Tabernacle of Moses - Brazen Altar
Dr. DeBorah Letbetter
The Tabernacle is given significant importance in the Old Testament compared to other matters. Understanding the structure and purpose of the Tabernacle is highly important to understand God’s redemptive program. The book “The Tabernacle of Moses The Riches of Redemption’s Story as Revealed in the Tabernacle, by Conner, Kevin J. Conner”, provides in comprehensive detail the understanding of the Tabernacle, and God’s redemptive program which includes a sinful man, holy God, and the price required for bringing both of them together.
The altar stood raised on a mound of earth. Altars before the brazen altar where: Abel’s offering at the gate of Eden; Noah’s altar unto the Lord; Abraham and Isaac built an alter in covenant with God; and Jacob at the command of God. These historical altar references from the beginning lead to Christ, being our sacrifice being lifted on the cross, His altar on the hill called Golgotha.
The brazen altar, the altar of sacrifice was right inside the outer court just at the door. The brazen altar is placed at the foot, which is symbolic for the beginning of man’s approach to God – the foot of Christ. The brazen altar was the place for sacrificial offerings to God. It showed the Israelites that the first step for sinful man to approach a holy God was to be cleansed by the blood of an innocent creature. The sin offering was to bring a male animal, one without blemish or defect from the herd to the priest at the tabernacle gate. The priest would lay his hand upon the head of the offering indicating his identification with the sacrifice. His sins and guilt were being moved from himself to the animal. The priest would than slaughter the animal and sprinkle its blood in front of the veil of the Holy Place. He would then burn the sacrifice and pour the remaining blood at the bottom of the altar. In the Old Testament, the blood made the atonement for the sin and provided cleansing. Leviticus 17, says that the life of a creature is in its blood. It has been given to make atonement for them at the altar. It is the blood that makes atonement for your life. In the New Testament, Hebrews 9; it follows that the old testament law required that everything be cleansed with blood, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The altar was made of wood from the smitten wood and cover with gold. The gold usually symbolic of judgment on sin in the Bible. In Deuteronomy, one of God’s promises to His people was that if they were disobedient, the heavens would be like brass over their heads. The would be unable to communicate with God. They would be cut off from God’s throne, but to the obedient God’s throne is mercy. A Horn was placed on each of the four corners of the altar. The Horns were a symbol of power and strength. When the sacrifice was made blood was dabbed on the horns of the altar to signify the power of the blood to atone for sins. There was a crate covered in gold, which was placed in the center of the brazen altar. The Crate was seen as the judgment seat of the sacrifice. The spiritual thought is that the crate upheld the body of the sacrificial victim in the midst of the sacrifice. This pointed to the Cross, the crate that upheld the body of Jesus Christ, our ultimate sacrifice and victim of our sins. Jesus was in the midst of /or center to two thieves on the cross.
The Brazen altar is the message of the cross:
Our Redemption, Our Ransom, Our Substitution, and Our Reconciliation. As we come to Christ by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we must begin at he Brazen Altar, the foot of Christ. We must accept Christ as our Lord and ask for forgiveness (atone for our sins). We are made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ. By one sacrifice he has forgiven and there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. There is mighty power in the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “horn of our salvation” (Ps 18:2, Luke 1:69).