Is there such a place as higher assembling?
Is there a place those who believe can go to learn deeper truth concerning the ways of God?
If so, is that place on this planet, at a theological seminary, or a temple, or a church or synagogue?
The scriptures do admonish the believer to "Not forsake the assembly of yourselves together", and yes that would include the above places of learning and worship, but the student of the scriptures, if he or she is truly seeking truth, will soon find that there is a limit in the teachings in these earthly places because the knowledge that is shared is often part of that particular denominations system of belief and understanding.
Those who are on the road less traveled have more than likely passed through at least one of those camps of teaching and have gathered what they could from those who have been set before them to enlighten them, but something in them causes them to move forward, and that something is the truth concerning Christ, and the desire to not only seek it, and know it, but to tell others of it as well:
"Now, being true, in love we should be making all grow into Him, Who is the Head -- Christ -- out of Whom the entire body, being articulated together and united through every assimilation of the supply, in accord with the operation in measure of each one's part, is making for the growth of the body, for the upbuilding of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16)
We have all heard the saying that no man is an island, and that is often what those on the road less traveled are accused of being; a lone island lying in a vast ocean far from the temples and buildings that many who name Christ as their Saviour congregate. All are accused of forsaking the fellowship of others, even though many, now, do have fellowship on social media, and at times face to face albeit on a much lesser scale than the majority of others in Christianity who congregate on Saturday or Sunday.
But is that accusation a scriptural accusation?
Are those on the road less traveled forsaking the assembling of ourselves?
Are we going against the words of Paul: "Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together."
I believe the answer is yes and no. Yes; we do not attend a regular service, and no we do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
The verse from Hebrews that is hurled at us actually goes much deeper than what is read on the surface. Once it is understood what the word assembling means from the Greek scriptures you will soon see that those who have been chosen to go through the narrow gate onto the road less traveled are actually assembling, but on a higher level. Lets dissect this word assembling to see if this is so.
The word assembling in the Greek is: epi sun ag og e; "EPISUNAGOGE ." The English elements are On-Together- Leading. The prefix Epi in the Greek means on or above. Sunagoge is where we get the word Synagogue = together lead- assembling.
So when Paul tells us not to forsake the assembling (on/above synagogue) of ourselves together, I believe he is telling those on the road less travelled to go beyond the assembling of ourselves together in a building, and instead rise to a higher level of assembling (on-together-leading).
At least twice in the New Testament scriptures we read of a higher place of assembling in which deeper revelations were revealed from God about His ways, one is from Paul the other from John.
When the Apostle John was given his visions in the Unveiling, he saw the Lord walking among the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches):
"The seven lampstands are seven ecclesias. To the messenger of the ecclesia in Ephesus write: "Now this He is saying Who is holding the seven stars in His right hand, Who is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands." (Revelation 1:20-2:1)
This moving of the Lord among these churches could be also said of today; that the Lord walks (figuratively speaking) among the many denominations (churches) of our time, and has throughout the time of the church system. As He walks among them He is choosing a class of believers from among the called out of the church system He is walking among (an ecclesia within the ecclesia), those that He will bring to a greater understanding of what will be and has been accomplished through and in Christ. This is not a new thing, this has happened all through the Bible and church history. God has pulled vessels out from among the people to reveal truths that the majority have either not seen, do not want to see, and in some cases persecuted those who have been shown these deeper things of God. Many times these truths have caused the persons who have received them to go into hiding, or they have faced ridicule from not only those who name God as their Saviour, but from family members and friends as well.
When we read the first few chapters in Revelation (chapters 1-3), we notice as Jesus walked among these churches He tells a portion of them; the overcomers in each ecclesia, that they have been granted a special place above the rest in the church who did not overcome:
Ephesus: "To the one who is conquering (overcoming), to him will I be granting to be eating of the log of life which is in the center of the paradise of God." (2:7)
Smyrna: "The one who is conquering (overcoming) may under no circumstances be injured by the second death." (2:11)
Pergamum: "To the one who is conquering (overcoming), to him will I be giving of the hidden manna, and I shall be giving him a white pebble and on the pebble a new name written, of which no one is aware except the one who is obtaining it." (2:17)
Thyatira: "And to the one who is conquering (overcoming) and keeping My acts until the consummation, to him will I be giving authority over the nations." (2:26)
Sardis: "The one who is conquering (overcoming), he shall be clothed in white garments, and under no circumstances will I be erasing his name from the scroll of life, and I will be avowing his name in front of My Father and before His messengers." (3:5)
Philadelphia: "The one who is conquering (overcoming), him will I be making a pillar in the temple of My God." (3:12)
Laodicea: "The one who is conquering (overcoming), to him will I be granting to be seated with Me on My throne as I, also, conquer, and am seated with My Father on His throne." (3:21)
All people in the churches He walks among are His, but only a small group from each has He given the power to overcome, and this for one reason; He is calling them into, and is giving them a deeper and clearer realization of Who He is and what He will do. They are the ones who are granted the hidden manna, authority over the nations, to be seated with Him on His throne, etc..
