Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
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10:19-25 The apostle having closed the first part of the epistle, the doctrine is applied to practical purposes. As believers had an open way to the presence of God, it became them to use this privilege. The way and means by which Christians enjoy such privileges, is by the blood of Jesus, by the merit of that blood which he offered up as an atoning sacrifice. The agreement of infinite holiness with pardoning mercy, was not clearly understood till the human nature of Christ, the Son of God, was wounded and bruised for our sins. Our way to heaven is by a crucified Saviour; his death is to us the way of life, and to those who believe this, he will be precious. They must draw near to God; it would be contempt of Christ, still to keep at a distance. Their bodies were to be washed with pure water, alluding to the cleansings directed under the law: thus the use of water in baptism, was to remind Christians that their conduct should be pure and holy. While they derived comfort and grace from their reconciled Father to their own souls, they would adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. Believers are to consider how they can be of service to each other, especially stirring up each other to the more vigorous and abundant exercise of love, and the practice of good works. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a means of stedfastness and perseverance. We should observe the coming of times of trial, and be thereby quickened to greater diligence. There is a trying day coming on all men, the day of our death.Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together - That is, for purposes of public worship. Some expositors have understood the word rendered here as "assembling" - ἐπισυναγωγὴν episunagōgēn - as meaning "the society of Christians," or the church; and they have supposed that the object of the apostle here is, to exhort them. not to apostatize from the church. The arguments for this opinion may be seen at length in Kuinoel, in loc. But the more obvious interpretation is what is commonly adopted, that it refers to public worship. The Greek word (the noun) is used nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, where it is rendered "gathering together." The verb is used in Matthew 23:37; Matthew 24:31; Mark 1:33; Mark 13:27; Luke 12:1; Luke 13:34, in all which places it is rendered "gathered together." It properly means an act of assembling, or a gathering together, and is nowhere used in the New Testament in the sense of an assembly, or the church. The command, then, here is, to meet together for the worship of God, and it is enjoined on Christians as an important duty to do it. It is implied, also, that there is blame or fault where this is "neglected."

As the manner of some is - Why those here referred to neglected public worship, is not specified. It may have been from such causes as the following:

(1) some may have been deterred by the fear of persecution, as those who were thus assembled would be more exposed to danger than others.

(2) some may have neglected the duty because they felt no interest in it - as professing Christians now sometimes do.

(3) it is possible that some may have had doubts about the necessity and propriety of this duty, and on that account may have neglected it.

(4) or it may perhaps have been, though we can hardly suppose that this reason existed, that some may have neglected it from a cause which now sometimes operates - from dissatisfaction with a preacher, or with some member or members of the church, or with some measure in the church.

Whatever were the reasons, the apostle says that they should not be allowed to operate, but that Christians should regard it as a sacred duty to meet together for the worship of God. None of the causes above suggested should deter people from this duty. With all who bear the Christian name, with all who expect to make advances in piety and religious knowledge, it should be regarded as a sacred duty to assemble together for public worship. Religion is social; and our graces are to be strengthened and invigorated by waiting together on the Lord. There is an obvious propriety that people should assemble together for the worship of the Most High, and no Christian can hope that his graces will grow, or that he can perform his duty to his Maker, without uniting thus with those who love the service of God.

But exhorting one another - That is, in your assembling together a direction which proves that it is proper for Christians to exhort one another when they are gathered together for public worship. Indeed there is reason to believe that the preaching in the early Christian assemblies partook much of the character of mutual exhortation.

And so much the more as ye see the day approaching - The term "day" here refers to some event which was certainly anticipated, and which was so well understood by them that no particular explanation was necessary. It was also some event that was expected soon to occur, and in relation to which there were indications then of its speedily arriving. If it had not been something which was expected soon to happen, the apostle would have gone into a more full explanation of it, and would have stated at length what these indications were. There has been some diversity of opinion about what is here referred to, many commentators supposing that the reference is to the anticipated second coming of the Lord Jesus to set up a visible kingdom on the earth; and others to the fact that the period was approaching when Jerusalem was to be destroyed, and when the services of the temple were to cease. So far as the language is concerned, the reference might be to either event, for the word a "day" is applied to both in the New Testament. The word would properly be understood as referring to an expected period when something remarkable was to happen which ought to have an important influence on their character and conduct. In support of the opinion that it refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and not to the coming of the Lord Jesus to set up a visible kingdom, we may adduce the following considerations:

(1) The term used - "day" - will as properly refer to that event as to any other. It is a word which would be likely to suggest the idea of distress, calamity, or judgment of some kind, for so it is often used in the Scriptures; comp Psalm 27:13; 1 Samuel 26:10; Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 21:5; notes Isaiah 2:12.

