El Bethel The House of the Lord Part 3
By Joanne Panettieri
Editor - Kingdom Iconoclast
Part 3 God’s Assembly - The Ekklesia
God has always had an assembly where he gathered with his people. The English word is congregation or assembly. The Greek word is ekklesia:
Acts 7: 38 This is the one ( Moses) who was in the congregation ( Ekklesia ) in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers.
Ekklesia in a Christian sense : (From Strongs # 1577)
an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven
Where is the meeting place for God's Assembly in this Present Day?
Hebrews 12: 18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
The above scripture tells us several things, the most important of which is that we have not come to a physical Mount Zion to worship God. But we HAVE COME to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. The verb ‘have come” is in the present tense which means an action which began in the past and is still happening. In other words we go there NOW. This is not pointing to some future event when we will gather with God and the angels and saints in heaven! We get to assemble as the body of Christ along with the angels and saint who have gone before in the New Jerusalem NOW.
Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4: 21 “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” He also said in verse 23: But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Paul teaches in Galatians that the Jerusalem that is below (on the earth) is of Hagar and is in slavery with her children:
Gal 4:23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
The book of Revelation tells us about the New Jerusalem, which is made up of the Bride of Christ which has come down from heaven, which is the dwelling place of God.
Rev 21: 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21: 9 “Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
This is the city that Abraham was looking forward to as his inheritance:
Heb 11: 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
What is the purpose for the assembly? To be built into God’s House!
1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Eph 2:22 In him you also are being built (joined) together into a dwelling place for God bythe Spirit.
Heb 3:6 but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Matthew 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
How do we go to Spiritual Mount Zion? We ascend.
Isa 2:2 It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
3 and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law, 
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
We ascend though praying in the Spirit:
Jude 1:20 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
Letting the Holy Spirit Pray though us:
Romans 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
We can ascend to the Heavenly Jerusalem because Jesus Christ ascended first:
Eph 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
We have been raised with Christ:
Eph 2: 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Our Minds have ascended: (in Jacob’s ladder the top reached heaven, and the bottom touched earth) We are earthly men with heavenly minds.
1Cor 2: 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Colossians 3:1-4 NIV “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts (affections) on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”
Psalm 243 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! (MINDS)
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah
The purpose of coming together is to express Christ’s body as a Corporate Man. We assemble for the purpose of being assembled, with every part doing it’s work.
Eph 4: 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
We are unique in that while our bodies are on earth, our minds are heavenly:
Jesus told us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Build according to the heavenly pattern)
Eph 2: 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
“The goal of Christianity is not where we go (heaven) but what we become. The goal of our redemption is the forming in us of the eternal Tabernacle of God, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb. The Christian salvation is God-centered, not man-centered. The Holy Spirit is building something for the pleasure and use of God. Our pleasure and benefit are secondary in importance.” 4
God is assembling us to be assembled into his house. We are the living stones, the spiritual tabernacle where God dwells by his spirit.
Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man”
Rev 21: 22 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
1. “THE GOAL OF THE CHURCH” From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
3. “Things Which Will Be Shaken” by T. Austin-Sparks http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002090.html
4. “THE GOAL OF THE CHURCH” From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved