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Forsaking the Assembling: A Fresh Look at Hebrews 10:25 - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 1st November, 2013 @ 04:08:49 AM

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

In the middle of 2009, I noticed something interesting about this verse. It has to do with the italicized phrase above (KJV) “the assembling of ourselves together.” This is the translators’ rendering of the Greek compound word  “episunagoge” – higher synagogue – a word found only one other place in Scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

There’s more than just some language parallels between these verses. There is a contextual parallel in that each verse follows the presentation of this word with a reference to the Second coming of the Lord Jesus as, first, “the day approaching,” and, second, “the day of Christ is at hand.”

Therefore, the association of the “synagogue on high” with the “approaching day of Christ” is firmly established.

So what exactly is this “synagogue on high?”

In order to understand this well, we need to know that God’s view of synagogue and church has ever been about the assembling of His people and not about any physical structure. What became the synagogue to the Jews in their captivity was reminiscent of their assembling together in Jerusalem as a single congregation when they were free to do so, and had a temple. Therefore “synagogue” like “church” has a base meaning of “assembly,” just as the the translators above did catch, as “assembling … together” and “gathering together” intimate.

So what is in view here is not, as so many say, “go to church” (even though that is Biblically something to do), but is an admonition to not disregard an important doctrine that impacts our hope “as the manner of some is.”

You see, even the first century believers tended to lose the truth, contested but not lost on the Thessalonian church, and that truth was that we would be assembled in the heavens at the coming of the Lord Jesus, to be assessed at the judgment seat of Christ .

Historically, as it turns out, Christians DID abandon the truth of our assembling on high prior to the Lord’s return, and, although this truth was recovered in the early 19th century revival of it in Europe, the focus of it has remained something grasped by very few believers. Despite the fact that every believer dead or living will experience this assembly, unhappily so many will be surprised at what takes place, and perhaps even more ashamed during this time.

It is the case that Christians should have a faith that is future facing, as we learn in the following chapter , but that future-oriented view needs a focus, and that focus is the great assembly, and ensuing assize that attends it.

 

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