(2) such a period was distinctly predicted by the Saviour, and the indications which would precede it were clearly pointed out; see Matthew 24. That event was then so near that the Saviour said that "that generation would not pass" until the prediction had been fulfilled; Matthew 24:34.(3) The destruction of Jerusalem was an event of great importance to the Hebrews, and to the Hebrew Christians to whom this Epistle was directed, and it might be reasonable to suppose that the apostle Paul would refer to it.

(4) it is not improbable that at the time of writing this Epistle there were indications that that day was approaching. Those indications were of so marked a character that when the time approached they could not well be mistaken (see Matthew 24:6-12, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:26), and it is probable that they had already begun to appear.

(5) there were no such indications that the Lord Jesus was about to appear to set up a visible kingdom. It was not a fact that that was about to occur, as the result has shown; nor is there any positive proof that the mass of Christians were expecting it, and no reason to believe that the apostle Paul had any such expectation; see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5.

(6) the expectation that the destruction of Jerusalem was referred to, and was about to occur, was just what might be expected to produce the effect on the minds of the Hebrew Christians which the apostle here refers to. It was to be a solemn and fearful event. It would be a remarkable manifestation of God. It would break up the civil and ecclesiastical polity of the nation, and would scatter them abroad. It would require all the exercise of their patience and faith in passing through these scenes. It might be expected to be a time when many would be tempted to apostatize, and it was proper, therefore, to exhort them to meet together, and to strengthen and encourage each other as they saw that that event was drawing near. The argument then would be this. The danger against which the apostle desired to guard those to whom he was writing was, that of apostasy from Christianity to Judaism. To preserve them from this, he urges the fact that the downfall of Judaism was near, and that every indication which they saw of its approach ought to be allowed to influence them, and to guard them from that danger.

continued...

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,.... Or the episynagogue of one another; which word is used to distinguish Christian assemblies from Jewish synagogues, and to denote the coalition of Jews and Gentiles in one church state, and to express the saints' gathering together to Christ; see 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and their act of meeting together in some one place to attend his worship, word, and ordinances. Now to "forsake" such assembling, signifies a great infrequency in attending with the saints, a rambling from place to place, and takes in an entire apostasy. It is the duty of saints to assemble together for public worship, on the account of God, who has appointed it, who approves of it, and whose glory is concerned in it; and on the account of the saints themselves, that they may be delighted, refreshed, comforted, instructed, edified, and perfected; and on account of others, that they may be convinced, converted, and brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ; and in imitation of the primitive saints. And an assembling together ought not to be forsaken; for it is a forsaking God, and their own mercies, and such are like to be forsaken of God; nor is it known what is lost hereby; and it is the first outward visible step to apostasy, and often issues in it.

As the manner of some is; or custom; and this prevailing custom among these Jews might arise from contempt of the Gentiles, or from fear of reproach and persecution: and in our day, this evil practice arises sometimes from a vain conceit of being in no need of ordinances, and from an over love of the world, and from a great declension in the exercise of grace; the consequence of it is very bad. The Jews (a) reckon among those that go down to hell, and perish, and have no part in the world to come, , "who separate from the ways of the congregation"; that is, who do not do the duties thereof, attend with it, and fast when that does, and the like:

but exhorting one another; to prayer, to attend public worship, to regard all the duties of religion, to adhere to Christ, and a profession of him, and to consider him, and walk on in him: or "comforting one another"; by meeting privately together, and conferring about experience, and the doctrines of grace; and by observing to one another the promises of God, relating to public worship; and by putting each other in mind of the bright day of the Lord, that is coming on:

and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching; either of death, or the last judgment, or rather of Jerusalem's destruction; which at the writing of this epistle was near at hand; and was an affair that greatly concerned these Hebrews; and by various symptoms might be observed by them, as approaching; and which was no inconsiderable argument to engage them to a diligent discharge of their duty; unless the day of darkness, infidelity, and blasphemy in the last days of the world, should be intended, after which will succeed the latter day glory.

(a) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 17. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Teshuba, c. 3. sect. 6, 11.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: {8} and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

(8) Having mentioned the last coming of Christ, he stirs up the godly to the meditation of a holy life, and cites the faithless fallers from God to the fearful judgment seat of the Judge, because they wickedly rejected him in whom only salvation consists.

