on Hebrews 10 :25
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)).
on Hebrews 10 :25
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.
on Hebrews 10 :25
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.