The Tabernacle, The Brazen Altar, Part 2 - Lesson 42
Today we continue our study of the Brazen Altar of the Tabernacle.
Brazen means that which is made of brass, brass being an alloy composed of copper and zinc.
God told Moses that which was to be seen in the Altar was to be brass but the brass was to overlay a foundational material of shittim wood, that same material that was used in the Ark of the Covenant, the table of incense and the table of showbread.
This combination of materials speaks of the humanity of Christ, whom Isaiah spoke of as the root out of dry ground that One to whom all judgment has been committed by the Father.
So the foundational wood speaks of his humanity, the brass speaks of his and only his responsibility to judge.
John 5:22, For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
That responsibility for judgment was pictured when God told Moses to prepare a brass serpent which when looked upon brought healing from the bite of the serpent.
Numbers 21:9, And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
As the Israelites were saved from death when they looked at the brass serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness, so all who trust in Jesus Christ, the One who was lifted upon on a tree as a sacrifice for sin, will be saved from a sinnerís natural end.
The word altar means high place.
The sacrifice had to be lifted up on the elevated altar which was 4.5 feet high.
Christ's being lifted up on the cross as our sacrifice speaks of this procedure:
John 3:14-15, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
The message in the brass altar is that we find relief at the Judgeís bench.
Jesus is the judge and he is jury, and he is the defense attorney and he is the One who sentences.
What better person is there to be at your side.
Now the four horns on the corners of the altar spoke of power and were used in binding the sacrifice to the altar.
Psalm 118:27, God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the
sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
The horns were also sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice.
Exodus 29:12, And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and
put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood
beside the bottom of the altar.
The sacrifice tied to the horns pointed to Christ's steadfast commitment to carry out the Father's will when He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross for our blood atonement.
His shed blood on the cross absolves the sins of all those who are willing to put their faith in His sacrificial death.
The blood-stained horns pointed upward and outward to the four corners of the world, reminding us of the saving power of Christ's blood that will be witnessed throughout the world.
That combination of the horns and the blood tell us that there is power, power, wonder working power in the blood for without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
The brazen altar was provided for sacrifice of the innocent.
Without sacrifice, there could and will be no atonement for sin.
So with soberness, the Israelites brought the prescribed offerings without spot or blemish to the priests, who stood at the Tabernacle's gate to receive them.
The offerers laid their hands on the heads of the offerings, symbolic of their identification with their substitution death on their behalf; and symbolically their sins were transferred to the sacrifices, and the life of the sacrifices was transferred to them.
The offerers then killed the animals, while the priests caught the sacrificial blood in a basin to be offered as atonement.
Leviticus 4:4, And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullockís head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.
What a picture is painted here of the sinner, killing the innocent sacrifice because of his own sin.
When you boil it all down why did Jesus die?
Was it not because of my sin? Was it not because of your sin?
Didnít our sins nail him to the cross?
That direct responsibly is so clearly presented at the Brazen altar for the sinner had to kill the sacrifice.
The Roman guards who pounded the spikes into Jesus flesh were simply our representatives.
They did it for all mankind for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God for there is none righteous no not one.
So the priests, functioning as mediators, sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on the altar and poured the remaining blood in the basin at the altar's base.
Then the priests cut the sacrifices into pieces, washed the inner parts, and burned various pieces on the altar as a sweet savor to the Lord.
Some 2,000 years ago, our sins were placed upon the head of Christ.
He left the Father and the glories of heaven and identified Himself with us by becoming a man so our sin could be transferred to Him and his life could be transferred to us.
We are a blood-washed, blood-bought church, beautiful in the eyes of God because He sees us through the eyes of His glorious Son!
Leviticus 17:11, For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I
have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it
is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.
At the altar, an innocent lamb bore the judgment of the guilty.
Christ, the believers' lamb died on the altar of the cross to bear the judgment of God's wrath on sin on our behalf
Isaiah 53:3-6, He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The sacrifice being burnt on the altar as a sweet savor to God (Lev. 1:9) typified Christ, who was offered up as a "sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
Leviticus 1:9, But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water:
and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering
made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.
God connects that which was a sweet smelling savor at the altar with that which took place at the cross.
For we read in Ephesians 5:2, 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 fire that emitted the sweet smelling savor burning continually on the altar proclaimed God's holiness and justice and His readiness to receive the sacrificial offerings of the people to cleanse them from sin.
He knew that each sacrifice proclaimed that which John the Baptist would proclaim in later days in:
John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the
Now as to the utensils used in service at the altar there were many.
Exodus 27:3, And thou shall make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his flesh hooks, and his fire pans: all the vessels thereof thou shall make of brass.
The utensils used to serve the altar were types of Christ.
Pans and shovels were used to remove the precious ashes of the sacrifices and carry them outside the camp to be disposed of in a clean place.
Leviticus 6:11, And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.
The ashes spoke of the finished work of Christ, who was put into a clean place, a new sepulcher, at His burial.
John 19:41, Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
The blood from the sacrifices was drained into a basin and poured out at the base of the altar, typifying Christ, who poured out His blood on our behalf.
Hebrews 9:12-15, Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by
his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an
heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How
much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the
living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by
means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the
first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal
Luke 23:33, And when they were come to the place, which is called
Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand,
and the other on the left.
The fire pans called 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 as our advocate.
Hebrews 7:25, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession
The brazen altar and the cross of Christ both speak of justification.
Justification does not mean made righteous but declared righteous, an act that puts you into a right relationship with God.
Romans 4:24-25, But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
So justification is a judicial act of God whereby He declares us righteous when we trust in the finished cross work of the Lord Jesus on our behalf.
Our ultimate end, following that declaration is that we will be made righteous.
In the days of the Tabernacle, the Jewish people were restored to a right relationship with God by offering blood atonement on the altar.
Today, appropriating the atoning blood of Christ to take away sins restores Jews and Gentiles.
Justification is not obtained by any work that we do but is bestowed freely through the grace of God.
His grace results in the removal of the guilt and punishment of sin, the righteousness of Christ being imputed to our lives, and our restoration and favor and fellowship with God.
The position of the altar spoke of access and fellowship with God.
It stood inside the court facing the door of the Tabernacle.
Before the priest could pass to the Tabernacle, he had to offer a blood sacrifice on the brazen altar.
Today, access and fellowship with God can come only through the sacrificial death of Christ.
1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Approaching the Tabernacle of God without offering a proper sacrifice on the altar meant certain death.
If we reject the meritorious sacrifice of Christ's work on the cross, we will be separated from God and face eternal death.
John 3:36, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and
he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on
God requires another sacrifice from believers.
We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.
The words of Paul sum up our consecration in Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The brazen altar spoke of the first work of salvation, the blood of Jesus.
Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
All priests who approached the inner court had to bring the sacrifice to the brazen altar first then proceed into the inner court and eventually the Holy of Holies.
It all started with the altar of sacrifice.
And for us it all starts with CALVARY.