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the word does not come to us in the New Testament at first
hand from that source. Valuable and eminently worthy of
Christian usage as e/c/cXrjo-t'a is in its classical sense, and admir-
ably adapted from a consideration of its component parts — e/c
"from" or "out of," and KaXeca to "call" — to designate the
Christian assembly as the elect or called of God from the
larger population of the world, we must not fail to take into
account the use of the word in the Septuagint. When, to satisfy
the needs of Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt, the Old Testament
was translated from the original Hebrew, which was at best a
provincial tongue, into the cosmopolitan language of Greece,
some word had to be found to take the place of the Hebrew

pn|5 or "congregation." The word selected was kKKkriata'
In the Hebrew Bible two words are used to signify a com-
munity or congregation — ITIj; and ?T\\>. Used substantially
in the same sense, the choice of one or the other is determined
by no difference in meaning, but rather by the taste of the


258 Jesus' Idea

author. nny is, however, the older term, and signified any
assembly or congregation, while ?r}\> came to denote the specific
community or assembly of Israel. For example, in Judg. 14:8
n"iy is used of a swarm of bees, and in Ps. 68, of a "multitude of
bulls"; yet elsewhere in the Psalms the two words are found
without difference in meaning, and denote the "congregation of

Israel." Studying ?ni5 we find that it is used in the Old
Testament to designate an assembly summoned for a specific
purpose (I Kings 8:65), or one which met on some festal occa-
sion (Deut. 23:1); but far more frequently does it denote
"the community of Israel collectively regarded as a congrega-
tion" (Selbie), i. e., the national assembly, "the whole con-
gregation of Israel regarded in its entirety as the people of
God" (J. Armitage Robinson), as in Deut. 18:16 and Judg.
21 :8. A New Testament echo of this usage is found in the
speech of Stephen (Acts 7:38) and in Heb. 2:12.

Now when the Septuagint version of the Scriptures was
in the making, some Greek w^ords were needed as the equiv-
alents of n^j; and pi}\> and we notice that the Greek (rvvaycayr)

represents the Hebrew n"iy, while eKKXrjaLa represents Sni?^
This is the usual, but not the universal rule. Sometimes
(Tvvayoiyr) is used for PHi^, but simply for the sake of uni-
formity in the written Greek. Schurer tells us that in the
later Judaism a difference in meaning arose, crvvaycoyrj being
used "of the actual congregation in any one place," while
eKKKrja^a designated the ideal, "the assembly of those called by
God to salvation"; and Selbie rightly remarks: "It is easy
to see how, on this account, kKKkqala displaced avvayoiyr] in
Christian circles." Such, briefly, is the history of the words.
Excursions of this kind into the fundamental meaning and
usage of words may to the superficial appear unnecessary and
trying, but in reality they are absolutely essential if we would
entertain adequate and justifiable conceptions.

'EKKX?7(7-ta, then, confronts us in the New Testament freighted
with the classical usage and the Hebrew usage. Yet both
usages manifestly have points of contact; the Greek as-
sembly and the Israelitish congregation have in common certain

Appendix 259

fundamental features. The congregation of Israel was assur-
edly the called, or the elect of God: called from the many
nations to benefit the many. There is an appropriateness in
the word, from whatever point we view it, which makes its
adoption to denote the church of Jesus both impressive and
deeply suggestive. It must be remembered, however, that
Jesus in all probability spoke and taught in Aramaic. While
a large number of Greek words had been introduced into the
Hebrew and the Aramaic of His day, this by no means proves
that the common people of Palestine possessed an adequate
knowledge of Greek. The fact seems to be that the lower
classes had either no knowledge, or at most a superficial
knowledge, of Greek, while the higher or educated classes
were probably well-acquainted with the language. It is only
reasonable, therefore, to assume that the language of Jesus was
Aramaic. The question then arises as to what was the word
used by Jesus in this connection, and what was its meaning.

