From: Stephen Williamson

Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 10:16 AM

Subject: Citizens Assemblies and early Church/Ecclesia

Hi all

I've often thought about the mindsets of the people in that early church/ecclesia - the called out ones. Working with the Holy Spirit, how did they end up forming a formal church (ecclesia) of Rome, of Antioch, of Alexandria.

Following Julia's new "citizens assemblies" , here's an account of early democracy in Athens - 500 years before Christ - called ecclesia - the formal citizens' assembly within the city.

Some background - to vote in the ecclesia, you needed to be an adult male 18 years of age, not a slave, and not the son of foreigners.

Meetings were initially monthly, but grew to three to four meetings a month.

Issues frequently revolved around judicial matters - internally, and wars - externally, with the agenda set by the local council (boule) of about 500 men chosen randomly (i.e. by lot). This is the same word we see in Luke 23:50, although in Jerusalem, not being a democracy, the council was always chosen by the leadership. Many cities, such as Sparta, speak also of a council of elders (gerousia) - as seen in the Senate which met with this Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem in Acts 5:21. Voting in the formal ecclesia was done by a show of hands in a public arena. A quorum would be required, 20% of the electorate - e.g. 6000 in Athens. Women could be citizens, but no voting rights when it came to these political matters, yes, probably would have created too much contention, they would have had enough as it was ☺

"A gang of slaves carrying ropes dipped in red ochre would travel through the city on the days the Ecclesia was to meet, and use their ropes to lash those citizens not in attendance. With garments thus stained, shamed citizens could legally carry out no business until they visited the meeting grounds of the Ecclesia" /wiki /Ecclesia_(ancient_Athens)

Apparently, people who didn't want to get involved were then called "private people" or "idiotes" - yes, from which we get the word idiots.

Interestingly translated in 1 Corinthinians  as   unlearned .

Note too, that when it came to providing protection from (and for) war, the Romans employed Tax Farming i.e. having an auction where people would bid for the right to become a "tolls" collector. It raised considerable revenue upfront using these publicans, the "public contractors" in the provinces. Similar systems of tax collecting can be found historically worldwide frequently run by gangs and secret societies in the Turkish empire (prior to 1923) — in China (prior to 1912) — in Russia (prior to 1862) — in India (prior to 1857) — in the French monarchy (prior to 1789) — in fact going all the way back through the centuries to those Pharaohs in Egypt.

An associated word "Perfect" in Matthew 5:48, is the word for "Complete", a "Toll (paid in full)". It is thus contrasted here with the word for "Publicans", or "Toll Farmers" who invest in the right to collect tolls for their own profit on earth.

Yep, a very different world from today, but I think it helps to understand where Paul was coming from in, say, 1 Corinthians 14. And I think that was Christ's intention in using that specific word regarding what he was going to build.

Interesting ☺

Further thoughts on assembling together

From: Stephen Williamson

Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:18 PM

Subject: Chatting about Church

Hi all

Yes, while the Jews (and many in the early church) would hold regular worship meetings on the Saturday, i.e. the Sabbath, numerous ones would also gather in a home or building somewhere straight afterwards on the Saturday evening for a special love-feast, celebrating the Lord's resurrection. Then on March 7th 321, Emperor Constantine issued the following decree: On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. And so from that day in all the cities, Sundays became official state holidays for rest and worship.
In the west throughout Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, Sunday's name changed from Dies Solis to Dominica (the Lord's Day), with Saturday (Dies Saturni) renamed as Sabbatum (the Sabbath). The other weekday names were left unchanged.
In Constantinople (Istanbul), Constantine's new capital city in the east, Friday was renamed in Greek becoming Paraskeue - Preparation day (for the sabbath), Saturday became Savvato (the Sabbath), Sunday became Kyriaki (the Lord's Day), and Monday to Thursday were renamed to Days Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth.

But in the west, Monday-Saturday was seen of course as a normal working day week. Though working on Saturday was always coming up as an issue with various ones. In Australia, it was 1930 that we went to a 44 hour (5½ day) week, in 1948 a 40 hour (5 day) week.

However, regarding the Sabbath day rest that we are urged to "labour at entering into" (be prompt with, use speed) Hebrews 4:11, just reflecting on those words in Song of Songs:

Song of Songs 2:7

I charge you (swear to you), O you daughters of Jerusalem by the roes and by the hinds of the field that you stir not up 55 (shake the eyes) nor awake 34 (my) love till she please.

The roes and hinds are of course male and female deer, yes, skittish, easily put on alert at any time. Makes me think of kangaroos, mm, yes, night-time country driving.

According to the Hebrew, the word for love is a noun of intimacy, indicating that it is the beloved, Solomon, or Christ the bridegroom speaking in the three passages: Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4. The lady he speaks of is called a Shulamite, from the Hebrew word Shalom, which means Complete, Perfect, Peace, a Toll paid in full. The Lord's desire is that we stay in the sabbath (rest), in tune with the Holy Spirit whatever we do, in quietness inwardly. Nothing to be forced by others.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt (rotten) communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister (give) grace to the hearers.

4:30 And grieve (distress) not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed (secretly stamped) to the day of redemption.

Hallelujah Steve

Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd

Kyrie Eleison

From: Stephen Williamson

Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 3:14 PM

Subject: Background to the word for "church"

Hi all

Kyrie - the Greek word for "Lord"

Firstly, we look at the Persian King Cyrus. The name "Cyrus" is a Latinized form derived from a Greek form "Kyrus" (pronounced Kee-ros). The ancient Greek historians Ctesias and Plutarch noted that Cyrus was named from Kuros, the word for "sun" in Persian.

In Hebrew, click here, the word Kur was the word for "furnace".

Proverbs 17:3 The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.

And his name / his title then became the Greek name for "Lord".

Many know the story of Simon of Cyrene, a city in Libya named after a spring of pure water, Kyre, which the Greeks had dedicated to Apollo, their god of light and the sun. And in God's wonderful foreknowledge, Simon, a resident, is granted the honour of being the first that literally followed the true Lord sharing his load, bearing his cross. Luke 23:26

Also many of you may know the song Kyrie Eleison "Lord Have Mercy" a famous old song in the ancient Greek - a human cry to the Lord.

As it says at the bottom, just about every language worldwide has a version of this phrase — from "Mein Herr" in German to "Mon Sieur" in French (in French Cyrus is pronounced See-ros).

And so it was that when the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) was put together around 300-150 BC for the Jews scattered worldwide, they decided to use the Greek word Kurios (associated with this word Kurus) for the Hebrew word of worship Adonai (the "Lord").

i.e. the "Sun" (of righteousness).

A bit like Moses, someone whose face was not watchable, it shone so brightly immediately after speaking to God. Associated by others with the Latin word "curvus" — to curve or bow.

Yes, Cyrus had been the Jews deliverer, their messiah, their anointed one, foreseen and named by God hundreds of years previously in Isaiah — click here and here and now sent by God to enable them to return to God's land and to build God's house.

II Chronicles 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also in writing, saying,

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has the LORD God of heaven given me; and he has appointed me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

And later when it came time for Christians to build "houses" for the Lord, yes, where the ecclesia — where the Lord's gathering would meet - in Germany, it was then called a kirche, in Scotland a kirk, and yes in England, a church.

Blessings all Steve

Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd