Table of Contents (Scroll down to view all)
1. The 42nd Generation
2. A Deeper Trust
3. Prophetic Word for African American Christians
4. The Alpha and the Peep
5. The Ekklesia
The 42nd Generation
by Lanny Swaim
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
The preceding verses in Matthew, chapter one list all the generations from Abraham to Jesus. However, if you count them, there are only 41 generations. So way the discrepancy?
It was 14 generations from Abraham to David, and 14 more or 28 from David to Jechonias, who was carried away to Babylon. But from Jechonias to Jesus was only 13 generations, which adds up to only 41.
The verse preceding Matthew 1:17 says this:
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
But if you count the generations, Joseph was the 40th and Jesus was the 41st.
Is this a mistake or is there a mystery here available only to those able to access the revelatory knowledge hidden in this verse?
Perhaps there is a reason why Jesus is named and then it is pointed out that He is also called Christ. Christ is the English version of Christos, a Greek word translated from the Hebrew word, Messiah, which means the anointed one.
It could be considered more of a title than a name. Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah.
Now, if we look at 1 Corinthians 12:12, I think there is a clue to the understanding of this mystery.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many are one body: so also is Christ.
So Jesus is the Son of Man, born of a virgin, crucified, resurrected and ascended. But Christ (who is Jesus), is the Son of God, the firstborn of many brethren (see Romans 8:29). So it can be said that we, the Body of Christ, are anointed ones, or Sons of God.
Romans 8:19 says that creation is waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God. So evidently, at least at the time Paul wrote this, these Sons of God were yet to be revealed on the world’s stage. And I believe the prophetic fulfillment of this verse is still yet to come.
In the Hebrew culture of the Bible, a son was a mature child, ready to receive all his father’s inheritance and operate in all the authority of his father’s name. So the reason the Sons of God have not yet been revealed is that there has not been a company of fully mature believers.
(It should be pointed out that the Sons to be revealed have nothing to do with gender, and include both men and women.)
In Galatians 4:19, the apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Galatia, said this:
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…
The Amplified Bible says fully formed in you.
In order for believers to fully mature, Christ must be fully formed in them.
We all know that the day we were born again Christ took up residence in us, but His being fully formed in us is a process that takes time. It is a process of maturing until we are just like Him, possessing His nature and character.
1 John 4:17 says that as He is, so are we in this world. But this statement only becomes true experientially when we become love as He is love.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:16
This is a description of Christ being fully formed in a generation of believers.
Saints of God, I submit to you that when these Sons of God, fully mature with Christ fully formed in them, manifest on the world scene, and are revealed to the world, that they will be the 42nd generation of Matthew 1:17.
Is this not a description of a generation of believers that reach perfection while on the Earth in physical bodies? And there will be such a generation. Actually, there has to be such a generation, in order for all that have gone before to be perfected.
The Perfect Generation
And these all [those mentioned in the preceding verses of this chapter], having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:39-40 is a prophetic scripture looking ahead to the time when a generation of believers will reach perfection in this life, before they transition to Heaven, enabling all that have gone before, having died without reaching perfection, to do so.
In God’s system of justice there has to be people that reach perfection in order for all others to be perfected.
I was teaching this several years ago in a small meeting in Wilmington, NC. That night there were three Messianic Jews present, two women and a man. I had not seen them before nor have I seen them since. As I was speaking, one of the women was staring at me with her mouth literally hanging open.
I became a little uncomfortable, so I stopped and asked her if I was on the right track. She replied, “We (Messianic Jews) have always taught that. But we don’t teach it to Christians because they won’t accept it.”
Not only will the 42nd generation enable all that have gone before and died without receiving the promise, which is perfection, to be perfected/saved/sanctified/completed, they will initiate the nations of this world becoming the Kingdom of our Lord, Jesus and His Christ, (Christ being the ekklesia, who are those called out of all generations/the revealed Sons of God) (see Revelation 11:15). (Ekklesia is a Greek word meaning called out ones.)
(Note: Lord in Revelation 11:15 is not in all capital letters. In the King James version of the Bible, LORD refers to God, the Father, while Lord refers to Jesus.)
