“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 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.”
The Cross fulfills the Levitical offerings. Therefore the Brazen Altar of the Levitical priesthood has been removed. It is replaced by the Cross. The new altar is based on grace. The representative sacrifices performed before the Brazen Altar are replaced by the doctrines of the Church Age.
The altar refers to the function of the Royal Priesthood in contrast to the function of the Levitical priesthood. The Church Age altar represents the entrance into the plan of God by way of the Cross. The altar of the Royal Family of God is the Cross. The key to our altar is grace, and grace is portrayed by reconciliation (represented by peace offering of the Old Testament). The sin offering and the transgression offering of the Old Testament represent the principle of Rebound, and Rebound is also a grace principle. The altar of the Royal Priesthood is where believers represent themselves before God. The same principles that were portrayed by the Levitical offerings and sacrifices such as Rebound are still valid in the Church Age but carried out in a different way.
You and I must have an altar in the soul if we are going to function as Royal Priests. We must have a system of guidance and power from Bible doctrine and the filling of the Holy Spirit. If your life is influenced by someone around you, by trying to please that someone, by trying to get ahead, by inordinate ambition, by lust, by desire for happiness or blessing apart from God’s plan, it is going to destroy you just as certainly as a ship without a rudder is going to wreck. You must be able to face life and not have to rely on someone else. We have stability when we build our spiritual building at the altar of Bible doctrine - by the study and application of it and in no other way!
The Jewish altar was a literal brass altar, it was physical. It has been replaced by the altar of the Royal Family which is not a literal altar — it is literal in the sense that Bible doctrine is real but it is not a visible altar in that Bible doctrine in the soul is not visible to others around you. While the Jewish altar was composed of literal objects representing future events, the altar of the Royal Priesthood is composed of doctrine. Our altar is made up of words, thoughts, categories, principles and promises. The altar of the past priesthood was made up of literal objects. An altar always connotes sacrifice and there are many sacrifices necessary to be consistent in the intake of Bible doctrine. You have to come to the altar of doctrine to build that inner relationship with God. In order to glorify God you have to take in doctrine consistently and it can be a sacrifice to do. But it is a sacrifice that has eternal reward.
The reality of the type, Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, had to fulfill the type (bodies burned outside the camp) by suffering outside of the gate (of Jerusalem). Remember that Christ fulfilled the Law even in His death. He died as the payment for the sins of the world which was depicted by the sacrificial lamb. Christ’s blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat symbolically just as the lamb’s blood was physically.
Inside the gate represented religion where the Law was still being practiced and had for the most part excluded anyone who was not Jewish. When Christ died outside the gates of Jerusalem it was demonstrating the fact that salvation was not exclusively for the Jews, but for all mankind. So the writer encourages his readers to go outside the religion of the Law and embrace a new law, the Law of Christ. In bearing His reproach (insult and injury) you may bear the same reproach that he suffered at the hands of His people, the Jews. Perhaps this was a reason these believers had placed themselves back under the Law (to avoid the reproach of family and friends).
In order to endure any reproach, they were encouraged to have a personal sense of destiny by understanding that a believer’s real home is eternal, not temporal. Jesus had gone to prepare a place for these believers as He has for us. With a personal sense of destiny comes a relaxed mental attitude when reproached by others, even if they are loved-ones.
So “reproach” in these passages means to be insulted, to be censored, to be reviled, to be ridiculed, to be rejected by religion and by legalism. The reproach of Christ means that you are totally separated from religion and legalism, it means that you are separated from anything else that distracts you from occupation with the Person of Christ.
It also means censor and rejection by Satan’s world system and sometimes means rejection or active persecution. Why? Because religion cannot tolerate the principle of “live and let live.” Religion despises the principle of freedom and privacy. Religion lines up with the doctrine of demons, which is Human Viewpoint Thinking. Religion is always antagonistic toward Bible doctrine. Religion is therefore antagonistic toward grace, toward privacy, and toward freedom. The grace-oriented believer finds himself, therefore, forced outside of the camp of religion, outside of the camp of this world system. The “altar” of Bible doctrine resident in the soul is in direct opposition, therefore, to the “altar” of religion and legalism. In this way we come to share the reproach of Jesus Christ. But we do not share this reproach until we have begun to advance toward spiritual maturity because it is Satan’s desire to stop all spiritual advance.
Separation is a decision or an action which stems from the Bible doctrine in the soul. The filling of the Spirit with no doctrine means the believer is off-balance. The filling of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean a thing as far as function is concerned until you have doctrine in your soul. The filling of the Holy Spirit functions from the intake of doctrine but the Holy Spirit does not produce any significant action in your life until you are advancing to maturity. Separation comes after the doctrine, and the doctrine does all of the dictating as to how you separate. Separation, therefore, is produced by the activation of the “altar of Bible doctrine” in the soul. Separation must be related to the construction of the altar for the function of the Royal Priesthood. Separation must be based on doctrine. The more Bible doctrine you understand, the more separation from things that and people who distract you spiritually.
