The Brazen Altaar
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 27. We have been studying the tabernacle, from the Most Holy Place, the inner room of the tabernacle, out to the courtyard itself, and noticing the pieces of furniture that we would meet in such a journey from the inside to the outside.

Exodus 27

1And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.
2And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.
3And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.
4And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.
5And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.
6And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.
7And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.
8Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.

There are two accounts of the tabernacle and the various pieces of furniture. One account presents the blueprint which God gave to Moses, and the other account presents Bezaleel's compliance with God's instructions about building the Ark and the various other pieces of furniture.

Turn, please, to chapter 38 of the book of Exodus:

Exodus 38

1And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof.

I asked you to look at this first verse so that you could recognize the name of this altar. When God gave the instructions to Moses, He simply referred to it as the altar. When Bezaleel was making it, he referred to it as “the altar of burnt offerings”. This is the second altar that we have considered in our study of the tabernacle, and we want to learn to distinguish between the two.

As we have discussed the furniture in the tabernacle, we have talked about the manner in which God leaves Heaven's glory and comes down to earth to meet man. If you read commentaries on the tabernacle, you will find that often the commentators begin with the altar of burnt offerings and then go to the laver, then to the table of shewbread, then to the candlestick, then to the altar of incense, and finally to the Mercy Seat and the Ark of the Covenant. Such a progression represents man's getting in touch with God. But we have been considering how God gets in touch with man, and we have reversed the order.

Construction of the Altar

Let us go back to chapter 27 and notice some things about this altar of burnt offerings which is in the courtyard of the tabernacle. In verse 1, we notice that the altar is made of shittim wood and is foursquare–five cubits long and five cubits broad. If we translate those cubits into inches, using 21 inches as a basis (you may prefer to use 18 inches), we find that this altar lacked three inches of being eight feet square. We are not talking about a little table; we are talking about a rather large piece of furniture, one that is five feet, one inch tall.

In verse 2, we see that the altar had four horns. Those horns were made of shittim wood, as was the altar, and the whole thing was overlaid with brass. In verse 4, we find that approximately halfway down in the altar there was placed a grate. This grate is referred to as a network of brass. That is the translator's way of describing something that is plaited or woven out of brass. Look at verse 4 to find the position of the grate:

Exodus 27

4And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.
5And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.

Notice the word “compass”. We do not know exactly what that was. The word itself describes something that goes around or in circles. That is why the word “compass” was used as the translation of the Hebrew word. The suggestion is that around the outside of that altar, about halfway up, there was a shelf or a ledge.

There is a difference of opinion as to what that ledge was used for. Some folk think it was the ledge upon which the priests stood when they offered the sacrifice, and that is that possibility. Others feel that it was the ledge upon which the various pots and pans–the utensils that are described in verse 3–were placed. It is difficult to know exactly what it was, but it was midway up on the altar, and on the inside of the altar at that place, there was the woven network grate. In the corners of the grate were four rings which evidently extended through the altar, because through these four rings, two on each side, staves were placed so that the altar could be carried about from place to place.

Utensils Used With the Altar

Associated with the altar were five different utensils. There was a pan mentioned first to receive the ashes. We will see the purpose of that later. There were shovels which were used to gather up the ashes, and shovels also which were used to lift hot coals from off the altar for various purposes of cleansing, which we will study when we consider in detail the worship in the tabernacle.

There were basins for the purpose of catching the blood of the animal sacrifice at the bottom of the altar. That basin of blood was used for various purposes of anointing, of pouring out, etc., related to worship. The fleshhooks were exactly what is indicated. The flesh of the sacrifice was moved from place to place upon the altar. Certain sacrifices the priests were permitted to partake of, and the fleshhooks would be used for that purpose.

That brings us to the firepans, and I believe this is the only utensil that needs a word of explanation. A better translation of the word would be “censers”. “Firepans” does not convey the idea. Actually the Hebrew word means “censer”, and is so translated in various other portions of the Word. A censer was a vessel-like object in which fire was carried from the altar of burnt offering to the altar of incense, for example. You will remember that when the time came for the judgment of God to rest upon the nation of Israel because of their murmuring, Aaron was able to take a censer, lift some of the fire from off the altar of God, and go out in to the midst of the people and stay the plague.