And ultimately, they will usher in the restitution of all things (see Acts 3:21), perfecting all of God’s creation. In the Genesis account of creation, when God called order out of chaos, He established a type and shadow, a precursor or harbinger of what is about to take place on planet Earth in this new day (millennium/see 2 Peter 3:8) we have now crossed the threshold of.
It is in this day that the 42nd generation will be revealed, and when this takes place, their physical bodies will put on immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:53-54), and they will never taste of physical death.
And they will usher in the nations of this world becoming the Kingdom of God (see Revelation 11:15) and the restitution of all things (see Acts 3:21).
Perhaps you and I are of that generation, which is the hope of glory that Paul wrote about in Colossians 1:27.
Paul died without realizing it, as has every generation since. But the 42nd generation will manifest sometime in this third day (millennium) of the Church. Jesus prophesied this when He said:
Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
When Jesus walked out of the grave on the third day after the crucifixion, He still had the scars of the crucifixion in His body, so His body was not perfected. But His body (the Body of Christ), will be perfected in this third day of the Church.
I sincerely hope my generation is the 42nd generation, but if not, we will do our part to pave the way for the 42nd generation to appear on Earth sometime in this new day (millennium) we have barely crossed the threshold of.
Saints of God, this is in a nutshell (so to speak), the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Surely we were born for such a time as this!
A Deeper Trust
by Lanny Swaim
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.
There is a trust that goes deeper than exercising faith for specific things. It is a trust that cannot be shaken, even when the circumstances of our lives seem to go against the promises found in the Word of God (the Bible). It is a trust that remains intact even when things we have prayed for, confessed and exercised faith for seem to remain elusive, stubbornly refusing to manifest in our lives.
So how can a believer know if he/she possesses this deeper trust?
Only when it is tested.
I am convinced that until you can say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” that you don’t really trust Him. And how can you make such a statement until you have been faced with the reality of it? In other words, until you have been there, faced with the possibility of never receiving the manifestation of what you are believing/praying/confessing, making such a statement is just an assumption and not something you know beyond any doubt.
There is a remnant of believers today, chosen by God to be on the cutting edge of where He is taking the Church and the world, who must experientially know this deeper trust. God is requiring it of them, because it is only in possessing this deeper trust that they can be trusted with and walk in a much greater authority.
You can’t have one without the other. If we are to truly reign with Christ as the kingdoms (nations) of the world become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ (see Revelation 11:15), He has to be able to trust us with His authority, and we can only be trusted with the responsibility of walking in that authority when we have completely laid down our lives, becoming immersed in His life to the point that not just positionally, but experientially, it is no longer I that lives, but Christ that lives within me (see Galatians 2:20).
Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
In our modern way of thinking, lust has become a sexual word. But lust simply means pressure.
When we are faced with adverse circumstances in our lives, those circumstances can put pressure on us, resulting in various results. We may be tempted to worry, a product of fear, which can lead to anxiety and stress.
But on the other hand, we may also feel pressured to try and eliminate the adversity by applying faith principles we have learned.
Either way, we are being pressured, and pressure is lust, which will draw us away from the Lord, causing us to focus on the problem rather than the solution.
So, what is the solution?
The solution is a trust that goes so deep that it cannot be shaken, even if the desired outcome never manifests. That kind of trust only comes from complete surrender. Just giving lip service to surrender is not really surrendering.
Actually, if your desired outcome is to eliminate the problem, you haven’t completely surrendered. You must completely lay down your life, in order to receive it back again. But completely laying down your life means the realization that you may never receive it back again. And yet, if you can come to that point, you will receive it back again, only it will not be your life, but the Lord living His life in and through you.
Two Examples from My Own Experience
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Several years ago I was working away from home and staying with my mother in High Point, NC. I awoke one morning having chest pains. I have dealt with muscle pain for many years from too much physical labor, but I knew by the way it felt and by the Spirit that this was not muscle pain. I was having heart issues, and as you know, heart issues are usually serious.
I sat up on the side of the bed and did what I normally do when faced with physical problems. I took authority over my body and over the issue in the name of Jesus, telling my heart and bodily functions to get in line with the Word of God, according to Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24, and be healed.
