Q. I have a question regarding the church’s role in end times and millennium. In Hebrew the word church means ekklesia or ‘the called out assembly” and the Lord refers to the assembly/congregation many times in the OT ie Gen 48:4, Ex 16:3, I Sam 17:47 and many more. So doesn’t that mean there has always been a ‘church’ under the Hebrew title of assembly so it’s not exclusively us believers now?
A. In the 3 examples you gave, and 83 other places in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word qahal is translated assembly. In the New Testament the Greek word ekklesia also means assembly but it’s almost always translated church (115 times out of 118 appearances). It’s a case where a common noun has become a name.
Although the two words both mean the same thing and are used in the same way, they point to two different groups. In the Old Testament the word for assembly almost always referred to Israel, and in the New Testament it almost always refers to the Church. But Israel is not the Church and the Church is not Israel. The two groups have different origins, different destinies, and different relationships with God. The only things they have in common is that they both worship God and they both consist of a gathering (assembly) of people.