One other thing we might consider in connection with the physical appearance of the altar is that the altar was evidently in an elevated position. Evidently it was fixed upon a little mound. If that is true, then evidently there was dirt when the tabernacle settled, piled up around the brazen altar to make an incline for an ascent up to the altar. In chapter 9 of the book of Leviticus, verse 22, there is a reference to Aaron's coming down from the altar.

You may remember that when we were studying the book of Exodus, chapter by chapter and verse by verse, we read in chapter 26 about an altar that was made by Moses out of earth, and an offering was sacrificed on that altar in relation to the Ten Commandments as they had been given and as they had been broken. One of the precautions that was suggested then–one which was to hold true forever–was that there would be no steps up to God's altar so that a priest could climb the steps to the top of the altar. You can realize that if this altar is one inch over five feet tall, and the grate is down in the midst of it, and there is a ledge around the outside of it, there would have to be some way to approach it.

Significance of the Altar

Now that we have tried to visualize how the altar looked, I would like for us to notice its general significance. Bezaleel referred to it as “the brazen altar” or “the altar of burnt offerings”. That indicated the purpose for which it was to be used. The Hebrew word for “altar” is misbritch , which describes a place of slaughter, a place where animals are slaughtered. If this was a place of slaughter and the altar of burnt offering, we know that this altar was to be used for the sacrifice of animals. We wonder what special significance that could have for the spiritual lessons we would like to learn.

Turn back to chapter 20 of the book of Exodus and notice verse 24:

Exodus 20

24An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings [this is an altar of burnt offerings about which we are talking] , and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
25And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
26Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

We see in the last part of verse 24 that the altar of burnt offering is the place where God will meet man. The basis of that meeting is presented in chapter 17 of the book of Leviticus, verse 11:

Leviticus 17

11For 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:…

So I suggest, in view of all these things, that the general significance of the altar of burnt offerings is typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, as is every other piece of furniture in the tabernacle; but this time it is of God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself at Calvary.

Pictures Christ In Relation to the Cross

I think the best definition of the altar of burnt offerings will be found in II Corinthians, chapter 5. In the last paragraph of that chapter, we have a suggestion as to the significance of the altar of burnt offerings if we let the altar represent the Lord Jesus Christ as the meeting place between God and man in relation to the Cross:

II Corinthians 5

17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Notice the statement, “God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ”. How did He do that? The answer is found in verse 19:

II Corinthians 5

19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

So may I suggest that the altar of burnt offerings signifies the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the Cross. Let us see how the details of the description of the altar bear this out. A word or two about the position of the altar: If we were to examine various verses of Scripture which describe the position of the altar, we would find that it was just inside the outer fence. Emphasis is placed upon that. It was easily accessible to anyone from the outside. Then we are told that it is placed before the door of the tabernacle. That to me is interesting because in not one place is it mentioned that between the altar of burnt offerings and the door of the tabernacle is the laver. In not one place is it mentioned between the altar of burnt offerings and the Mercy Seat, or the altar of incense, or the table of shewbread, or the candlestick. I think the omissions are significant. I think they suggest basically that the important thing in our relationship to God is the brazen altar, the altar of burnt offerings. We could not get into the door; we could not get into the place of communion, if it were not for that altar.

It is good to know how to let our light shine. It is good to know about the ministry of prayer. It is good to know how to feed on the Word of God, but let's face it: There are going to be many, many people in Heaven who do not know these truths about prayer, who do not know the truth about the candlestick or the table of shewbread, but who do know that they have been to the Cross. They have been to the place where their sins are forgiven.

Elevation of Jesus On the Cross

We mentioned that the altar evidently was elevated. I think that is a detail that should not be passed over lightly. Turn, please, to the Gospel of John, chapter 12, as I remind you that in the crucifixion story, emphasis is placed on the lifting up of the Lord Jesus Christ, the elevation of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross:

John 12

31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Examine this verse in the light of the context and you will find that the word “now” refers to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. What John said was that at the crucifixion the judgment of the world occurred. It is not going to occur; it has already occurred. That is why when the Lord Jesus Christ left the earth and said He would send the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose on the earth, He said in chapter 16 of the Gospel of John, verse 8:

John 16

8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Notice that it is not judgment to come. He does not convict people of the fact that someday there will be a judgment. There will be, but He does not convict them of that. He convicts them, rather, if you will look at verse 11, of judgment because the prince of this world is judged. He convinces men that the Devil was defeated when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross. Go back to John, chapter 12, and notice verse 32:

John 12

32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

This is a much abused verse in the Scriptures. I do not know how many preachers I have heard say that we have to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ in our preaching, and we should. He should be the center of our ministry and message. But they use this verse as proof of that. Notice verse 33:

John 12

33This he said, signifying what death he should die.

