Vision of the Net

During a Sunday morning time of praise I had a vision of a very large and very thick net. There was a group of us looking down at and working on our section of this net. Then I heard the Lord speak to me and He said, “Look to your left”. As I did I noticed that as far as I could see thousands of people, like us, all looking down and working on their section of this same net. Then the Lord said to me, “Look to your right”. As I did I saw the same thing, thousands of people for as far as I could see all looking down and working on this same net. I noticed that each group seemed to be unaware of the others. This net was huge and extremely thick rope.

The Lord has many people focused on what He has called them to do and He is the One who is orchestrating His plan and purpose in the earth. He is building this huge thick net and connecting it together for one incredible Harvest! Galatians 6:9, Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Joe Nicola

The Branches of Ekklesia

As the government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, the ekklesia has three distinct branches: the judicial branch the legislative branch the executive branch The prophet Isaiah illustrated the same in his description of the Lord.

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us. Isaiah 33: 22

Notice the parallels: the judicial branch— our judge the legislative branch— our lawgiver the executive branch— our king The government of the United States of America is also formed from this biblical pattern. However, instead of an elected President, the executive branch of the ekklesia is occupied by Jesus. And in place of Congress and the Supreme Court, the legislative and judicial branches of the ekklesia are occupied by the people of God. (That would be us.) These three branches of the ekklesia also relate to the Trinity. The Father is the Great Judge, the Son Jesus is the King, and the Holy Spirit is the Lawgiver, or in other words, the One who delivers/ speaks the will of God to us so that we can speak and act on it. Also known as our Helper, the Holy Spirit helps us to legislate and judge according to the will of God.

Joe Nicola

Excerpt from my book “Ekklesia: The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth” 

The Key of David

The term “key of David” has been spoken of frequently in recent history. Let’s examine its origins in scripture and understand how it applies to today’s ekklesia. There are only two scriptures in the Bible with direct references to the key of David.

One is Isaiah 22: 22 and the other is Revelation 3: 7. “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open. Isaiah 22: 22 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens…” Revelation 3: 7

The first passage, Isaiah 22: 15-25, contains the story of Shebna who was a royal steward (treasurer) of the palace during the reign of Hezekiah. He occupied a high office with great responsibility. Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is in charge of the royal household, ‘What right do you have here, and whom do you have here, that you have hewn a tomb for yourself here, you who hew a tomb on the height, you who carve a resting place for yourself in the rock? Behold, the Lord is about to hurl you headlong, O man. And He is about to grasp you firmly and roll you tightly like a ball, to be cast into a vast country; there you will die and there your splendid chariots will be, you shame of your master’s house.’ I will depose you from your office, and I will pull you down from your station. Then it will come about in that day, that I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your tunic and tie your sash securely about him. I will entrust him with your authority, and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open. I will drive him like a peg in a firm place, and he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house. So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars. In that day,” declares the Lord of hosts , “the peg driven in a firm place will give way; it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 22: 15-25

We are not told everything about Shebna. However, in verse sixteen we are given a glimpse into his character. It was a common practice for those of high rank to be buried in a large, beautiful tomb or vault in a place of honor. Shebna was preparing such a place of honor, building a name for himself to be honored after he died. He was focused on himself and leaving a legacy. Shebna was obviously a prideful man. In verses 19 and 20 we are told that God removed him from his office because of pride and replaced him with a man named Eliakim. Then in verse 22, we read that the Lord will “set the key of the house of David on his [Eliakim’s ] shoulder.” Note that in this passage the key of David is referred to specifically as “the key of the house of David.” The Lord is the One who associated this key with the name of David. Jesus, in Revelation 3: 7, also referred to this key, calling it simply the key of David. So why is David’s name associated with this key?

Joe Nicola

Excerpt from my book “Ekklesia: The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth” 

