Updated: Feb 16
The word church is never found in the Bible until the New Testament. The English translators chose to use this word instead of the true meaning of the Greek word, ekklesia.
In the Greek language ekklesia means "assembly, called out". It corresponds to the Hebrew word kahal meaning "assembly, congregation or community".
The word kahal appears in the Old Testament to refer to the children of Israel. It is used whenever God calls His people together for any reason; to assemble them together. Hence, Israel has always been referred to as "the assembly or the congregation".
In the Greek Septuagint, the translators used ekklesia to translate the Hebrew word kahal. However, when we get to the New Testament we find that the word church is used to translate ekklesia instead of assembly or congregation. This miss-translation of the word makes it sound as though some new "institution" has been established apart from the foundation of the Old Testament and its Hebraic foundation.
There has never been but one assembly or congregation of Yahweh. That assembly is the Hebrew people. The Apostle Paul explains it quite well in Romans the 11th chapter. Israel is the native olive tree. They are the natural branches. Non-Jews are the wild olive tree. Non-Jews have been grafted into the native olive tree of Israel by Yeshua.
The word ekklesia or kahal signifies that Yahweh still has an assembly or called out congregation. In the end of this age, Yeshua will gather His assembly to Himself.
Some newer and more accurate English translations of the New Testament do use the more correct word for ekklesia which is assembly or congregation.