When Was The Ekklesia Planned?

            Jesus said, "...upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18, emp LS).  When did Jesus build His church?

The ekklesia (church) of Christ was in the mind of God before the world was created, "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body (church, emp LS), and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel...And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:4-6, 9-11, emp LS).

There are those that teach that the ekklesia of Christ was an afterthought of God, in other words, Jesus meant to set up His kingdom, but because of the rejection of the Jews, Christ built the church instead. My friend, the ekklesia (God’s people, church, body, vineyard, kingdom, etc.) was in the eternal mind of God, before the world was ever created, and is NOT an afterthought or substitute for the kingdom (the rule of God’s people). In fact, the Old Testament prophets spoke of the church some 700 years before the statement made by Christ in Matthew 16:18. Isaiah said that "in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established" and that His law would "go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3, emp LS).

The prophet Daniel said of God’s people (ekklesia), "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44). Please take some time and read Hebrews 12:22-28, and you will see that the inspired writer uses some of Isaiah's and Daniel's terms: "Mount Zion", "city of the Living God", "the heavenly Jerusalem", "the general assembly" and "kingdom" that refer to the people of God (ekklesia).

John the Baptizer, the twelve apostles, and the 70 disciples all preached, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:1-2; 10:7; Luke 10:10-11). However, John was beheaded (Matthew 14, about 26 A.D.) before Jesus built His ekklesia.  This shows that the ekklesia of Christ was not built during the personal ministry of John as some have claimed. There is absolutely no proof or record that John ever started, built, or was ever a member of the ekklesia (cf. Matthew 11:11). "Preacher, when was the church built then?"  More next time.