It is perhaps impossible to answer this question with preci-
sion. Certain facts, however, would seem to shed some light
at least upon the subject. We have seen that the Septuagint

puts awayaiyr} for ITiy, and usually eKKKyjaia for PHj^; also
that in the Old Testament there was no substantial distinc-
tion in meaning between the two. When the Hebrew Scrip-
tures were used in the services of the synagogue, it was found
necessary to follow their reading by an oral "targum" — a para-
phrase, or free translation, into Aramaic, the current language
of the people. These "targums" at a later time were reduced
to writing. Now, in the targums we find nriC^^3 used for

n^J[ and generally n^H"! for ?f^\>. It is quite probable that
Jesus used one of these w^ords. Which word the Master
selected it is, of course, impossible now to determine. The
choice of one or the other, however, in no wise affects the idea
entertained by Jesus, inasmuch as both words designate the
same thing — the "congregation of Israel."

The selection, then, of €KK\r]aia, when the Aramaic say-
ings of Jesus were translated into Greek for Gentile use,
would appear most natural under the existing circumstances.
'^waycoyrj had come to have distinctly Jewish associations,
which unfitted it for Christian usage, while eKK\r]crta, from

2 6o Jesus' Idea

its use in the Septuagint — and perhaps from its consonance
with Greek ideas — was most happily adapted to express the
preeminent idea of the Christian church as the called of God.

The word, indeed, touched, in vital manner, both the
Gentile and the Jewish world. It would appeal to both with
subtle power. And especially was the choice of kKKki]aia
natural, in view of the fact that already this term had become
widely established as a description of the local organizations
of the Christians. Hence kKKXtjaia was used to translate
the Aramaic word which Jesus Himself had employed to denote
His church.

The word used, then, suggests to our mind the ancient
congregation of Israel, if we think of the Hebrew significance;
and an assembly of free men called out of a larger population
by a herald, if we contemplate the Greek significance of the
term. There is much food for thought in the latter. One is
tempted to dwell upon the conception of the church as an
assemblage of free men — free from the curse and slavery of
sin, free as the birds of the air, free because they serve God
''whose service is perfect freedom"; an assemblage summoned
from the four corners of the earth by the mighty voice of
Jesus which has sounded, and is sounding down the ages;
an assemblage summoned to transact the business of the world,
for such is the mission of the church — to bring man, the w^orld,
and human affairs, into harmony with the all-holy and sovereign
will of God; and Christ conceived of the Kingdom of God
itself as the "universal rule of Christian principles." Such
is the temptation.

But we must resist it, and dwell rather upon the primary
and fundamental thought of Jesus as expressed in the word
eKKXrjaLa, which is derived from the Hebrew and not from the
Greek source.



When first brought into contact with Jesus, Peter had been
thus addressed: "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou
shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone."
(St. Jn. 1 142.) His confession at length proved the aptness
of Jesus' characterization, for immediately after the confession
the Master declared: "I say unto thee that thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee
the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou
shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (St. Mt. 16:18-
19). Jesus, indeed, had read Peter aright. He had seen
the native capabilities of the man. Vacillating, and unstable
because he lacked that which alone could arrest his being and
confer the power of tremendous steadfastness, he yet possessed
the quality of splendid reverence, and an ultimately impregnable
devotion combined with a noble aggressiveness. Jesus, of
course, did not wish to build his brotherhood upon an insecure
foundation; he desired permanency. At length he has the
Rock in the person of St. Peter in view of his deliberate

^ The proper name, ir^rpos, signified "a stone, or rock, or
ledge or cliff." It was 'used metaphorically, of a soul hard and
unyielding and so resembling a rock" (Thayer), irirpa meant also
a rock, ledge or cliff, and was also used to describe "a man
like a rock, by reason of his firmness and strength of soul." In
classical Greek, the distinction is generally observed between ir^rpa,
the massive rock, and ir^rpos, a detached but large fragment.
Both of these words are used in the passage quoted above; ir^rpos
being first, and ir^rpa second. Both of these terms, however,
would be represented in the Aramaic which Jesus spoke by the
same word ^?3^ Cephas.


