Not Forsake the Gathering (Hebrews 10:25) One Of The Most Abused Scriptures! (Part One)

Many people have pondered and struggled over this question:
does God's Word ever command that everyone go to and assemble at ritual religious services?

The fact is there is only one verse in the entire bible that denominational evangelical organizations and their leaders can use to "try" to convince people that they "must attend" their religious services is 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.

At the first reading of this section of scripture it would seem to mean you must not forsake gathering with other believers, but is that the deep truth and meaning of this verse or is it something else?

*Right upfront we want to make clear that we do believe the New Testament clearly speaks about "true believers" gathering together to 'one another' each other over 50 times. What we want to make VERY clear here is that it is not done via man made religious ritual forced on people on Sunday mornings all over America. It can only be done between those who are truly in Christ and are striving in obedience for His biblical NT body life and NOT denominational evangelical false religion. If you are Christ's and you know of others that are truly His, you should be gathered to be encouraging and admonishing each other often like any loving family. In Acts we see it was daily and house to house but you do not hear the modern pastors teaching you that do you? No as they have one aim and it is  to pack you into their "religious building" for control and often money extraction. Read on and we will teach you here that Hebrews 10:25 is NOT teaching that at all! They are trying to hold you to a bondage of man while God's Holy Word does not teach that. See the details below so you can contend with those un-biblical modern pastors in the future.   

By using correct bible study techniques (exegesis) let us extract the truth of God's Word rather than impose our own idea's upon it (eisegesis) to defend what so many do each week, (go to religious services) we can then determine what it truly means. If you recall from our link on good bible study habits (see it HERE ) it is always a good idea to read the entire book along with the verses before and after the verse your studying. 

Also please know the book of Hebrews has a theme and it is NOT about religious attendance at all. It is about clinging to Christ. (our part 2 on this article covers that in detail.)  

Let us read the verses at hand: Below is verse 23 of Hebrews 10
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

In the King James bible the word faith has been used which is the Greek word elpis. It means  to anticipate, expectation, confidence and hope. This is important as in all other places that Greek word is used in the New Testament the word "hope" is used. Here are some of those verses for your reference:

Acts 26:6
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers

Acts 28:20
 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

Romans 5:2
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Ephesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints

Romans 8:24-25
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

This hope that Paul is talking about in all of these verses and in Hebrews 10:23 is the hope of Jesus Christ. Here are several other verses that speak of this great hope:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Titus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

So clearly, we have shown you using scripture to interpret scripture that the 'hope' that is spoken of is the hope of Jesus Christ and His return. Let's go on and look at verse 24.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

So in context if our hope is in the resurrection at the return of Christ; we are to keep encouraging each other in love and good works to continue in this hope. This clearly has nothing to do with a set weekly assembly but of our on going 'one anothering' of the saints in this hope (Christ) and that we see in Acts 2:46 

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart

True believers are to be about hoping for the Lord's return and encouraging each other to live according to that hope.  We see in the early New testament church this was done in many ways and on many days, not just Sunday services like is being practiced today.
(They went to the Temple as it used to be God's place of dwelling. That is NOT true of today's religious buildings of man)

Now moving on to 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.

The word "forsake" in Greek is egkataleipō and it means to: quit, leave entirely abandon, desert, to give up or renounce 

 (Both Paul and Jesus use it in 2 Timothy 4:10 and Matthew 27:46)
 This phrase "forsake" in Hebrews 10:25 is not consistent with someone who attends religious services on a "sporadic basis" as it means to abandon completely. The entire tone of the Hebrew letter is that people were completely abandoning "faith in Christ" and it is perfectly consistent with with what Paul is teaching here. (click here for Hebrew 10:25  part 2 article here when you're done reading this.) 

The words "assembling together" is the key here. It is one word from a Greek word episunagoge (episunago verb form) and it means to be gathered together. So gathered together with who? How do we determine the correct meaning and use of this root word? We can see how else Paul used this same phrase in scripture.
 Interestingly it is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

This verse is telling us to cling to and "gather ourselves unto Christ" and don't be shaken. Again it has nothing to do with a weekly set meeting of the saints but of their persistence to stay focused on Him and His return.  

