THE BRAZEN ALTAR

( The Cross)

Exodus 27:1 (NASB) "And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits.

2 "And you shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze.

3 "And you shall make its pails for removing its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze.

4 "And you shall make for it a grating of network of bronze, and on the net you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners.

5 "And you shall put it beneath, under the ledge of the altar, that the net may reach halfway up the altar.

6 "And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze.

7 "And its poles shall be inserted into the rings, so that the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar when it is carried.

8 "You shall make it hollow with planks; as it was shown to you in the mountain, so they shall make it.

The first piece of furniture that you came to when you passed through the courtyard gate was the Brazen Altar. It stood between you and the door to fellowship with the Father. There is no way that you can encounter the Father without first having encountered the Brazen Altar.

The Brazen Altar is where God met man's need. The first step toward God is accepting by faith, the sacrifice made for us. The "It is finished" of Christ's redeeming work is only the beginning of the Christian walk and experience.

The Brazen Altar is mentioned in:

Exodus 38:1 (NASB) Then he made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, five cubits long, and five cubits wide, square, and three cubits high.

2 And he made its horns on its four corners, its horns being of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with bronze.

3 And he made all the utensils of the altar, the pails and the shovels and the basins, the flesh hooks and the firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze.

4 And he made for the altar a grating of bronze network beneath, under its ledge, reaching halfway up.

5 And he cast four rings on the four ends of the bronze grating as holders for the poles.

6 And he made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze.

7 And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made it hollow with planks.

Exodus 39:39 (NASB) the bronze altar and its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils, the laver and its stand;

Exodus 40:6 (NASB) "And you shall set the altar of burnt offering in front of the doorway of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

Exodus 40:10 (NASB) "And you shall anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar; and the altar shall be most holy.

Exodus 40:29 (NASB) And he set the altar of burnt offering before the doorway of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the meal offering, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

1 Chronicles 21:29 (NASB) For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were in the high place at Gibeon at that time.

2 Chronicles 1:5 (NASB) Now the bronze altar, which Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of the LORD, and Solomon and the assembly sought it out.

6 And Solomon went up there before the LORD to the bronze altar which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.

2 Chronicles 29:27 (NASB) Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel.

28 While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

2 Kings 16:14 (NASB) And the bronze altar, which was before the LORD, he brought from the front of the house, from between his altar and the house of the LORD, and he put it on the north side of his altar.

15 Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, "Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening meal offering and the king's burnt offering and his meal offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their meal offering and their libations; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice. But the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by."

God gave the instructions for building the Tabernacle, beginning with the Holy of Holies. That is because He looks from the inside out. We must approach God from the outside so we are looking at the approach from man's standpoint.

The word - altar means lifted up or high or ascended or slaughter place. Strong's No. 04196 (HEBREW) - 4196 mizbeach {miz-bay'-akh} from 2076; TWOT - 525b; n m

1) altar.

Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Myself.

John 12:32 (NASB) "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

John 3:14 (NASB) "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.

Romans 6:6 (NASB) knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

Romans 3:25 (NASB) whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Lifted = Strong's No. 5312 (GREEK) 5312 hupsoo {hoop-so'-o} from 5311; TDNT - 8:602,1241; vb AV - exalt (14) - lift up (6) [20]

1) to lift up on high, to exalt; metaph. to raise to the very summit of opulence and prosperity; to exalt, to raise to dignity, honour and happiness.

The Brazen Altar is a picture of the cross.

The Altar was five cubits (7.5 ft.) by five cubits (7.5 ft.) by three cubits (4.5 ft.). Five is the number of grace and three is the number of the Trinity. The five utensils for work around the Altar speak of the five fold ministries for delivering the Gospel.

Ephesians 4:11 (NASB) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

The Altar was foursquare which spoke of the sacrifice of Christ reaching to the four corners of the earth. It also speaks of equality - all people are the same. Four is the number of the earth and five is the number of grace. Together they speak of grace for the world.

Acts 1:8 (NASB) but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

The Brazen Altar was made of acacia wood overlaid with brass. The acacia wood speaks of being born of the woman - humanity. Shittim is an untranslated Hebrew word.

Hebrews 2:14 (NASB) Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Brass is the symbol of judgment.

Numbers 21:6 (NASB) And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

7 So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people.

8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live."

9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

John 3:14 (NASB) "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.

Deuteronomy 28:23 (NASB) "And the heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron.

