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The Great Gathering

How the Holy Spirit is gathering a company of believers in this time.

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Eph 1:10)

In these times, that some would say are the last days, God is gathering together His people. In the above verse Paul had the revelation of a gathering of God’s people. The Greek word used there for “gather” is unusual. It is anakephalaioō and means “to sum up (again), to repeat summarily, to condense into a summary.” In others words, God, in these last days, is condensing His people together. The Greek word actually comes from two words – ana, “up,” kephale, “a head.” The head part more specifically means a wounded head. We are brought together under the Head (Jesus) because He was wounded for us.

One of the key parts of the passage in Ephesians is that this condensing is “in Christ” and “in Him.” You see, true, powerful unity can only be under the headship of Jesus and in Him.

In this article we will look at a number of verses with different Greek words translated as “gather,” in addition to the one above. I believe there are some powerful truths there waiting to be uncovered. We will also see that the devil has his own gathering that is of course a false unity, but it still has power so we would be wise to pay attention.


The first Greek word to look at is episynagō =”to gather together besides, to bring together to others already assembled.” Jesus used this word when He said

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather (episynagō) your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

In context, Jesus had just finished giving a sweeping condemnation of the religious leaders of the day. Despite the anger and sadness Jesus had toward them, He still had a deep desire to gather them as a mother hen would her babies. There was a tenderness and beautiful protection there. We must remember that God is not like us in the sense of how He loves. His love is deep and profound. Take note of the saddest part of the verse: “but you were not willing!” You see, Jesus wants to gather all of us but He will not force it. He wants unity but He will not force it. This gathering must be us allowing Him to gently bring us together. Take a look at the false unity of a country like North Korea. Yes, the people are united. But the unity is based on fear. God’s unity is based on love, which is the opposite of fear.


The next Greek word (episynagōgē) is very similar to the last.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling (episynagōgē) of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

As you know, context is very important. In this case, the author of the book of Hebrews had written just prior that animal sacrifice could never free us from the guilt and shame of sin. Only the perfect, spotless Lamb was able to do that through His sacrifice of the cross. In light of that the author encourages us to “having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” (v.19) and “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (v.22) It is in the beautiful light of that that the author encourages the considering one another and not forsaking the assembling together. We cannot even think of living by that without first coming into the Holiest and drawing hear. First things first. True unity only comes from His presence.

The Greek word for “forsaking” draws our attention. It is egkataleipō and means “abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless.” The strong image is of perhaps a parent abandoning a helpless child or an animal leaving its baby on its own in the wilderness. I believe this strong wording was used for good reason. The truth is that we greatly need one another, just as much as a baby needs it mother and father. Many would not like to admit this is true but it is. When we abandon assembling together we are doing each other much harm, whether we realize it or not.


The next Greek word means something a bit different than the others. It is symbibazō and means “to cause to coalesce, to join together, put together.” It is a knitting together.” It is a special word that means deep connecting of two. Think of knitting a sweater with numerous yarns of string. Then try to separate them. It is virtually impossible. And this is the type of unity that God desires.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted (symbibazō) by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:16)

What a statement! Let’s refuse to gloss over it. Here, Paul was talking about a powerful coming together of the church. Looks at the key words: “fitly joined,” “compacted,” “every joint.” These words point to the deep, connecting tissues in the body. I am here to tell you that is the type of unity He is bring about – one that goes very deep. Most of the unity we see today is very superficial, built upon things that are temporary. It is not so with the unity of the Spirit – it runs deep!

I would greatly encourage you to read and closely study Ephesians 4. It has many profound truth’s regarding true unity of the Spirit in the church. In fact, let’s go over one portion.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:11-16)

Here we see the two main purposes of the five-fold ministries – 1. edifying of the body of Christ and 2. till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. This goes back to not forsaking the assembling together. As we gather together will sit under each of the five-fold ministries, who will in turn edify (build up) and bring us together in true unity.

Sitting under these ministries will also mature us and prevent us from being spiritually tossed to and fro. There is a grounding effect. But, you see, this all happens as we assemble together. And it is not only the five-fold ministries that have a part. “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (v.16)

How do we do our share? By being together using our gifts and talents. But it only happens as we gather.


The last Greek word is synagō, which is the most common translated word as “to gather.” Jesus made a profound statement and promise when using this word.

For where two or three are gathered (synagō) together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

What an incredible promise! Who else wants Jesus in the midst? Whoever or whatever is in the midst gets the attention. It is time we turn our focus away from the lesser things and onto Jesus. We are promised if two or three (God likes small groups!) gather in His name He will be in the midst. Wonderful!

In Colossians 2 Paul was describing some religious people who were bound by tradition and the law. He warned against such people: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (vv.16-17)

Paul goes on to describe them. “and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together (symbibazō) by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” (v.19) We can all agree that Jesus is the head and we are His body. And we can also agree that we have no life unless we hold fast to the Head. Besides that powerful point we learn something about unity. We can only be in unity when we are “holding fast to the head.” Paul would never expect those people he described as ever truly being in unity with the body. And we shouldn’t concern ourselves with such types either.

In Acts chapter 4 we read that Peter and John got arrested for preaching the word of God. Th religious leaders had no good grounds to keep them so they were released. After being let go they reported back to their fellow believers.

“So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.
’” (vv.24-26)

They “raised their voice with one accord.” There was no competition or even anyone leading this group perhaps. They just raised their voices as one! Incredible. And now see the result of their unity:

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled (symbibazō) together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (v.31)

Unified prayer is powerful. Read that again. May we raise our voices (in faith) and pray together and yes God will shake us and fill us with the Holy Spirit. Let it be so Lord.

The Unified Enemy

In conclusion, we must recognize that their is a satanic, ungodly unity on the earth. It has been around from day one. We spoke of it a little in the last section. The author of Psalm 2 recognized it.

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us
.’” (vv.1-3)

From the beginning the enemy has been raging, plotting and yes taking counsel. In acts “take counsel together” is translated as “gather together.” I think that wording is particularly important and accurate. And let’s recognize that Satan uses people for his purposes, causing an unholy unity. We see it with Jesus in His final days when He was on trial. Here are a few examples:

Therefore when they were gathered together, (synagō) Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? (Matt 27:17) – We see the unholy unity releasing a guilty murderer over Jesus.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered (synagō) unto him the whole band of soldiers.” (Matt 27:27) – As if any force of humans would every be enough to stop Jesus. And yet they “gathered.”

It is important to recognize the false yet powerful unity of the enemy. But we know the true unity of the Spirit, as shown in this article, is MUCH more powerful. I hope you prayerfully consider these important points and pray for the gathering and knitting together of the church. Pray for your local church. Get involved. Be present. Use your gifts in love.

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