In Matthew 24:31 we see it says this:
 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Again another verse that tells us it is a "gathering unto to Christ" at His return which is what? Our hope. (Here are other verses that use that same word in the same manner as a gathering to Christ: Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34, Mark 13:26, Mark 1:33 and Luke 12:1)

From all of these verses that show us what the Greek words really mean one must then ask themselves does Hebrews 10:25 mean a weekly meeting or something much, much more? As our part 2 article shows if we read the entire book of Hebrews we believe you will see it fits the context (hope of Christ's return) perfectly and not a weekly set gathering that denominational religion tries to make it all about. This is incorrect study and application of God's Word that we must totally reject.

In verse 25 is says: as ye see the day approaching.
What day approaching? Is it really the common day (Sunday) in which many find themselves at a building doing some religious service? If we read verses 35-37, it tells us what that day will be.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 


The "He" is Jesus Christ. It is the return of Jesus Christ and that is the day that Paul is speaking of in Hebrews 10. He is saying don't cast away your hope or confidence in Him and that return. This is hardly a reference to a set religious gathering at all.  

By verse 38 we can see what Paul would be saying just what he had said: 
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

It seems that some were indeed "turning away from their faith in Christ" and Paul was trying to encourage others to not do such a thing. It was about clinging to the hope and gathering unto Christ and not meeting for set religious services.

The fact is the bible no more teaches a believer MUST attend a weekly set religious service then it teaches that a man must go and see his wife once a week! Should a man love and be with his wife often? Of course he should but just how often is left up to him and her. Should believers assemble together? Indeed but again God's Word gives no command how that is to be done except to say to love each other and 'one another' other believers in the faith as a "daily" practice.   (CLICK HERE to read the many verses about one-anothering.)  Just as there are many ways a husband and wife can be together in their love; there are many ways believers can gather together in His name.

The other reason we should have "great issue" concerning this verse to mean "going to church" is that no where in all of the bible does it instruct people to ever "go to church". His people, after the coming of the Holy Spirit,  "are the church temple" so you can't go to it!!! The word church is ekklesia and it means called out ones.  Certainly the bible does use the word ekklesia to also mean a local assembled body as well but it is NEVER spoken of as a duty and it is certainly not taught in the Holy scriptures to be anything like the rituals man has made it to be today. It was pagan rome that started the rituals you may be practicing today, not God! It is clear to see that man-made denominational religion and its false traditions are not rooted in God's Word and are not what Hebrews 10:25 was referring to in its proper context. (remember that context is another key bible study practice.) The denominations and their religious set Sunday ways did not even exist for another 1500 years so consider that will you.

 Sadly you won't hear ANY modern pastors teach you this deep truth at all. No, they desire to use it as a battering ram to keep you sitting in those pews, paying for buildings and salaries that God never required for His true body.  As proof that the denominations are using Hebrews 10:25 to prop up their own false system we would reference Acts 2:46 (they met house to house).  As we said, do the modern pastors ever stand on this verse and encourage believers to be meeting house to house on a regular basis?  It's clear they stand on some verses and totally ignore many others all for their own gain.

We were there once and we reject their unbiblical twisting of God's Word to prop up their religion of man and often for their filthy lucre (money) ill gains.  Click here to test your faith and body to God's Word

NOTE: For the record we do believe that those who serve Christ will be gathering together often as a daily lifestyle for the true purposes of the New Testament church. (See Ephesians 4) It is by His Spirit and in Truth that is done and to use God's Word in a VERY wrong way to FORCE people into man-made unbiblical practices and gatherings is something we will stand against and expose. (Ephesians 5:11) all the time for God's glory.

The next time you're rushing off to a man made religious service just realize that if you're really His you can be more holy, obedient and biblical by staying away from man made religion altogether. You can and should gather into Him and hope for Christ to come everyday; right where you are. That is what Hebrews 10:25 is all about as we have shown you. Then you can also gather with your family and others (daily or whenever) who know Him as well; encouraging each other in the faith until that day approaches which is our great hope! Please realize that fallen mankind has made this into a vain show, entertainment and weekly ritual religion against the Word. (See our link on how unbiblical the modern denominational services are: CLICK HERE.)
What we are to really be about as His body is the looking for His return and living in a holy way that honors Him. That is what Paul was speaking about to those who claim His name in Hebrews 10. Are you one of those to hear what He is saying?

Please CLICK HERE to read PART TWO of Hebrews 10:25.

We do hope this helps you see that we must always be "wise as serpents" and study the Word closely. We must at all times test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) lest we be deceived by man's ways (Colossians 2:8) and be biblically obedient and discerning in all things.

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