262 Jesus* Idea

The corner-stone, at least, is at hand upon which to erect
His eKKKrjdLa.^

Jesus thus gives St. Peter the primacy among the Apostles.
It was his, indeed, by right of his confession.^

Further he says, "I will give unto thee the keys of the
Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth
shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on
earth shall be loosed in heaven." The idea here is easily
decipherable. Since the keeper of the keys has the power to
open and to shut, the word is figuratively used in the New
Testament to denote power and authority of various kinds.
"The key was an Oriental symbol of authority. When a scribe
was inducted into his office, he was given a key, as a symbol
of his authority to open the treasury of divine truth contained
in the law" (cf. St. Lu. 11:52 and St. Mt. 23:13). A key,
indeed, always and primarily unlocks something. Jesus, in the
figurative language of the Orient, was then holding the keys
of the Kingdom of Heaven. He had sought assiduously to
unlock the Kingdom to men. But now as the threatening
clouds of Jewish hatred and persecution grew more dense,
he saw that preparation for the future must be made. The
necessity was becoming pressing. Peter had just shown an
insight into His purposes that was born of Heaven; what

^ "The community of believers" in the New Testament, according
to a common figure, is represented as a building (I Cor. 3:10; Eph.
2:19; Gal. 2:9; I Pet. 2:4).

* Peter's name is always placed first in the lists of the Apostles in
the New Testament ; he is also represented in many passages as
exercising leadership (Acts. 15:7; 2:14; Gal. 1:18; 2:7, 8). This,
however, does not involve the inference as to the supremacy of
St. Peter and his successors, which the Church of Rome draws
from it. In fact, there is nothing about successors here. The
Roman Catholic belief is purely inferential. Yet, the Roman infer-
ence is quite as valid as the Anglican inference, based upon the
wording of the Apostolic Commission, that the Spirit of Christ
will be with the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops of the
Church, until the end of time. The successors of Peter and of
the Apostles are, of course, not lineal but spiritual. They stand
at wash-tubs and drive teams as well as sit upon Papal and Episcopal
thrones. Some, indeed, of the fancied successors of St. Peter have
been the "rocks" upon which the Church has gone to pieces, while
only by the greatest stretch of the imagination, and the exercise
of the extremest courtesy, can many bishops of the past and of the
present be accounted in any way successors of the Apostles.

Appendix 263

could be more fitting, then, than that he, after Him, should hold
the keys ? ^

Some one in the future must become the Apostle of the
Kingdom. Why not Peter? Hence we hear the words: "I
will (notice the future tense) give unto thee the keys of the
Kingdom." Jesus held them now, but Peter w^ould hold them
shortly. The first to understand w^ould be first to make others
understand. **The Acts of the Apostles" itself is the best com-
mentary upon this passage. There we see St. Peter holding the
keys. Especially in admitting Cornelius, the Roman Cen-
turion, did he turn the key which unlocked the door of Jew-
ish exclusivism and admitted the Gentile world into the King-
dom of God.^

The thought expressed by the words "binding and loosing"
is "similar to that associated with the figure of the keeper of
the keys." The sense is probably that of general supervision
and indisputable authority. The terms themselves "are the
technical forms for the verdict of a Jewish doctor of the Law
who pronounced something as 'bound,' i. e., forbidden, or as
'loosed,' i. e., permitted; not, of course, in virtue of his own
absolute authority, but in conformity with his knowledge of
the oral law." ^

Interpreted strictly here, they would mean that St. Peter,
by virtue of his insight and knowledge of Jesus' oral teaching,
would "be able to give an authoritative decision in regard to
what the adherents of the theocracy may do, and may not
do." Peter would unfold, in fact, those spiritual principles
which should henceforth more and more govern mankind. This
power of binding and loosing was subsequently conferred, how-
ever, upon the Apostles collectively, as we shall see (St. Mt.

^ In inaugurating a movement to-day, the first to grasp the idea,
and to enter into the spirit of the affair, would be called the founda-
tion stone, and, all things being equal, because of his ability and
insight, would assume or be forced into leadership.

^ Isa. 22:15 ff. gives an Old Testament illustration of the powers
of the keys. Shebna "is comptroller of the household, to whom
the management of all the King's domestic concerns is entrusted."
See also Rev. 3 .7 ff.

