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Kingdom and Church


Building the Assembly
   “Upon this rock I will build My Assembly," said the Messiah to Peter in an interesting play on words in Matthew 16:18,
   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church (Assembly); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
   Peter had just confessed that Yahshua was the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim. Then follows the discourse which has been used to promote a fallacious doctrine still extant in the world.
   Notice how this translation is made from the Greek words.
I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter [petros, a stone, loose and movable as in John 1:42 where the Aramaic “Cephas” is used] and upon this rock [petra, large, immovable rock] I will build My Assembly, and the gates of hell [hades, the grave] shall not prevail against it.
   It was upon the confession of "Cephas" [Peter] that Yahshua was the Son of the living Mighty One that Yahshua said He would build His Assembly.

Who Is The Rock — by Scripture?
   That Rock or Cornerstone upon Whom the Assembly was prophesied to be built was, of course, Yahshua Himself,
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed, Romans 9:33.
   Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed, 1 Peter 2:7-8.
Therefore thus saith Yahweh Elohim, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste, Isaiah 28:16.

Who Is The Rock — by Mankind?
   Because of a misunderstanding of this verse, Peter was the supposed "rock" upon which the Assembly was to be built. To compound the error further, it was taught that the "church" would bring in righteousness to the world, and then the Messiah would return to rule this earth. This teaching of the Messiah to return only after the world has all been converted and righteousness prevails is known, in religious eschatology, as postmillennial doctrine.
   According to these doctrinal beliefs, the Apostle Peter was the first Pope. Because he was given the keys, each Pope from that time to the present is said to have these keys. This doctrine also encompasses the belief that the promises made to Israel have been inherited by the Roman Catholic Church inasmuch as the Pope is called the Holy Father, Yahweh's representative on this earth to bring in the Kingdom. Therefore, Jerusalem and Mount Zion belong to His Holiness. This doctrine promoted the so-called Christian Crusades to wrest Jerusalem from the Moslems in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Keys of the Kingdom
   While it is true that the Heavenly Kingdom was given to Peter, the "church" and the Kingdom are not the same. The word "church" is from the Greek "ecclesia," and literally means "called out." It is better rendered "Assembly" or "Congregation," as the etymology of “church” can be shown to come from the Scottish "Kirk," which comes from Kuriakos, and ultimately from "worshippers of Kyrios," a heathen deity. Therefore, we will use the better translation "Assembly." But the Assembly is not the Kingdom.
   As we go back to the promises given to Abraham [Gen. 12:1-7], we find that he was promised to become a great nation, and his name would become great: he would be a blessing; and to Abraham's seed would the land of Canaan be given. Then we read in Rom. 4:13 that this promise has been expanded to include the entire world!
   The early apostles knew of this promise to Abraham, and asked the resurrected Savior,
"Wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?" [Acts 1:6] Notice that Yahshua did not deny that the Kingdom would eventually be restored to Israel but He said that it was not for them to know the time when the Father would bring it to pass:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Master, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth, Acts 1:6-8.
   The mission of the Assembly or the Body of Messiah is different from that of the Kingdom. The house of Judah had collectively rejected the Messiah as their Savior: But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar, John 19:15.
   Had they accepted Yahshua as the coming Messiah, John the Baptist would have been the EliYah prophesied:
Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Master, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts, Malachi 3:1.
   Yahshua repeated this in Matthew 11:14 NKJV:
   And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
   There will yet come a future EliYah to prepare the people for the returning Messiah. Romans 11:26-27 tells us that all Israel after the flesh shall be saved according to the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then the Kingdom will be restored unto them:
   And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away unrighteousness from Jacob. For this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
   But before that happens, there are many things that must yet be fulfilled by the called out ones, the Assembly, the Body of Messiah. This special group is to play a key role in the bringing in of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
   In our opening verse we read that Yahshua is building His Assembly. In verse 19 of Matthew 16, we read that the Apostle Peter was given the keys of the Kingdom. Peter was given the power to open the way into the Kingdom and he exercised this authority in Acts 2, where he preached a mighty sermon to the Jewish nation with 3,000 being added to the Assembly and again in Acts 10 where he saw in a vision that Yahweh accepts Gentiles into the Assembly. In Acts 15:7-9, Peter reviews this action of accepting Gentiles into the Assembly, along with Israelites:
   And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago Elohim made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Good News, and believe. And Yahweh which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
   When the Messiah returns the second time in the years just ahead of us, it will be with power and a rod of iron to rule over this world. Acts 5:31 shows us that He will yet give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins as they bow to His rule:
   Him hath Yahweh exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Those refusing to obey will be destroyed, And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people, Acts 3:23.
   It is the Assembly or the saints who will rise to meet the Master at His return and rule with Him on this earth, Rev. 20:6, 5:10; Dan. 7:18, 22, 27.
   Before all this happens, however, there is a preparation taking place in this earth. A preparation of a people prepared to rule with Messiah when He sets up His Kingdom in Jerusalem.
"I will build My Assembly," said the Messiah, and we read in 1 Cor. 3:11 that He Himself is the foundation and the chief cornerstone, And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yahshua Messiah Himself being the chief corner stone, Ephesians 2:20.
   Peter refers to the Messiah as a living stone,
To Whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of Yahweh, and precious, unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 1 Peter 2:4, 7.
   This also refers to the Assembly as composed of living stones being built into a spiritual house, verse 5,
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Yahweh by Yahshua Messiah.