As the Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up on the Cross between Heaven and earth, He gave His life as a ransom for you and me. The elevation of the altar in the tabernacle is, I believe, just another minute indication from the Spirit of God of the accuracy of the Scriptures.

Shittim Wood Represents Christ's Humanity

Let us go back to Exodus, chapter 27, and refresh our minds about the material of which this brazen altar was made. As we look at the significance of the altar in detail, the materials are important. The first thing we notice is that the altar was made of shittim wood. This is not the first time we have met shittim wood. We noticed it particularly when we studied the Ark of the Covenant. Shittim wood was actually acacia wood, a tree that grew plentifully in the wilderness where the children of Israel were. We showed you from the Scriptures that it represented the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an incorruptible wood which represented the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We noticed in verse 2 that the altar made of shittim wood was overlaid with brass. We encountered this word “brass” when we looked at the brazen altar, and we told you that the Hebrew word for “brass” should actually be translated “copper” in the interest of accuracy. Brass is an alloy which was not known at this particular time, and the Hebrew word itself does not mean brass; it means copper. For the sake of avoiding confusion if we try to change the wording of the text, we will use the word “brass”, because that is the way it is translated all through the Scriptures.

We told you when we looked at the brazen altar that we would not take the time to notice the significance of brass in the Scripture then, but would discuss it when we came to the study of the altar of burnt offerings. So we need to do that. We need to understand the significance of brass, because we have learned that each of these various materials has a definite significance.

Brass Associated With Evil

Turn with me, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 4, where we find the first mention of brass in the Scriptures. It is always important to notice how a type is first used in the Scriptures. You may not be told explicitly its significance there, but you will have either an explicit reference to its typical meaning or some indication as to the direction you are going. Let me give you an illustration of that. The first time the word “leaven” is used in the Scriptures, it is used in an evil sense. As you follow the word “leaven” through the Scriptures, you see more and more clearly that it refers to sin, false teaching, etc. Notice verse 22:

Genesis 4

22And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

If we had the time to follow these individuals through the Scriptures, we would find that Tubalcain was on the side of evil. So the first indication we have of the significance of brass in the Scriptures is that it will be associated with evil and sin.

Turn, please, to the book of Numbers, chapter 21. There is a familiar story of how the children of Israel murmured against the Lord, and the Lord sent serpents among them as punishment. They had been bitten. They were all dying, and Moses interceded with the Lord for their deliverance. God gave him some rather strange instructions in verse 9:

Numbers 21

9And 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.

Notice the word “brass”, and notice the word “serpent”. Here is a serpent, which from the very beginning, has always been related to evil. Here is brass that is associated with evil. Then turn, please, to the Gospel of John and notice a New Testament commentary on this Old Testament record so you will know we are not making a mistake in our interpretation:

John 3

14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Get the picture in your mind. Back there in the wilderness people had been bitten by a serpent. They were going to die. The only way they could be cured was to look–that is all they had to do–at the brazen serpent that was on the pole. From a great distance they could see the brazen serpent. They did not have to touch it. They did not have to twist its tail. All they had to do was to look. The Lord Jesus Christ took that Old Testament experience and said, “That serpent made of brass is an illustration of Me and My ministry. Just as that serpent was lifted up on a pole, I will be lifted up on a Cross. Just as all that men had to do was to look at the serpent to be healed, all you have to do is to look to Me to be saved.” So you see why the brass was used for the altar, why it was a brazen altar. Brass was related to evil, and it was related to the judgment that is connected with evil.

Brass Significant of Judgment for Evil

Will you turn, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28. The first portion of this chapter tells of the blessing of God on the children of Israel if they are obedient. The last portion of the chapter tells of the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel if they are disobedient. One of these judgments is stated in verse 23. This should bring some thoughts to your mind about your own prayer life:

Deuteronomy 28

23And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.

