International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
a-sem'-bli (qahal; ekklesia): The common term for a meeting of the people called together by a crier. It has reference therefore to any gathering of the people called for any purpose whatsoever (Exodus 12:6 Psalm 22:16 the King James Version; Psalm 89:7 the King James Version; Acts 19:32, 41). The solemn assemblies of the Jews were their feasts or religious gatherings of any kind (Isaiah 1:13). The word paneguris, "a general festal assembly" (Hebrews 12:23), is transferred from the congregation of the people of Israel to the Christian church of which the congregation of Israel was a figure. In the same passage, ekklesia has the sense of calling, summoning. In classical Greek ekklesia was the name for the body of free citizens summoned by a herald. In this sense the church calls all the world to become identified with it. It denotes the whole body of believers, all who are called. Or it may refer to a particular congregation or local church (sunagoge, "synagogue" James 2:2 the Revised Version, margin). See CALLING; CHURCH; CONGREGATION.
SOLEMN ASSEMBLY (MEETING)