If we were to ask what this word means we wonder how would you define it? In the English dictionary Apostolic is defined as relating to the Apostles or relating to the Pope, especially when he is regarded as the successor to St. Peter. However, the word means to be sent. There are many places throughout the bible we can see this but I will focus on one and take us down a path of discussion to open our eyes a bit.
In John 9:7 "And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." This verse is a carry forward from the previous pot for consistency in understanding. What Christ did was send the blind man to the pool of Siloam.
What is Apostolic?
It started with Jesus (Hebrews 3:1). The first Apostle is Jesus, and of course, the Chief Shepherd is Jesus, the Great Evangelist is Jesus, the Prophet (priest & King) is Jesus, and the Rabbi, Teacher is Jesus. He commissioned Apostles out of His own authority as the first Apostle.
Its a mindset and behaviours which result from being under the influence of an Apostle. In John 17:18, Jesus says, “as the Father sent me, so I send you.” This phrase in the middle of what many call The Great High Priests Prayer, assigns to all who believe in Jesus that they are apostolic, for in the same prayer he declares that he didn’t pray just for these who are hearing but for everyone who believes on account of their words.
Every Kingdom minded believer is apostolic. The context of being sent, is following Jesus in terms of direction and purpose. He was sent from heaven to earth and so are we. Sent to expand the influence of King Jesus, therefore if we ‘think Kingdom’ then we are apostolic, not limiting our influence or focus to church but believing that as Habbakuk prophecies, the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God.
It means you are sent. As soon as the assignment and apostolic nature is accepted it results in believers knowing that wherever they work, whatever they do, and whatever their title they have been sent. Sent by Jesus to expand the influence of His Kingdom into every sphere of influence, geographical location and people group.
The Apostle’s job is to equip all the saints to be apostolic. Just as it is with the other 4 ‘office holders’ listed in Ephesians 4:11, the purpose is to equip the saints. It is not a title, or an office alone but an equipping mandate, accompanied by grace of Christ, to equip the whole body to do the works of Jesus and represent Him everywhere.
It’s cry is “On earth as it is in Heaven”. There is unlikely a better statement to sum up everything which is apostolic than the words of Jesus as he taught us to pray. Jesus has uniquely seen heaven before being coming to earth and we by faith pray for and pursue his passion.
It is fundamentally relational. The Apostle Paul teaches us in so many ways the relationship between us and Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, as well as demonstrating that in his relationships around him. Although he teaches structure he emphasises relationship not least in the phrase, ‘that you have many teachers but not many fathers’.
It carries and creates heavens culture. The word culture is not in the bible, but what it means most certainly is. Culture is the thoughts, beliefs, routines, traditions, and practices of a people group. And so we want heaven’s thoughts, beliefs, routines, traditions, and practices on earth. Culture is also the way we do things around here, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and we definitely want to see both of heaven’s versions of those definitions here on earth.
It knows no limits (Greater works than these shall you do). The nature of the apostolic is that by being relational it blesses the next generation to go higher, wider, deeper, and longer than they have gone. Jesus expressed this to the disciples when he told them that they would see greater works than they had seen together. Because it draws on heaven, the apostolic is limitless in terms of glory, revelation, power and righteousness and justice, to name a few themes.
It pursues, reproduces & represents Jesus. Jesus was sent by the Father to reveal the Father, and we are sent by Jesus to be Christlike and in turn to reveal the Father. Of course we are imperfect where Jesus was not, but the pursuit is limitless. The apostolic will always reveal the influencing Apostle, which must always start with Jesus.
Now let us look at this word as it is written IN Hebrew and Greek. Remember Hebrew is written right to left not left to right so when we write Apostolic the Hebrew way we get the word "CILOTSOPA". The exact word is also a Latin word. Lexicon defines Cilotsopa as one who decapitates darkness.
Now let's take this back to creation. When God (Elohim) sent the spiritual beings out in Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Elohim made them Apostolic. In Genesis 2:15 "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." Jehovah placed man in the Garden. In the placement of a spiritual being as a physical body by Elohim in creation and Jehovah in formation they made the physical man Apostolic.
Let us take this one step further.