The Assembly Began With Jews
   Overlooked by so many in nominal churchianity is the fact that the Assembly Yahshua said He would build began with the Jews. Jews were called upon to save themselves from "this crooked generation,"
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation, Acts 2:40.
   The Assembly began as a called out group within the Jewish nation. The first converts to the Messiah were Jews. The first bishops and teachers of the early Assemblies were Jews. As more and more pagan converts entered into the Assemblies and brought many of their pagan doctrines and concepts with them, the Israelitish character of the original Assembly underwent a marked change. Man-made celebrations and holy days entered into the worship which have no basis in the Bible. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Lent, Sunday, New Year's — all of these are of heathen origin and have become a part of the baptized paganism that masquerades as sanctimonious worship. All sorts of excuses are made to justify the keeping of these idolatrous practices, but your Bible plainly says that we should not learn the way of the heathen,
Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them, Jer. 10:2.

The Assembly’s Mission
   The present mission of the Body of Messiah, the Assembly, is the perfecting of the saints for the future role of administering the Law of Yahweh on an earth made new; to be Yahweh's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests in the next age. Many Scriptures speak on this.
   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah, Ephesians 4:12.
And this evangel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come, Matthew 24:14.
   And hath made us kings and priests unto Elohim and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Revelation 1:6.
   Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years, Revelation 20:6.
   Your Bible continually emphasizes that this will be a small group, a remnant,
And Isaiah crieth concerning Israel, If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that shall be saved, Romans 9:27 ASV.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace, Romans 11:5 ASV.
   Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom, Luke 12:32.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the testimony of Yahshua Messiah, Revelation 12:17.
   Fleshly Israel failed in the task set before it, namely, to obey Yahweh's laws and walk in His ways. Israel will yet be resurrected and returned to the land with King David ruling from Jerusalem,
   Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith Yahweh: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith Yahweh, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Yahweh; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more, Jeremiah 31:31-34.
   It will be those who have qualified to stand before the Son of Man who will be accounted worthy for that first resurrection, where they will be made immortal,
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.
   These resurrected saints, now made spirit beings, will be given power over the nations, NOT ISRAEL!
And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, Revelations 2:26.
   The Scriptures make a difference between the Israel after the flesh and the Israel of Yahweh, [see 1 Cor. 10:18, Gal. 6:16]. Paul goes on to say that it is Israel who is adopted as sons; theirs is the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises,
   Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of Yahweh, and the promises, Romans 9:4.
   In verses 6-8, Paul goes on to say that not the children of the flesh, but those of the promise are the rightful Israel as he stated also in Galatians 3:6-7:
   Even as Abraham believed Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
   It is this little group, the remnant according to the election of grace, that has obtained the position that salvation might come unto the olive branch into the good olive tree, verses 17-25. Any competent gardener knows that one does not graft a WILD branch to SELECTED trunks of trees, but rather it is the other way around. The GOOD STOCK BRANCHES are grafted into the trunk of the WILD tree, for it is the branches that do the bearing of fruit. Wild tree branches bring forth precious little as compared to the healthy, robust branches of cultivated trees. Yet, Paul goes on to show that this was done with the Abrahamic covenant to shame Israel into repentance.
   We read in Rom. 3:1-2 that it was to the Jews that the sacred pronouncements of Yahweh were kept. But there is yet more truth revealed in the New Testament which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men,
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Mes-iah by the evangel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of Yahweh given unto me by the effectual working of His power. unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Messiah: and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in Yahweh, Who created all things by Yahshua Messiah: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the assembly the manifold wisdom of Yahweh, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Messiah Yahshua our Master: in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him, Ephesians 3:5-12.
   This new and glorious truth has to do with the role the Assembly is to play in Yahweh's divine plan. The Assembly, or the Body of Messiah, will help Yahshua, the Captain of their Salvation; they will help bring a rebellious world back to Him. We find that Peter wrote of this salvation in his first epistle,
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Messiah which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Messiah, and the glory that should follow. unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the evangel unto you with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into, 1 Peter 1:10-12.
   The prophets of old enquired and searched diligently into the glory that should follow the suffering of the Messiah. The reason and purpose of the Body of Messiah and the good news of its role in establishing the Kingdom is something the very ANGELS OF HEAVEN desire to look into!
   The original promises given to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, concerning their seed, has grown and has been expanded to include dreams far and above what we might expect,
   But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Yahweh hath prepared for them that love Him, 1 Corinthians 2:9.
   The prophets simply could not grasp the glorious truth of the Body of Messiah, and the Kingdom of the Heavens. It might be noted here that the Kingdom of the Heavens as used by Matthew and the Kingdom of Elohim are basically the same thing. Simply stated, it is the domain of this earth ruled by the divine laws of the heavens, [Kingdom is the shortened King's domain]. It is the time when all rebellion will be put down and the law of Yahweh will reign supreme,
   For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet, 1 Corinthians 15:25.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people, Acts 3:23.
   The keys that Yahshua promised Peter were the keys of the Kingdom. They were to unlock the Kingdom of the Heavens. This Peter did by his stirring message to the Jews in Acts 2, where we learn that in that day there were added unto them about 3,000, verse 41. In Acts 10 we have the account of Cornelius, a Gentile convert who became a member of the Body of Messiah. So Peter did exercise the use of the keys by allowing Jew and Gentile to become baptized into the Name of Yahshua, the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Acts 4:12.
   Now, both groups of people, Jews and Gentiles alike, became members of Messiah's Body.