Have you ever thought, in regard to your prayer life, that Heaven had turned to brass? You just could not seem to get your prayer through. No matter how often you prayed or how much you prayed, you did not get through. Perhaps you found yourself saying, “The heavens are brass as far as I am concerned.” Well, this is where that saying began. You see, it is the judgment of God because of sin. Brass that began with an association of evil gradually became associated with judgment for evil.

Notice chapter 60 of the book of Isaiah for further verification of that fact. Here we have a description of the earth as it will be after the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and blessings are the order of the day instead of cursing. In the book of Deuteronomy, God had said to the Israelites, “Because you are disobedient, I will turn the heavens to brass.” In verse 17, they have returned to Him and things are straightened out. In Isaiah, chapter 60, verse 17, God says:

Isaiah 60

17For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.

The heavens that were once brass were now being turned into gold. I think this is enough Scripture to indicate the significance of brass, though there are many more, and it would be a very profitable study to follow those through the Word of God. Let us say in summation that brass speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to judgment. That is why the altar was made of brass. It symbolized Christ's being judged for your sins and for mine.

Symbolizes Endurance

If you have considered the way that altar is constructed, you will think of a practical purpose for that brass, I am sure. If the altar had been made of wood and you built a fire on it, even though it was a hard wood such as acacia wood, it would have burned, would it not? There would not have been any altar left. God had to make provision that the wood would not be destroyed. So what did He do? He covered it with brass.

Even in that we see a typical significance. When you have time, read chapter 33 of the book of Deuteronomy, verse 25, and you will find there an interesting comment on the brass as a metal of endurance. It endures as nothing else does. We find that the brass covering the acacia wood symbolizes the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was able to endure the Cross, as Paul says in his letter to the Hebrews, and to despise the shame, that he might receive the glory (Hebrews 12:2). Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ was not destroyed on the Cross. The world may have thought He was, but He was not.

I am not particularly interested in Good Friday, because I do not believe the Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus Christ died on Good Friday. I think that is a matter of tradition and not Scripture. I think there is ample evidence in the Scriptures to prove that the Lord Jesus Christ died on Wednesday. Anyway, the world observes Good Friday now as the time when the Lord Jesus Christ died. The observance of Good Friday would be incomplete without the observance of Easter, for the story of the Lord Jesus Christ is one not of death, but resurrection, one not of destruction, but of life.

Significance of Numbers

Go back to Exodus, chapter 27 with me, and notice some more details about this altar of burnt offerings and its significance. Notice the emphasis on the number five in verse 1: five cubits long, five cubits broad. In verse 3, the number of utensils related to the altar were five–not six, but five. If you were to examine what is said in the book of Leviticus about the altar, you would find that there were five sacrifices that were made on this altar, only five. You would notice also that only five animals were permitted to be sacrifices on this altar–not seven or eight different kinds, but five. So the number five attracts our attention and becomes exceedingly important.

We have referred to the study of numerology in the Word of God. There is a significance in numbers, and we have learned the significance of certain numbers. The number five is the number of grace in relation to man's weakness. This seems very significant to me. What do we need when as sinners we come to the brazen altar? We need grace, do we not? None of us deserves to be saved; if we had our just desserts, we would all wind up in Hell. It is not a matter of what we deserve; it is a matter of the grace of God, of God's grace in providing our salvation. To me it is significant that the Holy Spirit would use the number five in connection with the brazen altar.

Glance at verse 1, where you will see the number three emphasized. The altar was three cubits high. Here again we have an interesting thought. You will remember that three is the number of deity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three is the number of manifestation, the complete manifestation of God. It is not found in God; it is not found in Jesus Christ; it is not found in the Holy Spirit. It is found in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I think it is significant that this altar should be three cubits high because it is the place where God manifested Himself to man.

Incidentally, that is the reason three is connected with the Resurrection. Three days and three nights was the Lord Jesus Christ in the heart of the earth, and if the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday and arose before the sun came up on Sunday, then someone miscalculated sometime somewhere along the line. The picture would not be complete if the number were not three. Three is the number of manifestation, and the Lord Jesus Christ was not manifested as the Son of God when He hung on the Cross. Two thieves hung on crosses. He was manifested as the Son of God only after He arose from the dead. The Bible emphasizes that. It was not the Cross that proved He is the Son of God; it was the Resurrection.

Glance again at this altar and you will notice that it is foursquare, which I think is significant. A horn on each corner pointed to a point on the compass. It reminds us that salvation is universal in its application. It is for all men everywhere. We have already learned in connection with the altar of incense that horns speak of power. That brings to mind the significance, the reasonableness of having horns on this altar, because this sacrifice is good news, the Apostle Paul said, “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). He said that for unbelieving men it is foolishness, but to them that believe, it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18).

Glance at verse 4 and notice the grate in the very center of the altar. It would be hidden from the sight of anyone who stood at that altar. The actual consuming of the sacrifice by fire was not seen by human eyes.

Does that remind you of anything? No doubt you have been thinking about Calvary, and I am glad for that, because I think it would be good for us to think about it every day. In the story of Calvary, from the sixth to the ninth hours there was darkness over the face of the earth; that was the time when the Lord Jesus suffered the most intense agony for the sins of the world. His suffering was not caused primarily by the nails through His hands and His feet and the spear wound in His side. His suffering was caused by those hours of agony in darkness. It was as if God had pulled a curtain around the Cross so that no man could see His Son in the agony of suffering. Perhaps that is why the grate is in the very middle of the altar.

Fire Started From God

I would like for us to notice briefly how the altar was used. It had fire on it, and that fire burned all the time. It did not go out until Solomon's temple was built. How was that fire started? How did it begin? Turn to Leviticus, chapter 9. Here is a very interesting observation. Unless you have made a very special study of this, you may not have thought about how the fire actually began. If someone asked you, you might have said, “I suppose someone started it.” That would be a logical assumption, but it would ruin the picture before us.

Leviticus 9

15And he [Aaron] brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
16And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
17And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
18He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,

Let us pause for a moment and note the very practical use of the basin that we referred to. Blood was caught in the basin. Aaron's sons brought it to him, and he used it in various worship activities, in sprinkling blood upon the altar round about.

Leviticus 9

19And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
20And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
21And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
22And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
23And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
24[Notice this verse] And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

This is how the fire started, and it continued to burn on this altar because they were very careful never to let the fire go out. You may ask, “How did the fire come from the Lord?” We do not know. There was a pillar of fire outside the tabernacle, and maybe God let a tongue of that fire come down and touch the altar. Perhaps He let a bolt of lightning come. We do not know. But the fire started from God.

The men could build the altar, but they could not provide the fire. Men could nail the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross, but He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for sin. Human hands had nothing to do with the actual sacrifice. That is very important to God. God does not want you or me to do anything related to our own salvation. We are touching a holy thing if we do.

Will you look at chapter 10 of Leviticus for an illustration of that fact:

Leviticus 10

1And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
2And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

They said, “It is not important to use fire upon the altar. We will make our own fire. We can make a good fire.” They did, and they died. Now you can make an effort to save yourself if you want to. You might even make a pretty good case of it, but it won't be pleasing to the Lord, for no human hands can touch the sacrifice for sin in Christ.

Illustration of Christ's Death and Resurrection

Turn back, please, to the book of Leviticus, chapter 6. When we were looking at the various utensils at the altar, we noticed a pan for the ashes. You know about taking ashes out of fireplaces today. Perhaps if you remember back far enough, you can remember taking ashes out of a wood stove. You did that to make the fire burn better, but that is not why they had the firepan, typically speaking, at the altar. Notice verse 8 of Leviticus, chapter 6:

Leviticus 6

8And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
9Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.
10And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.
11And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments [he could not wear these linen garments outside] , and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.

Does that suggest anything to you? When were the ashes collected? After a night of burning, after a night of suffering. Where were the ashes taken? Into a completely new and clean place. That suggests to me a perfect illustration of the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After hours of suffering, night as far as the world is concerned, what happened? Just before the morning Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came and took the body that had endured the suffering, the body that remained after the fires of God's judgment had burned during those hours of darkness, and placed the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in a completely new place, in a place where man had never lain before–in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

Conclusion

I think this emphasizes perfectly the fact that the brazen altar is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ bearing judgment for sin. We want never to mention this without mentioning the fact that you should make it personal. It does not do any good for me to talk about His bearing my sins. It will help only if you realize that He bore your sins.


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