The first place where you are to separate is from certain believers. There are certain types of carnal believers from whom you must separate or risk becoming involved in their carnality. (I Corinthians 5:10-11). You are to separate from reversionistic believers. (II Thessalonians 3:6-15) You are to separate from religion, emotionalism, and legalism. (Hebrews 13:13) Separation must also be related to certain aspects of social life. (I Peter 4:4) We are to separate from certain unbelievers. We work with unbelievers, we have friends who are unbelievers, parents who are unbelievers, even children who are unbelievers. You separate from an unbeliever when doctrine is at risk of being compromised. Example: a believer should never marry an unbeliever. Doctrine says no! (II Corinthians 6:14; Hebrews 13:13)
You are to be separated from worldliness. Worldliness is not something you do. It is not going to a night club, it is not having a good time and laughing and playing, it is not enjoying life. Worldliness is actually lack of Bible doctrine in the soul producing human viewpoint. Worldliness is something you think, not something you do. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service of worship. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, namely that it is good and acceptable and perfect.” Being transformed from the world or from “worldliness” is the renewing of the mental attitude. Worldliness is a mental attitude of human viewpoint. You can be worldly doing a lot of things: reading your Bible, going out in the morning to get the paper, having a good time, having a bad time. You can be worldly and miserable at the same time. Worldliness is not sophistication, dancing, etc., worldliness is something you think. It is what you are thinking, not where you are. Separation from worldliness can only be accomplished by building an altar of Bible doctrine in your soul. Worldliness is lack of applied doctrine and the answer to separation from worldliness is maximum doctrine resident in the soul so that you think divine viewpoint.
You are to be separate from apostate groups. (I Corinthians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:5) These passages all demand that the believer separate from any group that separates him from his right pastor and the ministry of his right pastor. Separation from apostasy comes from staying under the ministry of your own right pastor.
A common question is “Why am I here?” For the answer we go back to a time in eternity past in Heaven. There was a time in Heaven when no evil existed. However, due to arrogance, evil was introduced. Lucifer was the highest-ranking angel in Heaven and the most beautiful creature to ever come from the hand of God. Lucifer became full of pride and due to arrogance (a mental attitude sin) he rebelled against God and persuaded one third of the angels to join him in this rebellion. As a result, the name Lucifer, which means son of the morning, was changed to Satan, which means adversary or accuser. Satan and his followers were cast out of Heaven and sentenced to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. Satan apparently appealed his sentence saying “How can a loving God send His creatures to the Lake of Fire?” Man was created in order to resolve this appeal from Satan. (Mark 5; 8:38; I Timothy 5:2; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15; Revelation 12:4, 20:10; Matthew 25:41)
Man was created lower in order than angels, yet he was created in the image (with the invisible essence of the soul) and likeness (with a unique personality) of God. (Genesis 1:27) There was, however, one characteristic that was common to both man and angels – volition – the free will to choose for or against God. Satan and his followers (now designated as fallen angels or demons) had rejected God’s grace plan of salvation. Man was created to demonstrate to Satan that God’s sentence was fair. Even though God loved the angels, He could not violate His justice and righteousness by changing His character to accommodate them. When some of them rejected God’s plan of salvation they were fairly sentenced to the Lake of Fire. As we know, man (Adam) deliberately sinned against God and as a result died spiritually. Unlike Satan and the fallen angels, Adam (and Eve) accepted God’s plan of salvation.
By accepting God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, it is demonstrated to Satan how God can save a creature and still be consistent with His justice and righteousness. (Genesis 2:17) If just one person accepted God’s plan of salvation, it is enough to prove that He is fair and just. Now perhaps you can understand why Satan and his demons are doing everything in their power to keep people from trusting Christ as Savior and to distract believers from their spiritual lives.
Since we, as believers in Christ, are here to resolve the conflict between God and Satan, it is important for us to be credible witnesses for the prosecution, God. This means that it is our job to demonstrate God’s grace to the angelic host at salvation and in the Christian Way of Life.
One way in which we can demonstrate God’s grace in our lives is through a Personal Sense of Destiny. This means that we must learn exactly who we are in Christ and what we have as a result. A personal sense of destiny gives the believer capacity for life by producing spiritual self-esteem. Spiritual self-esteem means that you have discovered who you are in Christ. God never gives us more blessing than we have the capacity to receive. (James 4:1-8, Isaiah 30:18) God also never gives us more testing than we are able to endure. (I Corinthians 10:12-13; Romans 14:10-13) Capacity for life replaces the temporary pleasures of the world with the eternal happiness of God. (Galatians 6:6-10) Capacity is increased by spending a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God, consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine and using Divine Viewpoint Thinking.
A personal sense of destiny takes you from spiritual babyhood to the beginning stages of spiritual adulthood. You begin to grow up in Christ and realize all the wonderful things that God has done for you, is doing for you and is going to do for you. You begin to see His work in your past, your present and your future. This causes you to put aside anything in your life that is a distraction to your spiritual life. And it causes you to keep looking to Jesus as your only real hope (confidence) for lasting peace and happiness. Finally, a personal sense of destiny will cause you to live your life in light of eternity. (Hebrews 12:1-2)