"We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle
have not right to eat. For the bodies of those animals
whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest
as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people
through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
So let us go out to Him outside the camp."
I'm going to take you on a little tour outside the gate.
Now the term "tabernacle" is one that conjures up for me happy feelings as that is what the big building at the Kansas City camp meeting was called, the place where I attended as a child, the one with huge ceiling fans--not air conditioning so that we kept paper fans busy, the one that we were called to by the huge iron bell ringing us into worship. Don't you think that some of those displaced Jews might also have the same kind of feeling, stronger even, at the realization that they would never enter the temple again? They are being told that it is better to worship outside the camp, with a better altar and sacrifice, Jesus Himself. He did this that He might sanctify the people.
Joseph of Arimathea with the body of Jesus
The Diaspora, the scattering of persecuted Christians, was what it was called when Saul--who later became Paul--began intense persecution of Christians in Jerusalem and in the cities around. Many fled to Antioch in Syria. It is ironic then to think that it might even be Paul who is writing to these same Christians who he had once persecuted.
Want to go on a little detour?
My husband has been reading "24 hours Through the Bible" by Chuck Missler. It is fascinating that this popular Christian author has some of the same ideas about those who were caught up in the Diaspora, namely Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Salome, and Joseph of Arimathea. I've discussed this a couple of times before on this blog, but I find it very curious, especially when it is agreed with by others.
We know that Jesus on the cross gave the care of Mary, His mother, over to John. Chuck Missler notes that when John writes in the first verse of II John, it says, "The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth..." This author suggests that since John had been exiled to Patmos as his punishment, that he is writing in part to Mary. Who else is the chosen, the elect lady? It begs the question, what happened to Mary once John was sent away? She was unsafe in Jerusalem or even in Nazareth.
Let's go on one further detour. Luke who wrote the book of Luke as well as Act, writes "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, ...so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:1-4) Then what does he write about first? The birth of Jesus. Since the man wasn't there, who did he go to in his investigation about it? Mary. Some even have thought, as the physician of Paul, he may have had an opportunity to go to England to investigate the eyewitnesses there. Many of these were also in the Upper Room as described in Acts which happened before the Diaspora. Hmm. Luke was close to Paul and this might have been written as a brief to give to Caesar before Paul's trial in 57AD as was required.
Joseph of Arimathea
related to King Arthur?
(and the missing Holy Grail
thought to be in Cornwall.)
So, as my research has shown, which in part is from ancient English Colique of Arms in the British Museum is that Joseph of Arimathea did indeed take Mary, and the others as shown above to England as they fled persecution. So, let us look again to why Joseph of Arimathea, who was an influential part of the inner circle in the temple, would be the one to do such a thing.
Thus, Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus' closest of kin (which was passed down in the male line), went to Pilot to ask for the body of Jesus after His crucifixion. This was not something a nobody could attempt. He was a V.I.P. who stuck his neck out to ask for this body, the sacrifice outside the gate. Hmm. Here was a man high up in the temple worship who went outside the temple. It was a line he crossed that forever would have severed his links to his place there. Not only that, but he prepared the body, along with Nicodemus, then put Jesus in his own tomb.
Let's go further, as I've previously discussed. Jesus' father Joseph was out of the picture after they fled to Egypt but came back to Nazareth in Galilee, and after that trip to the temple when they lost Jesus for a few days and found him with--yes, probably Joseph of Arimathea--and among the other leaders. Thus, it is no stretch to say that Joseph of Arimathea became the closest kinsman to oversee the care of young Jesus, as well as his mother Mary according to their ancestry line.
Let's tie this with the biblical concept of what the kinsman redeemer is. Think of Boaz, who was Ruth's kinsman redeemer. Whereas Joseph of Arimathea became the kinsman redeemer of Jesus' body, Jesus is described in Scripture as our Kinsman Redeemer of the whole world! Joseph of Arimathea, as I said earlier, had to go outside the gate to redeem His body, the sacrifice which our passage in Hebrews 13:10-13 speaks of.
"We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle
have no right to eat. For the bodies (before Christ) of the animals
whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin,
are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people
through His own blood, suffered outside the gate."
Have you followed me here? Sometimes we forget that these one dimensional characters in the Bible are really flesh and blood with whole lives and breathe with more than could be ever spoken of. Sometimes they jump right off the pages! If you remember from my posts much earlier, Jesus Himself, under the care of Joseph of Arimathea, is said to have visited Cornish England with this man as he would go to oversee his mining investments. It is written much about in that area as well depicted in stained glass and stone crosses showing a young Jesus. It is even said that Jesus built with his own hands a mud and wattle shelter that was later used by his mother herself when she fled with Joseph of Arimathea and their closest friends from Jerusalem and beyond to England. Then a larger was built which became their place of worship and it lasted until after 1,000 approximately. Remember that Augustine when he came as a missionary in the 565 A.D. found an early church established there which the church at Rome knew nothing.
Okay, I did find this going back through the Vance line of our heritage to Joseph of Arimathea's (my 71st great grandfather) through his daughter Anna who married into what became the English line, all this through Ancestry.com. I'm not saying any of this is infallible, however, it connects a lot of dots. Thus, it is fascinating to hold this picture up to the Scripture passage we look at today when we insert Joseph of Arimathea into it, a picture representing one from the temple who crossed over to worship and follow with the Christian Jews who was willing to go outside the gate.
Was Joseph of Arimathea in the Upper Room? Was he one of the Christian Jews listening to this letter to the Hebrews? In my research, Joseph and the others fled in 37AD. This group of Christians Hebrews also sacrificed everything as they were forced outside the gate themselves when they fled for their lives. Hmm.
I hope I didn't lose you as we wandered outside the gate.