On Saturday evening, July 14, a dear lady asked him of 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.
“Doesn’t this verse teach that we are to assemble together in our churches, assuming that they haven’t become false gospels, right up until the time of Christ’s return?”
“No. If you’ll notice, God does not use the word ‘church’ in that verse. Rather, this verse actually underscores that during the time of the latter rain, when the church has become dead and God has removed its candlestick, we are indeed to continue to gather together, but not in churches. We could be in our homes listening to Family Radio as it brings the latter rain …” etc. etc.
(I must note that all quotes in this letter are the gist of what was said, to the best of my imperfect memory. The Open Forums were recorded, and copies may perhaps be available. I wish that I had one as I write this so that I could quote accurately.)
I felt constrained to pursue this. The format for these Open Forums was that the person asking the question was required to walk to the front of the meeting room and speak into a stationary microphone on a stand directly in front of Mr. Camping. I waited my turn, then noted the following:
“First, the entire context or backdrop for the book of Hebrews is in a worship setting, that is, a church setting, seeking to show the reader that the Old Testament sacrificial system and method of worship was fulfilled in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly what we read in the book of Hebrews has far greater implications than just the worship service, but this setting cannot be ignored.
“More specifically, we read in Hebrews 2:11-12,
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
“The word ‘church’ in verse 12 is the same commonly used Greek word ‘ekklesia’. Isn’t it therefore at least possible that Hebrews 10:25 could be referring to a church setting?”
His answer was not exactly evasive, but while he couldn’t (and didn’t) deny the clear implications of my question, he insisted that in all probability, even though worship and the church are referred to a number of times in the book of Hebrews, the setting for Hebrews 10:25 was the time of the latter rain, especially given that there is quite a distance between the two verses in question.
I said that I would like to re-visit Hebrews 10:25, first by recapping what was said previously. I began by noting that we had agreed that the context or setting of the entire book of Hebrews included the worship service, and by implication, the church. He interrupted me at that point and said, “Excuse me - that is the conclusion that you reached and stated. We never agreed that this is so.”
I was quite surprised, but said, “That is how I remember it, but let’s grant that it is my observation and not ours. For sure, the church is clearly in view in Hebrews 2:11-12,” and proceeded to read those verses aloud. I then noted that in Hebrews 13, there are three clear references to the church, as we read in verse 7 -<Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.>
And in verse 9 -
<Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.>
And in verse 24 -
<Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.>
The fact that those who have “the rule over you” must be in the church cannot be missed. For example, in verse 7, these cannot be civil government rulers because of the next phrase: “who have spoken unto you the word of God”.
I noted that since Hebrews 10:25 is bracketed by very clear references to the church, then the likelihood that “the assembling of ourselves together” refers to the church is very strong, indeed, and should be carefully considered.
I made a second observation to underscore how tenuous this matter of the latter rain is. “Not just one, but two major conclusions derived from the Bible must be absolutely correct, like trying to throw a rock through not just one piece of plywood with a hole, but two pieces of plywood, and both holes must line up just right. The first major conclusion is that we are indeed in the Final Tribulation. The second is that you are absolutely correct about the latter rain and “the church is dead”, which would require that all of us would need to leave our congregations.
“The stakes are very high. This is not just a doctrinal discussion. We all learned firsthand from the events leading up to and during 1994 and afterwards that there are problems and difficulties that accompany trying to set dates, even when you have the best and most sincere minds trying to figure it all out. Now, with these two issues, if you are wrong on either one of them, then you will have people jumping ship, from God’s kingdom into Satan’s, before the right time, assuming that you are right on both issues.”