For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (Hebrews 13:11-13)
If the early disciples had to go outside the gates of Judaism in order to be with the One who bore their sins, what about the gates of modern Christianity? What reproach is there to bear in a religion favored by the state, one integrated and accepted into its secular culture?
Today, more than ever, a moderate Christian has the best chance of being elected to any office at any level of government, whether he is politically conservative or liberal. With Christians in high office from the White House on down, and the phenomenal success of Christian books, music and movies, Evangelicals are in the mainstream of American culture more than ever before.1 Does being in the mainstream qualify as outside the camp?
To be "outside the camp" was something disgraceful to Jews because it meant to be separated from the national religion, the status quo.1 The Jews in Jesus' day had no concept that they were not the children of Abraham. They thought that just because they were born in Israel, grew up in Jewish families, and were bar mitzvah at age 13, then this meant they were Abraham's children. But Jesus told them that if they were Abraham's children, they would do the deeds of Abraham. In other words, their life would produce the same fruit as did Abraham, a man who was called out of his land to live in tents until he found "the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God."2
Many Christians think that because they were born in a Christian society, raised in Christian families, and baptized in Christian churches, this makes them Christ's disciples. But are they really concerned with discipleship, or just with what is socially acceptable? Jesus is the same now as He was then; therefore His disciples will do the deeds of love He did, following Him and obeying Him. Would Jesus find this fruit in Christianity, or would He have to go outside the camp of Christianity to re-establish His life today? If so, His servants would follow Him there.3
The call to go outside the camp and bear His reproach is a call to Christians to do what Abraham and Moses did:4
"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." (Heb 10:24-27)
Just as Moses chose to bear the reproach of being identified with God's people rather than enjoy the comfort and privilege of his life in Egypt,5 so must Christ's disciples bear the same reproach that He bore.
Anything outside the camp is considered strange religion. Those in the religious establishment would say, "How could anyone worship Jesus outside the gate of the City?" But on the day of Pentecost Peter cried out saying, "Save yourselves from this perverse and wicked generation!" (i.e., the religion of Judaism6). When Christ abandoned Judaism, the religious establishment demanded that the state execute Him. And Mark 10:30 promises persecution also to all who follow Christ. Moreover, John 16:1-3 shows that it will be the religious people who do the persecuting (or have the state do it for them).
Anything outside the camp of Christianity today is considered to be a cult. But Revelation 18:4 still stands: "Come out of her, My people" -- come outside the camp and bear His reproach.7 The true restoration will bear Christ's reproach, the earthly disgrace He received.
When Jesus spoke of the restoration of all things in Mark 9:12, He was talking about the witness of the Kingdom in Matthew 24:14. This demonstration of God's love in the last days will not fail. As the prophet Daniel said, it will not be left to another people.8 The time is drawing near when the good news of the Kingdom will be preached to the world as a witness and testimony of the truth. That time will come, and that witness must come from outside the camp of the organized religion (all the established denominational churches, including Greek and Roman). That witness will come from a holy nation9 that will ignite a movement fueled by the new wine. It will take to the ends of the earth this good news of the coming Kingdom.10 In order to set the evidence before all the world, every truth which has been corrupted, tainted, falsified, or hidden must be exposed. As Luke 1:79 says, this pure knowledge will enlighten the hearts11 of those who sit in the darkness that covers the earth. Wisdom will be proven right by her children who accomplish this.
The restored Twelve Tribes of Jacob spoken about in Isaiah 49:6 will be raised up from the dust outside the camp of both Judaism and Christianity.12 This nation will ignite a flame of love that will sweep across every nation, fulfilling Matthew 21:43 and being the witness of Matthew 24:14. The life demonstrated by this witness will lift up a banner for the nations to bring their sons and daughters to.13 This objective banner or standard will issue the criterion and be the basis to distinguish those who serve God from those who don't.14 Those who serve Him where He is15 will be in plain view so that people from the nations can come to that life that is the light of men. There they will learn to obey all that Jesus commanded His apostles.16 This gospel will bring about the holy nation of 1 Peter 2:9-10 that fulfills John 13:34-35 and John 17:23. It is His standard and that standard will be a light to the nations in this age, bringing Salvation to the ends of the earth.