The Real Key — The Assembly
   The key of the Kingdom is the Assembly. No man can approach the Father and His Kingdom except through His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, John 14:6.
   To inherit the Kingdom, one must become a part of the Body of Messiah. But we also read in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom,
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Yahweh; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
   As long as you and I are flesh and blood, we cannot inherit the Kingdom! A change must take place. And that change comes at the return of the Messiah when the saints will be caught up to meet Him in the air and be changed to immortality and then descend with Him to set up His Kingdom on this earth.
   There are many differences between the Kingdom and the "church" or Assembly. Those who feel that the two are synonymous should take special note of Scriptural references to each. For example, we read in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 that unrighteous, unregenerate mankind will not inherit the Kingdom. We find the same thought in Gal. 5:19-21, where the works of the flesh are listed and the warning given that those doing such things will not inherit the Kingdom. Nowhere do we read of anyone inheriting the Assembly. In Matthew 19:29 we read of those willing to pay the price for being one of Yahshua's people will inherit everlasting life:
   And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
   In fact, the rich young man asked how he might obtain everlasting life [verses 16-24]. Notice how the Messiah told him that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom. Note how the Messiah associates everlasting life and the Kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, but those with immortality can, and the two are almost synonymous! It is to these who overcome the devil, the world and their carnal nature who will inherit all things and be called the sons of Yahweh,
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be My son, Revelation 21:7.
   We read often of the "gospel" or good news of the Kingdom, or the good news of the Messiah. But nowhere do we read of the good news of the Assembly.    The word gospel is more accurately the good news of the Kingdom of the Heavens being established on this earth. This good news was brought about by the death of the Savior and His resurrection and the opportunity awaiting those who will obey that good news. The term gospel as used by churchianity refers to the first four books of the New Testament, but more closely identifies with the life and activities of the Messiah and His disciples. Very little is ever taught about the coming of the Kingdom to this earth andhowwecanbeapartofthe Kingdom of Yahweh and His Son. It is through accepting Yahshua, becoming a member of His Body, the Assembly, that we are given the power to become a part of His Kingdom, by qualifying in this life, and this is the true message of the glad tidings or good news.
   We read of receiving a Kingdom, Heb. 12:28, or the Kingdom being given to the little flock, Luke 12:32. Nowhere do we read of the Assembly being given or received.
   We read of there being elders, bishops, messengers, deacons, servants of the Assemblies, but never of the Kingdom having any of these offices.
   The Kingdom is referred to as having "sons" or "children" but the Assembly does not have "sons,"
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 8:12.
   The Assembly is referred to as "His Body" (Eph. 1:23), "building" and "holy temple" (Eph. 2::21), "whole body" (Eph. 4:16), "Yahweh's household" (I Tim. 3:15). The Kingdom has no such appellatives.
   The Kingdom is the great theme running through the Bible. The Assembly, on the other hand, was a mystery until the New Testament was written,
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints, Colossians 1:26.
   The Assembly is here on this earth now, but the Kingdom awaits the coming of the King, Yahshua,
   And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, Daniel 7:14.
   May we all take heed to Paul's letter to the Assembly in his day,
   Therefore, among Yahweh's Assemblies we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that Yahweh's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of Yahweh for which you are suffering, 2 Thessalonians 2:4-5 NIV.

-Elder Donald R. Mansager (deceased)

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