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Last updated: Sep 23, 2013
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What's New: Is the Bible "inspired"?
"Insights" from the New Testament Greek
By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida
"NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER" Hebrews 10:25
Hebrews 10:25 states, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more as ye see the day approaching." On the surface, this verse appears to be telling us to go to church, but, surprisingly, itís just the opposite.
The book of Hebrews was written to the Christian Jews at Jerusalem, when the next "day", or event, on Godís calendar for them was the surrounding of the city by Roman armies, and the eventual complete destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus wept at the thought of the destruction that would soon come upon Jerusalem, because of their unbelief, in Luke 19:41-44.
The Greek word under "assembling" in Hebrews 10:25 is "episunagoge". Episunagoge" is only used twice in the New Testament, once in our passage, Hebrews 10:25 and in 2 Thessalonians 2:1. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1, it speaks of our "gathering together" in the air to meet Jesus at the Rapture of the Church.
The use of "episunagoge" in Hebrews 10:25 is unusual and profound! Normally, the author would have used the word "sunagoge" or regularly scheduled worship services, as in James 2:2 where "sunagoge" is translated "assembly". But the Hebrew Christians are urged to "EPIsunagoge". The "EPI" in front of "sunagoge" adds the meaning "super", or "over and above". So, Godís Word here is not telling the Hebrew Christians to go to regularly scheduled church meetings, but to exhort one another informally between the regular scheduled church services.
The question now is, what is the application for us 2000 years later? "THE DAY" in the Greek of Hebrews 10:25 is the title of an event that the readers are expected to already know about! The next "day" on Godís calendar for Christians is the "Day of Christ" or "Rapture of the Church". Today, we are surrounded by Biblical signs indicating that the Rapture is very close, and we should informally exhort one another, and so much more, as we see that "day" approaching.
The word "exhort" in the context of Hebrews 10:25 means that we are to discuss Godís Word, comfort, and encourage one another, even if itís just "two or three gathered together".
Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot get all the strength, comfort, and guidance that we need from regularly scheduled church services! We need to find the Christians all around us and discuss Godís Word, comfort, and encourage one another during the week also!
In a nut shell, Hebrew 10:25 is saying "donít let your Christianity end on the church steps, as some do, but discuss Godís Word, comfort, and encourage one another on the street, on the job, in the mall, or even in home Bible study, all week long".
Donít forget, the "church" in the Bible is not a building, but Godís "called out people" are His "church".
May the Lord richly bless you and your loved ones as you attend regularly scheduled church meetings, AND informally "episunagoge" with each other in the name of Jesus!