Ep.280: Outside the Camp.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.

Hebrews 13 says,
  The high priest carries the blood of animals
        into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering,
        but the bodies are burned outside the camp.
  Likewise, Jesus suffered outside the city gate
         to make the people holy through his own blood.
  Let us, then, go to him outside the camp,
        bearing his reproach.
        For here we do not have an enduring city,
            but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Heb 13:11-13)

First, about the camp. The Book of Numbers tells us that, after the Israelite slaves escaped Egypt, about 600,000 men and their families camped out in the desert (Num 1:46). This made a rather large camp. In contrast, the nine-day Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, has a maximum attendance one seventh that large–80,000 campers.  

The largest camp in the world today, located at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is a refugee camp for 600,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. 

At the centre of the Israelite desert camp was the Tent of Meeting, a portable worship place. This tent was like the computer room in a modern business, which only high priests of technology may enter, swiping their coded key cards, performing their service of worship, and retreating quickly to the outer courts of the temple. 

In the Israelite religion, priests who sacrificed animals and entered the tent were permitted to eat the sacrificial meat. But on the annual Day of Atonement, when the high priest sprinkled blood in the Most Holy Place, the animals that supplied that blood were taken outside the camp and burned.

What role do you think the author of Hebrews gives Jesus in the day of atonement ceremony? Earlier, the author assigned Jesus the role of high priest. But in Hebrews 13, Jesus gets the role of a sacrificial animal that is taken outside the camp and burned. 

Perhaps an apt metaphor. Jesus carried his cross to an unclean place outside Jerusalem, where he was crucified and his body disposed of. 

The author invites us to go outside the camp with Jesus, sharing his rejection. 

Let’s pray. 

Our father, through many sermons we have grown accustomed to seeing Jesus as our high priest, taking his blood into your holy presence for our cleansing. It’s a stretch to think of him as an animal whose body is discarded in the desert. 

As we receive his forgiveness and cleansing, teach us to follow him outside the camp. 


I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.  

YouTube channel: Pray with Me – YouTube