The Altar Of The Lord

The Lord established the altar back in the Old Testament. Yet it still remains a special place to meet Him. Of course, our sacrifices today are much different than they were back then.

In Number 7, Moses set up the Tabernacle and anointed it. He also set it apart as holy along with all its furnishings. Then he anointed the altar of the Lord and prepared it for its dedication.

The Lord said to Moses, “Let one leader bring his gift each day for the dedication of the altar.” Numbers 7:11

For the dedication of the altar, the Lord required all twelve tribes of Israel to bring the same offering. They didn’t get to choose what they brought, the Lord assigned it to them.

I found it interesting that even though they each brought the same offering, the Bible lists them all separately. Then the end of the chapter contains a summary of all the items.

God required everything they brought to be a certain size or weight. They also brought the same number of animals. No one tribe could outdo another.

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The Dedication of the Altar

So for twelve days in a row, the following items were brought for this dedication.

  • A silver platter and a silver basin both filled with choice flour moistened with olive oil for a grain offering.
  • A gold container filled with incense.
  • Then a young bull, a ram, and a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering,
  • A male goat for a sin offering.
  • For a peace offering, he brought two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five one-year-old male lambs.

The grain offering symbolized a recognition or thanking God for what He had done for them and given them. Check out this related post called Is The Grain Offering Relevant for Us Today?

Incense created a sweet aroma flowing into the air. Its smoke from rising from the altar came to symbolize the prayers of God’s people ascending before the Lord.

The animals brought for burnt offerings were completely burned to ashes. These offerings served as the only means of reconciliation between sinful mankind and our holy God.

The sin offering literally means “fault offering.” Basically, this offering was a sacrifice made for sins committed in ignorance, or unintentional sins.

We don’t practice any of the offerings just mentioned because the death and resurrection of Jesus satisfied them all. He became the ultimate sacrifice accepted by God for our sins.

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 10:10

The Peace Offering

Altar lord

The Lord made the peace offering the biggest part of the dedication of the altar. This offering served as an act of gratitude to God. They used the animals offered for two purposes

Only parts of the animals offered in this offering were burned. They consecrated the remaining parts to prepare a meal between two or more parties before God. 

They shared the meal together in the fellowship of peace and a commitment to each others’ future prosperity.

The Lord used the peace offering to not only dedicate the altar. But it also brought people together in dedication to each other.

The peace of God continued beyond the Old Testament. When announcing the birth of Jesus, the angels spoke of it.

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14

Jesus offered us redemption and salvation through the shedding of His blood. And He also offers us His perfect peace.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. John 14:27

The apostle Paul told us not to worry about anything and trust God. When we do, look what he said we would get.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6

So we’ve looked at what Lord required for the dedication of the altar in the Old Testament. Today we traditionally kneel to the Lord at a church altar. But we can also establish our own altar.

Are You Ready to Dedicate Your Altar to the Lord?

I’ve heard individuals call their altar different names, like a prayer closet or a war room. Some people might even bow their heads at their desks at a dedicated time.

Your altar to the Lord is a place you can go to offer Him your sacrifice. Not, however, the same type we read about in Numbers. No, we offer the Lord ourselves as a living sacrifice.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1

The Lord has made us His temple, His holy priests, and His sacrifices to offer at His altar.

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5

Lord, thank you for fulfilling all the requirements of the Old Testament altar. We dedicate ourselves to you as living sacrifices.

Check out these other related posts about prayer.

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