Friday, December 09, 2022

2022.12.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 27:1–8

Read Exodus 27:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What are they to make in Exodus 27:1? Out of what? What size and shape? What will it have on the corners (Exodus 27:2)? How will they be attached? With what will it be overlaid? What will they make for it (Exodus 27:3)? To receive what? What four other utensils will it have? What will all of them be made of? What else will be made for it (Exodus 27:4)? What will its design and material be? Where will the grate go (Exodus 27:5)? What will be made for carrying it (Exodus 27:6)? Of what material? Overlaid with what? Where will the poles go (Exodus 27:7)? To do what? What additional construction note does Exodus 27:8 add? And what theological reminder about constructing it?

How can man approach the holy God? Exodus 27:1–8 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that it is through burnt offering and atoning blood that man can approach the holy God in His dwelling among us.

We are outside the holy place now. This will become clearer when the instruction is given for placing the altar, but we can already deduce that this furniture is going to go beyond the screen of Exodus 26:36–37, and this is affirmed by the use of bronze, rather than gold, for overlaying.

Thus, the altar is teaching us about how man is able to come near the holy God. It is box-like, similar to the ark and the table, but much larger. And it is not for display but for work. Its utensils have a very serious purpose, and we will come to see that they will be quite busily used. 

The “pans” of Exodus 27:3 are pots, and the “ashes” are more literally “fat.” The “shovels” are actually for the removal of ashes and other residue. The “basins” are from root word that means to “throw,” which corresponds to their use for applying atoning blood. The “forks” are for managing the carcass of the slaughtered animal. The “firepans” are for taking up hot coals. This is an altar that will be busily used.

The altar will also have a grate that goes around the outside to catch what is falling off, so that whatever is put on the altar will be properly used and disposed of, and none will be permitted to fall to the ground. It will not only be busily used but efficiently used.

Finally, the altar is to be portable, so far as it can be. Like the ark and the table, it gets rings and poles (though bronze replaces gold in their construction). And the load is lightened somewhat by its hollow construction. The altar will be used wherever God’s tabernacle goes.

Our only way of approaching God is through the blood of a victim that has been killed and burned. But the true altar would be one that only ever had to be used once (cf. Hebrews 10:1–4, Hebrews 10:14). Christ and His cross are the altar that we have (cf. Hebrews 13:10). He died for our sins according to the Scriptures; He suffered the burning wrath of God in our place; His blood washes us clean. Hallelujah!

What was the altar to be used for? Why was it necessary? Why don’t we use one now?

Sample prayer: Lord, we thank You for giving us Christ Himself as our altar. Consecrate us with His blood, vindicate us by His death, and atone for us by His propitiation. Make us to draw near to You through Him alone, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH275 “Arise, My Soul, Arise”

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