Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Tabernacle: The Brazen Altar The Place of Sacrifice

 The Bronze Altar

Was it the nails, O Saviour, that bound you to the tree? Nay! ‘Twas Thine everlasting Love, Thy Love for me, for me.

Exodus 20:24-26, Exodus 27:1-8, Exodus 38:1-7

 And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. You shall make its pails for removing its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze.  You shall make for it a grating of network of bronze, and on the net you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. You shall put it beneath, under the ledge of the altar, so that the net will reach halfway up the altar.  You shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze.  Its poles shall be inserted into the rings, so that the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar when it is carried.  You shall make it hollow with planks; as it was shown to you in the mountain, so they shall make it. Exodus 27:1-8

Names of the altar:
The Altar of Shittim wood (Ex. 27:1)
The Altar of Burnt Offering (Ex. 30:28; 31:9; 35:16, 38:1; 40:6
The Brazen Altar (Ex. 38:30; 39:39)
The Altar of God (Ex. 43:3, 4)
The Altar (Ex. 29:36-44; Lev. 1:5; 8:11)
The Table of the Lord (Mal. 1:7; 12)
The Altar at the Door of the Tabernacle

What is an Altar?

The Hebrew word for altar is “mizbeach” mizbêach miz-bay'-akh From H2076; an altar:—altar; meaning slaughter place.
The word altar means lifted up, high or ascending. Jesus was lifted up at Calvary.

John 3:14 (NASB) As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

John 8:28 (NASB) So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.

John 12:32 (NASB) And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 
Altars are not a new concept: All the patriarchs built altars; Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses

The Materials for the Altar:

No tools were to be used to build it
No stairs
A hollow box made of (acacia) wood—
Acacia wood is hard, incorruptible, and indestructible
grows in the Sinai desert.
bore heavy thorns
brass grate extended through its middle
brass rings at each corner to carry the ark
wooden staves to carry
The sacrifice was tied to the horn of the altar.
four horns on each corner
Christ’s humanity; He withstood the crucifixion; withstood the decaying effects of the grave (Acts 2:31; Ps. 16:10)
Christ is a root of dry ground (Is. 53:2); and was sinless (Heb. 4:15; 7:26). just like our Savior.
overlaid with brass-Christ’s righteousness and judgment.
He is the righteous one (1 Jn. 3:5) who took God’s judgment on Himself.
It also speaks to Christ’s judgment at His second coming (Rev. 1:15) bronze feet.
5x5x3 cubits—five is the number of grace, and the five-fold ministry; the three is the Godhead and 3rd day resurrection.

Four horns
were used in binding the sacrifice;
they were sprinkled with blood of the sacrifice
Speaks to Christ being nailed to the cross as our blood atonement
The horns were pointed upward and outward to the four corners of the world, reminding us of the saving power of Christ blood that will be witness throughout the world.

The horns symbolize:
1.      redemption
2.      ransom
3.      substitution
4.      reconciliation

Purpose of the Altar
For sacrifice; sacrifice is needed for atonement for sin.
sacrifices had to be without spot or blemish
The Brazen Altar is the first station that one came to when entering the gate. You must have a             sacrifice for your sin, which is Jesus.
This is the work of Christ’s sacrifice; we receive power to overcome sin.
The place for sacrifice; the smoke from the sacrifice raised up to God; the one who brought the sacrifice in turn was then lifted up in fellowship to God. 

Isaiah 53:1 - 12 (NASB) Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all  To fall on Him.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His   mouth. But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render  Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And  the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. NASB

Christ’s Suffering
Sin is ugly;
His body is torn and shredded. I believe
what Christ suffered on the outside is a picture of what sin does to us on the inside.

Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek (Micah 5:1 NASB).

I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting (Isaiah 50:6 NASB).

Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men (Isaiah 52:14 NASB).
the animal sacrifice was gutted out, slaughtered, and burned. Picture of Jesus.    
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
The way of justification by faith
the place of bloodshed where sin is judged
The sacrifice for the altar was an unwilling sacrifice, but Jesus willingly became our sacrifice. 
·         Exodus 21: 14 says that the horns of the altar are also a place of refuge. Christ is our refuge.
·         In Psalm 18:2 David refers to Jesus as the horn of our salvation.

Jesus was secured to the cross so that we will be secured in the Lambs Book of Life. The horns also point to the four corners of the earth-where the Gospel calls all people and nations to come.

In dedication of the Altar and the tabernacle itself, the glory of God fell on the Ark in the Holy of Holies and out from the glory of God there came Divine Fire and kindled or burned the sacrifices on the Altar.
dedication fire, it was never to go out, THOUGH GOD INITIATED THE FIRE, WE MUST KEEP IT GOING.
the fire that burned continually on the altar had twofold meaning
1 it proclaimed Gods holiness and justice
2 it is symbolic of His readiness to receive the offering and cleanse sin

God lit the fire; we must maintain the fire by presenting ourselves as living sacrifices daily.

Romans 12: 1- I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Ephesians 5: 1- be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

The anointing of the altar;
The altar was to be anointed with oil and it was to be sprinkled 7 times, it was to be anointed because it was holy unto the Lord. The vessels and the altar were all anointed and sanctified. 
the shed blood sanctified the altar. The altar sanctified the gift. 

