Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Altar

The Altar

The altar of the Tabernacle was made of acacia wood and covered with bronze

The original dimensions given for the altar in the Tabernacle were five cubits by five cubits square. Five is the number of graces. This indicates clearly that salvation is entirely and exclusively from the Lord.

“Make an altar out of acacia wood. It is to be square, 7 1/2 feet long and 7 1/2 feet wide, and it is to be 4 1/2 feet high. Make projections at the top of the four corners. They are to form one piece with the altar, and the whole is to be covered with bronze. (Exo 27:1-2)

Who has ever heard of an altar made of wood?  It is unthinkable, right?

Yet, the altar of the Tabernacle of Moses was just that.

It was only recently “discovered” that wood overlaid with copper was virtually fireproof as long as the copper was properly sealed. Still, the altar in the Tabernacle of Moses was made exactly like that, long before this “discovery.”.

Surely the Bible is far ahead of science!

The design for the altar of the Tabernacle required that the bronze-covered wooden panels be used to form a box that could be filled with earth or uncut stone. The box was held together with a metal grate that went around it.

“Make a grate for it out of bronze mesh, and make a bronze ring for each of the four corners of the grate. Put the grate under the ledge of the altar so that it comes halfway up the altar. (Exo 27:4-5)

The altar in the tabernacle of your life should always be burning with the fire from heaven. Once God has lit the fire on the altar of your life, you should never let it die.

The fire must always be burning on the altar. It must never go out. The priest will burn wood on it every morning. He will lay the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offering. The fire must always be burning on the altar. It must never go out.” (Lev 6:12-13)

Aaron did not light the fire on his altar. God lit it from heaven!

“Moses and Aaron went into the tent of the meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people. Then the Lord’s glory appeared to all the people. Fire came out of the LORD’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar. When all the people saw this, they shouted and bowed with their faces touching the ground.” (Lev 9:23-24)

Elijah took this to the extreme. Instead of lighting the fire for the altar, he poured water all over it!

“With these stones, he (Elijah) rebuilt the altar for the worship of the LORD. He dug a trench around it, large enough to hold about four gallons of water. Then he placed the wood on the altar, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood.” They did so, and he said, “Do it again, and they did. “Do it once more,” he said, and they did. The water ran down around the altar and filled the trench.” (1Ki 18:32–35 GNB)

“The LORD sent fire down, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, scorched the earth, and dried up the water in the trench.” (1Ki 18:38)

Will you allow God to light the fire in the tabernacle of your own life?

The Sacrificial Offering is God-ordained

After mankind had sinned the first time, they tried to cover themselves using leaves.

“As soon as they had eaten it, they were given understanding and realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and covered themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

This, however, was ineffective; sin cannot be covered up; it must be atoned for.

Nothing emphasizes the terrible nature of sin more than the slaughter of an innocent little lamb. This same principle was later incorporated into the Tabernacle of Moses.

“Indeed, according to the Law almost everything is purified by blood, and sins are forgiven only if blood is poured out.” (Heb 9:22)

God, therefore, corrected their error.

“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.” (Gen 3:21)

Cain should have learned from this incident, but he did not.

“After some time, Cain brought some of his harvest and gave it as an offering to the LORD. Then Abel brought the first lamb born to one of his sheep, killed it, and gave the best parts of it as an offering. The LORD was pleased with Abel and his offering, but he rejected Cain and his offering. Cain became furious, and he scowled in anger.” (Gen 4:3-5)

Instead of offering the grain, Cain could have used the grain to purchase an animal for the sacrifice because blood had to flow.

He didn’t. The result was that blood flowed anyway—his brother’s blood.

“Then Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out in the fields.” When they were out in the fields, Cain turned on his brother and killed him.” (Gen 4:8)

Sin must never be dealt with lightly. Otherwise, it will catch up with you and overtake you!

Note: Jesus was the Lamb slain for your sins in the Tabernacle of heaven. No other sacrifice is needed anymore.

God requires a perfect sacrifice

“When you bring a blind, sick, or lame animal to sacrifice to me, do you think there’s nothing wrong with that? Try giving an animal like that to the governor! Would he be pleased with you or grant you any favors?” (Mal 1:8)

“A curse on the cheater who sacrifices a worthless animal to me, when he has in his flock a good animal that he promised to give me! For I am a great king, and people of all nations fear me.” (Mal 1:14)

Jesus is the lamb, the firstborn, and the perfect sacrifice that was offered for us on the altar of the Tabernacle of Heaven. His blood flowed for our sins.

“It was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw.” (1Pe 1:19)

“Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God.” (Heb 9:14)

To stop the epidemic that was killing his people, King David decided to offer a sacrifice.

Because the Tabernacle of Moses was not available any more, he went to Auronah instead.

Auronah asked him, “Your Majesty, why are you here?” David answered, “To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the LORD, in order to stop the epidemic.” “Take it, Your Majesty,” Araunah said, “and offer to the LORD whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel.” Araunah gave it all to the king and said to him, “May the LORD, your God, accept your offering.”

“But the king answered, “No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the LORD my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. Then he built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The LORD answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.” (2Sa 24:21-25)

Just think. What would have happened if David had accepted Araunah’s offer?

Each corner of the altar of the Tabernacle contained a horn on top of which the animal that was to be sacrificed could be tied. The metal grate also served to protect the altar panels from any damage that could be inflicted upon them by these animals.

“Make a horn at each of its four corners. The four horns and the altar must be made out of one piece of wood covered with bronze.” (Exo 27:2)

The horns of the altar of the Tabernacle also served an alternate purpose. It was an appointed place of safekeeping for the innocent.

“Whoever hits someone and kills him is to be put to death. But if it was an accident and he did not mean to kill him, he can escape to a place which I will choose for you, and there he will be safe. But when someone gets angry and deliberately kills someone else, he is to be put to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety. (Exo 21:12-14)

Jesus is the horn of our salvation. There were four horns on the altar of the Tabernacle, pointing to the four corners of the earth. This speaks to the sufficiency of the sacrifice for everyone.

“The God who is my Rock, in Him will I trust. He is my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower, and my Refuge, my Savior. You save me from violence.” (2Sa 22:3)

“Jehovah is my strength, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock; I will trust in Him; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.” (Psa 18:2)

We can now obtain the riches of the Tabernacle of Life because Jesus is also the sacrifice that was tied to the altar of the cross to atone for our sins.

Next Page: – The Wash Basin