“But the bull’s hide and all its flesh, with its head, the lower parts of its legs, its inner organs and dung — in other words, the entire bull — he is to bring outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are emptied out. There he is to burn it on wood with fire; there, where the ashes are emptied out, it is to be burned up.”-Leviticus 4:11-12
Today I want to focus on one particular point concerning the High Priest procedures of the HATTA-AT or the Purification Offering.
Recall that the remains of the Bull were to be taken to a location designated as OUTSIDE THE CAMP and there burned up (SARAPH in Hebrew).
This is actually the same thing that occurs with the sacrifice of the Red Heifer.
Maybe you’ve heard of this sacrifice and are aware that right now Jews are on the lookout for a flawless Red Heifer because they’re going to need it for the new Temple that is going to be built in Jerusalem.
The primary difference between the Red Heifer sacrifice and the High Priest HATTA-AT is that a BULL or a male cow must be used for the Purification Offering while a female (that’s what Heifer means actually) must be used for the Red Heifer offering.
However, what is the same for both of these offerings is that the sacrificial animal must be taken to a location designated as OUTSIDE THE CAMP and be subjected to a DESTRUCTIVE (SARAPH in Hebrew) kind of burning.
So what is the significance and meaning of this phrase “outside the camp”?
Well, the meaning is actually quite literal.
The Lord told Moses that the Israelites were to encamp all around the Wilderness Tabernacle.
This area was known as the “Camp of Israel”.
It was an area that was considered clean and pure (I’m talking in a holy sense, not a hygienic sense).
So anything outside of this designated area was considered to be OUTSIDE the camp of Israel.
Pretty simple I think.
In terms of specific measurements, exactly how big was the circumference of the area designated as the Camp of Israel?
Hundreds of years later when the Wilderness Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple, measurements were done with the very center of the circle being the Holy of Holies.
According to the Mishna, in Yeshua’s time, the area of the “camp of Israel” was determined to be a radius of about 2000 cubits or about 3000 feet.
The reason I say “about” is because the exact length of a cubit (usually about 18 inches) varied from culture to culture.
Now let’s take a look at some interesting verses from the New Testament.
“The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a purification offering (HATTA-AT), but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Yeshua 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.”-Hebrews 13:11-13
Isn’t it interesting that the writer of Hebrews makes a comment focusing on the fact that Yeshua our Passover Lamb was crucified OUTSIDE THE CAMP and that it is there where we must meet Him?
Notice the analogy being made.
The body of the Bull of the Purification Offering performed by the High Priest is burned OUTSIDE THE CAMP.
In like manner, Yeshua was destroyed OUTSIDE THE CAMP.
What’s the point?
I mean what’s the great significance of Yeshua dying OUTSIDE THE CAMP?
The significance is that this tells us that Yeshua’s death was most akin to the HATTA-AT or the Purification Offering FOR THE HIGH PRIEST!
And who is considered to be our High Priest?
Remember that this procedure of the sacrifice being destroyed outside the camp ONLY OCCURRED WHEN THE HIGH PRIEST SINNED!
Let me say that again.
The procedure of the animal sacrifice being destroyed outside the camp ONLY OCCURRED WHEN THE HIGH PRIEST BECAME CORRUPTED BY SIN!
It did NOT apply to a tribal leader or a common Israelite.
And note that this particular sacrifice had to be COMPLETELY DESTROYED!!!
What did Yeshua say in His last minute before dying?
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!”
It was at that precise moment that absolute and complete destruction fell upon Yeshua.
The Father had separated Himself from the Son, so that Yeshua could become a HATTA-AT or Purification Offering for all of Israel.
See the Gentile mind, not understanding anything about Leviticus, just says “Christ was the sacrifice for our sins”.
But what kind of sacrifice?
When Hebrews says that Yeshua was offered up as a “sin offering”, it is referring to a specific TYPE of sacrifice.
It is referring to a HATTA-AT.
Or as I prefer to call it in English, a “Purification Offering”, because that’s what it does, it purifies us from the deadly effects of our sin.
Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross was NOT some general or universal kind of sacrifice.
I remind you that for the most part the authors of the New Testament were Jews.
They had a detailed understanding of the intricacies of the Sacrificial system.
The Levitical Sacrificial System and its protocol were common knowledge to them.
Paul knew exactly what he was saying when emphasized the point about Yeshua dying OUTSIDE THE CAMP.
He knew this particular piece of information would have been quite meaningful to any Jew.
The Purification Offering is front and center in the Book of Hebrews.
However, all of this will just fly right over our heads unless we have a strong knowledge of the Torah.