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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) As the manner of some is.—Some members of this community, it would seem, had persuaded themselves that the relation of Judaism to Christianity, of the “synagogue” (the Greek word here used seems to allude to this technical name, and yet intentionally to avoid it) and the Church, was such as to permit them to avoid close intercourse with Christians and direct association with Christian assemblies. This neglect was the first step towards apostasy.

Exhorting.—Better, encouraging. (Comp. Hebrews 12:12.)

The day.—See 1Corinthians 3:13—“the day shall declare” every man’s work. Elsewhere we read of “the day of the Lord” (1Thessalonians 5:2); “the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10). The words of Jesus to His disciples (Matthew 24; Luke 17) had enabled all who were willing to hear to understand “the signs of the times.” As the writer gave these warnings, the day when the Son of Man should come in His kingdom, bringing judgment upon Jerusalem (Matthew 16:28), was close at hand—that day which is distinctly presented to us in the New Testament as the type of His final coming.

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...

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].

Helps to the performance of both the former duties, to God and fellow Christians, with their respective motives, are laid down in the following part of the chapter. The first is couched in this verse; neither slighting in thought, nor vilifying in word, nor separating, nor leaving by dissociation.

Not forsaking: egkataleipontev imports such a desertion, as leaves destitute in deep trouble or distress, when they should be helping.

The assembling of ourselves together: episunagwghn strictly notes an addition to this synagogue of the Jews; an accession of new members to the former church assembly, even the Gentiles, becoming Abraham’s seed by their conversion to, and confession of, the faith of Christ. This some of the Jews, from the self-conceit of their being the only people of God, disdained, and continued in a separation from them, and all communion with them. This the Spirit reproves, and adviseth not to leave the assembly thus augmented, lest in doing it they forsook God and Christ, as well as ordinances of worship and duties attending such church meetings, and promoting their salvation.

As the manner of some is; such desertion of those assemblies in the worshipping and serving of God, was the common custom among some of these Hebrews; a usual, frequent mode of them to do it; some idolizing their own nation; others, their own selves, thinking them holier than others, Galatians 2:12-14; others, that valued honours, riches, and ease more than Christ or their souls; some for fear of persecution, as foretold, Luke 8:13,14, fulfilled, Galatians 6:12.

But exhorting one another; parakalountev supposeth assembling, in opposition to the former desertion, and the duty of the assembled; and signifieth, counselling, reproving, encouraging, and comforting one another, so as they might persevere in performing the duties for which they assembled, according to Christ’s mind and will; so as to strengthen each other’s hearts and hands in the faith, and in the other duties instanced in before.

And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching; they have so much the more reason to do it, and intend the work, as they did not conjecture, but certainly know, that the day of their own death, and particular account to be given of themselves to God; the day of God’s executing his judgments on Jerusalem, as Christ foretold, Matthew 24:1-28, prophesied by Daniel before, Daniel 9:26,27, when the temple should be burnt, the city destroyed, and the people dispersed through the world; or, the day of the general judgment, testified by the gospel to the world, Acts 17:31: all these were every day nearer to them than other, and they believed them to approach; therefore ought they to be more exercised in denying evil and doing good, not forsaking church communion, but keeping close to Christ and his assemblies, that they might better stand together in that day. 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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 10:25. Μὴ ἐγκαταλείποντες τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, καθὼς ἔθος τισίν] while not forsaking (ceasing to frequent), as is the custom with some, our own assembly, and thereby, in connection with the already prevalent tendency to apostasy from Christianity, setting a pernicious example.

τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν] is taken by Calvin, Böhme, Bleek, and others as designation of the Christian congregation or Christian religious society itself. But in this case the only signification which could be attached without violence to ἐγκαταλείπειν would be that of apostasy from Christianity; to understand the expression, in that case, of the leaving to its fate of the Christian church, sunk in poverty, peril, and distress, by the refusal of acts of assistance (Böhme), or of the escape from the claims of the church to the cherishing and tending of its members, by the neglecting of the common religious assemblies (Bleek), would not be very natural. We are prevented, however, from thinking of an actual apostasy from Christianity by the addition καθὼς ἔθος τισίν, according to which the ἐγκαταλείπειν was an oft-recurring act on the part of the same persons. τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, therefore, is best explained as: the assembling of ourselves, in order to be united together (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:1), i.e. our own religious assemblies.

