In Revelation, chapters two and three, we are introduced to the seven ekklesias. The Greek word, ekklesia, can be translated as assembly or congregation, but never church. Who do the seven groups represent? Is there a clue in the description of these ekklesias? Yes, there is!
Below is a list of the seven ekklesias and the relevant verses in Revelation.
Ephesus: Revelation 2:7: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ekklesias; To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Yahweh.”
Smyrna: Revelation 2:11: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ekklesias; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Pergamos: Revelation 2:17: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ekklesias; to him that overcome will I give to each of the hidden manna and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Thyatira: Revelation 2:26: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”
Sardis: Revelation 3:5: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Philadelphia: Revelation 3:12: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim and he will go out no more: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim and the name of the city of my Elohim, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim and I will write upon him my new name.”
Laodicea: Revelation 3:21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Please take note of Revelation 2:11 which says: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Not being hurt of the second death is also the promise made to the 144,000 who are resurrected when Messiah returns at the beginning of his thousand-year reign. We are informed of this in Revelation 20:6: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.”
This resurrection to life when Messiah returns, is also called the better resurrection. (Hebrews 11: 35) Why is this considered better? The 144,000 have spirit life. They are no longer physical beings. This is a major difference when contrasted with the resurrection that occurs after the 1000 years. This is when the rest of all mankind, not in the better resurrection, will come to life. But they will be physical beings again. Ezekiel 37 describes this physical resurrection.
The 144,000 will no longer face death. The second death or Gehenna is the lake of fire. This second death has no power over the 144,000 spirit beings. However, Gehenna will have power over those in the resurrection that occurs during the Last Great Day or White Throne Judgment. During the Last Great Day, those who are resurrected will be physical beings that will receive the Spirit of Yahweh as we have. They too must overcome to the end or will be in Gehenna. Their new physical life will be similar to what we are experiencing now.
The Scriptures describe what the experience of the lake of fire will be like. For example, here’s what we are told in Matthew 13:42: “and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (See also Matthew 8:12; 13: 50; 22:13; 24: 51; 25:30; Luke 13:28)
The 144,000 will not have to experience the lake of fire. Revelation 14:4 tells us why: “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” You will certainly not find Messiah in the lake of fire and therefore not his saints!
It is interesting that the only requirement that is mentioned to be among the 144,000 is to overcome. Baptism and the laying on of hands are not indicated as requirements. However, the prerequisites to even be among those that have been given the opportunity to overcome is to repent, be baptized and have hands laid upon you. You must have been freely given the Spirit of the Father. Once you have that, the Spirit of Messiah will begin to be formed. (Galatians 4:19)
You must have the Spirit of Messiah fully formed when you die or you will not be in the better resurrection. (Romans 8: 11) The second death has no power on the 144,000 because they will be like Messiah. (1 John 3: 2)
Remember the pattern that was given to Moses to build the Tabernacle after the heavenly example. (Exodus 25: 9) Messiah was speaking in terms of a pattern when he told Nicodemus in John 3:3, “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Yahweh.” Nicodemus thought Messiah was referring to a physical birth. No, Messiah was referring to the spiritual parallel to physical birth.
A physical man provides his sperm to the woman through intercourse. Sperm unites with a woman’s egg to create the fetus. The fetus will then be in a nine-month gestation period until birth. During this gestation period, a few may die. This is also true of the spiritual birth process. During our baptism, we receive the Spirit of the Father. From the seed that is planted by the Father, our spiritual fetus is formed which we must develop over time. We must be careful to not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19) The spirit that may be quenched is the Spirit of Messiah, not the Spirit of the Father.
The parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13, indicates a 75% failure rate. This means that only 25% of the spiritual fetuses survive to be born again. Baptism and laying on of hands is the precondition to even have the opportunity to overcome until our last dying breath. (Matthew 24:13) Those who overcome are saved. We are saved by his life. (Romans 5:10) Being in the better resurrection means that we will not see the second death. In contrast, those resurrected during the Last Great Day have been reconciled, but are still physical beings.
How can we know that our overcoming is progressing? Being baptized and having hands laid on us is not an indicator. This is also true of keeping the Sabbath, eating clean food, studying, praying or even knowing the names of the Father and the Son. These are all expected but are not a guarantee. So what else is there that may help us understand our progress? Consider what we are told in first John 3:14: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
How we manifest our love toward our brothers and sisters appears to be a key ingredient in overcoming. It is this type of nourishment that the spiritual fetus must have to be born into the better resurrection.
We are told in first John 4:8 that: “Yahweh is love.” Messiah told us that He and the Father are one. (John 10: 30) Therefore, Messiah is also love and the spirit of Messiah is the source of the quality love that we need to overcome. Therefore our progress in overcoming, as well as the development of His Spirit, may be the quality of love that we exhibit toward our brothers and sisters. Notice Galatians 6:10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
The word, “especially” that is used is Strong’s 3122, malista, which means, chiefly, most or specially. Peter provides special recognition to the brethren in first Peter 2:17: “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood.” Messiah expects a very high quality of love from us as His Spirit develops. He even commands us to love our enemies. (Matt. 5:44)
Messiah also gave us a new commandment in John 13:34: “that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Now, that is a tall order. We are expected to love one another as He loved us. He really cares for each of us and expects the same level of concern from each of us for the other.
Matthew 25 should be reviewed. In verse 40, Messiah says: “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these MY BRETHREN, ye have done it unto me.” Messiah considers you, your brothers and your sisters as HIS BRETHREN. The brotherhood of faith is given a special status, which should not be ignored.
First Corinthians 13 is devoted to defining love. This chapter should be read, studied and taken seriously. Paul, in first Corinthians 12:31, says this just before teaching us about love: “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” That way is love. It is not the tongues of men and angels, prophecy, understanding mysteries, or having all knowledge or faith. Without love we are nothing. Without the love of Messiah fully developed within us, we are nothing. We are in the lake of fire. The type of love Messiah commands us to have is our guidepost as to how the Spirit of Messiah is being developed within us. We must seek the quality of love that Messiah demands. We must learn to consider our personal needs as less than the needs of our brother. We are to serve and not be served. Messiah said in John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my Commandments.” When loving him, you love the brethren. You either do both or neither. Not to manifest love of this quality leads to quenching of His Spirit. You will not be in the better resurrection. You will be in the new earth, but not New Jerusalem. Please take seriously what I am saying.
Examine yourself. Consider what the quality of love is that you have for your brothers and sisters. Nothing we do is perfect. There is always room for improvement. Where do we go for that? Messiah! He corrects those he loves. Whatsoever we ask, we will receive. We must go to the Father and ask in Messiah YahwehShua’s name! Please search within yourself and seek improvement. May Yahweh guide you in this effort to enhance your opportunity to be in the better resurrection.