Question:

Hebrews 10:23-27 said to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Does this mean going to church, or does it mean not forsaking reading the Bible and learning about God and His Kingdom?

Answer:

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 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" (Hebrews 10:23-25).

It is a wonder how far people will go to avoid what is clearly stated. The command is to Christians to help their fellow Christians hang on to the end by encouraging to not become complacent or lazy. To do so, we must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. That makes sense. It is hard to encourage or receive encouragement when I'm not with other Christians.

The Greek word translated "assembling" is episunagoge, which means a group gathering together. It is used in II Thessalonians 2:1 to describe all the saints gathering to meet Jesus. I can't think of any Christian who plans to sit at home reading and learning about God. Everyone understand we are going to gather with fellow Christians. In the same way Hebrews 10:25 is talking of gatherings of Christians. Phrases all through this verse indicates group action: "consider one another," "assembling of ourselves together," and "exhorting one another."

Add to this that the word "church" translates the Greek word ekklesia, which also means an assembly and it is clear that the writer of Hebrews was encouraging Christians to attend church to benefits themselves and others.

Since the kingdom is the church (Hebrews 12:23,28; Matthew 16:17-18), to stay at how "learning" about the kingdom when opportunities exist to be a part of the kingdom is more than a bit foolish.

Finally, all the actions are considering other people, assembling with other people, and exhorting other people. The writer did not mention reading and studying which can be done in groups, but which you seem to see as independent, individual actions.

My friend listens to Harold Camping who says all kinds of stuff that I donít feel in my spirit. Have you heard of him and heard that he said the world will end on May 21, 2011? My friend believes this and a few other things that he says about not going to church because the pastors are being ruled by Satan now. He said the church age is over and the end is May 21, 2011. Is he a kook or what?

Mr. Camping joins a long line of false teachers who have tried to predict the end of the world. "In 1992, Camping published a book titled 1994?, in which he proclaimed that Christ's return might be on September 6, 1994" [Harold Camping, Wikipedia]. He missed that one, so now he is saying May 21, 2011. "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:22).

Clearly he teaches contrary to the Bible in regards to attending services with other Christians. There are uncountable numbers of false teachers in the denominational world (Matthew 7:13-14). Mr. Camping happens to be one of them.