To understand what the word congregation means within the context of the gospel of the kingdom the use of the word can be examined by comparison to the ancient text and the history of activities of those who accepted the words of the prophets and did the will of the Creator. The word "congregation" only shows up oncein the entire New Testament. It was translated from the word almost always translated synagogue.
In the Old Testament we see the word more than 300 times.
There are several words translated congregation in the Old Testament and they are not similar in their base nor always translated that way.
One is `edah from a word always translated witness which in turn is from a word meaning to testify and record.
Another word is mow`ed meaning appointed place, appointed time, meeting and is from the three letter word meaning meet with a Mem added. We should all know what a Mem means by now when added to a word.
Another word translated congregation many times is qahal meaning assembly, company, congregation, convocation.
Why so many different words?
All of these words were associated with a national network of people who came together to form a national government based on free will offerings and were not isolated congregations. They were not bound by Contracts, Covenants and Constitutions but by faith, hope and charity and the perfect law of liberty. They were bound by a real faith in the ways of Christ and not merely the religions made up by the docrines of men.
When you join the Living Network and make contact with one of our Contact Ministers on those local groupsthey should be able to connect you to Ministers of Record.
With these tools and their assistance you can form a congregations of testimony or what we call a Congregation of Recorded Elders [CORE]. A CORE is a free assembly practicing pure religion. The Church is a way to conect those CORE groups in a kingdom way. Just as each congregant cares about others as themselves, each congregation cares about the next congregation as much as itself.
In order to practice that caring in pure religion they must be connected in a charitable network of faith. This is the Living Network of Christ. Come walk with us.
If you are not making an equal effort to congregate with congregations to help one another as a matter of record and personal witness to one another then you are not doing kingdom.
If people are not with us on the basics they are free to leave. They should not be trying to use our work to pad their own group without equally working to help increase the network as a whole and connect congregations in a real and viable way as both Israel and the early Church are seen doing.
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
The word general assembly is defined a festal gathering of the whole people to celebrate a public festal which has a central purpose.
The early Church gathered regularly states away from each other doing what was essential to being the kingdom appointed by Christ.
this was the result of the long distant congregations and ministers who connected the people into a viable republic in the heart of the Roman Empire.
How did the network of Levites hold a whole nation together?
Why do you think they had feasts like tabernacles and Pentecost?
It was so people miles away could gather and make the connections that were important, even essential in a free society.
How do you think they could maintain such a nation and society unless they could maintain a relationship?
The kingdom is central to our relationships with Christ's Gospel of the kingdom. No matter where you go or are and Christ is with you you will have the relationship with your brothers in Christ. It is renewed in him alone. You do not need people and you do not come together because you need people nor the relationship they may offer.
You come together like Christ came to us.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
You come to serve.
John 15:9 ¶ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
You do not need a congregation to listen to you nor do you need members of a congregations to give you a feeling of love nor caring.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
You do not come together to feel love but to love. The congregation is merely a way to do that or practice that love.
You can read about the ekklesia or Church in the wilderness:
Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [such] over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
These rulers of hundreds were "representative leaders of people" and were called princes but depended on free will offerings to supply the benefits of their office in their society. Those governments with ministers all over the country were able to do this without taxes.
You should not be confused by the word ruler because it is more often translated princes...
They were called princes more than rulers and were appointed by Moses but chosen by the people.
We see the same with the Apostles who did not exercise authority but were overseers of the congregation to make them one body.
Christ appointed the apostles to be princes and he also told them that they were not to be like " the princes of the Gentiles [who] exercise dominion over them..."
Those Christians formed a network over most of Europe. The ministers who did that did not live next door. They did not meet in living rooms every week but served a purpose of making single nation.
It really is so simple.
Christ preached a kingdom not a congregation. Certainly we see a local congregation is important but the word only appears once in Acts and then it is translated from the word synagogue.
What do you think when you see the word assembly in Acts 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
That is the word ekklesia.
It is defined "a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth"
So how is the "whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth" "united into one body" if everyone is isolated in little congregations and do not strive to be one body with a network of ministers?
That is what the early Church was doing and needed to do so to survive the Fall of Rome.
It seems clear that when Jesus appointed the kingdom to his little flock he spoke of a job they were to do and how to do it.
How can you do that job without a viable network? How can you do that job as one body if you isolate yourselves in little home churches?
You see them talking about the ekklesia in acts not as little local congregations but as a large body.
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
These scattered groups were connected and knew about each other.
How do you think they did that?
And they did not even have email or phones.
Somebody had to be making a record and communicating dependably with all these different local congregations in order to bear fruit which they did in so many different states.
When they sent Barnnabas in Acts 11:22 it is written "Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch."
How do you think he knew where to go. He certainly was not just in your living room or a few local congregations but was sent out a long way from home and knew where to go and who to meet up with.
It was ministers connecting them to places like Antioch where they were first even called Christians that help bear the fruits of the early Church.
We have people who have and will arrive here from New York and New Jersey, California, Dakotas, Wisconsin, Texas and many other States are representing new congregations which are forming and finding each other because of the work we do.
How were they able to write about Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen in Acts???
Because they were networking?
Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Sounds like more than an isolated congregation to me. How did they know to ordain these elders if they knew nothing about them?
How did the people cause great joy unto all the brethren because of conversions in Phenice and Samaria...?
Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
What do they mean they declared?
The word is anaggello meaning by messenger and is translated report... Sounds like they made a record. Why do that ?
Because they were keeping records so they could do the work of the kingdom as one body scattered throughout the earth.
And what does it mean confirming Churches in Acts 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
It means establish as in declare and confirm. That is bearing witness based on contact an reporting of congregations all over to form one body.
They would need to do that when the fall of Jerusalem came and people had to flee ... They would be ready because they always knew the Church was not isolated congregations but a viable network of people and groups who strived to become one flock, one faith.
That takes records and reporting of ministers who live all over communicating by what ever means with ministers who serve by bringing the people together in kingdom fashion.
3 John 1:12 Demetrius hath good report of all [men], and of the truth itself: yea, and we [also] bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
Gather together. Make a record so that you may be a witness one to another.
Do not be left behind on an email group.
Make contact, build kingdom relationships with " the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth".
Psalms 26:12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.