What Is the Camp? Hebrews 13:12-13, Part 2

Hebrews 13:12‑13  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Then, it was true that unconverted as well as converted ones were in the congregation of worshipers under the law; now He who is a spirit, and must have worship in spirit and in truth, is seeking such to worship Him.
Who can do so? Those, and those only, who, converted and sealed by the Spirit of God, have the power and heart for it.
In short, Christ and Christianity has taken the place of, and is a direct contrast to, the law and Judaism, and God will not allow us to mix the two, or rather, I should have said, try to do so.
So the word is, “Let us go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Now, my reader must take notice that this is not a question of salvation – it is not that souls inside the camp are not saved, – indeed it is saved ones inside that are called upon to go outside (and no doubt that many souls are being saved where the gospel is truly preached inside); but it is a question of obedience, and of worshiping God according to the principles of Christianity, or not – surely a very important thing in the eyes of those who love the Lord Jesus.
When the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, there were many thousands of Jews that believed, and they were all zealous of the law, the apostle James, who says so, one of them. (See Acts 21:2020And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: (Acts 21:20)). If we compare dates, too, we shall find that God, in long-suffering goodness and mercy, allowed the believing Jews to remain in “the camp” for perhaps thirty years after Pentecost, and so Christianity and Judaism were going on together for some years. (Acts 2:46-47; 21:20-2546And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:46‑47)
20And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. 23Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. (Acts 21:20‑25)
). But God had not told them to leave it as yet. However, after Paul had gone to Jerusalem, and, persuaded by James, gone to the temple worship again, to please the many thousands of Jews that believed, and had nearly lost his life at the hands of the unbelieving portion of Jewish worshipers, he was sent a prisoner to Rome, and probably from there wrote this very epistle (judging from dates); the Spirit of God using the apostle to call on the Christians in Judaism – Apostle James and all – to separate from the camp altogether; the time having come when God would no longer allow the two to go on, or appear to go on, together.
It was very trying for one brought up as a Jew in Paul’s day to obey this call, and so it is now in these days. But if we love Him who gave Himself for us, is not the way to show our love to Him to obey His commandments and His words? (See John 14:21,2321He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
). And if there is reproach promised us on obedience, let us not forget that it is His reproach. He has been through Himself, far worse than any of us ever did or ever will have to do; and His love and His power are with us and for us to carry us through – yes, and even to enable us to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for His sake.
But we are to “go forth unto Him without the camp.” Where, outside the camp, shall I find Him, and in what special way is He to be found there? Christian brother or sister, there is a special place outside the camp where the Lord vouchsafes to be, and to manifest Himself in a very special and peculiar manner to faith, and it is “where two or three are gathered together unto My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)). The place, then, is the two or three, or twenty or thirty, or two or three hundred, gathered together unto His name; and the special way and manner He vouchsafes to manifest Himself there to faith is not to be described in words. It is to be felt and enjoyed by those who believe and obey His words – His actual, but not, of course, bodily, presence in the midst. O, that all His dear people believed it!
I would add that this does not do away with ministry – divinely appointed ministry – in the church of God. There is a ministry; there are gifts given unto men; there are evangelists, pastors and teachers,”for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of (not a sect, but) the body of Christ.” The apostles we have in their writings. (See Eph. 4:11-1211And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11‑12)). But these gifts are not given to lead Christians in worship; they are as the members of one’s own natural body, for the use of the whole body; but the head is alone that which all are to look to, to lead and guide, especially in worship. And it is Christ who is the Head of His body, the church, of which all true Christians are members (1 Cor. 12:1212For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)). And He really does lead by His Spirit where He is owned as present and looked to as in the midst, and given His proper place – the place that only He has a right to, or is qualified to fill.
(Continued from page 220).
(To be Continued).