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What is the Church?

By Garner Ted Armstrong

Today, millions believe the church is a “building.” They might ask, “Where is your church?” meaning, where is the building in which you meet? But the original word for “church” has nothing to do with a building. The word “ecclesia,” appearing in Matthew 16:18, means, “called-out ones; chosen ones; separated ones; group,” or a number of specially chosen people. “An assembly” is a good definition. The church consists of people who collectively form the “church” and who may meet in a building. Through the years, that building in which the called-out ones have met has gradually been referred to as the “church building,” and, finally, referred to as a “church.” But the Church Jesus built owned no building.


Let’s look at the Bible concerning Jesus’ own true Church – letting the Word of God teach us the truth on this vital subject. When Jesus Christ first began His public ministry, He chose a group of students, or disciples, that He intended teaching. Millions are familiar with His famous statement to Peter, “Come, and I will make you a fisher of men.” However, few realize there were more than one hundred and twenty of those disciples; that many of the original disciples left Jesus Christ following a particularly strong statement about His being the “bread of life” (John 6:44-69). Why did Jesus choose “students,” or disciples?


First, He called them to be trained; to learn, as students sitting at His feet. The whole purpose for Jesus calling and training the twelve was to deliver to them a message which they would in turn carry to the whole world!

He said, “…my meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work” (
John 4:34).

Jesus insisted His Father had commissioned Him; sent Him to accomplish a work, and to call others to Him as His disciples – training and teaching them to continue the work He began! “But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). Later, He was to explain how the Father had given Him specific instructions on what He was to preach! “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath One that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (John 12:48-50).


The assembling of ourselves on the Sabbaths is in honor of respect to and in reference to the Most High God.

Revised 1 January 2020

Contact: Jordan Kitover at

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