^ "The wise men, or rabbis, had, in virtue of their ordination, the
power of deciding disputes relating to the Law." End. Bib., Vol.
I, P- 574-

264 Jesus* Idea

18), where "the special application of their authority is made
in respect of the discipline of the community." In the same
sense, the words of Jesus spoken to the Apostles after the
Resurrection must be interpreted : "Whosesoever sins ye remit,
they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain,
they are retained" (St. Jn. 20:23). Dalman aptly says: "For
exclusion from the community on account of some offense in-
cludes the 'retaining' of the sins; the readmission of the sinner
includes the 'remission' of his sins" (see "Words of Jesus,"
pp. 211-217).



Quite early in His teaching, Jesus had indicated that death
would be His ultimate fate: "The days will come when the
bridegroom will be taken away" (St. ML 2:20). (''Taken
away," airapdji, has the idea of a violent removal from the
disciples.) This reference was vague, indeed, but disquieting.
Disturbing also was the declaration, "I came to cast fire
on the earth, and what will I, if it is already kindled? But
I have a baptism to be baptized with ; and how am I straitened
till it be accomplished" (St. Lu. 12:49-50). More pronounced
and saddening, however, were the words spoken immediately
after St. Peter's confession of His Messiahship: "And He
began to teach them, that the Son of Man must suffer many
things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and
the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again" (St
Mk. 8:31 ; St. Mt. 16:21 ; St. Lu. 9:22). In this incident we
are reminded of the line of Messianic development revealed
in the Old Testament: the Kingdom of God, the King, the
Suffering Messiah, the Crown through Sujffering. Until this
time Jesus had emphasized the Kingdom; St. Peter acknowl-
edged Him the Messianic King; Jesus immediately announced
the Cross, and the victory through the Cross. Such a con-
ception outraged the ideas of St. Peter, who protested: "Be
it far from thee. Lord; this shall never be unto thee." . . .
Jesus, however, replied that suffering and death was the God-
appointed path; and that not only must He walk in this way,
but His disciples also: "Whosoever will come after me, let him
deny himself (renounce self), and take up his cross, and follow
me" (St. Mk. 8:34). In other words, along the pathway of
sacrifice and service could the Kingdom of God alone be es-
tablished and extended (vs. 35). Calvary itself was but the
climax of a life of sacrifice: the outward culmination of a life-


266 Jesus' Idea

long spiritual crucifixion ; the prelude to many lesser Calvaries.

More significant, however, is the utterance of Jesus w^hen
James and John requested to sit, one on His right hand and
the other on His left, in His Kingdom. Asking whether they
were able to drink His cup of suffering, and to experience His
baptism of blood. He charged them to fling away ambition:
''Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the
Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise au-
thority over them. But it is not so among you : but whosoever
would become great among you, shall be servant of all. For
verily the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many'' (St. Mk.
10:42-45; St. Mt. 20:25-28). Here Jesus speaks of His life
and death as one of service and of sacrifice, which frees many
from an oppressive thraldom. Turning to the Fourth Gospel,
we read: "I am the good Shepherd; the good shepherd giveth
his life for the sheep" (St. Jn. 10:11). Jesus also speaks of
laying down His life for His friends (15:13). Even more
remarkable are the words, so significant of the value of His
death : "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it
bringeth forth much fruit" (12:24). '1, if I be lifted up from
the earth, will draw all men unto me" (12:32). St. Luke
also tells us that after the Resurrection Jesus said to the
disciples: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken : Ought not Christ to have suffered these
things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses
and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the
Scriptures the things concerning himself" (24:25-27). Later
He said: "These are the words which I spake unto you, while
I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which
were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in
the psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their under-
standing, that they might understand the scriptures, and said
unto them. Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ
to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name
among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (24:44-47).

These quotations do not exhaust the passages relating to the
value of Christ's death, but they sufl^ice to show its importance.

Appendix 267

Jesus' own conviction in regard to His death was along these
lines, (i) His loyalty to Truth, and His fearless exposure of
Pharisaic religion would lead inevitably to a violent death at
the hands of the leaders of the nation. (2) This, however,
was the God-appointed path, analogous to that trodden by the
prophets, essential to the establishment of the Kingdom, and
voluntarily accepted by Jesus. (3) This course, however,
would lead to vast benefit to many, being the means of their
delivery from the slavery of sin. To such an end. He lived;
for such an end, He would die. His death and His life — the
two are to be united — would ransom many. How this ransom
would be effected, and ivhy it must be effected, Jesus did not
disclose. That His life and death are effective to this end, the
experience of thousands attests. Possibly no specific ways and
reasons w^ere present even to the mind of the Master. The
great fact He stated, leaving humanity to experience its bless-
ings, and to translate it into thought as best it could. All
attempts to explain the fact may be helpful, but none can be
entirely satisfactory, for the fact defies human comprehension.
Jesus, then, was a supreme sacrifice, whether in life or in death,
sacrifice of self to God's obedience. To interpret His sacrifice
in the sense of the Jewish sacrificial system, is unworthy. Even
the prophets had detected that God desired only the sacrifice
of the inner life. This sacrifice Jesus made; and this had
broken the power of Satan, and set humanity upon a new
course. The word "ransom" with Jesus was untechnical — a
term of poetic and mystic meaning. It represented a sum-
total : the effect of His personality. His career, and His work.^

^ The Greek — X^rpov — ransom, may have two Hebrew equiva-
lents, and correspond in sense to their meaning. The first is
n"iy or 7XJ, which suggests "the money payments required under

the Law to secure the release of persons from slavery" (Ex. 21 :8,
Lev. 25:47-49). The second is 133 (literally, a "covering") used

in the sense of a "propitiatory gift" — "restricted, however, by usage
to a gift offered as a satisfaction for a life ; it may denote the
ransom paid by an offender either to man (Ex. 21:30, Nu, 35:30-32,
Ps. 6:35), or to God (Ex. 30:12, Ps. 49:7) in order to save the
life which he has forfeited by his wrongdoing."




The fallacious idea of nature, so popular to-day, as a hard
and fast working of invariable laws which brook no interrup-
tion or interference, was not entertained by Jesus. The con-
ception "that nothing happens in nature which is in contradic-
tion with its universal laws," and that nature, apart from
God, includes all that is — hence a miracle cannot be — was far
from Jesus' thought. It was true that nature did proceed in
an orderly manner; the natural world was cosmos, not chaos;
yet God was not fettered to the accustomed modes of action.
''Nature is, indeed, governed by law and not by caprice: that
we know and are assured of. But such a formula does not
settle the matter. A wise and prudent man's life is also gov-
erned by law and not by caprice, and yet the intervention of his
moral reason, of his power of choice, disturbs from time to
time the semblance of uniformit}^ in his conduct. For him the
same physical antecedents do not always issue in the same physi-
cal consequences, because moral considerations — non-physical
motives — may sway him now in this direction, and now in that.
Thus in the case of man, who is a part, and an important part,
of nature, the rule of uniformity does not hold absolutely.
And when we remember that the Divine Will must be, at the
least, as independent of physical law as is man's will, we see
no ground for regarding the 'Uniformity of Nature' as a
constitutive principle of the Cosmos. It is nothing more than a
convenient way of saying that God's laws are general laws;
that He does not depart from the usual method of His rule
without the gravest reasons for intervention." (Art. "Nature,"

p. 495).

Again, Jesus would not be troubled with the objection
raised to-day, that such departures from the usual methods of


Appendix 269

action would involve a loss of prestige on the part of Deity,
inasmuch as the necessity for such interferences impugned the
Divine Wisdom. This seems, indeed, a plausible argument.
We must remember, however, that God in the beginning created
man a free agent, — capable of choice. This action certainly
did not impugn the wisdom of God. Hence, if man w^as unwise
enough to use his liberty in making a wrong choice, and conse-
quently found himself in hopeless entanglements, incapable of
giving himself entire relief, no matter how assiduously he sought
to accommodate himself to the natural order, and God was the
Father-God, as Jesus conceived that He was, what could be
more fitting than that God should bring into play unusual
means and extraordinary power to relieve the fatal condition
of His beloved child? That this was the condition of mankind
we have had full opportunity to see; that this was the course
adopted by God, we shall soon see.

Men, however, are often antagonized by the idea of any

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