What Is the Camp? Hebrews 13:12-13,Part 1

Hebrews 13:12‑13  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Hebrews 13:12-1312Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (Hebrews 13:12‑13). In the last chapter of this epistle the Spirit of God, speaking of the fact that “the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high-priest for sin, are burned without the camp,” goes on to say, “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify [set apart] the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.”
Many are at a loss to know what is referred to by the term “camp”; yet it is very important to understand it, because those who love the Lord Jesus are exhorted to go forth from it, unto Him.
In order to learn what is meant, then (as is our duty to do), by this expression, we should first of all find out to whom the epistle is primarily and especially addressed, and with God’s blessing it will soon be made plain.
The Epistle to the Hebrews was written to professedly converted Jews who had been born and trained up under the law given by God to Israel at Mount Sinai when in camp in the wilderness, where and when a system of worship was ordained of God for this nation in the flesh, which was perfect in its place. but which did not suppose or require that the worshipers should be born again, and under which system they as a nation utterly failed.
Next, we must get clear on what the Spirit. of God calls “the camp”, when this was written.
The ninth chapter tells us that there were ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary; consisting of a tabernacle made with men’s hands, and pitched on earth (afterward, when in the land, it was a temple at Jerusalem), which was their place of worship.
Then they had an ordained priesthood – men of a certain family set apart to come between the worshipers and God, of whom Aaron was the high-priest. And this man was the minister of this sanctuary, without whom the worshipers could not worship.
This high-priest offered up an atonement for these people’s sins once every year, besides the other sacrifices that were offered up continually; and, as already noticed, these worshipers did not require to be converted people, though some of them were so, but were a company of believers and unbelievers mixed together; all of them on the ground of law keeping for righteousness.
Now this system embraced as worshipers all the nation of Israel then in camp, and was at that time going on at Jerusalem when this epistle was written; and the Spirit of God calls this “the camp”, out of which the “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,” were to go forth.
I learn, then, that Judaism, or this system of worship in the flesh, was in Paul’s day “the camp.” And, dear Christian reader, is it not clear at a glance that any system of worship of a Jewish nature and character, and, in consequence, a system that the flesh and sight – the world in fact – can more or less join in, is the camp in our day? We know, as revealed by the Son of God Himself, that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” – a thing impossible for the flesh to do. It requires men to be born of the Spirit and sealed with the Spirit. In John 4:2121Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (John 4:21), our Lord says: “Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor pet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” The time had come when places of worship on earth – mountains, and temples made with hands – should be done away with. Men in the flesh had been thoroughly tested and proved to be utterly incapable of obeying God’s law, or worshiping Him either; and now a new order of things comes in: men born of the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, worshiping in Spirit and in truth, not in a temple or tabernacle on earth, but in the holiest, that is, heaven itself – the only worshiping place now – having boldness to enter there by the blood of Jesus.
Therefore if any system of worship exists now which has a worldly sanctuary – a temple made with hands, with an ordained priesthood, or class of men set apart to take a special place between the worshipers and God, without whom they cannot worship; where the worshipers are a mixture of converted and unconverted people under the law; that is – must be, indeed, – ”the camp.” It is Judaism, having its nature and character as a system of worship, though more or less Christians be in it, and the gospel be still preached more or less faithfully by some in it too.
It is the Holy Spirit – it is God – that says, through the apostle, to any of His dear children who are in any kind of system such as this, “Let us go forth unto Him (Christ) without the camp, bearing His reproach.”
“But,” say some, “why not stay inside and do all the good you can where you are?”
Because, God will not have Christianity and Judaism mixed up together – the new wine in the old bottles.
Because, God will not have the world and the church unequally yoked together (2 Cor. 6).
Because, Jesus Christ has come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands. He has been cast out by worshipers in the flesh (Jewish worshipers), and suffered outside the gate, on Calvary; proving that worship in the flesh is not a real thing; for if they had loved God, they would have reverenced His Son. Yea, though these worshipers in the flesh could point out in the Scriptures to the wise men of the east where Christ was to be born, not one foot did they go to find Him, but were troubled and distressed at the very thought of His being come.
And though it is true that God at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, He has more highly honored us in these last days, says Hebrews 1:22Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:2) – He has spoken unto us by His Son. Here, the Spirit of God puts God’s Son above and before all other prophets.
Again, though true that Moses was the apostle (and was faithful in all His house as a servant), and Aaron was God’s called, chosen high-priest for this nation of worshipers in the flesh – Israel; we Christians are to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; thus exalting Christ above and before Moses and Aaron. (Heb. 1:1-2; 3:1-61God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1‑2)
1Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. 4For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:1‑6)
). Under the law, it was commanded and instituted by God Himself that sacrifices of bulls and goats should be offered – a shadow of better things to come; but now, Christ has offered Himself, and risen and gone in and presented His own blood to God for us, having thus by one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified (Heb. 10). Thus Christ’s sacrifice is put above, and in the place of, all these other sacrifices which could never take away sins. The Substance has come and taken the place of the shadows.
Again, though perfectly true that God told Moses to make the tabernacle, and Solomon the temple, for a place of worship on earth under the law; now, He has opened heaven to us, and we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus – heaven itself, taking the place of the tabernacle, and temple at at Jerusalem, as the Christian’s worshiping place, which we enter by faith and in Spirit. (Heb. 8:1-2; 9:241Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. (Hebrews 8:1‑2)
24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:24)
(To be continued).