GOING OUTSIDE THE CAMP
"Let us go unto him, without the Camp, bearing
the reproach with him."--Heb. 13:13.
ISRAEL had become God's people in a particular sense, and had indicated their desire to be his people before they came into this "Camp" condition; and the "Camp" and all of the arrangement of the tribes and their relationship to the Tabernacle were significant of this fact. Nevertheless, they were not in accord with God, because of their imperfection. Hence, in order for them to remain in Covenant relationship with God, it was necessary for the priests to offer the Atonement Day sacrifices.
The Camp typified partly what now is a fact and partly a condition that will obtain during the Millennial Age. At that time many of the world of mankind will be desirous of being in accord with God--that is, in their hearts, they will prefer to be right rather than wrong; they will prefer to be in accord rather than out of accord; and this picture of the "Camp," we understand, represents all who will ultimately come into accord, all who will ultimately wish for righteousness and will desire to do God's will.
The "Camp" condition at the present time, however, we could not think would represent the world in the broad sense, but rather the worldly church. It would represent those who with more or less desire wish to be in accord with God and who profess his name, but through ignorance or superstition or love of the world are not in the proper attitude of heart to receive the deep things of God, the spiritual things, at the time in which this spiritual work, the work of Atonement, is being carried on. We do not understand that these were ever begotten of the Spirit. They are merely moral, or outward Christians-- the Christian world--Christendom. These, we understand, are now represented in the Camp condition. In our Lord's day the Camp condition did not represent Christendom, but the Jewish nation. It did not include Gentiles at all--the world in that sense of the word--but merely the Jewish nation, which typically represented all those who will desire to come into accord with God.
In his day, therefore, our Lord did not go outside to the Gentiles, and in speaking of the world he did not mean the heathen. When he said, "Marvel not if the world hate you; it hated me before it hated you," he was speaking of the world from the standpoint of natural Israel. The heathen were not taken into account, not having had sufficient knowledge to determine whether they would or would not be God's people.
But during this Gospel Age the Camp does not consist of the Jewish people because matters have changed. The Camp today represents Christendom. For our Lord in his day to have gone outside the Camp would have been to go outside the nominal church system of his time and to do the will of the Father irrespective of their support; and for us now to follow him thus outside the Camp would be to go outside of the present environments, viz., outside of Christendom, in the sense of ignoring the views and teachings, the approval, the snares, of Christendom. It would mean to go outside of their favor, outside of their influence and social position. The Camp condition here does not represent people who are aliens in the sense of being evil-intentioned or of wilfully rejecting God, but those who make some outward show and claim of being God's people.
Some might be inclined to ask why could it be understood with this view of the matter, that the Day of Atonement sacrifices, the sacrifices of this Gospel Age, are "in behalf of all the people," the entire world of mankind?
We answer that they are for all the people, in the sense that all people will have the opportunity of availing themselves of the privileges of these sacrifices, of the benefits derived therefrom; but, strictly speaking, they will not be for all the people, because they will be applicable only to those who will become, in the Millennial Age, true Israelites. If any one refuses the opportunity of becoming of the "Seed of Abraham" he will not get any benefit from the Atonement; he will be refusing his share of the ransom by refusing to come under the arrangement that will then obtain--that will then be opened up by the great Mediator. Just as in Israel's time, if there were any Gentiles who desired to become Jewish proselytes and who would conform to the terms and conditions appertaining to the joining of the Jewish nation, they might become Israelites with all the privileges of an Israelite; but if any declined those terms and conditions, then such failed to become Israelites, failed to get any of the blessings that were under the Mosaic Law. And similarly during the Millennial Age: Anyone who will refuse to come under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant, and to come into relationship with the Mediator, will fail to get the blessings, fail to get the restitution, and all the privileges that will come through restitution, and consequently will fail to gain eternal life.
In view of this answer the question may arise, In what sense does the nominal church system of today and the nominal church system of our Lord's day constitute a picture of that class which will be dealt with under the New Covenant arrangements of the future, as the people of God, the Israel of God, the Camp class?
We answer that because these people, the Jews in their day, and nominal Christians today, profess a desire to be in accord with God, profess to be his people, profess to desire to do his will, they are properly representative of this class who during the Millennial Age will be desirous of doing God's will. The people are now, through the various false theologies and the Great Adversary's misleading, mistaught doctrines of devils instead of the Truth; traditions of Elders instead of the Word of God. Men are now misinformed, but at that time they will hear the Lord's message and there will be no misunderstanding. The Lord "will turn unto the people a pure language," a pure message--so different from the teaching of the present time--no corruption, no defilement, no intermingling of Babylonish errors with Truth.
Our supposition is that today any one, other than a [R4607 : page 151] hypocrite, who is professing to be of the Church of Christ, would really desire to serve the interests of the Truth if he knew the Truth. Similarly the Jews in our Lord's day: Had they not been blinded by error and superstition, the majority, we suppose, would have preferred to be right rather than wrong. This is borne out by Peter's declaration when, on the Day of Pentecost, realizing that they and others of the nation had crucified the Messiah, he said, "I wot, brethren, that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." The majority were not opposed, but they were ignorant, and the true light had not as yet shone upon them. When this class in the future shall have been brought under the influence of the true light, we may expect that they will not be in opposition, but under the enlightenment then granted will become subjects of God's grace and will reach perfection; and all who will endure the testing at the end of the Millennial Age, when Satan shall be loosed for a little season to try the nations, will come unto life eternal, under the terms which God has provided.