Outside the Camp

Feb 19, 2023 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Hebrews: Greater Than Scripture: Hebrews 13:10-14
Lest these Jewish believers in Jesus who are receiving this letter imagine that their new-found faith be inferior to that of their fathers, the author once again emphasizes the superiority of Christ. In verse 10 he writes: we have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. In other words, our sacrifice is better than theirs. In contrast to the strange teachings about physical food offered in a physical tabernacle, in Christ they had superior “food” offered on a superior altar, one in which their fathers had no right to eat. Most agree that this alludes to the Yom Kippor sacrifice (Leviticus 16) which was commanded to be burned and not eaten by the priests. Comparing Hebrews 13:11 with Leviticus 16:27 make this quite clear; after the high priest made an offering of the blood of the sacrifice, the flesh and carcass of the animal was to be burned outside the camp (the very same language in both texts). Likewise, Jesus, in His flesh, suffered on Golgotha’s hill which was outside the gate of the holy city of Jerusalem – a place where carcasses were disposed of, and criminals executed. The author finally calls on his audience to follow Jesus outside the camp and bear His reproach (v. 13). The meaning of verse 13 has been debated. But what is clear is that salvation and eternal life could not be found within the confines of the old religious system. Rather salvation can be found at a different altar – namely the cross on which Jesus died. It is as we take up our cross and follow Jesus, that we often bear reproach for our faith; however, we do not lose heart, because we look forward to the eternal city which is to come.