CONFUSION in CHRISTENDOM Much confusion exists in Judeo-Christianity regarding the use of the word "church" in New Testament scripture. Improper translation has distorted the biblical truth of Christ's "ecclesia." Most church goers today have no idea what the term "ecclesia" means and do not correctly understand how it differs from the word "church." Those few who recognize the term "ecclesia" assume it is synonymous with "church." But is it? Let's examine the meaning and use of these two words: "ecclesia" and "church." By studying their origins and usage, we can discover the critical difference between them which will help us to better understand Christ's message and kingdom. Typical Definitions The definitions below, taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, are very similar to most other modern dictionaries. Notice that the word ecclesia is defined as a "church" and both church and ecclesia are defined as a "congregation." This illustrates how the terms church and ecclesia are used interchangeably and considered by many to refer to the same thing: i.e. they share a common meaning. However, as we will discover, these terms are NOT synonymous. Instead, they are quite different in meaning and are derived from different origins.
WORD ORIGIN - CHURCH Old English CHIRCHE, Germanic KIRCHE, from Greek KURIOKON, or KURIAKOS: of a lord [possessive tense]; from KURIOS: lord. WORD ORIGIN - ECCLESIA Greek EKKLESIA: the called-out (those summoned); from EKKALEIN: to call out, summon: (EX: out + KALEIN: to call). CHURCH Pay special attention to the distinctive differences between the two Greek source words kuriakos (a lord's) and ekklesia (the called-out). Yet today, the corresponding English words church and ecclesia are wrongly used as synonyms. It will become apparent that Bible translators erred in translating the Greek word ekklesia into the English word church, thereby causing Christians to misunderstand key verses of Scripture. "[Saxon CIRCE, CIRC, or CYRC; Scots KIRK; German, KIRCHE; Swedish KYRCKIA; Danish KIRKE; Greek KURIAKON: a temple of God; from kuriakos: pertaining to a lord, or our Lord Jesus Christ: from KURIOS: a Lord (Russian trzerkov)] A house consecrated to the worship of God, among Christians; the Lord's house. This seems to be the original meaning of the word. The Greek EKKLESIA, from EKKALEO: to call out or call together, denotes an assembly or collection. But KURIAKOS, KURIAKON, are from KURIOS: LORD, a term applied by the early Christians to Jesus Christ; and the house in which they worshiped was named from that title." Webster's 1828 Dictionary ECCLESIA The English word "ecclesia" is a transliteration of the Greek word ekklesia (#1577 in Strong's Concordance), meaning "the called-out." It is derived from the Greek words ek (#1537: "out") and Kaleo (#2564: "to call"). Thus, an ecclesia is a group or body of individuals "called-out" for a particular purpose. Let's see some examples. In Acts 19:23-41, verse 25 says that Demetrius "called together" a group of silversmiths. In verses 32 and 41, this group of people is referred to as an "assembly." In verse 39, the town clerk (recorder: town officer) told the group that the matter should be brought before a "lawful assembly." In the above verses, the word "assembly" is translated from the Greek word ekklesia (#1577) which is the same Greek word usually translated "church." Take note that these people were "called" together (verse 25). This illustrates the general meaning of an ecclesia: a group or body of people called out for some particular purpose. In this case, the purpose was to deal with a potential loss of wealth (Paul's teaching was exposing the false worship of the pagan goddess Diana from which these craftsmen were realizing great profits). Notice also that this informal crowd (mob) was apparently considered "unlawful" since the town clerk told them to take the matter before a "lawful" ecclesia. This suggests that ecclesias could be formal government bodies as well as informal groups: both of which are "called out." In the above Scripture passages, (Acts 19:23-41) we see how the translators used the English word "assembly" in translating the Greek word ekklesia. Why didn't they use their favorite word "church" as they did in every other occurrence of the Greek word ekklesia? Obviously, the typical meaning of "church" would not fit the context of this passage. Is it possible that is the case with the other New Testament occurrences of the Greek word ekklesia?
This same verse (Acts 19:23-41,) illustrates some of the differences between the Greek words kuriakon (church) and ekklesia (ecclesia). It can be seen that a church referred originally to a lord's possession (a place of worship), while an ecclesia consisted of a designated group of individuals that were called out. These are two separate and distinct concepts.
BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS AND USAGES As previously noted, the English word "church" comes from the Greek word kuriakon and kuriakos (#2960 in Strong's Concordance), meaning "belonging to the Lord." The root word kurios means "a lord, master; an owner, possessor; a potentate, sovereign" (The Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament). Thus, kuriakos indicates something possessed by "a lord." Let's look at some examples. 1 Corinthians 11:20 states, "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the lord's supper." John says in Revelation 1:10 that he was in the spirit on the lord's day. The above two verses illustrate the use of the word kuriakos (#2960 )which was translated as "lord's," indicating possession (something belonging to a lord.) Logically, the same Greek word would be the basis in referring to a house of worship for a lord (a lord's house): a "church." The English word "church" is an acceptable evolution of the Greek word kuriakon. But, by erroneously applying the word "church" to the Greek word ekklesia, the translators have caused confusion which leads people to err. The Greek word ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament, and in most modern bibles it is always translated as "church" (except in Acts 19:32, 39,and 41, where it is properly translated as "assembly."
Did You Know? The Tyndale bible, published around 1524, was the first complete English bible. The word "church" was nowhere to be found in this entire bible. Rather, it used the word "congregation" (a body of assembled people). Sometime after this bible became available, the word "congregation" was replaced with the word "church." Gradually, the word "church" erroneously took on the meaning of "the body of Christ."
Origin of Ecclesias A study of Greek culture reveals that the Greeks referred to governmental assemblies as ecclesias. Such governmental bodies (ecclesias) were used nationally as well as locally. Remember that the dictionary definition of ecclesia made reference to a "political assembly of citizens." These ecclesias were composed of Greek freemen who were selected (called out) from among the citizenry. Ecclesias consisted of informal and formal bodies of various sizes and were often used for governmental (political) purposes. An ecclesia could be, and has been, described as a "body politic." This concept is quite different from the modern-day idea of "church." Christian Ecclesias With a basic idea of the "ecclesia" concept, we can now examine its use in the New Scriptures to discover its Christian application. In Acts 7:38 Stephen states that Moses "was in the church (should be ecclesia) in the wilderness" where he received the commandments from God at mount Sinai. In this verse, the word "church" is translated from the Greek word ekklesia (#1577 in Strong's). Obviously, Moses was not a member of any "church" organization. So why did the translators use that word? What was Moses a part of? He was a part of the nation or family of Israel that God had "called out" from Egyptian bondage to be a free "body politic." The Greek word ekklesia was used to describe that body of people of which Moses was a part.
In Exodus 19:1-8, verse 1 indicates Israel, after leaving Egypt, came into the wilderness of Sinai. According to verses 5 and 6, God told the Israel people that if they would obey Him, they would be to Him a "peculiar treasure" above all people and would also be a "kingdom of priests" and a "holy nation." In Deuteronomy 7:6 the children of Israel are told, "Thou art a holy [separate; set apart] people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the earth." Psalms 135:4 states, "for the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure."
These Scripture passages clearly demonstrate that God chose (called) Israel out of all the nations of the earth for a special purpose. He "called them out" from the world to be a "holy" nation. The word "holy" is translated from the Hebrew word that means "separate" or "set apart." This special body politic is what Stephen said Moses was a part of (Acts 7:38). The writer of Acts used the Greek word ekklesia to describe that body. It should have been accurately rendered "ecclesia" instead of "church." Had the Greek word kuriakon been used, "church" would have been an accurate translation. But, to translate ekklesia into "church" is both inaccurate and misleading.
Ecclesia = Body We have seen that an ecclesia refers to a body of individuals that have been "called out" for some purpose. New Testament Scripture substantiates this connection between "ecclesia" and 'body.' Consider the following passages. Jesus, according to Colossians 1:18, is the head of the body, the ecclesia. Ephesians 1:22-23 states that God has put all things under Jesus' feet and gave Him [Jesus] to be the "head" over all things to the ecclesia, which is His "body." Ephesians 5:23 indicates that Christ is "head" of the ecclesia (not church) and savior of the "body." These verses make it clear that the ecclesia (the called-out ones) is the "body of Christ," and that Jesus is the head of that body. "Body" in this context refers to chosen individuals. The implication is that they have been "called out" for some purpose with Jesus Christ as their head. These verses are NOT referring to a "church" organization of some sort, or a building used for worship.