In chapter four we read the words He speaks to John (a representation of the overcomers) who He wants to reveal more to:
"After these things I perceived, and lo! a door is open in heaven, and lo! the first sound which I hear is as a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here! and I will be showing you what must be occurring after these things." (Revelation 4:1)
John, as I said, I believe, is a representation of those overcomers who have been called up to an above assembling to be shown things that others were/are not at this time able to know.
When the apostle Paul was stoned outside of Lystra (Acts 14:19) and left for dead, he later wrote of what he experienced as he laid there on the ground covered in stones:
"I am acquainted with a man in Christ, fourteen years before this, (whether in a body I am not aware, or outside of the body, I am not aware -- God is aware) such a one was snatched away to the third heaven. And I am acquainted with such a man (whether in a body or outside of the body I am not aware -- God is aware) that he was snatched away into paradise and hears ineffable declarations, which it is not allowed a (hu)man to speak." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
I believe Paul was snatched away in spirit ("whether in a body I am not aware, or outside of the body, I am not aware -- God is aware"), the same as John was when he was translated into the heavenly realm, John writes:
"I came to be, in spirit, in the Lord's day, and I hear behind me a voice, loud as a trumpet, saying, "What you are observing write into a scroll and send it to the seven ecclesias. After these things I perceived, and lo! a door is open in heaven, and lo! the first sound which I hear is as a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here! and I will be showing you what must be occurring after these things." Now immediately I came to be in spirit, and lo! a throne, located in heaven, and on the throne One sitting." (Revelation 1:10-11, 4:1)
It is only in spirit can anyone see the things both these men saw, no flesh and blood is able to see these things, nor has flesh and blood ascended into the celestials.
Paul while laying there dead, was snatched away in spirit to the third heaven (in time), and he hears and sees things a human was not allowed to speak.
Why was a human not allowed to speak these things?
Because these were things that only the spirit could reveal. No human could speak (reveal) the things that Paul saw. I once thought that Paul was not allowed to talk about the things he saw, and that is why he said: "which it is not allowed a (hu)man to speak." I now believe that no human "could speak" of these things because they were the things revealed only by the spirit. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians expounds on these celestial things he saw. Paul, like John, had to be transported in spirit (the opposite of realm that they literally walked in) before they could realize the deeper things of God.
Paul tells us he did not rely on human reasoning and wisdom when it came to his evangel:
"And I came to be with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling, and my word and my heralding were not with the persuasive words of human wisdom, but with demonstration of spirit and of power, that your faith may not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet wisdom are we speaking among the mature, yet a wisdom not of this eon, neither of the chief men of this eon, who are being discarded, but we are speaking God's wisdom in a secret, wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before -- before the eons, for our glory, which not one of the chief men of this eon knows, for if they know, they would not crucify the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:3-8)
He also tells us: "not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, matching spiritual blessings with spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:13)
Paul relied on the spirits teaching.
COME UP HERE
As you move closer to God in your walk you notice that much of what is being revealed to you has no place in the world you now live in. This is not to say that some of what is being revealed does not help and guide, as well as comfort and encourage, and at times protect us on our journey in the here and now, but much of what is being revealed has no relevance in this world, it is not for now, it is for the oncoming eons (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
Paul, in his day, asked; "Who are You Lord?"
And the Lord answered, and all through the rest of Paul's life He lifted him into a greater knowledge of Himself.
Today, He is calling us to "Come up here!"
None who have been called out can remain where they once were, and none can go back to where they once came out of. I was recently asked why I don't attend a church, and I answered: "I can't go backwards in my journey." This does not mean that those who are in the churches are going backwards, they are not. They are where they are supposed to be, where they have been placed, that is where their nourishment comes from, that is where Jesus is walking among them: "He Who is walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands."
But for those who are on the narrow road, they are on the move (so to speak) and the places they pass through are not their home. Paul tells us of his journey to a greater knowledge of the Lord:
"Brethren, not as yet am I reckoning myself to have grasped, yet one thing -- forgetting, indeed, those things which are behind, yet stretching out to those in front -- toward the goal am I pursuing for the prize of God's calling above in Christ Jesus. Whoever, then, are mature, may be disposed to this, and if in anything you are differently disposed, this also shall God reveal to you." (Philippians 3:13-15)
If our affections are constantly on this realm in which we now live we will never get past the things we see. We will never see our calling above, because our hearts will be on the cares and woes of this world, this system, and this life. We have to live here, and we have to survive here, but our realm (place of) is not inherent in this system:
"For our realm is inherent in the heavens, out of which we are awaiting a Saviour also, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, to conform it to the body of His glory, in accord with the operation which enables Him even to subject all to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)
That is where our assembling is inherent in the heavens, in spirit for now, that is the assembling we are not to forsake: "But coming is the hour, and now is, when the true worshipers will be worshiping the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also is seeking such to be worshiping Him. God is spirit, and those who are worshiping Him must be worshiping in spirit and truth." (John 4: 23-24). One day we will literally be in a spiritual body and we will have our assembling (on-toward-leading) face to Face:
"Now we are asking you, brethren, for the sake of the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to Him." (2 Thessalonians 2:1)
But for now:
"If, then, you were roused together with Christ, be seeking that which is above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Be disposed to that which is above, not to that on the earth, for you died, and your life is hid together with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3)