I should point out that I didn’t do this because I was under pressure to do so. I simply did it because, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and as a believer in the Word of God, I have a right and maybe even an obligation to do so.
I then told the Lord, “I have watched my mother and my brother go through heart issues, going to doctors and getting on medications with all kinds of side effects, and I’m not going to do that. I don’t have the time or the money (at that time I had no health insurance). So, either heal me or kill me, right here, right now.”
And I meant it. I had done all I could do to come against this issue, without turning to doctors and medication, and I really didn’t care if I lived or died.
Now, I also should point out that I am not opposed to doctors or medicine, and I have used both at times. But this morning I simply chose a better way. And perhaps I should add, that choice was made easy because the gift of faith had manifested in my spirit and soul, in a sense taking over in the situation.
Now think about it. If I had died that morning, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. In fact, I no longer view my life as ever ending. I already live in eternity, and physical death would simply free me from the confines of the physical realm.
But, if my job is not finished, and if I am needed here in the physical realm, I don’t want to go before my time. Still, by taking the stand I took that day, what I actually did was put the outcome entirely on God. My future was in His hands; up to Him. And I literally didn’t care what the outcome might be.
I sat there about fifteen minutes until the pain eased off, got up, dressed, ate breakfast, and went to work. About 10:00 that morning I got a call from a friend of mine near home. He asked me what was going on with me, and said the Spirit had kept him praying for me all morning.
I had actually forgotten the entire episode that morning and told my friend that I didn’t know what he was praying about, but that I appreciated the prayer and to continue as long as the Spirit led him to do so.
As soon as we got off the phone, I remembered. So that evening I called my friend and told him what he had been praying about, thanking him again.
That was several years ago, and I’ve had no more heart issues.
A few weeks later, while staying with my mother, I had another issue, which I will not go into the details of here. But I will say that this issue was much more visible than the heart issue, leaving no doubt that something serious and life threatening was going on with my body.
I responded to this issue the same as I did the heart issue, but this time the symptoms lasted for three days. Had the symptoms persisted, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article now. But they didn’t, and I have had no symptoms since.
The Faith of Jesus Christ
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (emphasis added)
When we completely lay down our lives, not caring what the outcome is, then we make room for Christ to be fully formed in us (see Galatians 4:19 AMP). As that occurs, then it is no longer our faith that accomplishes the promises of God in our lives, rather, it is His faith. As He lives His life in and through us, His faith keeps us on the journey into all truth and ultimately to our destiny.
As I walk more and more in this reality, I find that I no longer ask for much. It’s not that I never ask, or that I don’t speak the Word over the circumstances and situations of my life; but rather I realize that the outcome is dependent on His faith instead of on my faith. And however He chooses to manifest His promises in my life is okay with me.
Regardless of the outcome of the circumstances of my life, I am victorious because I completely trust in Him. In other words, the outcome of my circumstances doesn’t determine whether or not I win. My trust in Him, and in Him alone, determines that.
Saints of the remnant, we are being prepared and positioned to fulfill our destiny in the Kingdom of God, and while that process sometimes appears to be anything but success, we know that He will not fail, and our future is in His success and not our own.
Surely we were born for such a time as this!
Prophetic Word for African American Christians
by Lanny Swaim
Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
We all know the story of Joseph. How he was sold into slavery by his own brothers and separated from his father and family at the young age of seventeen. Then, in Egypt he was unjustly accused and thrown into prison. But through it all (thirteen years) God was with him, maturing him while preparing and positioning him to become the number two man to the most powerful king on Earth at that time. And that promotion came suddenly. In one day Joseph went from being a prisoner that had been a slave, to being a powerful ruler of the great nation of Egypt.
Because of the position that God placed him in, he was able to save Egypt and the entire region from famine, including his father and the brothers that had sold him into slavery.
As a result, his father and brothers came to live in Egypt, prospering in their temporary home. That is, until a different Pharaoh came to power and became fearful of this people that he perceived to be a powerful threat to Egypt.
We all know the story of how they became slaves in Egypt, living there four hundred years.
