Inside the Veil, Outside the Camp.

F. H. B.

Christian Friend vol. 19, 1892, p. 11.

There are two things which characterize a Christian in contrast to a Jew; his place before God is inside the veil, and as to this world it is outside the camp. The Jew's place in this world was inside the camp, but he never went inside the veil. It was an intermediate position, between that of the Gentile world outside all the privileges of God's people, and that of Christians who are brought into the place of greatest nearness to God inside the veil, that is, into His immediate presence, in heaven itself. The tabernacle was the figure of the heavenly things to which the believer now belongs. What characterizes the holiest is that all things are of God, and Christ fills the place. There was the shekinah glory, and everything was pure gold, the symbol of divine righteousness.

"God's righteousness with glory bright,

Which with its radiance fills that sphere."

There was the ark, with the golden pot of manna, and Aaron's rod, and the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, and the golden censer from which arose the fragrance of the sweet incense; all of which things speak of Christ, His glory, His work, His present service, His personal excellencies. But nothing of sin and nothing of the natural man could ever enter there.*

*Under the Jewish economy the natural man was recognized and had a standing before God. Man in the flesh was then before God, the object of His dealings. But the way into the holiest was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing; and man never could and never did enter in. Aaron alone had the title of access.

Consequently the way was never opened until Christ had died, when the first man was condemned and set aside for ever. It is important to remark, that in His death not only were our sins atoned for, so that God might be able to say righteously, "Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more;" but in His death also, God, having sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh for ever, so that we might know that we are delivered from the Adam race, the race of those who were conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity, and who, as born of woman, were altogether unclean and totally unfit for the presence of God. It is not only true that our sins shut us out from the presence of God, but we also were shut out as unclean in nature, belonging to a sinful race. Therefore our bodies needed to be washed with pure water; we needed to be cleansed from our sinful state. Now water is in Scripture the symbol of death. Nothing but death, Christ's death, could cleanse us. Out of His pierced side came forth both blood and water. In the consecration of the priests, and in the cleansing of the leper, they were bathed in each case in water. We have, as it were, passed through death in Christ dying for us, and that in the sight of God has ended our life and state in Adam; it is judged and gone in His death. It is not in any way improved, the Adam life is not washed, but the believer is washed, he is freed from his former condition; and, being made partaker of a new nature, the nature of Christ, the second Man, he is identified with Christ as his life; and in this life he lives before God, and thus viewed he is clean every whit. It is by the Word that the truth of this is brought home to the soul, and so the Word morally cleanses the believer, creating in him a new nature, new springs of life, tastes, and desires which are according to God, and so separating him from the manner of life which characterizes the natural man.

The Sanctifier and the sanctified ones are all of one; they are of one kind, of one nature. (Heb. 2:11.) It is because we are thus of His kind, His nature, that He is not ashamed to call us brethren. As priests we belong to the house of the great High Priest - thus through the death of Christ we are made fit for the presence of God. We belong to a new race, of which Christ, the great High Priest, is the head and source. This He became in resurrection, and in this way we have been made meet for the holiest. The way has been initiated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. It was needful not only that He should become flesh, but also that He should die; the veil must be rent to open the way for us into the holiest. When we are in the holiest we are in spirit outside that which is of man naturally, and outside all that belongs to this world. We are not occupied with our sins, ourselves, or our circumstances; we are in a sphere where none of these things can enter. If I am occupied with myself I am not in the holiest, though of course every saint has a title to be there, boldness to enter in; but to be actually there is another matter. When I am there, instead of being occupied with my sins and myself, I am occupied with Christ, with God Himself; here all things are of God, and Christ is everything. Consequently I am there as a worshipper: the more I am occupied with God, knowing Him according to the revelation He. has given of Himself, the more I bless Him for what He is; and the more I see of the personal glory of Jesus, and am occupied with what He has done for me, and His present ministry, the more my heart is drawn out in praise. We could not, therefore, be in the holiest without praising and worshipping God. This is what delights the heart of God; such is His love that nothing satisfies Him but having His people in His own presence, and perfectly free and happy there to enjoy Himself. We are brought into this inside place of communion, we belong to this place, we are at home there. The Jew never got inside and never will; this is a privilege God's grace has reserved for Christians.