The assembling of ourselves together (ἐπισυναφωγὴν ἑαυτῶν)

Επισυναγωγή only here and 2 Thessalonians 2:1, see note. The act of assembling, although some explain assembly. The antithesis is, "not forsaking assembling, but exhorting in assembly." Lnemann aptly says that the idea of apostasy which would be conveyed by the rendering assembly or congregation is excluded by ἔθος habit or custom, which implies an often recurring act on the part of the same persons.

As the manner of some is (καθὼς ἔθος τισίν)

For manner rend. custom. Lit. as is custom unto some. Ἔθος mostly in Luke and Acts. Comp. Luke 1:9; John 19:40.

Ye see the day approaching (βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν)

The day of Christ's second coming, bringing with it the judgment of Israel. He could say "ye see," because they were familiar with Christ's prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple; and they would see this crisis approaching in the disturbances which heralded the Jewish war.

25. assembling of ourselves together—The Greek, "episunagoge," is only found here and 2Th 2:1 (the gathering together of the elect to Christ at His coming, Mt 24:31). The assembling or gathering of ourselves for Christian communion in private and public, is an earnest of our being gathered together to Him at His appearing. Union is strength; continual assemblings together beget and foster love, and give good opportunities for "provoking to good works," by "exhorting one another" (Heb 3:13). Ignatius says, "When ye frequently, and in numbers meet together, the powers of Satan are overthrown, and his mischief is neutralized by your likemindedness in the faith." To neglect such assemblings together might end in apostasy at last. He avoids the Greek term "sunagoge," as suggesting the Jewish synagogue meetings (compare Re 2:9).

as the manner of some is—"manner," that is, habit, custom. This gentle expression proves he is not here as yet speaking of apostasy.

the day approaching—This, the shortest designation of the day of the Lord's coming, occurs elsewhere only in 1Co 3:13; a confirmation of the Pauline authorship of this Epistle. The Church being in all ages kept uncertain how soon Christ is coming, the day is, and has been, in each age, practically always near; whence, believers have been called on always to be watching for it as nigh at hand. The Hebrews were now living close upon One of those great types and foretastes of it, the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:1, 2), "the bloody and fiery dawn of the great day; that day is the day of days, the ending day of all days, the settling day of all days, the day of the promotion of time into eternity, the day which, for the Church, breaks through and breaks off the night of the present world" [Delitzsch in Alford].

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves - Επισυναγωγην ἑαυτων. Whether this means public or private worship is hard to say; but as the word is but once more used in the New Testament, (2 Thessalonians 2:1), and there means the gathering together of the redeemed of the Lord at the day of judgment, it is as likely that it means here private religious meetings, for the purpose of mutual exhortation: and this sense appears the more natural here, because it is evident that the Church was now in a state of persecution, and therefore their meetings were most probably held in private. For fear of persecution, it seems as if some had deserted these meetings, καθως εθος τισιν, as the custom of certain persons is. They had given up these strengthening and instructive means, and the others were in danger of following their example.

The day approaching - Την ἡμεραν· That day - the time in which God would come and pour out his judgments on the Jewish nation. We may also apply it to the day of death and the day of judgment. Both of these are approaching to every human being. He who wishes to be found ready will carefully use every means of grace, and particularly the communion of saints, if there be even but two or three in the place where he lives, who statedly meet together in the name of Christ. Those who relinquish Christian communion are in a backsliding state; those who backslide are in danger of apostasy. To prevent this latter, the apostle speaks the awful words following. See at the end of this chapter (Hebrews 10:39 (note)).

10:25 Not forsaking the assembling ourselves - In public or private worship. As the manner of some is - Either through fear of persecution, or from a vain imagination that they were above external ordinances. But exhorting one another - To faith, love, and good works. And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching - The great day is ever in your eye. 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves. In times of persecution there was a great temptation to stay away from the church assemblies, and some had fallen into dangerous neglect.

As ye see the day approaching. There were signs that the Hebrew Christians could see that the day was near at hand. They probably thought that Christ would come in person at that day. He did come in judgment on the Jewish nation. As that awful time of trial seemed near at hand they should be zealous in exhorting each other. Macknight, Stuart, Milligan, Meyer and many others refer day to the destruction of the Jewish nation.

Hebrews 10:24
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