It appears history was repeating itself. First Joseph had been a slave. Now his descendants were slaves. But just as God positioned Joseph for greatness, He was positioning Joseph’s descendants for greatness.
We also know the story of how God raised up Moses to deliver this people from Pharaoh, at great expense to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Israelites had travailed in Egypt as slaves, until in one night they birthed a great and wealthy nation, when Moses led them into the wilderness and eventually to the Promised Land.
And this wasn’t the last time God plundered the Egyptians to save His chosen people. When tiny Israel won the Six Day War against a much larger, opposing military machine in 1967, they sent the Egyptians walking home across the desert, minus their weapons.
A Recent Historic and Modern Day Parallel
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and are written for our admonition.
1 Corinthians 10:11
Now, I want to speak prophetically about another group of people. There is a definite parallel between the Israelites and African Americans that were brought to America as slaves.
Like Joseph and his descendants, African Americans were brought to America against their will and forced into slavery, travailing for many years under the cruelty of oppression by white slave owners. But like the Israelites, their travailing was not in vain.
When President Lincoln freed the slaves and the Union won the Civil war, it appeared their travailing gave birth to freedom for their race in America. But the truth is, that freedom was very limited, especially in the South, where they faced racial injustice and inequality for many more years; until God raised up a generation led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, willing to defy so called white supremacy by taking a peaceful stand against intimidating violence. Eventually laws were changed and greater strides taken to ensure the equality and opportunity that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. were such visionaries for.
Still, the battle wasn’t over. The Federal Government that had done away with slavery and passed laws to ensure equal opportunity in an integrated society, once again enslaved many in poverty with their seemingly compassionate welfare and government assistance programs. But that perhaps is not the worst enemy African Americans have faced in modern day America.
Genocide has taken place in the United States under the disguise of a woman’s right to choice. While abortion effects all races in America, it has targeted the African American community and as a result, millions of the unborn have been denied the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the United States Declaration of Independence speaks of.
Is it any wonder that some African Americans seem to have given up hope of ever being truly free?
Recently I heard the Lord say, “Just as I positioned Israel in Egypt, I have positioned Africans in the United States.”
The white man saw slavery as a means to prosper. Africans saw slavery as an injustice. But God saw it as positioning a people for greatness.
Positioned for Greatness
Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
I believe the Christian, African American community in the United States is going to be at the forefront of the next great spiritual awakening in the United States. And it won’t be the first time African Americans have been at the forefront of a great revival movement in this country.
In 1906 revival broke out at a house on Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angles, California among African Americans. Quickly outgrowing the house on Bonnie Brae Street, William Seymour, an African American, moved the revival to a renovated stable on Azusa Street and what has become known as the Azusa Street Revival was born. Modern day Pentecostal churches still consider their beginning to be the Azusa Street Revival, which consisted of black and white Americans.
Saints, God has made it clear to me that once again He is going to position African Americans at the forefront of a great move of God that is about to take place in the United States. While this move will include many other nations, and has in fact already begun in other nations, it will propel the United States into a spiritual rebirth that will make this nation, founded on Judeo/Christian principals, once again a great and powerful force to be reckoned with on the world stage. And I might add, and I say this prophetically, we will stand with Israel as never before, our two nations becoming the spiritual and political leaders of the world (we are already seeing this happen under the leadership of the Trump Administration).
I am a white man that was born in the segregated southern United States. I grew up in a world that was full of prejudice and hatred. As a teenager in the 1960’s, even before I was born again, I began to see how wrong that was. Since being born again and as God has developed His character in me, I have come to love and respect all races.
While I am not guilty of the sins of my ancestors, I do feel a responsibility to bring healing wherever and whenever I can. Perhaps that is why God has given me this prophetic word for the Christian, African American community in the United States.
In addition to the word I have already shared in this letter, I hear the Lord saying is this:
You (African American Christians) are about to experience greatness in a measure you have never before realized.
Surely you were born for such a time as this!
Surely we were all born for such a time as this.
And to my African American brothers and sisters I say, not prophetically but out of the character of God that dwells within me, I love you and appreciate you for who you are. And I look forward with great anticipation to who we are all becoming.
