Summary: #7 in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness Series
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness Series
#7 Coming to the Brazen Altar
By Pastor Jim May
The Tabernacle stood in the midst of the camp with the 12 tribes camped around it. How comforting it was to the Children of Israel as they thought of the colorful gates and furniture made of gold, silver, and brass. Though they could not see its true beauty from the outside, they knew of the real beauty, riches and glory that could be found on the inside. From their tents they could see the visible presence of God as the cloud arose from it by day, and a pillar of fire by night. That visible witness was a constant reminder that God was with them and that he was leading them somewhere that they had never been before.
Exodus 27:1-8, "And 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. And 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. And 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. And 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. And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar. And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass. And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it. Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it."
Tonight I want to talk about the Brazen Altar that sat in the center of the Outer Court. It was the main focus of attention. This altar was where the sacrifices for sin were placed and burned with fire; consumed as an offering unto the Lord. But before they could be place there, each animal that was to be offered had to go through very exact procedure and had to be killed according to some very detailed instructions. I want to give you just a sample of God’s commands to Moses concerning the offering of sacrifices upon the Brazen Altar.
Many of the laws regarding the sacrifice are found in the Book of Leviticus, so let turn to that book for a while to see just how exact God’s requirements are. Remember while we are looking at this procedure that every step, and every instruction had to be followed to the max. No detail could be overlooked. If only one step were missed, or one detail forgotten, the sacrifice would not be acceptable unto the Lord.
The requirements that God makes for accepting a sacrifice are meant to express and underscore the demands of God’s holiness and righteousness. Let there be no mistake – Sin cannot enter in where God dwells. It had to be covered by the blood of a sacrifice.
What were the requirements of the blood sacrifice? Here’s what God said to Moses.
Leviticus 1:1-4, "And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him."
There were some basic requirements before any sacrifice could be offered to God.
First it must be an animal, and not a plant that grows from the ground, or is a mineral of the earth. The sacrifice must have blood that gives life; it must come from “the herd or the flock.” The principle that we see here is found in Genesis, in the sacrifices of both Cain and Abel. It tells us that God is not satisfied with our sacrifices, but with His Sacrifice. He is not pleased by our efforts to gain his mercy, but by our taking in faith the work He has done and the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.