The word K’ne•si•ya, (church) is almost identical to yesterday’s Hebrew Word beit k’ne•set (synagogue). Both relate to the function of the house of prayer: gathering [the believers for prayer and worship], and congregating.
The equality by which the Hebrew language defines the Jewish house of prayer, the synagogues, and the Christian house of prayer, the churches, is quite interesting in light of the fact that other faiths are defined differently. For example the prayer places of the Eastern faiths are called just “mik•dash,” a place of sanctification. There is a fine subtlety in this word. Although this was the name of the holy Temple in Jerusalem (beit ha•mik•dash) in days of antiquity, the absence of a Jewish (and Christian) holy Temple today hints that this word only relates to a place of worship of “others.”
The Muslim place of worship, the mosque is called in Hebrew: mis•gud. The root of this word is ancient and relates to the time before Islam when the Arab tribes were still idol worshippers, and it means “to bow down to, to worship, to honor” but mainly refers to idols. Obviously, Islam should be respected as a monotheistic religion which, like Christianity and Judaism, worships one God but the name for their place of worship still carries the connotation of the pre Islamic era.
Let’s stress the fact that the Temple in Jerusalem was holy for both the Jews and the early Christians who were basically Jews who accepted Jesus, Yeshua, as the Messiah. The holy place at the time for Jesus, Yeshua, was the Jerusalem Temple and was the only holy place for the followers until its destruction. (This was long before Islam emerged).
It’s important to understand that there was no difference between the synagogues in Jerusalem after the destruction and the places of worship of believers in Corinth, (Corinthians), Galatia, (Galatians), Ephesus, (Ephesians) and Thessalonica (today’s Thessaloniki), (Thessalonians). This is the historic reason for the proximity between beit k’ne•set and k’ne•si•ya and consequently a beautiful testimony to the deep ties between Christianity and its root and cradle – Judaism.