Get Outside The Camp

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What is known and called by men – Christianity – resembles nothing like Christ.

In Jesus’ day, his comparatively small following existed within an already existing system: the all-encompassing religious system of the Pharisees and within the Roman political system.

Today, however, what is known as Christianity has become the all-encompassing system itself that is interwoven within the political state. It encompasses and devours entire nations and aggressively seeks to conquer and overthrow other religious systems and the people within them. This being done in the name of evangelizing.

 

One of the things Christ cautioned his followers to do was to be alert and watchful; to stay awake. (Matthew 24:43, Mark 13:33, Acts 20:31, Matthew 25:5, Rev 16:15)

One of the things that many who claim to be followers of Christ have not come to recognize, is the anomaly has a power and control over them. It looks Christlike and even teaches that Jesus is the Messiah, but it is a misleader of men. That all-encompassing system is called Christianity. (Matthew 24:4-5)

They do not realize that it was a system that sought to control the Christ and it was a system that ultimately put him to death.

Today, millions find themselves within a system. They are now members of a system that will aggressively seek out, devour, and figuratively silence and figuratively kill any who oppose them. What I have mentioned here accurately describes the state of Christianity today.

While this religious system is very adept at putting the focus on the other religious systems – such as Islam – and the so-called terrorist elements with it, she seems to have forgotten the heinous crimes she has committed against humanity. Anything the radical elements within Islam has committed against the human family pale in comparison to what Christianity has done to it.

That Christianity takes this view, shows that it thinks itself to be self-righteous and that its actions are justified while no other religious systems actions are. It is unreasoning and irrational; like one who is drunk.

One should carefully consider the cases of the Prophets, John the Baptizer, and even Christ himself. They all operated outside of a system.

Who was John the Baptist? Was he a Christian? Hardly? Jesus never told his disciples to be known and Christians and they never called each other by such a title.

Jesus came to John to be baptized before the start his ministry. There was no so-called Christianity before Jesus came to the Baptizer. But this is to show that John the Baptizer operated outside of a system. Yet, what did that system do to him? It imprisoned him and it took his life.

Scripture shows that Herod Antipas – a Jewish ruler over Galilee and Perea –  worked ambitiously for a Roman citizenship and he himself had John the Baptizer – a fellow Jew – beheaded in prison at the request of the daughter of Herodias, a Jew.

Jesus, like John the Baptizer, operated outside of a system. When he arrived on the scene, the powerful religious system of the Pharisees was established and so was the political element of the Romans. These two systems in cohesion put Jesus to death.

All followers of Christ right now should sit up and take note of what I am about to say next.

Disaffiliate yourself from all political and religious systems. They are of a world Jesus told you that you are not to be a part of.

Think of this: Jesus was not put to death within the beloved city of Jerusalem, but outside of it. As a city, Jerusalem like all cities, represent safety and security. Are these not a few of the reasons why people build cities? For safety and security? The larger the city, the more secure it is against outsiders?

The religious system today that is called Christianity, resembles in many ways a large city. The millions who have affiliated themselves with it, do so because they may feel safe and comfortable within its walls.

The human tendency is to live within cities – with all of its conveniences –  rather than in tents in a wilderness. So what exists today, under the umbrella of Christianity, are very large populations of people existing inside the city of Christendom all tied together by its belief system. That belief system is what makes them citizens of it.

Yet, Jesus suffered outside of the city. He suffered and died in Golgotha, or The place of a Skull, outside the walls of Old Jerusalem. (Matthew 27:34)

Now consider the Scriptures found at Hebrews 13:11-14:

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

According to the above Scripture, followers of Christ are to go where he is: outside the camp or city. In fact, that Scripture goes on to say there is no real or enduring city, but we are to await the one that is to come.

This Scripture is sobering because it is essentially stating that all religious systems – even the one claiming to be of Christ – in the world today are inadequate and obsolete in providing real security and real life. There is no real safety within its walls. The walls are for control and the walls are false. That the only true city has not yet come.  Too, one should realize that Jerusalem was conquered several times: Once by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and later by the Romans under General Titus. So how secure where those walls of that city?

