We have the first piece of exterior furnishings today; the bronze altar. This is where the priests will sacrifice all the offerings to God.
Notice this piece is not gold. The gold, purity, stops at the door of the tabernacle. Actually it doesn’t reach the door beyond the covering of the five pillars at the entrance of the tabernacle and its hooks. The bases of these pillars are bronze too. Sin trying to creep in but meeting the overwhelming presence of God which repels it. (Just an analogy for me.)
The altar is where the sin of the people and the nation are brought. It is where the atoning blood will be sprinkled. I know this is off the point, but does the blood get washed away after a certain amount of time or on a regular basis? I asked google for an answer to my question and found someone asking a very similar question. The bible doesn’t give us the answer but other Jewish writings are sited as answers to the question. I’ll let you make the decision on their accuracy.
Back to the altar. Here again we see God’s workmanship and creativity in action. First, I doubt ANY other God had called for a portable temple that could be set up wherever its followers were. God not only designs a mobile sanctuary but He designs one that included carrying poles for each piece. God went with them throughout all their wanderings. Not that He didn’t suggest starting over when they got WAY out of hand in just a little bit. He did kind of start over with the next generation after they refused to listen one time too many. I guess my point is that they didn’t have to go seek Him out; He was in their midst all the time. They only had to turn back from their sins to encounter Him.
The next thing I notice is that He knew how to build a good barbeque. God had this item made of wood but overlaid with bronze. This let the wood provide the shape and the metal provide the longevity and lighter weight to the entire item. He also included vents to let the heat out so it wouldn’t warp the piece. I do not doubt the aroma of the cooking meat escaped through those vents and filled the courtyard with mouthwatering smells.
Finally, God put a little artistry into His design. I see no practical reason for the horns on the altar other than that is what God decided He wanted in His design. They are where the blood is sprinkled but they are not structurally significant. I’m going to have to ask some day why He chose horns as opposed to some other design. And why He wanted something to protrude from it to begin with. I’m one of those people who seem to get caught up on anything that sticks out. I can imagine getting my clothes hung up every time I passed a corner IF I were working around it. Maybe that was the very reason for the protrusions, the keep those working at its sides mindful of their distance.
Jesus’ blood was the last that was ever NEEDED to be sprinkled. His blood was applied to the original in Heaven that inspired this replica. After His blood was shed, any other blood sacrifice was worthless. I wonder if it was also an insult. Is that why the temple was destroyed? That event put an end to the sacrifices.
I can imagine God’s response each time the Jews tried to reach Him through the old ways after Jesus had completed His work. “My Son’s work was and is perfected. Why can’t you see that?! You are throwing away His work when you don’t accept it. I LOVE YOU! Don’t you get it?!!!
Lord Jesus, THANK YOU for being my sacrifice! I would NEVER have made it under the old covenant. I don’t know exactly what my life would have looked like back then but I bet it wouldn’t have turned out with me following You so closely. My father predicted I would have had a “rock concert” with real rock thrown on my behalf as a child. I don’t know if I would have made it to adulthood because of my stubborn streak.
The joy of having Your Spirit living in me is the only thing that has made my life worthwhile. Yes, there are many other things in my life that have brought me joy and meaning but being Your child has given me worth beyond measure. I am a treasure beyond measure because I am Yours. And You are my treasure above all else, even when I forget to “dust off” our relationship on a daily basis. Keep me always eager for time with You, even when my days get full. Thank You for not condemning me when I don’t get to carve out time. Thank You that I don’t have to go searching for You either and that You are RIGHT HERE with me all the time!