Matthew 16:18

I will build my church (oikodomhsw mou thn ekklhsian). It is the figure of a building and he uses the word ekklhsian which occurs in the New Testament usually of a local organization, but sometimes in a more general sense. What is the sense here in which Jesus uses it? The word originally meant "assembly" ( Acts 19:39 ), but it came to be applied to an "unassembled assembly" as in Acts 8:3 for the Christians persecuted by Saul from house to house. "And the name for the new Israel, ekklhsia, in His mouth is not an anachronism. It is an old familiar name for the congregation of Israel found in Deut. ( Deuteronomy 18:16 ; Deuteronomy 23:2 ) and Psalms, both books well known to Jesus" (Bruce). It is interesting to observe that in Psalms 89:1 ff most of the important words employed by Jesus on this occasion occur in the LXX text. So oikodomhsw in Psalms 89:5 ; ekklhsia in Psalms 89:6 ; katiscuw in Psalms 89:22 ; Cristo in Psalms 89:39 Psalms 89:52 ; aidh in Psalms 89:49 (ek ceiro aidou). If one is puzzled over the use of "building" with the word ekklhsia it will be helpful to turn to 1 Peter 2:5 . Peter, the very one to whom Jesus is here speaking, writing to the Christians in the five Roman provinces in Asia ( 1 Peter 1:1 ), says: "You are built a spiritual house" (oikodomeisqe oiko pneumatiko). It is difficult to resist the impression that Peter recalls the words of Jesus to him on this memorable occasion. Further on ( 1 Peter 2:9 ) he speaks of them as an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, showing beyond controversy that Peter's use of building a spiritual house is general, not local. This is undoubtedly the picture in the mind of Christ here in 1 Peter 16:18 . It is a great spiritual house, Christ's Israel, not the Jewish nation, which he describes. What is the rock on which Christ will build his vast temple? Not on Peter alone or mainly or primarily. Peter by his confession was furnished with the illustration for the rock on which His church will rest. It is the same kind of faith that Peter has just confessed. The perpetuity of this church general is guaranteed.

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