But then, if as to God and heaven our place is inside, in relation to this world our place is outside, and that whether we look at the world religiously or politically. We are associated with Christ in the place of reproach. Here we have no abiding city, no settled place; but we seek the coming one. The camp and the earthly city rejected Christ - He suffered without the gate. The camp represents a worldly system of religion, adapted to the natural man. It was originally ordained of God, and suited to man in the flesh; that is the condition in which God found him at that time. It did not require a new nature or spiritual power to worship God according to this system of worldly religion; it consisted in hearing, seeing, and doing that which could be appreciated by the natural senses. But as in the case of the golden calf the camp rejected God, so that Moses had to pitch the tabernacle outside the camp, and they that sought the Lord went out unto it, so in a later day the camp rejected God in the person of Jesus, who suffered without the gate. God has therefore rejected the camp; that is, the whole system of Judaism which had originally been ordained by Him. In it God's mind was not satisfied, His will was not accomplished; it did not enable man to draw nigh to God, but rather proved the utter impossibility of the natural man approaching God according to His pleasure.

There is in our time what answers to the camp. That is, men have imitated that which God once ordained; they have adapted religion to the capabilities and tastes of the natural man, with the object of teaching man in the flesh to worship and serve God. It is a worldly system; that is, it is adapted to man as alive in the world, and adopts worldly means, all that tends, as they say, to make religion attractive to the young. For example, music, imposing ritual, services of song, theatrical performances, bazaars, "pleasant evenings," etc. It follows as a matter of necessity that if the natural man - that is, man in his unconverted state - is to be a worshipper, religion must be adapted to his capacities and tastes. But all this is the very opposite of Christianity, in which man in the flesh has been utterly condemned and rejected in the cross as sinful, unprofitable, incapable. (John 12:31; Rom. 6:6; Gal. 6:14.) The believer accepts this for himself, and thus puts off the old man. (Gal. 2:20.) Instead of adapting religion to the flesh, or bringing in or allowing what is of the flesh in the service of God, he acknowledges that he has put off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Instead of taking the ground of being alive as a natural man in the world he confesses that he is dead with Christ, and risen with Him.

Thus we see that what answers to the camp today, though professing the name of Christ, really rejects the cross, and Christ as He is now known by Christians, that is, as crucified in the flesh, and as a risen Man living in a new condition, the beginning of a new creation, the Head of a heavenly people. Consequently the place for all faithful saints is to go forth outside this whole system of worldly religion to Christ, who is outside it, and to bear the reproach still connected with a true confession of His Name. It is quite impossible for anyone who is identified with this worldly religion, to enjoy the privilege of the saint's heavenly place within the veil - the two things are totally incompatible. We have seen that the way into the holiest is through the veil, that is, His flesh, or, in other words, the death of Christ, which condemns and shuts out everything of the natural man. Therefore that which corresponds to the enjoyment of our heavenly privilege inside the veil, is taking our place down here outside the camp, in fellowship with a rejected Christ. The two positions are so intimately associated that one cannot be known without the other. A saint who does not accept the place of reproach outside the camp, does not enjoy the privilege of being inside the veil, although he knows that he has the title to enter in.

There is another truth to be considered here in connection with the city. A city in scripture represents a political centre or system. Jerusalem, which was properly the centre of God's government on the earth, rejected and crucified the Lord Jesus, so that now there is no political system on the earth which is owned of God. The world as a political system is judged of God. (John 12:31; John 16:11.) The devil is the head of it, the usurper is still in power. (John 14:30; 1 John 5:9.) Instead of the earthly Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem is the centre of God's government, and the place where the believer has his place and portion. We are come to the heavenly Jerusalem. (Heb. 12:22.) Our commonwealth (that is, the associations of our life) is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20.) Here we have no continuing city, we have no settled dwelling-place on earth, but we have one in heaven. We are seated in the heavenly places in Christ, we look for the coming city, the heavenly Jerusalem, to be displayed another day as the centre of God's government. Thus, if we think of the world religiously or politically, Christ's place, and ours as Christians, is outside it. F. H. B.