God is enthroned above the universe of time and space which cannot contain Him. However, He is sovereign over Heaven and Earth and His Kingdom is being built on earth among men and women upon whom His favor rests. All human history has been a process from the patriarchs to the nation of Israel to the coming of Messiah Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name), to the Congregation of Spirit filled Believers which He ordained, today. I say Congregation of Believers rather than church which is a twisted construction from old English. The Greek word is, “Ecclesia,” which means “called out ones”, but Greek is eclectic, though well defined. Yeshua and the first believers were Hebrews and their words refer more to a congregation, gathering or assembly. It’s interesting that the term for the collective people of Yeshua is obscure and representative of a checkered past. The church has been infiltrated by unbelievers and worse.
Congregation of Believers or called out ones, is distinguished from the traditional church organization which was mainly the Catholic Church until the fifteenth century. The body of Messiah led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, did not envision and carry out the crusades or the inquisition or executions which were so common in the early European church. Moreover, the heresies that Martin Luther exposed within the church were not concocted by individual Believers, but ungodly leaders. The Israeli Believers were accustomed to hearing the word of the Lord read from the scrolls in their synagogues. After the Bible was canonized or finalized, it was converted to Latin and secluded from individual believers and the priests and teachers failed in their calling. Even so, the gospel message was still effective as faith comes from God, rather than intellectuals and scholars.
Fast forward to today and the word of God is in practically every house, library, hotel and well represented on the internet and electronic media. Literacy is very high and rising around the world, such that many individuals have ready access to the Word of God in their language. These Believers are the chosen, the elect, who are moving in step with the leading of the Spirit. Leaders are necessary and appropriate, but they are not conduits or intermediaries of the Spirit. The work of God is His and to Him belongs the Glory. With discernment we can distinguish between the Spirit’s work and our own efforts and labor. Is it any less true within the Congregation? If we examine ourselves we will see our limits and shortcomings, but if we catch a glimpse of the Spirit’s work we see supernatural timing, resource and effect. I believe God is unchanging; He is the same today as He was through the centuries. (Heb. 13:8) Faith and the nature of the Spirit reveal His hand at work through Believers in every generation. Elijah thought he was the only follower of God, but He replied, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)
It is Yeshua’s congregation and work, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” The Congregation of Believers are the body of Messiah on earth through whom God demonstrates His love, grace and favor. (Matthew 16:18, Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:11-16, 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-31) We are one in Messiah. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)