Summary: Sermon 28 (and last) in a study in HEBREWS
“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.” NASB
The writer of this great letter to the HEBREWS, with this first verse of the thirteenth chapter, begins his final exhortations and salutations. Based upon all that has been taught so far, these are the behaviors that should characterize the person who has the Spirit of this Christ, our Great High Priest living in and through them.
He speaks of relationships to one another as believers, how we should present ourselves to strangers and those outside the fellowship of the faith, he touches on the importance of a holy and Godly marriage. Then the writer speaks of personal priorities that would distinguish the Christ-follower in his thinking from those whose thinking is of this world and this passing life.
Don’t love money. In other words, don’t put your trust in the temporary and shaky supports this world offers. We are living in a time, are we not, when many people are discovering how very shaky their foundations are?
But it is the place of the born again Christian to put his or her trust fully on the strength of the One who promised that He would never leave or forsake us, and to confidently, not arrogantly but confidently, say ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid’.
I don’t want to just do a running commentary of this chapter, though there is very much to teach and to learn in it, but we have to sharpen our focus today, so I’ll ask you to skip down with me to verse 10 and let’s glean what we can in so short a time from this comparison the author makes, and the types he presents, and the exhortation he applies to our lives in this section from verse 10 through 15.
The references he makes here would have resonated very clearly in the minds of his Jewish readers and hearers, but for our own understanding we need to go first to the book of Numbers, chapter 19, and read about this ordinance concerning the red heifer. I’ll read verses 1 through 10 and you may just listen or turn there and follow along.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed. 3 ‘You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. 4 ‘Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 ‘Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned. 6 ‘The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer. 7 ‘The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 ‘The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. 9 ‘Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin. 10 ‘The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.”
This would be the instruction for what came to be known as the Day of Atonement, the second of the Fall holy days, coming between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles.
There is another reference to this instruction in Leviticus 16:27 if anyone cares to look it up later.
Now what we have before us in this is a type of God’s dealing with sin. The sacrifice, a young cow with no blemish, is taken outside the borders of the camp and killed there. If you have ever studied the account of the deliverance of the Children of Israel from Egypt and the ordinances for the meal they were to eat on the night the firstborn of Egypt were killed, you will remember that God’s instruction through Moses to the people was that they were to take a year old unblemished male lamb and sacrifice it. We know this as a type or a foreshadowing of Jesus, who was a young Man at the age men are considered to be in their prime, unblemished in that He had no sin, and that He was the Sacrifice of God for the sin of the world.