Too, one should realize that Jerusalem was conquered several times: Once by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and later by the Romans under General Titus. So how secure where those walls of that city?

So what is that new city that we are to await?

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

It is New Jerusalem. It is not of the earth as we see it coming down out of heaven. It has not come yet. Why? Because the events in Revelation have fulfillment in the Lord’s Day, a day that is still future. Additionally, this new city does not come down until after the future 1000 years of Satan’s abyssing has ended. So this new city is far into the future.

However, at present, the followers of Christ do not have a city – an organized system – according to Hebrews 13:14. Neither should they seek membership in one. They should go to Christ who is outside of a religious system or city.

I personally know that accepting life “outside the camp” is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to face and do. But when I did, I found myself actually closer to God and Christ. The noise (false teaching) of the city was gone and outside the city where Christ is, it is quiet and I could hear him and listen to his instruction. 

My leap of faith in detaching myself from a religious system and going to Christ outside the camp was rewarded with insight I never knew was possible apart from religious affiliation.

I will never go back into any city or camp (religious system) again. I truly feel no part of the world. Yes, I am it and I work within it to earn a living, but I am not influenced or molded by it’s thinking, especially in a religious sense. I know who the religious systems – and especially Christianity – belong to.

I am in a smaller class size so-to-speak. I am outside the “city” and existing in a figurative wilderness of “tents.” I have found that learning from Christ is enhanced and heightened as a result of this closeness to Christ and away from the distraction, business, and noise of the “city” (religious systems).

Sadly, I know that some of the members of the strong “city” come out and attempt to burn down the tents. To harass and intimidate because of their large numbers. They are aggressive, contentious, and warlike while claiming that they are followers of Christ.

To teach and speak in a language (a teaching) different from the one that is within the “city” is often met with opposition, intolerance, animosity, and even hatred by city members (religious system members).

Those within the “city” do not see themselves as the ones doing the preying, like wolves, seeking to devour all who oppose their teachings – all in the name of Christ, of course.

They do not realize that true Christ’s followers are not of that sort; they are sheep-like. Sheep do not prey upon others. Sheep follow their Shepherd. They obey his voice. (John 10:3-6)

Those outside the “camp” are out there because they heard a voice and recognized it as their true Shepherd. The voices inside the city camp were false voices that speak differently from that of Christ.

The Prophet Isaiah mentions a voice out in the wilderness prompting one to listen to it:

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. (Isa 40:3)

We know that this Scripture applies to John the Baptizer, but it is the words that he utters, that one should take note of. It is where the way of the Lord is to be prepared. Is it in a “city?” In a religious system? No.

It is in the desert; in the wilderness.

Even Jehovah himself says of Jesus at Luke 9:35:

This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.

You absolutely will not hear Christ’s voice inside of any religious system today. Though you will be told and convinced that you will. What you hear within “the city” are the ramblings of men and women who claim they speak in Christ’s name. Yet I caution you to look at where they are: They are speaking within a religious system – a city. They are not out in a wilderness outside of a religious system.

These false teachers who station themselves over everyone will keep you captive. The noise of the “city” and the loudness of their voices (teachings) are designed to drown out the calling voice outside the city, where the truth is and where Christ – who is that truth – is.

Always remember, Christ did not die within a city, he died outside of one. So why seek for him with the city. There is too much noise and there are too many voices (teachings) speaking within the “city.” There is nothing but confusion within them.

Bless yourselves and receive grand blessings of insight from God through his Christ by truly detaching yourself from all religious systems (cities) and going solely to Christ outside of them and attaching yourself to him, his body, and to him alone.

It is not easy to do as the allure of the “city” (religious system) will pull on you. It will take courage and a leap of faith on your part. But when you go out of the camp and to Christ, you will understand what Jesus really meant when he said at John 8:31-32:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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