word, “church” in the text block. There beside it was the word ekklesia. This same word is used in Deuteronomy by Moses. You may ask, “Why is a Greek word being used in the Old(er) Testament? I thought it was written in Hebrew.” Great question! Here’s the answer:
What we know as the Old Testament today was originally written in Hebrew and some Aramaic. However, in the 3rd Century B.C. a group of 72 Jewish scholars [the Septuagint] were commissioned to translate the Old Testament into Greek, a more common and modern language at the time. This translation is largely that which would have been in use and circulation during the time of Christ and His disciples, which gives it bearing on the use and meaning of particular words, in this case, ekklesia. Speaking the Truth in Love
We see ekklesia used in Deuteronomy four times (4:10, 9:10, 10:4, 18:16). Since the assembly/gathering/congregation was already instituted by Israel, to what congregation was Jesus referring? Since He was speaking to Jews (the disciples), we can deduce that He was talking about building up the ekklesia of Israel. How was He to accomplish this feat? There are several factors:
- He went to the cross- The cross was the instrument that God used to redeem mankind. The price? Christ’s blood.
- The temple veil was rent- When the veil in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies tore from top to bottom, it signified that the presence of God was no longer confined to the temple. This fact comes into play 50 days later on Pentecost. Effectively, the sacrificial system ended at that point.
- He went to the grave- The grave was important because according to Jewish law, a person had to be dead three days to be legally dead. Jesus spent three days and three nights in the grave, thus fulfilling the law.
- He rose from the dead- By rising from the dead, He proved to the world and the dominions of darkness that He was, indeed, God in the flesh. He is the first fruits of all of us who will be raised from the dead!
- He ascended back to heaven- Jesus said that by leaving, He would send the Comforter back to us to live in our hearts and guide our lives. It was the point of the cross!
- He sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirit- On Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit came like tongues of fire and settled on each disciple (all 120 of them). This event signified the expansion of the temple from a single place to every believer–a real game-changer!
- He made the two one- Here are some verses from Ephesians 2 that apply to us:
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
The tie-in between the old and new testaments is the continuation and expansion of The Congregation of Israel through Jesus Christ the Messiah. The game-changer is the moving of the temple from a physical one to a spiritual one that is inside of each believer (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
But, wait! There’s more! Tomorrow, we will look at exactly WHO was to be “the light to the Gentiles.” In the meantime, let’s relish the fact that we have been included in such a great salvation!
Abba, thank You for including me in Your salvation plan. The scope of Your plan is mind-boggling! I know for a fact that I will be able to delve the depths of Your knowledge and wisdom for eternity. Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior and King! Amen.