A HISTORY OF ALTARS
These are reasonable beginnings to a life of faith in Christ Jesus. However, my effort is for us to revisit the "altars", the trophies or memorials of God in our lives.
Altars in and of themselves are structures that were built to certain specifications and placed in a specific place for many different uses. Multiple cultures have integrated the use of altars in their society. The Mayans, Incas and Jews are just a select few that we know used altars.
For the Jewish usage of the altar the usual observation is that they dealt with all the many sacrifices brought before the LORD. However, not only was it a place of daily sacrifice, but much more. Consider the following about the Jewish Altar...
- It was portable (Ex. 27:7)
- A place of offering (Ex. 29:18)
- A place of consecration (Ex. 29:21)
- A place of seeking holiness (Ex. 29:37)
- A place of personal cleanliness (Ex. 40:32)
- A place of death (Lev. 1:11-15)
- A place of continual burning (Lev. 6:12-13)
- A place of atonement (Lev. 17:11)
- A place of God’s presence (Judges 13:20)
- A place where you can worship the wrong thing (Judges 6:25)
- Where oaths are sworn (1 Kings 8:31)
- Where prayers and supplications are made to the LORD (1 Kings 8:54)
- Where the altar itself is cried out against (1 Kings 13:2)
- It was a place to take from and apply to (Lev. 16:12-13, 46-47)
- A place for seeking guidance (2 Kings 16:15).
- It was a place that is cared for/tended to (Nu. 18:5)
- It was a place to worship before (2 Chron. 32:12).
- Finally, what might be most striking but definitely gets you pondering is that the earthly altars were patterned after a heavenly altar (Isaiah 6:6; Revelation 6:9, 8:3).
- "'Make an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and cattle. Whenever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.'"
- "Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones."