Not Forsaking Assembling

P. J. Casebolt
Akron, Ohio

It is possible that preachers have quoted Heb. 10:25 as much as they have Mk. 16:16. We emphasize the one before people become Christians, and the other after they have become Christians. Yet, all have not heeded the Lord's command to be baptized, and neither have all heeded the admonition to not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together." Every member of the Lord's church has obeyed Mk. 16:1, but not all have obeyed Heb. 10: 25.

A part of our problem in getting Christians to obey the injunction of this latter passage of scripture may stem from the fact that we do not read and quote the passage as it is written. Preachers are not guiltless on this score. I knew of a sectarian who read Mk. 16:16 three times and omitted the word baptism each time. She could not see it because she had been taught that it wasn't there.

Notice that Heb. 10:25 exhorts us not to forsake "the assembling of ourselves together." Too many of us say "the assembly" instead of "the assembling." What is the difference? The word assembly is a noun, and when we refer to "the assembly" it could very well be that people get the impression we are talking about one particular assembly of the church. Maybe this is why so many emphasize the Lord's day morning assembly above other assemblies of the church, and attend the one while absenting themselves from the others.

But, the word assembling is a verbal noun, and leaves an entirely different impression. This word denotes a continuing practice or manner. It is not just one assembly of the church that we are to refrain from forsaking, but rather it is the practice of assembling that we are not to forsake.

Too many of us have been sidetracked by arguing about "the day" which the writer said was approaching. Some say this means the Lord's day. Some say that it means the day of one's death. Others say it referred then to the destruction of Jerusalem, and that since Jerusalem's destruction was a figure or type of the judgment day that it is still applicable to us.

Regardless of what day the writer here has in mind, the force of the lesson is not lost. In view of the approaching day (or "the day drawing nigh," AVS), we are to do some assembling and exhorting. Let us observe the part of the verse over which we have some control, and God will see to it that the day comes.

Now, let us read the verse: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." It might also help to emphasize verse 26, which speaks of willful sin. If we use the word assembly properly, it n ay refer to any assembly of the church (Jas. 2:2.) But let us be careful to not leave the impression with Christians that they only have to worry about forsaking one assembly of the church, for too many people are looking for an excuse to absent themselves anyway.

It may also be of some help to show the advantages of assembling ourselves together at every opportunity. First, we are commanded to assemble. (Heb. 10: 25.) This is an opportunity to exhort one another. (Heb. 3:13; 10:25.) In assembling, we can "provoke unto love and to good works." (Heb. 10: 24.) We have an apostolic example. (Acts 2:42.) The Lord's presence is assured. (Mt. 18:20.) When we assemble, we can edify, (1Cor. 14:26) and admonish. (Col. 3:16.) Here, we enjoy having fellowship with other Christians. (Acts 2:42.) I do not see why brethren have to build an additional room onto the meetinghouse for a "fellowship room." As the Bible defines the term "fellowship," the auditorium where we worship is a fellowship room. If you want to play, by all means get out of the meetinghouse to do it.

May God help those of us who teach and preach to emphasize the importance of "assembling ourselves together," for if we can't get brethren to assemble it will be difficult to teach them other things which they need to know.

Truth Magazine VII, 1, p. 10
October 1962