“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’”
When we gather into assembly (the word congregation is “ekklesia”), Jesus assembles with us and sings praises with us. This quotation comes from the Messianic psalm numbered 22. It has numerous references to the life of Jesus that are quoted or alluded to in the NT. Here, however, is a reference to what is happening after ascension and right now. There is something special about when the assembly assembles as a whole, an extra blessing, if you will. I know that Jesus says, “where two or three are gathered together” and I know that we have the promise “lo, I am with you always”, but do we not appreciate the former a bit greater than the latter? Is there not some bit greater assurance of Jesus’ presence, when two or three are gathered, than when along? If so, then should there not be an even great sense of presence when the whole assembly assembles for praise? Interestingly enough, Psalm 22 continues:
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” (25-28).
A second time congregation (“ekklesia”) is used, but this time in the phrase “great assembly”. Could this refer to the same thing as in Heb 12:22-24?
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
There are two assemblies in Hebrews. The first is that of the firstborn on earth with their names recorded in heaven and the second is what the KJV calls the “general assembly” in heaven of all God’s praise giving beings.
Have any of you studied these passages in light of each other? Have you any thoughts on it? I am simply interested in learning more and discovering if anyone else is intrigued.