Ekklesia versus Church, Part II - Where Did The English Word Church Come From?
(aka KJV Translations VII - Ekklesia, Part II)
Part IV of VI - Ekklesia versus church, assembly, and kings & men
1. Let us take a look at a few references to see what they say about where the English word church came from.
2.a. We will start with Buck’s (Reverend Charles Buck 1771-1815) Theological Dictionary; New American, from the latest London Edition by Reverend George Bush, A.M., 1831.
2.b. Here is an excerpt from Buck’s: “The English word church, like the Scotch kirk, is supposed to be derived from the Greek οικος κυριακος, the Lord’s house, and is usually employed in our version of the Scriptures as a translation of εκκλησια, an assembly.”
2.c. The important words in this definition are “supposed” and “usually employed”. Buck honestly admits, he does not know where “church” comes from. He “poses” (or supposes) where it came from, but he flat does not know. Then Buck tells us how the word is normally used - “usually employed”. In other words, we do not know where it came from or really even what it means in relationship with ekklesia, but here is how we use it anyway.
2.d. These explanations of Buck are very revealing in two ways.
(1) Buck admits that there is no relationship between the English word church and the Greek word ekklesia εκκλησια.
(2) Buck admits that there is no relationship between the English word church and the Greek word kuriakos κυριακος.
Some more recent publications of lexicons and dictionaries leave this information out. Some recent publications will dogmatically tell us that kuriakos κυριακος means the Lord’s family and/or church, with no hint that this is flat out not true. They do not know what church means or where it comes from, no matter how dogmatically they define church. They are giving us the definition of what church has come to mean by continuous usage for centuries. But they are not giving us the definition of that which it really means.
2.e. As time goes on into the future, the lines of understanding continue to be blurred more and more, until one day they will disappear completely. I have seen it happen with other words as well. The Hebrew word “ereb” meaning “evening” (our modern day afternoon) is another example. Many Bible translations are heretical and claim “ereb” means after sundown.
2.f. Why is this important? If we all agree with the current definition of church, then who cares where it came from? For that matter, we could have just randomly picked six letters from the alphabet, throw them together and out pops church - no beginning, no original meaning, just a nice word we all use and commonly understand, right? Wrong! Words are much more important and powerful than that and they all have meanings. Word twisting is a very common attack by the enemy of our souls. If he can change the meaning of words, then he can change the way we think. If he can change the way we think, then he can manipulate us into anything.
3.a. Next, let us look at the Online Etymology Dictionary, which as of this writing is found at http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=church. What does this source say about the word church?
3.b. Part of the explanation says, “…probably…from kyrios (oikia), kyriakon doma ‘Lord’s (house),’ from kyrios ‘ruler, lord,’…”.
3.c. The Greek words are really not important. The important word from this entry is “probably”! Please notice, this source does not claim to know the origin of the word “church”. They said it is “probably” from such and such, but they really do not know. This is the same admission that Buck, as shown above, made. Neither of these sources really know. I am delighted that both of these sources were honest enough to admit to their ignorance.
4.a. Next we will look at Smith’s Bible Dictionary, by William Smith, LL.D., a Spire book published by Jove Publications Inc., for the Fleming H. Revell Co., 16th printing May 1981, pages 108-110.
4.b. Here is the very first sentence in Smith’s book under the word church: “I. The derivation of the word Church is uncertain.”
4.c. Need I say any more? This is the third reference that does not know where the English word church hails. Smith does continue on with how it is used in our society today. However, I pose as before, this is irrelevant to our discussion. If I and Christendom are going to use the word church then we need to know where it comes from. In Part I of this treatise we have already shown that the word church is not in the Bible, and therefore, the doctrine of church is not a valid doctrine for Christianity. This is a monumental statement. Most Christians today would have no idea where to go or how to proceed with their devotion to Christ without church. But they must learn! Because today’s churches do not lead nor teach people how to devote themselves to Christ Yahoshua.
5.a. Let us refer to Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary online and let us see that which it has to say. At the time of this writing it could be found online at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/church.
5.b. This Merriam-Webster dictionary made this entry: “Church…First Known Use: before 12th century…”. This means that the word church came into use before 1100 AD. Of course, this begs the question, how much before? Since it is expected that this is a reasonable and historically accurate statement made by this academic source one would reasonably expect that the word church was first used circa the 11th century, i.e., 1000-1099.
5.c. The Latin Vulgate version of the Bible was written circa the 4th century AD (the 4th century is 300-399). The word church is not there, instead the word ekklesia is used. Since the Latin Vulgate was written prior to 400 AD, it seems reasonable to estimate that the word church was not being used in the Christian religion until after 400 AD yet prior to 1100 AD. This means that our assumed estimate of 1000-1099 is still reasonable.
6.a. Next let us look at the American Dictionary of the English Language, a reprint of the 1828 edition by Noah Webster, 13th printing of August 2000.
6.b. Here are some of the entries under the word church which will help us understand where this word may have come from: Saxon circe, circ, cyric; Scots kirk; Dutch kerk; German kirche. There are others, but this sampling gives us an idea of how the English word church was spelled in the past in several other languages.
7.b. Here are some of the entries under the word church: Old English cirice, circe; West Germanic kirika; Old Saxon kirika; Old Norse kirkja; Middle Dutch kerke; Dutch kerk; German Kirche. There are others, but this sampling gives us an idea of how the English word church was spelled in the past in several other languages.