BODY The word body is translated from the Greek word soma (#4983 in Strong's Concordance), meaning "a sound whole." Thayer's Greek Lexicon indicates this word is used of a large or small number of individuals of one society or family. Let's look at some additional Scriptures that give more information concerning this body: the ecclesia. In Romans 12:1-8, verse 1 indicates Paul is addressing the "brethren" (those residing in Rome). In verse 5 Paul states, "For we [including Paul], being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Verse 6 then explains how the members of this body have different gifts (referring to capabilities) according to the grace that is given to them. Take note how the body consists of many brethren who are "members one of another." Notice also that various capabilities are given to these members, examples of which are given in verses 6-8. This same concept is referred to in other passages of Scripture. In chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, verse 1 indicates Paul is addressing the "brethren" (in Corinth) concerning spiritual gifts. In verse 12 Paul compares Christ to a "body" with many "members." In verse 13 Paul states that by one spirit are we all baptized into one "body." After describing the human body and its various members (verses 14-26), Paul states in verse 27, "Now ye [the brethren] are the body of Christ and members in particular." Verse 28 then explains that "some in the ecclesia (not church) have been set (placed or appointed) by God to perform various functions." (Compare with Ephesians 4:11) The above verses explain the "body" of Christ by comparing it to the human body with its various parts, each with its own particular function for the overall well-being of the body as a "sound whole" (recall Strong's definition of "body" (#4983). The brethren clearly make up the body of Christ (verse 27), and verse 28 indicates that some of those in the ecclesia are given particular capabilities and responsibilities (apostles, prophets, teachers, etc). Notice how the members of the "body of Christ" are equated to the members of the ecclesia. Ephesians 5:21-33 describe the ecclesia (Christ's body) by comparing it to a husband-wife relationship. In this comparison we are given some descriptive characteristics of the ecclesia which should help identify it. These verses contain additional support for the true meaning of ecclesia. According to verse 23, Christ is the head [prominent; master]of the ecclesia. Verse 24 says the ecclesia is subject unto [subordinate to] Christ. Verse 25 states that Christ loved the ecclesia and gave Himself for it. According to verse 26, Christ was to sanctify and cleanse the ecclesia with the washing of water by the Word. Verse 27 indicates the ecclesia was to be glorious, not having spot or wrinkle, but it was to be holy and without blemish. Verse 29 states that the Lord nourishes and cherishes the ecclesia. According to verse 30, "...we are members of His [Christ's] body." Verse 32 indicates Paul was speaking about Christ and the ecclesia (His body). Ecclesia = Flock (Sheep) In Acts 20:17-35, verse 17 indicates Paul "sent to Ephesus, and called the elders [meaning "older"] of the ecclesia." In verse 28 Paul says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves [the elders], and to all the flock, over which the holy spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the ecclesia of God, which He [Jesus] hath purchased with His own blood." (Compare with Ephesians 5:25) Verse 29 identifies the object of Paul's warning: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves [false teachers] enter among you, not sparing the flock." (Compare with Ezekiel 22:27 and Matthew 7:15) These verses describe the "ecclesia of God' as the flock. The elders (serving as overseers) were to "feed" the ecclesia (feed the flock, i.e. sheep) and protect them from false teaching (verse 30). The flock represents the sheep that hear Jesus' voice and follow Him. The ecclesia, then, consists of Christ's sheep: those that are called out of the world system and regenerated (given new life, i.e. raised or reborn) through the promised New Covenant. It is important to note that the word "elders" does not refer to "positions" or "offices" in some "church" organization. It simply refers to older, wiser men who were looked upon as "leaders."
SHEEP The word sheep appears in both the Old and New Scriptures. Many times this term is used to describe a certain group of people (Israel). For example, see Psalms 79:13 , Psalms 95:7, Jeremiah 50:6 & 17, Ezekiel 34:31, Hebrews 13:20, and chapter 10 of John. These are but a few of the many references using the terms "sheep" and "flock." These "sheep" consist of the ecclesia.
1 Corinthians 1:2 states that Paul is writing to the ecclesia of God in Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. According to 2 Corinthians 1:1, Paul is writing unto the ecclesia of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia. According to these verses, those that were of the ecclesia in Corinth were "sanctified and called to be saints" (compare with Ephesians 5:26). Not only were there saints in Corinth, but they were all throughout the area of Achaia. That suggests there were other ecclesias in addition to the one in Corinth, and that they were made up individuals called "saints." These groups of people were not affiliated with so-called "church" organizations.