The Lord is growing to fulness in His Body, where there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, black nor white, etc. (see Galatians 3:28-29). We are all one in Christ, Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
Amen. So be it!
The Alpha and the Peep
By Lanny Swaim
I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last…
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
As I was waking up one morning recently, I very clearly heard the Lord say, “I am the Alpha and the Peep.” Immediately I realized He was trying to reveal something to me, which I quickly understood to be more of a confirmation than a new revelation.
To peep means to look quickly and secretively at something, especially through a narrow opening.
There are those in the Body of Christ today who are a remnant at the most, and perhaps even a remnant within a remnant, who are getting a glimpse, a peep into the ending, the omega that Jesus described Himself as four times in the Book of Revelation.
The number four in scripture is representative of setting things in order, especially in relation to destiny. There are four seasons, four corners of the Earth or directions (north, south, east and west), four accounts of the Gospel in the Bible, and a square has four corners and four sides with each side being equal, signifying strength (a four cornered object made with 45 degree angles is a strong and secure object).
So the fact that Jesus says four times in Revelation that He is the beginning and the ending, is establishing a truth that sets things in order. We tend to think of the beginning and ending as having to do with a timeline, but that viewpoint gives us a very limited understanding of what Jesus is trying to communicate here. He, Jesus the person, the Spirit that is God, is the beginning and the ending, which not only encompasses time but supersedes time. The destiny that time is propelling us toward is entirely in Him.
The beginning and ending of everything that is, exists in eternity, rather than on a timeline of history. And yet, our understanding of God and who we are in Him is playing out on a timeline that He created.
A Remnant within a Remnant
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Joel 2:32 (emphasis added)
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
God has always had a remnant. At times it was one person or family, such as Noah and Abraham. At other times it was a people group. The Israelites were a remnant of all the people on Earth. The Jews were a remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel and the first Christians were a remnant of the Jews.
Today there is a new remnant, which I believe Joel was referring to in Joel 2:32. It is interesting to me that Joel referred to Mount Zion and to Jerusalem as being two different places in this prophetic word. Aren’t they the same place geographically?
Could it be that the difference between the two is referring to Mount Zion as Israel and Jerusalem, or the New Jerusalem (see Revelation 3:12 & 21:2), as the true Church or the Body of Christ.
Many that go by the label Christian today are not born again (born from above) and know the Lord only in name if at all. There is a remnant, the true Church, coming down from Heaven because they have first ascended up to Heaven, being seated with Christ in heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:6). From that vantage point they have seen the Kingdom of God/Heaven coming in Earth as it is in Heaven, and as they descend into the systems of the world, they are imposing that Kingdom on the nations of the world.
But there is another remnant that is seeing the Kingdom much clearer than the remnant that is the New Jerusalem. This remnant has been marked by the rather intense and severe tests and trials they have endured, which has produced in them a trust in and an intimacy with God that few in the Body of Christ have experienced.
Those in the Church, the ekklesia (meaning called out ones in Greek), have been called to be born again and seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. But those currently being brought to a place of deeper trust and intimacy are the chosen Bride of Christ. At the present time the entire Body of Christ is not the Bride of Christ.
Just as Eve was taken out of Adam in order to complete Adam, the Bride of Christ is currently being taken out of the Body of Christ in order to complete the Body of Christ. That’s why some are finding it hard or impossible to continue doing church the way it has been done for a long time.
The New Jerusalem that Joel saw didn’t look like the New Jerusalem that John saw. The New Jerusalem that Joel saw was separate from the remnant he spoke of. I believe Joel was prophesying the present time when the Remnant Bride of Christ is being taken out of the Body of Christ, in order to complete the Body of Christ.
The New Jerusalem that John saw was the completed Body of Christ, overcomers adorned as a bride for her husband (see Revelation 3:12 & 21:2).
Joel saw into the future, seeing the Church we are seeing in the present time. John saw the Church of the future, which Paul spoke of in Ephesians 5:27 as a glorious Church, not having spot, wrinkle or any such thing; holy and without blemish, or in a word, perfect. This is the Church that the Remnant Bride of Christ is getting a glimpse of, or peeping into.
