This PRIVILEGE, though beautiful when it exists has not always existed.
Throughout history, the privilege of assembly of saints has been both granted and withdrawn from the Lord’s people, by the Lord Himself. This privilege has been both exercised and denied in places like Russian prison camps etc. Even the Russians learned that when the privilege of assembly was withdrawn, the Lord’s people grew stronger.
Many today treat this privilege of assembly as though it were the 11th commandment, and thereby give evidence that their life is in the church, not in Christ Himself. They treat it as though the attending of church fulfills a commandment of the law, and thereby attain some level of personal righteousness by it. Make no mistake people, just as it is a privilege and not a command, to fellowship with God through prayer; so to assemble with saints is a PRIVILEGE and not a COMMAND. What you need to be prepared for as we near the return of Christ is the withdrawal of this privilege, and all the more as we see it being withdrawn today. Those who make the privilege of assembly into a command, are merely doing their duty to turn the sheep back in toward the wolves. The wolves are in the pen!
When assembling is looked upon not as a privilege but as a command, you can know that the time is near for the coming of Christ. For having failed in the preventing of worship, Satan turns again to the commanding of worship as he did in the time of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:4-6). At such time in the future, it will cost you your head NOT to assemble for worship (Rev 13:15). It will no longer be a privilege to assemble with brothers in Christ, but rather it will be a command to assemble for the worship of the beast. His horns will trimmed such that you cannot see them, his ugliness will be masked with beauty, he will be turned to a real fellowship kind of guy for just the purpose of receiving worship. This assembly will take place in churches, cathedrals, mosques; it will be facilitated by pastors, priests, imams; and will be all alike for the worship of the beast.
These things must be well set up before the removal of the saints through rapture, so that those who remain in the church will be easily beguiled into following their instructions. The table is set….
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.