ἑαυτῶν] has great emphasis; for otherwise the simple ἡμῶν would have been written. It has its tacit opposition in the alien, i.e. Jewish religious assemblies, and contains the indication that the τινές gave the preference to the frequenting of the latter.

ἀλλὰ παρακαλοῦντες] sc. ἑαυτούς (comp. Hebrews 3:13) or ἀλλήλους, which is easily supplemented from the foregoing ἑαυτῶν: but animating one another, namely, to the uninterrupted frequenting of our own Christian assemblies. Quite unsuitably, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 2, 2 Aufl. p. 379) would supply in thought to παρακαλοῦντες, as its object: τὴν ἐπισυναγωγήν.

καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον ὅσῳ βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν] and that so much the more, as ye see the day itself drawing nigh. Reinforcing ground of obligation to the παρακαλεῖν.

βλέπετε] The transition from the first to the second person plural augments the significance of that which has been remarked, since the author can appeal to the verdict of the readers themselves for the truth thereof.

The ἡμέρα is the day κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the day of the coming in of the Parousia of Christ, which the author thinks of as quite near at hand (comp. Hebrews 10:37), and which the readers themselves already saw drawing nigh in the agitations and commotions which preceded the Jewish war, such as had already begun to appear.25. the assembling of ourselves together] i.e. “our Christian gatherings.” Apparently the flagging zeal and waning faith of the Hebrews had led some of them to neglect the Christian assemblies for worship and Holy Communion (Acts 2:42). The word here used (episunagôgç) only occurs in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, and is perhaps chosen to avoid the Jewish word “synagogue;” and the more so because the duty of attending “the synagogue” was insisted on by Jewish teachers. In the neglect of public worship the writer saw the dangerous germ of apostasy.

as the manner of some is] This neglect of attending the Christian gatherings may have been due in some cases to fear of the Jews. It shewed a fatal tendency to waver in the direction of apostasy.

exhorting one another] This implies the duty of mutual encouragement.

ye see the day approaching] The Day which Christians expected was the Last Day (1 Corinthians 3:13). They failed to see that the Day which our Lord had primarily in view in His great eschatological discourse (Matthew 24) was the Close of the Old Dispensation in the Fall of Jerusalem. The signs of this were already in the air, and that approaching Day of the Lord was destined to be “the bloody and fiery dawn” of the Last Great Day—“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 this present world” (Delitzsch).Hebrews 10:25. Τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, the assembling of ourselves together) The modern Greek version interprets ἐπισυναγωγὴν, συχνοσὑναξιν; but the apostle alludes to the Jewish synagogue, while the preposition, ἐπὶ, somewhat changes the signification of the word. The meaning is: you ought not only to frequent the synagogue (synagogam) as Jews, which you willingly do, but also the additional assembly (episynagogam) as Christians: and yet we are not to understand this expression as if it exclusively applied to assembling in one place, or to associating for promoting one faith; but it should be taken in a middle sense, as the mutual meeting together in love, and as the public and private interchange of Christian duties, in which brother does not withdraw himself from brother, but one stimulates the other, and is stimulated by the other. For even spiritual warmth and ardour separate things that are heterogeneous, and bring together those that are homogeneous. This interpretation affords all that seems necessary for the order of the discourse, in which, next to faith towards GOD, love to the saints is commended; and all that is necessary for explaining the verbal substantive ἐπισυναγωνὴν, and the fact that it is in the singular number; and for explaining the pronoun, which is ἑαυτῶν, of ourselves, not our; and for explaining the complaint, as the manner of some is; and for explaining the antithesis, exhorting.—τισὶν, some) who were perhaps afraid of the Jews.—παρακαλοῦντες, exhorting) The power of exhorting, which is required, includes the peculiar ardour of every individual.—καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον, and so much the more) This refers to the whole exhortation from Hebrews 10:22 : comp. Hebrews 10:37.—βλέπετε, ye see) from the signs of the times, and from the very sacrifice for sin having been perfected: Hebrews 10:13.—τὴν ἡμέραν, the day) the day of Christ. After Christ had come in the flesh, who was the object of expectation during so many ages of the world, His glorious coming is thought to be now immediately at hand; comp. Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 10:30; Hebrews 10:35, etc.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.

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