8.a. I could continue to list other dictionaries with similar words and spellings as the two immediately above. But rather than belabor this point, let us draw some conclusions.
8.b. That which stands out in my mind is that there is a strong possibility that these words came from the word that means circle. Some pagan gatherings throughout history would meet in circles, draw circles around themselves, draw circles in their ceremonies, and move in a circling counter-clockwise direction - in other words, they would circle to the left and not the right. I draw these conclusions from a lifetime of encounters with the occult and paganism. No, I was never a participant or an initiate, but there are plenty of books and movies from which to draw this information. I have not quoted any sources. If you are uncomfortable with my conclusions, then please do your own research. But, I caution you. It is easy to get sucked into pagan thoughts while doing research in this area. I avoid it for my own spiritual health.
9. Now let us draw some conclusions from all that we have researched up to this point.
10.a. We have learned that when the Bible was written, church was not used for hundreds, possible even a thousand years. Then somewhere along the way, the word church suddenly makes an appearance. Ekklesia was working fine. Why was church suddenly put on the written page?
10.b. Please remember an important point about changes that are made in history books, dictionaries, and even Bibles. If we use the word church in our current society to describe a building or denomination, then this modern concept is inserted into the past and spoken of as if it existed in history where it did not exist at all. There are numerous examples of this occurring. I will only give you two examples. Surely you can find others examples on your own if you desire to.
10.c. Here is the first example. Both the Gregorian calendar and the current Jewish Rabbinical calendar did not existence during all Biblical times from Genesis to Revelation. Both of these calendars came into existence after the Bible was completed. The Rabbinic calendar probably came into existence around the 4th century and Pope Gregory’s calendar was much later. Yet when discussing Biblical events, especially during crucifixion week, these two johnny-come-lately calendars are almost always inserted into history, at a time they did not exist, and used as if they did exist. This causes many errors and is quite frankly a very scholastically sloppy and stupid way to write history. But since the scholars who write these histories do not know the calendar that was in existence during crucifixion week, they take license at your expense.
10.d. Here is the second example. Rabbinic Judaism did not exist in all Biblical times from Genesis to Revelation. Yet today, now that it does exist, many of their teachings are used by the Jews, Hebrew Roots groups, Christianity, and others as if they did exist in Biblical times. This causes many errors and is quite frankly a very scholastically sloppy and stupid way to write history. But the scholars who write these histories choose to ignore the fact that Rabbinic Judaism is a new kid on the block. By new kid on the block I mean that it is only about 1,600 years old, give or take a century or two.
11. With all of this being said, we still have not answered two questions. Where did church come from and why was it chosen to be used as a translation for ekklesia when that is not what ekklesia means at all?
12. I do not have the documents, nor the resources to obtain the documents, to scholastically answer the question about why church was chosen to be the translated word for ekklesia in the Bible. But that does not mean that I do not have an answer. The answer is straightforward. Man wanted to control religion as he has done for millenniums and Christianity was no exception. As long as the ekklesia were viewed as individuals, individually accountable to Christ, men could not control Christians. But, organize those Christians into churches, appoint leaders in the churches, have those leaders exercise authority over those Christians in the churches, and controlling men have solved their problem. Now, they can control Christians who have sold their birthright (born again birthright) to a church business and leader(s) and no longer give their allegiance to Christ and Him alone.
Isaiah 52:3 KJV, “For thus saith [Yahowah], Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”
We firmly believe that even though God has, in centuries past, worked through the churches or in spite of the churches, that He is now calling His ekklesia to come out of the church businesses, because man is predisposed to lord it over men.
14.a. Since the scholars admit they do not know where the word church came from, and the Bible is silent on this subject, once again I must take an educated guess from the information that we do have.
14.b. Let us visit a witch in a story told long ago. Her name is Circe. Circe is an interesting word, notice how it is one of the words used for church. In Homer’s Odyssey, written circa 800 BC/BCE, we meet the witch Circe in book ten. Circe also has deeper meanings. Circe refers to a circle or circling, especially circling to the left or counterclockwise. To make a long story short the name Circe and its expanded meanings reflect directly back to ancient paganism, which is satanism. A circle also is a symbol of the sun for sun worshippers and a symbol for a snake (a symbol for the devil) coiled in a circle.
14.c. I believe that the English word church is derived from the ancient word circe, and its meaning has been given by the enemy of our souls. It is this enemy who has organized his captive souls into churches and continues to do so throughout the history of man. This better enables him to separate men from God and destine those men to hell.
14.d. You are not required to be in agreement with us. But we urge you to continue your study, prayer, and fellowship with the Holy Ghost and let nothing - especially a church business - get between you and God.
15. If you have not already done so, we urge you to ask for our teaching on the elect or chosen. It is a companion teaching to this one: KJV Translations Part VIII - Elect.
16. We only welcome constructive input supported by Scriptures from the Bible. Please contact us by using the contact icon. Copyright ©2005 and ©2012 and ©2014. Richard Douglas Mauck and/or Sandra Faye Mauck. All rights reserved. This material is copyrighted to protect the integrity of this work. Permission is hereby granted to copy this treatise in its entirety as long as no editing is done, no charge is made to those with whom it is shared, and full credit is given to the authors.