On the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 the people were require to bring two goats for the offering.

He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.  Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell, and make it a sin offering.  But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat. Leviticus 16:7 - 10 NASB

Remember the account of Jesus before Pilate? Pilate tried to get Jesus released by offering Him or Barabbas to the people. The people chose Barabbas. Barabbas became the scapegoat. Jesus was offered up to be the offering to Jehovah. The innocent took the place of the guilty.

  • Now we have a perfect sacrifice. It was done once and for all. Christ does not have to do it for us daily.
  • We must, however, die daily to ourselves. We have to make a decision every day to fellowship with God and to walk the walk He called us to.
  • The altar was not inside the tabernacle but inside the gate. The gate of repentance. We cannot assume fellowship with God stops here. We cannot accept the sacrifice Jesus made for us and turn and walk out of the gate. We now have to walk through the Tabernacle into fellowship with God.

The appliances that were to be made for the service of the altar.
The first thing to note is the number 5 is prevalent here again. Five utensils, five animals, five offerings. Further evidence of the grace that abounds at the altar.

The five utensils that were used in the service of the altar:
The Pans: these were used for the ashes.
The shovels: These were used for picking up the ashes, and for tending to the fire of the altar.
The Basins: These held the blood of the sacrifice. Sometimes the blood was carried outside the camp and sometimes the blood was poured out at the foot of the altar.
The Forks: The forks helped the priest to arrange the sacrifice the proper way on the fire.
The fire pans: These were actually censers. They were used for carrying the fire of the altar.

The five animals that scripture mentions:
  • the lamb
  • goat
  • bull
  • heifer
  • turtle dove.
There were also five offerings to bring to this altar.
  • The burnt offering
  • The grain offering
  • The peace offering
  •  The sin offering
  • The trespass offering.

There must be punishment for sin. Either the sinner must pay, or a substitute. The animal was the substitute for the sinner.  One, who did not have fault, must take the punishment for the one who is at fault…this is the purpose of the animal sacrifice.

The offerers laid their hands on the heads of the offerings, symbolic of their identification with their substitutionary death on their behalf—their sins were transferred to the sacrifices, and the life of the sacrifices was transferred to them.
The priests cut the sacrifices to pieces, washed the inner parts, and burned various pieces on the altar as a sweet savor to the Lord.

Christ was the believers lamb (Jn. 1:29; Rev. 13:8), died on the altar of the cross to bear the judgment of God’s wrath against sin on our behalf (Is. 53:3-6; Rom/ 4:25). The sacrifice being burnt on the altar as a sweet savor to God (Lev. 1:9) typified Christ, who was offered us as “A sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Eph. 5:2). (Levy pg. 26)

The ashes are the remains of the sacrifice. It was sign of God accepting the sacrifice. They were to be put in a clean place to be used for ceremonial purposes for unclean things. See Num 19. 
Here we find the cross the acceptable sacrifice His (body) taken down from the cross and put into a new tomb (clean place) and Christ was raised to cleanse the sinner. 

How much more shall the blood of Christ; purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Heb. 9:14

The fire pans (censers), which carried the fire from the brazen altar to the altar of incense, represented Christ’s intercessory ministry of prayer at the Father’s throne (Heb. 7:25) As our advocate (1 Jn. 2:1). (Levy p. 26).

The altar and the cross both speak of justification. Justification does not mean made righteous, but declared righteous—put into right relationship with God (Rom. 4:24-25). Justification is a judicial act of God. He declares us righteous when we trust in Christ work on the cross.

The altar is not the end of all things, but it is the beginning of a new walk—a holy walk with the Lord.

What the Blood does for us:

The blood was never drank or eaten. It was poured out at the bottom of the altar. Christ poured out His life and His blood for us.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:9

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

Through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20

And indeed, under the Law, almost everything is purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 ESV

I am redeemed by the blood and am forgiven of all my sins. Col. 1: 13-14; Rev. 5-9

We overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11.

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil (Ephesians 1:7).
Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9).
Through the blood of Jesus I am continually cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned (Romans 5:9).
Through the blood of Jesus, I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God (Hebrews 13:12).
Through the blood of Jesus, I have boldness to enter into the presence of God (Hebrews 10:19).
The blood of Jesus cries out continually to God in heaven on my behalf (Hebrews 12:24).

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, sanctified by the Blood. My members are instruments of righteousness yielded to God for service and for His glory. Therefore Satan has no place in me, no power over me; no unsettled claims against me. All has been settled through the Blood of Jesus.  I overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony. I renounce him, loose myself from him and command him to leave me in the name of Jesus. (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rev. 12:11)

Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised ;) Hebrews 10:19-23
The shed blood is the basis for all—that we have reconciliation and salvation.

Baxter, J. Sidlow. Explore The Book. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960.
Conner, Kevin. Portland: City Bible Publishing, 1976.
Levy, David M. The Tabernacle: Shadows Of The Messiah: Its Sacrifices, Services, And Priesthood. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2003.
Snelling, C.W. Made According To Pattern. Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1999.

