Outside the Camp
Wisdom's Corner
Outside the Camp

When the Israelites were in the wilderness Moses ordained as ordered by God to set a limit around the camp. The Jewish authorities in the first century tried to follow the example of Moses by establishing a "Camp area" around Jerusalem. This area did not stop at the actual walls that surrounded Jerusalem. In fact, the walls did not have anything to do with what was considered within or without the camp.

The Jewish authorities chose a distance of 2000 cubits from the center of the Temple as the outer limit of the camp. They got this distance from the 2000 cubits that is mentioned in Joshua 3:4. There it was the distance that the Israelites were to stay from the Ark of the Covenant.

It was just outside of this distance that the Jews of the first century had their altar where the red heifer was sacrificed. And it was located east of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives.

It was also the rule that nothing unclean could be kept within the camp. All individuals with contagious diseases had to live outside the camp. Ashes from all sacrifices were taken outside the camp. Any person condemned to death due to a bad crime had to be killed outside the camp.

We know that Jesus was found guilty of blasphemy by the Jewish authorities. This was a lie but they wanted Jesus dead. Jesus was sentenced to die. But he had to die outside the camp because the authorities considered him unclean. The places that have been considered the possible places for Jesus' crucifixion are all inside the camp.

Remember that in Hebrews 13:12 we learn that Jesus was crucified outside the camp. So there must be some other place that is the correct place. The probable place is the Mount of Olives. This was where the altar for the Red Heifer was located. Since Jesus is seen to us as the red heifer and we are told to go to him there, he must have been crucified somewhere near the altar of the red heifer.

I am thankful that Jesus was willing to come and die for me. I know you are thankful that he died for you. He was willing to be taken outside the camp to die for us. He was willing to be considered unclean for us. Just as those in Bible times were required to be cleansed by the water mixed with ashes of the red heifer, we today must be purified by the blood of Jesus. The only way to know how to do this is to study our Bible. We must learn what it means to go to Jesus outside the camp.

Keep studying your Bible. Learn all you can about what God wants you to know. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 2002

Published by The Old Paths Bible School