24 "The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

25 "The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, but you shall flee seven ways before them, and you shall be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

Brass is judgment. A few years ago, the London County Council Fire Brigade certified wood encased with brass to be "fireproof". This is a relatively new invention. We are finally catching up with the Bible is this area.

What is translated brass in the King James version of the bible is probably copper. Bronze is an alloy, but copper is found naturally.

Someone calculated that the Altar of Burnt Offering was big enough that all of the other furniture could fit in it. It has been said the sacrifice of Jesus was great enough to contain all other sacrifices. The cross of Christ holds redemption for all. The horns speak of strength and power.

Revelation 17:12 (NASB) "And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.

13 "These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast.

Psalms 118:27 (NASB) The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

A person could hold on to the horns and beg for mercy.

1 Kings 1:50 (NASB) And Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, and he arose, went and took hold of the horns of the altar.

51 Now it was told Solomon, saying, "Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for behold, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'"

52 And Solomon said, "If he will be a worthy man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he will die."

1 Kings 2:28 (NASB) Now the news came to Joab, for Joab had followed Adonijah, although he had not followed Absalom. And Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the altar.

29 And it was told King Solomon that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, "Go, fall upon him."

30 So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD, and said to him, "Thus the king has said, 'Come out.'" But he said, "No, for I will die here." And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, "Thus spoke Joab, and thus he answered me."

31 And the king said to him, "Do as he has spoken and fall upon him and bury him, that you may remove from me and from my father's house the blood which Joab shed without cause.

Jesus was a willing sacrifice.

John 10:17 (NASB) "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."

Jesus was bound by cords of love.

A holy God must punish sin before He can show mercy. God must punish sin or He is not God. He has to be just or he is not God. How can He punish sin and not kill people (wages of sin is death)? He took the punishment. He became sin for us. God supplied the substitute. Give the type of Abraham and Isaac.

God said meet me in Jesus. That is the only place. Not where we want, but where God said.

Romans 8:32 (NASB) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Ephesians 5:2 (NASB) and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Isaiah 53:10 (NASB) But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

The priest would lay his hands on the animal to be sacrificed, lean on him and then he would begin confessing sins. We you heard a sin of which you were guilty, you would wail in agreement.

Leviticus 4:24 (NASB) 'And he shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat, and slay it in the place where they slay the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering.

25 'Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering.

All of the flesh hooks and pokers and ash pans were made of brass. The ashes from the sacrifice are holy and only brass could touch them. The camp had to be kept clean because God was in the camp.

1 Peter 1:16 (NASB) because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

Jesus went outside of the camp to be sacrificed and then He was placed in a clean tomb. ( A clean place for the remains of the sacrifice.) Fire pans were used to carry coals from the Brazen Altar to the Golden Altar. The smaller Altar of Incense speaks of praise and prayer. Your praise must be ignited by the finished work of Christ.

Romans 6:23 (NASB) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christ should not have died since there was no sin in Him, but He became sin and died in our place. The sins of the world were put on Him.

The grating which held the sacrifice was inside the Altar and about half way up. Jesus, the Sacrifice was hung between two thieves.

The Altar had two staves to carry it. It had to be carried on the shoulders of a sanctified priests. Today the gospel is carried on the shoulders of sanctified saints or priests.

Revelation 1:6 (NASB) and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10 (NASB) "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

Moses saw the same thing that John saw in Revelations. The model Moses made at God's direction is a shadow as it was shown on the mount.

Exodus 25:9 (NASB) "According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.

Exodus 25:40 (NASB) "And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.

It was the life poured out - that made the sacrifice important. The animal might have been cute, fluffy and cuddly, but that was not important, it was their life that was important. The same with Jesus, it His life poured out that opened our way into the Father's presence. You can only come through the blood.

Hebrews 9:14 (NASB) how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

God will receive only that which comes from Himself. He cannot accept our offering unless He gave it to us. He will not answer prayer unless He prompted you to prayer. It all originates in heaven. Since God is perfect and holy, he cannot accept less. Nothing from the fallen earth is perfect and holy.

Leviticus 9:24 (NASB) Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

Leviticus 10:1 (NASB) Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.

2 And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.

The fire in Aaron's censor came from the Brazen Altar and the fire on the Brazen Altar came from the Lord.

Leviticus 6:13 (NASB) 'Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.

The fire on the Brazen Altar was kept burning continuously. There was a continuos sacrifice, but after Christ was sacrificed, this ended. We find redemption in Him.

Hebrews 10:14 (NASB) For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

The eternal fire also speaks of the eternal fire in which Christless ones must dwell forever. Which do you prefer - you or a substitute provided by God.

