When the word church comes to mind, many think in terms of a building where believers in Jesus Christ assemble. That’s certainly part of the dictionary definition of the word church, but it’s not the complete definition. The important part of the definition is that it’s the whole body of believers in Jesus Christ. In the King James Version Bible, the English word church appears in the New Testament but not the Old Testament. This simple word church has an interesting background and far reaching meaning. The focus here is how the word church was used prior to the New Testament.
One unique source that will help us in our quest is a Greek translation of the Old Testament called The Septuagint (sometimes abbreviated LXX). The Septuagint was written in the 3rd century BC, in Alexandria, Egypt by a group of 72 scholars. It was widely used among Hellenistic Jews. Many Jews, spread throughout the Roman empire, were beginning to lose their Hebrew language. The process of translating the Hebrew to Greek also gave many non-Jews a glimpse into Judaism. It has also been (...)
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “temple” as “a building for religious practice”; “either of two successive national sanctuaries in ancient Jerusalem”; “a building for Mormon sacred ordinances”; “the house of worship of Reform and some Conservative Jewish congregations”; “a local lodge of any of various fraternal orders” or “a place devoted to a special purpose”.
Tabernacle in the Wilderness
In the book of Exodus, God directed Moses to build a sanctuary that He may dwell with His covenant people.
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it”. (Exodus 25:8-9)
God instructed that worship would be in a centralized tent structure where there would be a physical manifestation of His presence.
“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle,” (Exodus 40:34).
Here we see God commissioning the tabernacle as a house of worship where He intended to manifest His presence visibly.