Outside the Camp

Hebrews 13:13

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (KJV)
Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (NKJV)
Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing abuse for him. (RSV)
Let us then go forth (from all that would prevent us) to Him outside the camp, (at Calvary), bearing the contempt and abuse and shame (with) Him. (Ampified)

1. What is the camp? It is anything where Christ is in name, not in reality, not enthroned supreme. I care not how ancient the authority may be. It may have all the authority of the law that Judaism claimed for itself; it may have all the antiquity which Rome claims for itself; it may have rules and regulations which appeal to men’s judgment as being right and proper; but wherever there is a human organization which displaces Christ, which is not according to the word of God as given us in the New Testament, - above all, wherever Christ is not directly and immediately recognized in absolute control by His Word and Spirit, - there you have the camp. (S. Ridout)

"Inside the veil" and "outside the camp" go together. Necessarily, for the true heavenly tabernacle has been always outside. While Judaism in the strict sense is what is here, yet every legal system comes under it in principle. Properly, there is indeed no real going back to Judaism. No one can reinstate it, or go back where prophets and holy men of old once were. That is impossible. To bring it back into Christianity was, as the Lord Himself has taught us, to make a synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9;
3:9). Of course, we have to remember that people now are brought up in systems of such a character, and that many of the Lord’s people are entangled in them. The system, of course, is no less evil for the lapse of centuries. It is rather the reverse. (F.W. Grant)

All earthly religious things are of the flesh, which has been forever rejected of God. Let no man build it up by religious forms, lest it prove his doom. My brother, church "membership" and "Christian service" will not do in Hebrews. "Within the veil....without the camp," describes and almost defines God’s saints here. Does it describe you? (W. Newell)

Summary: The city of Jerusalem became to the Jews what the camp was in the wilderness for the Israelites. Although the glory of the presence of God had left the city long ago, they still maintained that God could only be found there. Outwardly, the Jews had changed dramatically since the days of the Judges and the Kings. They no longer practiced idolatry. The temple, although it would be destroyed by the Romans in a few years, was still there. All the outward practices of the Old Testament, and many more added later, were rigorously and daily performed. The ritual was there, but the reality of God’s presence was missing. This is religion and the religious world of today is not different. One of the first real signs that the Spirit is working in the heart of a believer is the desire to get out of the religious system of ritualism. One of the first signs of spiritual decline is the desire to substitute ritualism for the inner working of the Holy Spirit.

2. What does it mean to go forth to Him? It is that which marks our separation. We talk about separating from this and that, and we must separate from many things; but, after all, the whole question of separation is settled for us by one word: we go forth "unto HIM." It is a small matter whether you have left this company of people and associated yourself with that company, but it is everything if you are identified with Christ in His reproach. If we have come outside the camp, we are not thinking so much of what we have left as the One to whom we have come. We go forth unto Him, and it is His presence that marks the separation from everything that is not of Him. (S. Ridout)

It is not without importance to understand that our Lord is here presented, not as the objective channel of the grace we ever need, but as the unrivalled leader and completer of faith in the whole extent of its course. He is viewed as leader and perfecter in the race of faith in its entirety. In a world departed from God the believer’s course lies through persecution, detraction, and hatred; and thus he must make his way with endurance or patience. (F. W. Grant)

Summary: The emphasis is not so much on being outside the camp, but rather on going forth to Him. Obviously, the New Testament makes it clear that if we make Him our object and we go forth to Him, then we will be outside the camp. Christ is not accepted in the camp; He was crucified outside the camp (Heb. 13:12). "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you ....If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father" (Jn. 15:18,24). We cannot be in two places. If we are going forth to Him, then we cannot be accepted in the religious camp.

3. What does it mean to bear His reproach? If there is anyone despised or reproached on earth, it is one openly holding a hope of heaven, yet having no connection with human "religion". Any man or woman who knows the true gospel is in a world where he will bear His reproach. "All that would live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). Let it be known that you believe the mere profession of "the Christian religion" to be a delusion, and you will at once find yourself bearing His reproach. The world will not have Christ Himself set before them as their Creator God, as the Redeemer at the cost of His own blood; as their appointed Judge. (W. Newell)

Let us be willing to be accounted the offscouring of all things (1 Cor. 4:13), not worthy to live, not worthy to die a common death. This was his reproach, and we must submit to it; and we have the more reason because, whether we go forth from this world to Christ or no, we must necessarily go forth in a little time by death; for here we have no continuing city (Heb. 13:14). Sin, sinners, death, will not suffer us to continue long here; and therefore we should go forth now by faith, and seek in Christ the rest and settlement which this world cannot afford us. (M. Henry)

Summary: No one likes being disliked. We naturally strive to be well-liked by as many people as possible. "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people" (Ps. 22:6). This is a position no man desires, yet this was the position of our Lord when He was here on earth. He was the Son, full of favor in heaven and He became the despised One here on earth. We are called upon to share His reproach. Moses greatly valued this place. "By faith Moses...refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,..... esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward" (Heb. 11:24,26). When we have passed from this scene to the next, the applause of this world will no longer be heard and the memory of it will seem fleeting and foolish. When the King finally takes His throne here on earth, what a privilege it will be to have shared a part of His reproach while He was rejected. "These are the names of the mighty men whom David had (in the time of his rejection)" and one by one God lists them all (2 Sam. 23). Will we be among them???