September 24, 2010

How many times have you heard, You must attend church!? by Allen D. Brooks

Written by Allen D. Brooks

This morning I want to address a particular passage of scripture that is thrown around quite a bit by legalizing Christians as some sort of standard of righteousness or guilt trip to other Christians who may not attend an institutialized church building.

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 ye see the day approaching”.

There are two other scriptures that we must associate with this one in order to get the full meaning:

1) “now we  beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering unto him..: 2 Thessalonians 2:1”

2)      John 4:20-24 “Our Fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said unto her, Woman believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain or yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

I want to exegete all three of these passages in order to give you understanding in its historical context and also to that God does not have to be worshipped  in a church building. I am very tired of Christians quoting this particular scripture as “proof” that one must go to a church building to worship God.

First off, you are calling Jesus a liar because Jesus plainly says that one must worship God in Spirit and in truth. Nowhere does the Bible state that a person must go to a church building to worship God. When Jesus made reference to Jerusalem, he was making reference to the temple which was in Jerusalem, the building in Jerusalem.

Now you may say, brother Allen it says in Hebrews 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.

First, the writer of Hebrews whether Paul or Barnabas was talking to that generation of Christians between AD30 and AD70. These Christians were under heavy persecution and tribulation. They were expecting the change of covenants because this is what Hebrews is about. It is contrasting the old covenant with the new covenant and the transition of the two. 

Secondly, it contrasts the earthly priesthood of the Jews with the Priesthood of Christ.  It is necessary to understand the Greek word
“assembling”.  It is the same Greek word found in  Thessalonians 2:1”  Now we beseech you, brethren by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together unto him.” Assembling is the same word as gathering and the Greek word for both of them is espisunagoge=ep-ee-soon-ag-o-gay. This means gathering or assembling. In Thessalonians and  Hebrews there is reference to the coming of the Lord and as they see the day approaching. The day approaching was the parousia of the Lord of the Judgment coming or the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

 Now some futurists take the word gathering in 2 Thessalonians to mean the rapture since it is by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but the word gathering here means assembling just as it means assembling in Hebrews 10:25

These verses have no doubt been used many times to stress the need for Christians of today gathering for worship especially in view of their belief in an expected soon-coming of Christ. These verses do not have anything to do with a future (to us) second coming of Christ, but it did have to do with the approaching day of judgment upon Israel. The entire book of Hebrews majors on this transition period in the history of Israel. 

Christians were warned to be faithful and no go back to the old ways, for there would be nothing but indignation and judgment for unbelievers in that day. And that day was soon coming for Hebrews 10: 37 states: “For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry”.  God’s judgment did come upon Israel in AD 70 and the writer of Hebrews urged the Christians to gather together the more so as they saw that day approaching. The day approaching is also in reference to “the day of the Lord: that I have covered in previous broadcast.

Folks, Jesus did not come and destroy one temple so that Baptist, Methodist, and the Christian denominations could go out and build other temples on every corner in our town and then tell all the Christians that they had to go there to worship.
Again, it is the literal preconceived notions of folks today who take these scriptures out of context to fit their own understanding and then try to force that on others.

Written by Allen D. Brooks

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