Hebrews Chapter 13 Second Continued
Verses 10-14: “We have an altar”: Does the author mean “we Christians” or “we Jews”? In light of the following verses, “we Jews” provides the clearer thought. The argument of (verse 11), is that there were times within the Jewish ritual when even the priests could not eat of the sacrifice (e.g., the Day of Atonement).
Rather, the flesh was taken outside the camp and burned (Lev. 16:27). So now also, as the believer’s sin offering, Christ has been separated from the camp of Levitical worship. Those who have turned to Him for redemption must also join Him outside the camp. “For here have we no continuing city” may be a foreboding of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction.
Even if there were no prophetic intent within the author’s statement, God is about to remove the temptation for Jewish Christians to return to the sacrificial ritual of the Jerusalem temple. This occurred in A.D. 70 when Titus, the Roman, destroyed the temple and Jerusalem.
The writer presents an analogy for the believers’ identification with Christ in His rejection by Jews. The bodies of animals offered on the Day of Atonement were not eaten but burned “outside the camp” (Lev. 4:22; 16:27). Jesus, who was the ultimate atoning sacrifice, was similarly crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem (John 19:17).
Figuratively, believers must join Him outside the camp of the world no longer being a part of its unholy systems and practices (2 Tim. 2:4). By extension, this would also depict the departure from the Levitical system. The uncommitted Hebrews needed to take the bold step of leaving that system and being outside the camp of Old Covenant Israel.
Hebrews 13:10 “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.”
“An altar”: The altar, the offerer, and the sacrifice are all closely related. Association with an altar identifies the offerer with the sacrifice. With certain offerings, the individual further identified himself with the altar and sacrifice by eating some of the sacrifice.
The Apostle Paul referred to this relationship to an altar when giving instruction to the Corinthians regarding eating meant offered to idols (1 Cor. 9:13), and regarding the observation of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:18). Here, the altar is equivalent to the sacrifice of Christ, especially as seen in the comparison to the Day of Atonement.
The Christian has an altar in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God. Only the believers in Christ partake of this sacrifice.
John 6:53 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the earth. If you do not partake of Jesus, then you are not saved. We see in the next Scripture that the high priest and the priests ate the flesh of the sacrifice. This is their living.
1 Corinthians 9:13 “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?”
We could go into detail here how the high priest in the tabernacle was a shadow of the true High Priest. The priests symbolize the believers of Christ. Those who serve the tabernacle are under the law and have no part in the perfect Lamb sacrifice (Jesus Christ).
Hebrews 13:11 “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.”
Exodus 29:14 “But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it [is] a sin offering.”
Leviticus 4:5-7 “And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:” “And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.” “And the priest shall put [some] of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which [is] in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which [is at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
All of this is a type and shadow of the sacrifice that Jesus (the Lamb of God), will make for us. His blood will abolish the Christian’s sin. The blood of this animal above just covers the sin for one year.
Hebrews 13:12 “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”
The Hebrews would not kill anyone within the city wall, so Jesus was crucified outside the city wall. They did not intentionally fulfill the practice of taking the sacrifice for sin without the camp. This is just what happened though. This burning of the flesh of the animal, was to show the terribleness of sin to the Father. Father God could not look upon sin, He would burn it up.
The blood of the animal that was carried into the most holy place was symbolic of the precious blood of the Lamb, which would be carried to the most Holy Place of all (the throne of God). Sanctify means to make holy and means set aside for a purpose.
John 17:19 “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
Hebrews 13:13 “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”
We see in this Scripture above that we too must not look to this world for our salvation. We must go out to where Jesus is. We must not be ashamed of the cross. It is where we meet Jesus. We must even move out of religion to the true God. We must not have just a form of religion, but must depend upon the blood of the Lamb for our offering for sin.
It is important that we too go out of the city (world), and crucify our flesh that we might live in the spirit. The sin of this world and the call of the flesh cannot be part of our life, if we are a Christian. We must be willing to give up all for God.
2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:”
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Hebrews 13:14 “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
Abraham, the father of all who believe in Christ, was looking for a city whose maker is God. He dwelted in tents, waiting for the time he would find this city of God. Christians are just pilgrims passing through. We too are looking for the city of God (New Jerusalem).
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 “For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” “For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” “Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:” “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” “We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
This can all be summed up in the words of a song we Christians sing. This world is not my home, I am just passing through. Our home is in heaven somewhere beyond the blue.
Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.”
“Praise … thanks”: As seen throughout the book of Hebrews, sacrifices were extremely important under the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant, God desires the praise and thanksgiving of His people rather than offerings of animals or grain.
Since New Testament believers are all priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), they have offerings of praise and thanks to God (Rom. 12:1). The “sacrifice of praise” or thanksgiving is also mentioned (in Lev. 7:12; Psalm 54:6).
The last 10 chapters of the book of Psalms are about praising God. If you want to feel the presence of God, you can, when you praise Him. God inhabits the praises of His people. We see in the next Scriptures what Christians should do.
Ephesians 5:19-20 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
We cannot even praise God in our own name. We must do all things in the name of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:16 “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
The sacrifices of praise coming from the lips of God’s people please Him only when accompanied by loving action (Isa. 58:6-7; James 1:27; 1 John 3:18).
Just as we said above, everything we do is in the name of Jesus. We mentioned in a previous lesson that anything we do for others is as if we had done it for God.
Micah 6:7-8 “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, [or] with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn [for] my transgression, the fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul?” “He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
You cannot do anything directly for God. The way we show our love to Him is by doing good to those around us.
Luke 6:35-36 “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.” “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
I will give one more Scripture on how Christians should conduct their lives.
Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Hebrews Chapter 13 Second Continued Questions
- Who is the Christian’s altar in?
- Who are the only ones who can partake of the sacrifice of Jesus?
- Except ye eat the ______ of the Son of man, and drink his _____, ye have no life in you.
- What did the priests and high priest live off?
- The high priest of the tabernacle was a shadow of whom?
- Who are the priests symbolic of?
- What happened to the bodies of the beasts, whose blood was brought into the sanctuary?
- Who brought the blood into the Holiest place?
- How many times did he sprinkle the blood before the Lord?
- Jesus’ blood will ________ the sin of the Christian.
- Where did Jesus suffer that he might sanctify the people?
- What was the burning of the flesh of the animal for?
- Where is the most holy place of all?
- What 2 things does sanctify mean?
- What message is intended for the Christian, when it says ( let us go forth without the camp)?
- I am crucified with ______.
- Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but ______ liveth in me.
- We have no continuing city, but we seek what?
- What was Abraham to the believers?
- If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have what?
- While we are at home in the body we are _____ _____ ___.
- What can this all be summed up in?
- Where is Christ sitting?
- Set your affection on things______.
- What sacrifice should we offer to God continually?
- What are the last 10 chapters of Psalms all about?
- What are the Christians told to do in the 5th chapter of Ephesians?
- If we speak, we should speak as what?
- What sacrifices are pleasing to God in Hebrews 13:16?
- How are we to treat our enemies?
- Be ye ________ as your Father is _________.
- We are to do good to all men, but especially to whom?