Who hasn’t heard people talking about “the last days” over these last months. Folks wondering if the craziness that’s been 2020 is actually the beginning of the birth pains (or even the full on labor) that will deliver the return of Christ. But as I reflect on some who think these may truly be the last days of the last days, I see a disconnect. That, while the signs of the time have led to much speculation on their part, for many it really hasn’t resulted in a renewed desire for congregation on their part. And, as I chew on a golden passage in Hebrews, I’m thinking it should.
If, in fact, we are witnessing the playing out of prophecy, it’s not intended to paralyze. While we might shelter in place for safety, we’re not to withdraw and retreat. In fact, if masking up keeps us in the game, then we should be willing to become all things to all people. What’s more, if we can meet — and we know it’s not safe for everyone to meet — we should meet. And all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Therefore, brothers [and sisters], since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a Great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
We have, therefore, let us. That’s what I’m noodling on this morning.
We have confidence. Not in ourselves, but in who we are by the blood of Jesus. People who have residence in the holy of holies. Proximity to, and a relationship with a holy, holy, holy God who is wholly over all things. We have a new and a living way to walk in. A way architected and mapped out through the curtain. Confident in who our God is. Steadfast in who we are in His beloved Son.
And we are not alone within the veil. We have a High Priest. The Son of God, our Savior. The Shepherd of the sheep. The Head of the body. The Lover of His bride. The Ruler of His house.
So, because we have such confidence and such an Advocate, let us . . .
Let us draw near. Let us hold fast. Let us consider how we might spur on our brothers and sisters in Christ. And all the more as we see the Day drawing near.
Have said it here before, right behavior comes from right belief. We discern the signs of the time not to save ourselves, that’s been covered. No, we discern the times in order to be reminded that we never know how much time there is, and so, we make the most of time. Fighting off paralyzing fear as we know afresh who we are in Christ and know again who He is — our ever-present, ever-interceding, High Priest.
And having done that, we draw near, we hold fast, and we encourage one another.
What that looks like in individual situations is, of course, dependent on individual situations. But at least one thing it should not look like is neglecting to meet together. We really do need one another. It seems to me that, whether we assemble physically as a larger congregation or as a smaller group, or gather technologically via video conferencing of even frequent phone calls, this should be a time when the need for one another is heightened and not ignored. And the onus is ours not others. The command isn’t “let them”, but “let us.”
Even if these aren’t the actual last days of the last days, we still should recognize that the Day is drawing near. So, let us!
Because we have by His grace, let us for His glory.