Hebrews 10:25 says, “… not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (emphasis added). It is likely that you’ve heard this verse many times, especially in the past couple of years. As the Gospel continues to spread to every corner of the earth, the “do not forsake assembling” looks different than it used to. Yet it is still necessary.
Why is assembling necessary?
Paul says it in the verse… “much more so as you see the Day approaching.” The “Day” is the day of Jesus’ return. We are to apply this verse even more so as His return draws near.
Assembling happens not only in churches but also in church houses, small group settings, and gatherings with other believers. There is wisdom and a warning in God’s Word to gather “more so as you see the Day approaching.”
- It is critical we do not forsake assembling together as we move further into the last days so we are strengthened and protected (wisdom).
- There will be spiritual forces that resist the saints assembling (warning).
There are a number of reasons to assemble, or meet together, as the NIV Bible translation states…
- “…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (emphasis added)
Quite possibly, the biggest reason we are not to forsake assembling is this is God’s instruction for divine protection.
First Peter 5:8 reminds us to be vigilant because the adversary walks about like a lion, seeking to devour. What does a lion do when he is seeking someone to devour? He looks for the prey in isolation. The Word gives us a warning—do not forsake assembling because the enemy seeks to devour those who are in isolation.
“Do Not Forsake Assembling” Meaning
In this passage, the Greek word used for assembling is “episynagoge,” which suggests an official meeting. This could include worship, praying, reading, teaching, hearing, and studying the Word.
The spiritual reality and need of “do not forsake assembling” is more than an official meeting. It’s a call to be empowered by God and do life together. As the Body of Christ, we are to be living proof of a loving God to those around us. Hebrews 10:24 says, “… consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” and verse 25 mentions “exhorting one another” (emphasis added).
- Stirring Up Love: The word for “stirring up” means to incite or provoke in the best sense. To incite or provoke others in love does not mean loving just happens. Instead, we are to intentionally love those who aren’t always lovable. We are to encourage them to grow in their faith journey and “work out our salvation,” as Philippians 2:12-13 says, encouraging them to water the gift of salvation from within to fruition.
- Exhorting One Another: Exhorting means to strongly encourage. In Hebrews 3, Paul writes, “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Again, we can see how assembling is God’s instruction for divine protection. When we isolate and don’t strongly encourage each other in our faith journey, our hearts are at risk of hardening.
In short, Paul is writing to inform the Church–do not forsake assembling together–so they are empowered to BE THE CHURCH.
3 Dangers of Not Assembling Together
Discouragement, Doubt, and Depression Set In: Forsaking fellowship gives place to discouragement, doubt, and depression. They multiply in isolation. When there is no fellowship, there is no stirring up love or exhorting one another.
- “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”—Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Purposes Are Missed: The story of Esther in the Bible is a perfect example of purposes not missed. Mordecai, her adopted father, stirred her up in love for her fellow Jews and exhorted her to see she was placed in her position for a purpose, for “such a time as this.” Had there been no fellowship or communication, even through letters and messages passed back and forth by those around them, Esther would have missed her purpose. Mordecai reminded her that God’s plans would prevail, even if she didn’t step up. God’s plans will move forward, but the opportunity for personal involvement may be missed. His purposes are often cultivated in community.
- “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”—Esther 4:14
The Power of Prayer Is Hindered: This is not contrary to the point above, as we know God’s plans written in His Word will prevail. And personal prayer is absolutely critical in our relationship with Jesus, but the Bible is clear there is also power in corporate prayer, gathering in one accord. When we come alongside each other in prayer, it is like incense going up to God out of the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4 says prayers “ascend up to God.” In other words, prayer meetings—prayers over and for each other as a group—are precious and pleasant to God, just as the smoke of incense is at the altar.
- “And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”—Acts 1:13-14
Hebrews 10:25, “do not forsake assembling,” which means we are to assemble, but furthermore, it is a wise word written to protect us from…
- Enemy attacks
- Hardened hearts
- Discouragement, doubt, and depression
When we assemble as the Body of Christ, we are to stir each other up in love and encourage one other in our faith.
Paul makes it clear we are to do this even more so as Jesus’ return draws closer.
- Reach out to a friend.
- Gather with others in fellowship and prayer.
- Study the Word in a group.
However, the Lord leads you to assemble, know it is for your protection.