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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 10 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. That is, for purposes of public worship. Some expositors have understood the word here rendered assemblingepisunagwghn—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 that which 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 Th 2:1, where it is rendered gathering together. The verb is used in Mt 23:3 Mt 24:31; Mr 1:33; 13:27; Lu 12:1; 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 men 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 men 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 our 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. Ps 37:13; 1 Sa 26:10; Jer 30:7; Eze 21:15; See Barnes "Isa 2:12".

 

(2.) Such a period was distinctly predicted by the Saviour, and the indications which would precede it were clearly pointed out, see Mt 24. That event was then so near, that the Saviour said that "that generation would not pass" until the prediction had been fulfilled, Mt 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 Mt 24:6-12,24,26) , 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 Th 2:1-5.

(6.) The expectation that the destruction of Jerusalem was referred to, and was about to occur, was just that which 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. It is for reasons such as these that I suppose the reference here is not to the "second advent" of the Redeemer, but to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. At the same time, it is not improper to use this passage as an exhortation to Christians to fidelity when they shall see that the end of the world draws nigh, and when they shall perceive indications that the Lord Jesus is about to come. And so of death. We should be the more diligent when we see the indications that the great Messenger is about to come to summon us into the presence of our final Judge. And who does not know that he is approaching him with silent and steady footsteps, and that even now he may Be very near? Who can fail to see himself indications that the time approaches when he must lie down and die? Every pang that we suffer should remind us of this, and when the hair changes its hue, and time makes furrows in the cheek, and the limbs become feeble, we should regard them as premonitions that he is coming, and should be more diligent as we see that he is drawing near.

{b} "ye see the day" Ro 13:11

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