Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Without the camp" and into the Body?

Someone I know and respect has the belief that any Little Flock members who were alive in 70 AD when Hebrews was written were told to go without the camp and become a part of the body of Christ.  I asked if that wouldn't preclude the twelve from sitting on 12 thrones in the Kingdom (assuming any were still alive in 70 AD) and he said it wouldn’t. What are your thoughts on that?

Hebrews 13:13
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

First of all, that is assuming that Hebrews was written in 70 AD.  I wouldn’t battle over that but I think it was written earlier than that.  My personal belief is that when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, which would be about 66 – 68 AD right before he died, it was the last book of scripture written.  But I won’t battle over that.  People think that Revelation was written as late as 95 AD.  Hebrews was definitely written during the Acts period and before the temple was destroyed.  The Hebrews were obviously worshipping in that which was about to be abolished.

Hebrews 10:11
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

Hebrews 13:10-11
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

So the temple was still standing when Hebrews was written.

Secondly, going without the camp was not about ‘becoming a part of the body of Christ.’  It refers to continuing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and not becoming a part of the unbelievers in Israel.

‘Going without the camp’ refers to what happened to the Lord when they cast him out of Jerusalem to be stoned.  The Hebrews also cast Stephen outside of the city to be stoned. 

Acts 7:58
And cast him [Stephen] out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

Going without the camp meant rejection by the mainstream of Israel.  The Little Flock was going against the grain by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; but it definitely does not mean that they became part of the body of Christ.  Someone can become part of the body of Christ only one way: through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross for their sins. 

1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That was not the message that God gave the Little Flock.  They were to believe that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God.  That is what made them part of the Little Flock.

John 6:69
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

There were at least some of the apostles who were still alive in 70 AD such as James the brother of John – one of the original twelve apostles during the Lord’s earthly ministry.  We know John was alive.  They kept trying to kill Peter but God kept him alive.  He had a significant writing ministry late in his life, particularly 2 Peter.  But none of the Little Flock became members of the body of Christ and I will tell you why.

Let’s say that the twelve and all the remaining members of the Little Flock who were still alive when the book of Hebrews was written (which was probably a significant number) all went into the body of Christ – then who would fulfill their purpose in the Kingdom?  God’s purpose for the Little Flock (the believing remnant of Israel – those who were believing on Jesus Christ when Paul was saved and the dispensation of grace began) is to have them judge Israel in the Kingdom.

Romans 11:7
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election [the Little Flock of believers] hath obtained it [the kingdom], and the rest [unbelievers in Israel] were blinded.

They are all dead and with the Lord and will come back with him at his second coming (not for the body of Christ but for Israel and to set up his throne on this earth) and they will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. 

Luke 22:30
That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

They could not be in the body of Christ because our sphere of influence is the heavenly places.

Ephesians 2:6
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

The body of Christ goes up to the heavenly places and we stay there to rule God’s kingdom in the heavens for all eternity.

1 Corinthians 6:3
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life

God would not promise the twelve and all the other members of the Little Flock that they would sit with him in his kingdom here on the earth if it was not going to happen.

Luke 12:32
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

That is their calling and their hope.  We have to rightly divide the word of truth and understand Paul’s ministry.  If we do, we will understand that every member of the body of Christ (beginning with Paul) will serve God in the heavenly places.  So all the Jews who were believing on Jesus Christ as their Messiah before Paul was saved got into the kingdom and they could cease from their own works; but until that time they had to continue on in faith and works.

John 8:31
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Acts 2:42
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Once Paul was saved, God dealt with everyone who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ based upon grace; but that didn’t mean that the Little Flock became members of the body of Christ because God has a purpose for them.  The twelve apostles and all the Little Flock will serve God in his kingdom on this earth.  That is their calling.  When you rightly divide the word of truth, you see that members of the church the body of Christ have a heavenly calling.  If any member of the Little Flock at any time became a member of the body of Christ, it would mean that they will rule and reign in the heavenly places (and not in the earthly kingdom).  Every member of the body of Christ will be in the heavens.   Again, that would take them away from what God originally called them to do in serving him in the kingdom on this earth.

If the twelve went into the body, how would they sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel here on this earth?  That is their calling and their hope.  We must understand the Pauline revelation of the Mystery and the calling of the body of Christ.  Compare and contrast the book of Ephesians (the calling of the church the body of Christ) with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and understand that the Little Flock has a place in the kingdom on this earth.  The body of Christ has a place in the kingdom in the heavenly places.

Colossians 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

In Ephesians Paul says that the way God is going to fill the heavenly places that Christ may be all in all is through the church the body of Christ.

Ephesians 1:20-23
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

In summary we, as members of the body of Christ, are going to be in the heavens, and if the members of the Little Flock became members of the body, they would also have to go into the heavens because that is the purpose for the church the body of Christ which is created by God to rule and reign and serve him in the heavens.  But in order to fulfill their calling as judges, leaders, rulers and elders in Israel in the earthly kingdom they could not have become members of the body.

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You cannot use your mind in a greater capacity than to think upon the word of God and to have him in all your thoughts, so thank you for your question.  I love questions.  They keep me sharp and thinking about God’s word.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Hopefully this helps! 

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