The New Testament usage of the term “ assembly ” is based on the language and imagery of Israel when the nation was assembled before Yahweh for worship in front of the Tabernacle. The Greek noun rendered “ church ” in many English translations is ekklésia . It means “assembly, congregation, convocation.” In secular Greek, it could refer to an “assembly” of citizens gathered to conduct matters of state. However, that is not the sense found in the Greek New Testament.
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Apart from the contacts between Jesus and the early church with the priestly authorities from the Temple, the New Testament shows minimal interest in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Far more frequent are the applications of temple language and imagery to the New Covenant community built by Jesus and his original apostles. What the old Temple and its predecessor, the Tabernacle, foreshowed is coming to fruition among his disciples, the “ Body of Christ .”
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Jesus will not “ arrive ” to gather his “ elect ” until two events occur: The “ Apostasy ” and the “ revelation of the Man of Lawlessness ,” and the two are inextricably linked. It is not just the presence of this dark figure but his unveiling in the Assembly that will signal the imminence of the “ Day of the Lord .” Not only will he cause many to abandon their allegiance to Jesus, but also his “ revealing ” will take place when he “ sits down ” in the “ Sanctuary of God .”