More Ecclesias and Saints Verse 2 of Galatians 1:1-6 indicates Paul is writing to the ecclesia in Galatia. In verse 4 Paul says to this group of people, "Who [Jesus] gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver [select] us from this present evil world..." (referring to Babylonian system). Verse 6 indicates they had been "called into the grace of Christ." Here we see the members of the ecclesia in Galatia being selected from (out of) the Babylonian-slave system (man's centralized government) and "called" into the freedom of Christ.
Verse 1 of Ephesians 1:1-4 indicates Paul is writing to the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Paul tells them in verse 4 that they have been "chosen" to be holy and without blame (compare with Ephesians 5:27). Philippians 1:1 states that Paul is writing to the saints at Philippi. Colossians 1:2 indicates Paul is writing to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colossae. Verse 1 of 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4 says that Paul is writing to the ecclesia of the Thessalonians, and verse 4 speaks of their "election" of (by) God. It is obvious that much of the New Scriptures were letters written to many different ecclesias (not churches) whose members were addressed as "saints." Ecclesia = Saints The word "saints" is translated from the Greek word hagios (#40 in Strong's Concordance), meaning "sacred" (holy) or "consecrated." Thayer's Greek Lexicon indicates this word means "set apart for God." Literally, saints are "holy ones" or "consecrated ones" (those "set apart" for God's purposes). They are also referred to in Scripture as "chosen" and "elect." These are members of Christ's body: the ecclesia. It could also be called the "Christian community" or "body of Christians." Persecution of the Ecclesias Verse 1 of Acts 8:1-3 indicates there was great persecution against the ecclesia which was in Jerusalem. Verse 3 states that "Saul made havoc [laid waste; ravaged] of the ecclesia, entering into every house, and haling [dragging] men and women committed them to prison." Acts 9:1 indicates Saul breathed out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. In Acts 9:13, concerning Saul, Ananias answered the Lord, "I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem." The above cited verses show that Saul persecuted the ecclesia at Jerusalem and the saints at Jerusalem. He also persecuted the disciples (followers) of Jesus. This suggests that the followers (disciples) of Jesus were known as the "saints," and they comprised the ecclesia. They were not members of some "church organization." Instead, they were members of free societies: Christian communities of believers that had been "called out" of the corrupt Babylonian world system (man's centralized government) into the liberty and freedom of the government (Kingship) of God under the reign of King Jesus. Because these Christians supported a different government and acknowledged and obeyed a different king, the centralized world system persecuted them (Acts 12:1): just as it does today. The persecution wasn't over religion: it was over government. It is interesting that Saul went into people's homes to persecute the ecclesia; he didn't go to "church" buildings or organizations. Ecclesias were found in homes (1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2:2), referring to saints who lived there and met there. The ecclesia was not the place of meeting, but rather referred to the people who met together. Neither was it some structured "organization" in which they had membership. Ecclesias existed from Jerusalem to Rome. In fact, Paul established them during his travels (Acts 16:1-5). He also revisited many of them and wrote to them. These were not "church organizations" or "church buildings." Rather these were Christian communities united in Christ, not in "organizations" devised by men. Saul's Persecution of Jesus Verse 4 of Acts 9:1-5 states that as Saul was going to Damascus to apprehend Christians, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Verse 5 identifies who was speaking to Saul: "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." According to these verses, Saul's persecution of Jesus' disciples (the saints comprising the ecclesia) was the same as persecuting Jesus Himself. This is additional proof that the ecclesia is the "body of Christ." Origin of Christian Ecclesias In verse 18 of Matthew 16, Jesus says "...upon this rock [the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God] I will build my ecclesia. Speaking to the ecclesia (the saints at Ephesus), Paul states in verse 12 of Ephesians 2:13-21 that prior to their rebirth (regeneration; quickening) they were "aliens from the commonwealth [citizenship; community] of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."
In verse 19 Paul tells them that through Christ they are now "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Verse 21 describes this "household" as a "building fitly framed together" that "groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord." In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul tells the brethren they are the "temple of God." 1 Peter 1: 1-2, indicates that Paul is writing to the scattered "elect". Read