Remember Cain and Able when they made offerings. Cain was angry when his sacrifice was not accepted. How do you know if your sacrifice is accepted or not. You know God has received it when it is sanctified by the fire.

Genesis 4:3 (NASB) So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.

4 And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;

5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB) By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Faith is always preceded by a revelation from God. He had spoken.

God killed the first animal to use it's skin as a covering over the effects of sin. When He did this to replace the fig leaves, He instituted the blood sacrifice.

When you come to Jesus, you get blessed and then broken. The affects of the fall, (self-willing, self) is broken. This is not a pleasant experience. Dying is not pleasant.

When the Lord begins cleaning us up, we begin complaining and rebuking satan. This is part of maturing. The Church of Jesus Christ is for the most-part a nursery. People only want the blessing. Remember how it was when you grew up?

The life of the flesh is in the blood. Why did God choose blood? When God breathe into Adam the breath of lives (Plural), he became a living soul. The life is in the blood.

Leviticus 17:11 (NASB) 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'

The priests were sanctified at this Altar. He was anointed with blood. The pagans sacrificed their children because they knew that something had to die to pay for sin. Mankind knows this instinctively. This is why some religions practice self-abasement. Remember the prophets of Baal.

1 Kings 18:26 (NASB) Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.

27 And it came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."

28 So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.

Life has to been given. Where there is no blood, there is no sacrifice. It is the blood that changes things.

The priest had to be sanctified - set apart at this altar. Someone would take blood from the sacrifice and anoint the priest. They would anoint his right ear, right thumb, and his big toe. The right had is considered the nearest to the heart and since most people are right handed, this is the hand you do the most work with, the favorite, the strongest. They anoint the ear which says that this ear will hear no voice except the voice of God. My sheep hear My voice. Your right toe has to do with the way you walk. His walk is in the righteousness. He walks, serves and hears his God.

The blood allowed the priest to approach the altar. The blood made the difference. The Blood still makes the difference. Only the blood washed can stand before God.

The priest had to wear linen underpants while others didn't. There could be no exposed flesh on the place of the Lord's sacrifice. The flesh shall not please God.

Romans 8:8 (NASB) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:8 (NIV) Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

We are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is how we enter the presence of the Father - no flesh exposed. Circumcision is a picture of cutting away the flesh. The flesh says - Me, I. The flesh says I want that which pleases me. Anything which comforts me. God never anoints flesh.

Ashes say that it is finished. The residue, that which is there after the life is gone.

There were several purposes for the Altar:

To worship - it was participative. You were not a spectator. The Altar was the first thing you saw when you entered the tabernacle courtyard and worship is the first thing you do when you see the Lord. The Lord reveals himself. We are changed by beholding the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB) But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Remission - paid in full, not canceled. We can come into God's presence only because the price for our sins had been paid in full. We don't owe a dime. Our sin has been paid for in full - we owe God everything because He paid the price.

John 5:24 (NASB) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Dedication and consecration - The priests were sprinkled and anointed and then had oil poured on them. The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit and it came after the blood. First salvation and then the Holy Spirit.

Burning - Flesh was destroyed. We are guided into circumstances by God so that our flesh can be burned. You say, God why am I suffering? The flesh is being burned away.

Meeting Place between God and mankind. This is where God choose to show His wrath for sin. In the person of Jesus Christ, on the cross, God showed His wrath for sin. On the altar of burnt offering - the cross, the wrath of God and the love of God met.

Numbers 4:13 (NASB) "Then they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth over it.

14 "They shall also put on it all its utensils by which they serve in connection with it: the firepans, the forks and shovels and the basins, all the utensils of the altar; and they shall spread a cover of porpoise skin over it and insert its poles.

Purple is a combination of scarlet and blue. Scarlet is the color for blood and blue is the color for the heavens (royalty). The Brazen Altar was the only piece of furniture covered in purple.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.

Hebrews 9:22 (NASB) And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Jesus was the sacrifice for all.

Hebrews 10:12 (NASB) but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Romans 12:1 (NASB) I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

God performed the first sacrifice with Adam and Eve and He was the final sacrifice. He was sacrificed on the cross which was pictured in the Brazen Altar.

No blood, no Altar now, the sacrifice is o'er; no flame, no smoke ascends on high, the lamb is slain no more; but richer blood has flowed from nobler veins, to purge, the soul from guilt, and cleanse the reddest stains.

At Calvary, Christ was the offering, the Altar, and the priest. Amen.