WHAT HAPPENED TOTHE CHURCH?J
esus Christ said: "I will build My church, and the gates ofHades [the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).Which church did Jesus build, and what happened to it?When the Bible speaks of the Church, it is never speaking of abuilding or of a human organization incorporated under secularauthority. The word in the Greek language that is translated "church"in English is
It is derived from two root words in Greek andliterally means "called out" or "called from." In secular usage, itreferred to an assembly of citizens who were "called out" from theinhabitants of the city to consider some matter of importance. It wasoften used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer tothe congregation of Israel or to the assembly of God’s people."Congregation" or "assembly" expresses the meaning in NewTestament usage as well.However, the "called out" aspect of
is fundamental tounderstanding the Church. In Genesis 12 we read that Abrahamwas "called out" by God from Ur of the Chaldees. In Exodus 12 weread of Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, being "calledout" by God from Egypt. They then became the congregation ofIsrael or the "Church in the Wilderness" (Acts 7:38
).One of God’s final warnings to His people is a call to "come out"of Babylon (Revelation 18:4). The saints of God are not toparticipate in that corrupt, end-time culture’s sins so that they will notpartake of the divine punishments that "Babylon" will receive.