Exodus 29:14 But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its offal outside the camp. It is a sin offering. This is an interesting part of the complex instructions given […]
Exodus 29:14 But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its offal outside the camp. It is a sin offering.
This is an interesting part of the complex instructions given to Moses concerning the consecration of the Aaronic Priesthood. All the slaughtering and shedding of blood was done at the altar in the HEART of the Temple that represented the LORD’s PRESENCE among his people. For sinful Man to have access to a HOLY God there had to be a SUBSTITUTIONARY death, or shedding of life-blood, in order to redeem the sinner, turning back God’s righteous wrath against sin. The appropriate place for this to happen was therefore in the heart of the Temple.
But there also needed to be a symbolic representation of the fact that God’s holiness could not tolerate sin, so after the shedding of the blood the remainder of the sacrificed bull was to be burnt ‘outside the camp’.
All of this, of course, was foreshadowing the once-for-all, one true sacrifice that Jesus would make with his own flesh and blood to give real currency to all this OT symbolism (cf Romans 3:25-26). Jesus began his journey to his sacrificial death inside the ‘establishment’ in Jerusalem, having blood spilling from the crown of thorns pressed on his head and carrying his cross from there, but he was taken OUTSIDE the City to be crucified.
In God’s Plan of Redemption, JESUS was made a ‘sin offering’ for US (cf 2 Corinthians 5:21). “There is a green hill FAR AWAY, OUTSIDE a city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all.” (Cecil Frances Alexander).
The Author of Hebrews was writing to Jewish Christians who were feeling the sting of being ostracised from their old ways, ways that were so much an integral part of their upbringing and all that they held dear, so much so that they were wondering if they had made a wise decision in following Jesus … so he says to them, “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him OUTSIDE THE CAMP, bearing the disgrace he bore.” (Hebrews 13:12-13). It seems to me that, more and more for us, remaining faithful to Jesus will mean being alienated by the ‘establishment’ of our culture, and it is good therefore to reflect on these things. As Jesus hung on the cross, outside the city wall, he was a ‘Beloved Son’ FORSAKEN by his righteous heavenly Father, and he warned us that he could not promise an easy road for those who choose to follow him!