I Will Build My Ekklesia

If we are to better understand what Jesus intends to build, we would be well served to examine the gospel in which the teachings appear. As we have discussed previously , the Greek word ekklesia— erroneously translated as “church”— first appeared in the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 16 and 18. Matthew’s gospel is remarkable in that it is the only one that records the particular conversation Jesus had with His disciples in detail, and it is the only gospel containing the English word “church.” (Other books use “church,” but Matthew is the only gospel that uses it.) Matthew’s perspective is unique; he wrote his gospel in Greek to Jewish Christians. It is also interesting to note that Matthew was probably an educated man and a wealthy man— a government employee and a tax collector. The reason I believe he was an intellectual or educated man is because he knew the Law and has more references to the Law than the other gospel writers. Many everyday Jews did not know the Law and depended upon the Teachers of the Law to explain it to them. Of the original twelve disciples, he was the only government employee called by Jesus as an apostle— proof that Jesus can use anybody. As an early disciple, he possessed a unique vantage point regarding Jesus’ intentions for the ekklesia. It is not surprising that Satan would not only twist the truth of ekklesia but also distort the truth surrounding the teaching on ekklesia that Jesus gave. There are at least six common misconceptions that come from Matthew’s two passages on ekklesia that need to be addressed. I have already mentioned one , which is the teaching on the ekklesia vs. church. The other five teachings pertain to:

  • Peter as the rock of the church
  • Binding and loosing
  • Where two or three are gathered in my name
  • If two of you agree on Earth about anything they may ask it shall be done for them
  • We should not judge

Joe Nicola

Excerpt from my book “Ekklesia: The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth” 

The History of “Church”

The English word “church” is used in the Bible 77 times, translated from the Greek word kūriakon. But as we discussed earlier, this word didn’t exist during the first century when Jesus said He would build His ekklesia. So why is it translated as “church” today? As we will see, it was more than just etymology. Something greater was at stake. William Tyndale was the first person to translate the Bible directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. Unfortunately, he was not authorized by the king to translate the Bible into English, so he paid dearly for his great work. Beginning in 1525, he finished the entire New Testament and the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). His translation of the Bible was also the first to be mass printed using an early printing press. As a result, his Bible translation made it into the hands of the common people, posing a dire threat to the two reigning religious institutions at the time: the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England (which was controlled by the King of England ). Control of scripture was vital to both organizations, as it enabled control of the people. Of course, had Tyndale stopped there, he might have been all right, but he also included his commentaries with his Bible translations which were considered heresy to both of these powerful churches, thus making him powerful enemies. One of Tyndale’s greatest offenses, however, was his translation of Matthew 16 and 18. Specifically, he did not use the English word “church” that is used today. Instead, he used “congregation.” That’s it—” congregation.” One little word. One great transgression. So why was this simple change an affront to the prevailing powers? Because “congregation” refers to the people, not just to leadership . Outside of the purview and control of the rulers, Tyndale’s translation— in line with Jesus’ intent— told people that they were free to receive Christ and be part of His ekklesia, and that they would have authority given by God. They were not the laity to be ruled by a privileged few. By translating the Bible as he did, Tyndale gave the power and authority of God’s word into the hands of every Christian rather than merely the Church leaders. Tyndale’s threat to the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England eventually became too great for these religious establishments to bear, and they reacted as any threatened organization would do— with swift and certain vengeance. Tyndale was finally arrested by church authorities in 1535, tried and convicted of heresy, and imprisoned for over 500 days in horrible conditions. He was then strangled and burnt at the stake in the prison yard in 1536. His last words on Earth were, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” Tyndale’s prayer was answered three years later, resulting in the publication of King Henry Vlll’s 1539 English Great Bible. Tyndale paid a great price for a great leap forward. Then in 1604, on the heels of the Great Bible, King James of England also authorized the translation of the Bible into the English language. He chose 47 scholars for the translation work, and while their credentials were impeccable, there was also some bias. For starters, each one of the translators was a member of the Church of England— firmly under the rule and reign of the King. As such, they were under obligation to the King and required to follow his requirements. King James laid out 15 rules for the translators; most of which resulted in excellent scholarship, but at least one revealed an alternative agenda.

Rule three stated: 3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation & c.

Again, we see a battle over a seemingly insignificant word. Yet King James’ seemingly simple requirement was to have profound implications for how we view Jesus’ intentions towards His future kingdom government. King James’ obvious intent was to consolidate power within enforceable boundaries—the Church of England— and ensure that no other entity could establish a form of government beyond his control. It seemed that King James had not forgotten the transgressions of Tyndale’s translation after all, even though James’ translators used 90% of Tyndale’s translation. Hence, “church” gave King James a sense of security and control, whereas other translations of ekklesia, such as “congregation,” “assembly,” or worst of all “government,” probably threatened him. This ekklesia was truly a threat to Satan and the domain of darkness.

Joe Nicola

Excerpt from my book “Ekklesia: The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth”