THE BRAZEN ALTAR = Christ our JUSTIFICATION (Initial
(forgiveness from sin's GUILT-- judicial cleansing, Ex, 38:1-7; 27:l; Rom. 5:9)
The altar was made of acacia wood (Christ's humanity), overlaid with brass (the absolute justice of Christ's deity which demands judgment). We are reminded of the "brazen serpent" (Num. 21:9; Jn. 3:l4; 12:31-33, "now is the judgment of this world ...). There was no poison in the brazen serpent, there was no sin in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). One look of faith at Him, "hanging there for me," saves (Jn. 3:14-15). Christ had to be WHO He was or could never have endured what He did!
An altar speaks of sacrifice. Hence Heb. 9:22b, blood must be shed, life laid down in sacrifice. But there is something deeper here than physical suffering. In the heart of the altar was a grate upon which the sacrifice was roasted (Ex. 38:4, network; later Num. l6:38, made in plates attached to altar). Christ's inward and unseen sufferings far exceeded His outward and seen sufferings attendant on crucifixion. In His very innermost being the fire of God's holy wrath burned with all the fury of an eternity in hell. So what God did to Christ pained Him far more than what man did to Him, as "the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all," "He was made sin for us," "His soul was made an offering for sin," "He poured out His soul unto death. (Isa. 53:6, 10, 12; 2 Cor. 5:21).
There is a sense in which Christ's death was of infinite value to God, in dealing with the stain of sin in man and in the universe, even if not one soul had ever believed and been saved.
The size of the altar was 5 cubits square (c. 9 ft.) by 3 cubits high (c. 5ft.).
Five is the number of grace, emphasizing its four corners, representing "four corners of the earth" (i.e., Christ died for all men), and three is the number of the Trinity. All the Godhead is associated with the gracious work of redemption, reaching out to all the world.
The "horns" of the altar speak of strength -- the power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16).
They were used to tie the animal to, while the priest slew it. But Chris needed nothing to hold Him on the cross (Jn. 10:l8; Mk. 15:31-32). Shall we not, however, ask God to bind our hearts to the horns of the altar, lest we wander?
"Jesus keep me near the cross"
The efficacy of Christ's sacrifice is evidenced by such verses as? 1 Jn. 1:7, 9; Heb. 9:23, 26, 28, 10:10, 12, 14-18.
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