From Glory to Glory
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 14
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Jesus was not only in the beginning, He is the beginning. A glorious beginning full of grace and truth, which the original disciples beheld and which we, His present day disciples can also behold. But there is a remnant today that is not only beholding the glory of the beginning that He is, we are getting a glimpse of or a peep into the even more glorious ending that He is.
This is not about so called end times, which are not mentioned in the Bible. The Bible does mention the last days, but that is only referring to the last days of the week. Peter said that a day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day (see 2 Peter 3:8), so there is a parallel between the seven days of creation and the seven millennia that the Bible focuses on. We are now in the last day (millennium) of the week, which is the third day (millennium) of the Church.
It is in this day (millennium), which is the Sabbath that all the Sabbaths of the law and the Sabbath of creation point the way to, that the Church will be perfected; becoming the Bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem that John saw, which only a remnant is able to comprehend at the present time. It is in this day that time, which is never ending, will be overwritten by eternity. And I might add, this remnant within the remnant, is getting a peep into that reality as well.
While we are not 100% there yet, we have peeped into what it is to continually, perpetually and eternally go from glory to glory, which makes all the tests and trials we have endured worth the cost.
There has never been a day like this day. There has never been a time like this time. And as I often say, surely we were born for such a time as this!
By Lanny Swaim
And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Prior to the New Testament there was no church. The closest thing to a church meeting under the Old Covenant (Testament) involved coming together in synagogues for study of the scripture and assembling together for the celebration of the Feasts of God, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
So when Jesus spoke of building His Church, He was speaking of something new, with functions beyond meeting for Bible study or to celebrate festivals (feasts). He said the gates of hell (hades/sheol) would not prevail against it. Gates are a defensive mechanism, so the indication was that the Church would invade the realm of death for the purpose of overcoming death. He also said He would give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, with authority to bind and loose on Earth as in Heaven, an indication of a convergence of Heaven and Earth.
The word church in this passage is the Greek word ekklesia. Interestingly, ekklesia is a governmental word. Note that Jesus didn’t say, “I am going to build My temple or synagogue.” He said ekklesia. In the Roman Empire, the word ekklesia was used to define a ruling body like a parliament or congress. So what Jesus literally said was, “I will build My government on Earth.”
Ekklesia is a governing body that establishes dominion to rule over a certain territory, establishing law and that which is socially acceptable.
Why do you suppose Jesus used a governmental word to describe something as spiritual as the Church? Perhaps the answer can be found in a brief study of Jesus’ childhood.
Various historical accounts record that Jesus spent His teen years with His uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, whose tomb Jesus was later buried in. We don’t know why this is. Perhaps His earthly father, Joseph (His mother’s husband), had died and Mary was unable to continue raising Him on her own. Or maybe there was some other reason.
Joseph of Arimathea was a Jew, but involved in the Roman government. The Greek word, ekklesia, was used to describe the Roman government. Rome sent out apostles from Rome to establish Roman society in the various regions that Rome conquered. What we call the five-fold ministry was actually used by Rome in the establishment of the Roman Empire, in a natural sense. Jesus learned all this while traveling with His uncle, and then applied the terminology to His Church (through the apostle Paul). Interestingly, Jesus traveled with His uncle throughout the Roman Empire, going as far as England.
The lost and last chapter of the Book of Acts, which has recently resurfaced and is available, records that Paul also traveled to England, and found there a Jewish population, and that Joseph of Arimathea lived there.
This definition of ekklesia entails much more than believers assembling together for worship and ministry to one another. It implies that we are to be reigning with Christ, governing regions and even nations. What a clever trick of the devil to put this off somewhere in the future, convincing the ekklesia that we are to simply occupy until… No, we are to be reigning right now! We don’t have to wait until Jesus comes and sets this up. He is setting it up right now. The government is and always has been upon His shoulder (see Isaiah 9:6-7). The more He becomes fully formed in a people (see Galatians 4:19 AMP), which is the process of maturity or sanctification, the more we will take our rightful position as the ekklesia, reigning over the earth system until the nations of the world become the Kingdom of God, not just in individuals but politically (see Revelation 11:15).
Surely we were born for such a time as this!