Lesson 4

The Altar of Sacrifice

IV. The Altar of Sacrifice

The priest approached the tabernacle first by way of the brazen altar, and here he offered the sacrifice for sin. The brazen altar was approximately 7 1/2 square and 4 1/2 feet high. It was made of shittim wood overlaid with brass. It was a place of death and shedding of blood. Approach to God is made by way of repentance. Jesus said, "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

Notice the prominence which was assigned to the altar in connection with the tabernacle and its worship. Look where it stood, it was placed immediately in front of the gate of the court of the tabernacle. It was the first object that met the eye of the worshipper as he came into the court to present his sacrifice unto the Lord. The altar was not hidden in some remote place in the court, removed from the gaze of t'he people, neither did it stand inside of the tabernacle where it could only be approached by a few. It was placed where it would be in sight of all, and where all could approach it. Not all of the people were permitted to see the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread or the altar of incense, which things were just inside the veil. All could not pass the veil which hung in the tabernacle. None but the high priest was permitted to enter the holiest of holies on the day of atonement. The altar in the court, the brazen altar, was not hidden, neither was a man forbidden to approach it. It could be plainly seen from without, and no one could enter into the holy place save by passing this sacred emblem where the sacrificial blood of the animals was offered. This teaches that not one, no not one, that no man who has come to the knowledge of Jesus will even enter heaven except he is a partaker of the blood of Jesus, who stood as an altar of sacrifice to all who would approach God. St. John 14:6.

Remember that it was not only the altar which gave the worshipper access to the holy place, or the putting away of his sins according to his station, but there had to be a sacrifice made upon the altar, whether it be priest, Levite or Israelite. Note the relationship of the brazen altar to every other part of the tabernacle service and its furniture, like the root to a tree, or the heart to the body, or the foundation to a building, everything inside, and even the brazen laver in front of the door of the tabernacle, all depended upon the work done at the altar.

Take away the perfect work required at the brazen altar and all else, no matter how magnificent, every bit of it was useless without the altar and its perfect work. All had to come to God by the way of the altar Hebrews 13:10, "we have an altar," speaks of Jesus. The Lord Jesus meant it when He said, "No man who comes must take the "Way," that he may get the "Truth which gives him "Life." So here as the "way," note the office of Christ in the altar, not only the altar (Christ) but also the blood upon the altar (the blood of Jesus) gave the altar (Christ) the power which it required. In the 9th chapter of Hebrews note the power of the blood of the sacrifices, verses 19-21. All priests, their garments, the sacred vessels, everything was unfit for services until the blood which was shed at the brazen altar had touched and sanctified them.

Here is the story of the Cross of Christ, Calvary. There is no pardon, no righteousness, no peace, no grace, no blessings and no salvation, only through the sacrifice of the Cross. No washing at the laver without the work at the brazen altar. The altar represented the shedding of blood and the death of Jesus. No death, no burial, no shedding of blood, no remission of sins. Hebrews 9:24. Therefore Romans 6:3 shows that a sinner is buried with Jesus in baptism into death, and that in His name, he finds the blood or life which the sacrifice at the brazen altar testified of.

The fire upon the altar was to, "never go out," Leviticus 6:13. There is no hour, day or night that a transgressor cannot find the atonement of Calvary.