Scriptures

What Is The ‘Day’ Mentioned In Hebrews 10:25?

Introduction

I want to say from the beginning that this study isn’t focusing on whether Christians should meet together for worship on the first day of the week, Sunday, Acts 2:42 / Acts 20: / 1 Corinthians 16:2 / Revelation 1:10.

It isn’t designed to put Christians on some kind of ‘guilt trip’ either, it isn’t focused on encouraging better attendance during worship.

When it comes to any passage of Scripture it’s all too easy to come to it with our minds already made up and make it mean what we want it to mean. It’s all too easy to read too much into a text and come to a conclusion which the writer didn’t have in mind in the first place.

It doesn’t surprise me that so many writers offer the range of explanations which they do, concerning the ‘Day’ mentioned in Hebrews 10:25.

The Background To The Letter

The Hebrews letter was written about 30 years after the establishment of the church, and, the amazing days which followed ‘Pentecost’ were just a memory, and very little had changed religiously.

The old Mosaic religion was still very much alive, the temple and the priesthood were still active, and there had been no mass conversion of Israel. Not surprisingly, Jewish Christians had begun to fear that they had made a terrible mistake and were in danger of apostasy. That is the historic reality, and the letter both encourages them to be faithful, and warns them of the fearful consequences of turning back to Judaism.

‘Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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.’ Hebrews 10:22-25

The writer tells us to do what five things?

1. Draw near to God.

2. Hold unswervingly to the hope.

3. Consider how to spur one another on.

4. Not give up meeting together.

5. Encourage one another daily.

Let’s go ahead and focus on the verse in question.

‘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 10:25

Needless to say, all manner of explanations has been offered, concerning what ‘Day’ is being referred to in this passage. Because we know that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed a few years later, in A.D. 70, I’m not surprised that Millennialists of all shades want to see the ‘Second Coming’ and the ‘End of the World’, in this passage.

One of the early English commentators, Matthew Poole covered himself completely, by offering a whole range of ‘possibilities’, ranging from the destruction of the temple to the End of the World, and, of course, it has also been explained as relating to the Roman attack on the city in that year. But, if you didn’t know about that event, you couldn’t possibly find it in this chapter!

It’s a case of finding an event which fits the passage!

What ‘Day’ is ‘the Day which is approaching’?

I want to share with you three popular ideas and theories concerning this ‘Day’, firstly, we’ll look at the Judgment Day theory, secondly, we’ll look at the destruction of Jerusalem theory and finally we’ll look at the Lord’s Day theory.

The End Of The World

‘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 10:25

Those who believe that the ‘Day’ is referring to ‘the end of the world’, are basically interpreting this passage as follows.

‘As you see the end of the world getting nearer and nearer, it is even more critical to assemble to exhort, or exhort to assemble.’

There are a couple of problems with this interpretation because the writer is speaking about a certain day which the Jewish Christians in the first century could see coming but there was another day coming, the end of the world, which they couldn’t see coming.

‘Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Paul tells us that the judgment wouldn’t come ‘UNTIL the rebellion occurs’ and ‘the man of lawlessness if revealed’ first. We also know that no-one knows WHEN the Lord will return.

‘For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:2

‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.’ 2 Peter 3:10

‘But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’ Matthew 24:43-44

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’ Mark 13:32

In other words, because there are no signs given and will be no signs given to indicate the end of the world is approaching, Hebrews 10:25 can’t be speaking about the end of the world. To make the ‘Day’ mean Judgment Day is reading into the text something which isn’t there or implied.

The Destruction Of Jerusalem

‘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 10:25

Then there are those who believe that the ‘Day’ is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70. There’s no doubt that hundreds of thousands of Jews lost their lives during the siege but there were some who listened to Jesus’ earlier warnings concerning this event.

In Mathew 24:1-36 he warned them about the temple and Jerusalem being destroyed and He told them to watch for the signs, He also told them the following.

‘For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.’ Matthew 24:21

Like we noted earlier, the Book of Hebrews was written to Jews and out of all the nations of the earth, they would have been affected by this destruction more than anyone else. These Jewish Christians were already being persecuted and harassed by unbelieving Jews. As Jerusalem’s destruction got closer and closer, the persecution would have increased.

‘Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.’ Matthew 24:9-10

We can only imagine how much pressure these Jewish Christians would have been under and we can easily imagine them questioning their faith in the Lord. No wonder some wanted to abandon Christ and go back to Judaism.

As these Jewish Christians saw Jerusalem’s destruction getting closer and closer and the persecution, they were receiving was getting worse, the writer is basically telling them this is all the more reason they need to attend the assembly of the church, this where they will receive encouragement to stay faithful and not fall back into Judaism.

There’s a strong possibility that this interpretation of the ‘Day’ found in Hebrews 10:25 is correct, as it appears to fit in with the overall theme of Hebrews.

However, there’s one more theory which I think is worthwhile considering.

The Lord’s Day

‘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 10:25

The first thing we must understand that there’s a difference between ‘The Lord’s Day’ and ‘The Day of the Lord’.

‘On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.’ Revelation 1:10

Just before John received his vision concerning the Christ, he writes, ‘On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.’ Many people make the mistake of thinking that the words used by John, ‘The Lord’s Day’ has the same meaning and is a reference to ‘The Day of the Lord.’ In Isaiah 13:6 / Isaiah 13:9 / 2 Thessalonians 2:2 for example, it’s used to speak about an upcoming judgement.

The actual words, ‘Lord’s Day’ is ‘Kyriako hemera’ in Greek is found nowhere else in the New Testament, though similar phrases such as ‘Lord’s Table’, ‘Lord’s Cup’ and ‘Lord’s Supper’ are used, 1 Corinthians 10:21 / 1 Corinthians 11:20. The adjective form in Revelation 1:10 signifies ‘pertaining to, belonging to’ the Lord. The term ‘Lord’ signifies ‘ownership.’

Again, this confirms that the Hebrews 10:25 passage cannot be referring to the end of the world. Like I mentioned earlier to find the meaning of the verse, we must find an event which fits the passage!

1. The ‘Day’ is mentioned in terms that imply that it was something about which they knew and anticipated, and for which they should be prepared.

Just look at what the verse actually says, because the words are very interesting.

‘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 10:25

I think that, if the writer had had the final Judgment in mind, he would have said something about its importance. And, although he says, ‘as you see the Day approaching’, they certainly saw NO signs of the approach of the Return of Christ, or the End of the World.

2. The word he uses for ‘assembling’ is very significant. It is the word ‘episunagoge,’ and you see the word ‘synagogue’ in it.

The writer is careful to distinguish between the Jewish Worship and the Christian Worship, by using ‘episunagoge’ alluding to the day set aside for the assembly for worship, which the believers to whom the letter was sent, were neglecting because of their depressed state of mind.

We can find the noun form of the word only once more, in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, but the verb form, ‘to assemble’, occurs in at least half a dozen times in the Gospels, Matthew 24:31 / Mark 13:27 / Luke 13:34, places where it is translated ‘gathered together’.

Ignatius, one of the so-called ‘early church fathers’, wrote that by the

‘assembling of yourselves together the powers of Satan are overthrown, and his mischief neutralized by your like-mindedness in the Faith!’

Conclusion

I suggest that the bottom line is, regardless of whether the verse relates to the end of the world, the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or the Lord’s Day, believers should be encouraged, in all circumstances, not to neglect the regular assembling of themselves together for Worship.

About the Lord’s return and the end of the world, we can do nothing about, but we CAN do something about our attendance for worship on the Lord’s Day.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10

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