A Christian brother has asked the following question of the Christ Eternal Christian Church:
“When and where do you meet as God encourages us to do in Hebrews 10?”
In the following material I have included the answer I wrote to this brother on the question that he asked.
I assume that the question asked by this brother was raised because of the following scripture.
1. Hebrews 10:24–25
At Christ Eternal Christian Church, we see the significance of the two verses above as being focused on the last six words of verse twenty-five, “as ye see the day approaching.” These six words are audience relevant, that is, they were spoken to a particular group for a specific reason.
The writer of Hebrews, who some scholars think was the Apostle Paul while others disagree and state that there is no way to know who the author of this book was, was writing to a specific audience of people who lived at the time he wrote the book. The writer couches his words in the phrase “as ye see the day approaching” to supply a context for his admonition to assemble together. Therefore, we see the meaning of the phrase as being key to understanding verses twenty-four and twenty-five. Let us look closely at the expression, “the day.”
The expression “the day” has, in our opinion, two major uses in the Scriptures. The first way in which it is used is a simple reference to the physical day in which the writer is communicating the passing of the time of that particular calendar day. A good example of this usage is as follows:
“And when the day was now far spent…” (Mark 6:35).
We do not see the above example as being applicable to the Hebrews 10:25 usage. We do see the Hebrews 10 use as being the same as the following:
“…the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8).
“…the day of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
“…the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
“…the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“…the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10; 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:2).
“…the day…” (Luke 17:30; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 10:25).
“…the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
“…the day of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:10).
“…the day of God…” (2 Peter 3:12).
“…the day of judgment” (Mathew 12:36; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7; 1 John 4:17).
From our study of the passages above, we conclude that every passage listed is referring to one and the same event. Our conclusion is arrived at from the material that we have already documented in Learning Activities #37 and #47. The event we see in these passages took place in AD 70 when the Roman armies destroyed the Temple, the Jewish system of religion and the city of Jerusalem when Jesus came (Parousia, presence) in judgment (see Learning Activities 31 through 36)! This is the event and the context the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he used the words “the day approaching.” That day was but sixteen years away (if you accept an AD 54 date for the writing of Hebrews) when the writer made this statement.
Our point is that Hebrews 10:24–25 must be understood in the context of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies under Titus. You may be sure that those believers needed very much to “…consider one another [give attention, continuous care to watching over one another] to provoke unto love and to good works…as ye see the day approaching.” This, we believe, is the message of these two verses of scripture (Heb.10:24–25).
If the explanation above is what is meant by “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” we must then ask ourselves: How does this passage apply to the church today? It is our conviction and experience that the Spirit of Christ within each believer will bring a conviction of how the Hebrews scripture applies to us today. At Christ Eternal Christian Church we see ourselves as no longer under the Old Covenant (which was temporary and inferior) but rather under the New Covenant (which is eternal and perfect) and it is for each believer to trust the Christ within them to show that believer what application should be made of that scripture today.
2. Hebrews 8:7
3. What does the verse above tell you about the Old Covenant?
4. Hebrews 8:6
5. What does the verse above tell you about the New Covenant?
For more information on the Covenants, see Learning Activities #27 and #28.
There certainly would be no harm in assembling together in any way or means you are so led by Christ (including a formal church organization). At Christ Eternal Christian Church we are not committed to buildings or paid staff as we have continually experienced throughout our years of being Christians that when these features come into the church the buildings and payrolls slowly and subtly become our gods and we end up serving them rather than Christ.
The issue of whether you “gather” or not, and if you gather how you do it, as well as when and where you gather, is an issue between each believer and God. We at Christ Eternal Christian Church would never give the appearance of being intermediaries between people and God on issues of this type.
Our understanding of church is that buildings are NOT church, rather, PEOPLE are the church! We know of Christians throughout the world who do not meet regularly in church buildings. We see a Christian as not GOING to church, but rather BEING church wherever s/he is at any moment of time (home, school, work, wherever).
We have contact with one group of Christians who gather together in a person’s home once each month to study and discuss the materials on our website. I am convinced that when these people meet they “provoke each other unto love and to good works” but not because of “the day approaching” of Hebrews 10. They do these things because Christ lives in them and that goes beyond a factual statement (see Learning Activity #8) – it is a living reality to them! The activities of this group, however, are not meant to establish a doctrine by their meeting together. We see each Christian under the New Covenant as looking to the Christ within to determine when and how s/he will fellowship.
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