A Journey In The Wilderness: A Woman’s Walk Through The Tabernacle 
By Piper Green © 2003-2015 

This work, including all poems is material protected by copyright.
All Scripture unless otherwise noted is the New American Standard.  

The Approach
As I come, I can see oh God, I can see Your gate,
I see the altar to lay down all that You hate
It is at this Bronze Altar I come to pray
And to hear all You have to say

My eyes look upon it with holy fear
I look and see, and long to draw near
The Lord said I too long for you to come and see
But I will not take parts of you one, two or three
I want your whole life consecrated it must be

I tried to make my way past this Bronze Altar
To only find that in my struggle falter
Because in my heart was a secret box
It could not be opened with a Lamb, a goat or an ox

You see to pass this place a price had to be paid
Just as Christ His precious life he gave
I too have a life, which has to be laid

So no matter what others might say
My life is but a lump of clay
I would rather be placed in the Potter’s hand
Then let all my efforts sink in the sand

I have made my decision, I have made up my mind
A better path I am not able to find
I give you it all none of it I deem lost
As I release it I will not count it a cost

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain
It could not be possible lest Christ suffered in pain
I will lay it all down for you, every last thing
I will do it in worship and with a praise I will sing

By Piper Green © 2003
Chapter 2 The Bronze Altar of Sacrifice

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness….She makes an effort to smile, though her own sin stifles the attempt. “How did you know I wanted to see this place?” Again, he  smiles, “We have more to see.” He took her hand and they walked toward the Bronze Altar. As they approach, Sarah notices the four corners of the altar and a horn fastened on each one; a ram is tied to one of the horns. The Altar is stained with blood; on the outside and all around it. Suddenly hundreds of people appear. They came out of nowhere; their faces are downcast, and they seem lost and hopeless. They wander around the altar, fixing their eyes on it wanting to approach it; though they did not. Some approach and want to give a sacrifice, but are discouraged because they do not have one.

Sarah notices a few approaching the altar with great joy; they came with a sacrifice in hand and continued passed the Bronze Altar. Sarah quickly turns to him and asks, “Who are these people, and why do they look so sad?” He answers, “These are ones who want to come and give a sacrifice; they are struggling to come because they don’t want to take the whole journey. Once you enter the Tabernacle Sarah, you cannot leave until you have gone all the way through. The reason they seem lost is that they have seen what they must do next and they do not want to make that sacrifice. They are stuck here wandering in the outer court. This is where they will remain unless they decide to accept the sacrifice. You rightly perceive that they are lost. Only a few choose to go further into the journey.” Sarah looks at them and wonders what will become of them.

She remembers the joyful ones; they did not have a sacrifice. Why did they not have the sense of despair of the others? He again perceives her thoughts and says, “There is now only one sacrifice—look.” He points to the Bronze Altar, and above it appeared a bright light. She wants to hide her eyes, but she cannot help but look. Suddenly before her appears an enormous cross. Upon the cross hung a man; badly beaten and bleeding profusely. The people surrounding the altar fell down and wept at his feet, crying for him. Sarah watched him as he hung there with his head drooped low; he lifts his head, cries with a loud voice, and dies. Sarah could not believe it! She was shocked! She started to cry and fell to her knees screaming “No! No!” She frantically reaches for the man on the cross; she hears a voice, “Sarah! I Am here!” She twirls around to look at him, dismayed, “Who was that man? Why did he have to die?!” She thought at first she was seeing the bronze serpent on a pole Moses lifted up to save the people from the snakes’ venom, but her eyes deceived her. He answers, “There he is.” Again, pointing to a bright light. Sarah sees a grave and two angels rolling away a stone from in front of the grave; the man that was on the cross walked out alive. Capturing her attention with his soothing voice, he explains the scene unfolding before her eyes. “The man you saw die on the cross is alive; he rose from the dead.” Sarah had to collect her thoughts for a moment and catch her breath. Once able to speak she asks, “Who is he and what does all this mean?” “I will show you all things, but we must keep going.”

Sarah barely has the strength to stand; he extends his strong arm and helps her to her feet. “Where is the ram?” she asks, when she looked back, the ram was gone. She walks over to where the ram had been secured to the altar; nothing is left but one of its horns. Holding the horn in her hand, it is almost too hot to touch. She feels the grooves with her fingertips, she remembers the Lord’s instruction for making the Shofar for the feasts and celebrations. The horn has been burned; it has gone through the fire and is ready to be used to declare God’s purpose in the earth. Sarah marvels at all she just experienced, she ponders it in her heart as she continues to follow him. Though she is scared, she keeps going. He turns to her and says, “Sarah, what you have just seen is the fulfillment of the promise of the coming Messiah.” Tears well up in her eyes, she has heard her father many times praying and hoping for the Messiah to come. “When, when will the Messiah appear to deliver His people?” He wipes the tears from her face with his gentle touch, and he answers, “In God’s appointed time; He does not tarry in keeping His promises.” 

A Journey In The Wilderness: A Woman’s Walk Through The Tabernacle 
By Piper Green © 2003-2015 

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