Alternate reading Exodus • 27:1-8 and answer the questions below.
The altar of burnt offering was made from ____________________ (also known as acacia wood), it was overlaid (or coated) with ________________. On each of it’s corners was a ________________. Inside the altar was a g__________ made from brass. Along the sides of the altar were _________________ which were used for carrying it.
Last week we learned that the main purpose of the entire tabernacle was that of allowing the Holy God of Heaven to commune with His people (Ex 25:8), even though they were sinful, and rightfully separated from Him. Central to the tabernacle was the most holy place where the mercy seat was found. It was upon this mercy seat that the very presence of God would come. When one entered the tabernacle through the eastern gate he was facing west, had he kept walking straight he would eventually find himself right in front of the mercy seat itself. But God so designed the tabernacle that it was impossible to walk directly from the gate to the mercy seat. There were a few pieces of furniture which stood in the way. The first of these pieces, as stated above, was the altar of burnt offering.
Alternate reading • Exodus 29:37-46 and answer the questions below.
Q. How is the Altar described in verse 37? ____________.
Q. v38,39 What was to be offered upon the altar? ______________________.
Q. These were to be offered in the morning and evening d________ by d_______ c_______________________.
Q. v46. What would be the result of Israel’s obedience in the sacrifices of the tabernacle?
The tabernacle is rich in symbolism and was designed to teach us and Israel about God the Father, about our sinful nature, and how to have a relationship with Him. This lesson begins just inside the gate at the altar of burnt offering.
The Holy Spirit designed the tabernacle in this way to remind us that before we could even begin a walk toward the presence of God, there must first be sacrifice!
The Need for Sacrifice
• Rom 6:23. Q. According to this verse, what is the penalty (wage) for sin?
• Rom 5:12, Rom 3:23. Q. Who has sinned? _________________________.
• Rom 3:23, Isaiah 59:2. Q. What affect does sin have on our relationship to God?
All of mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our sins have separated us from a relationship with Him. For this reason, before anyone, whether us today, or Israel in the Old Testament, can have fellowship with our Holy God, his sins must first be dealt with.
• Heb 9:22. Q. What is the only way that man can have remission of (forgiveness, liberty from) his sins?
The penalty for all sin is death. All men, as sinners, deserve to die and to be separated from God for eternity. But God has, by his grace, always provided a way for man’s sin to be forgiven. Starting with the very first death of an animal to cover the sins of Adam and Eve, and continuing on through to Jesus Christ, we see that sin has always resulted in death, and that shedding of blood has always been necessary for man to obtain forgiveness.
God’s Justice Leads to God’s Grace
The altar of burnt offering reveals God’s holy character – he cannot tolerate sin. It also reveals his Justice – all sin must be judged. As sinners, these two character qualities of God ought to strike fear into our hearts. We stand before him as unholy sinners who deserve judgment! But thankfully, the altar of burnt sacrifice reveals something else about God’s character – His grace. It is by God’s grace that he allowed the use of the brazen altar and offered his acceptance of a substitutionary sacrifice and not the death of the sinner himself.
In Leviticus 1 we read instructions regarding the offering of sacrifices upon the altar. Alternate reading verses 1-9 and answer the questions below.
Q. v2, From where could the offerer take his sacrifice? What is significant?
Q. v3, What could this sacrifice not have?_______________________.
Q. Leviticus 1:4 And he shall put his ____________________________ of the burnt offering; and it shall be _________________________ to make ____________________________________.
The word atonement here means to cleanse or forgive. This sacrifice would be accepted on behalf of the sinner, and it’s death would be counted as if it were his death. His sins would then be paid for and he would be forgiven.
Q. v5, What was the offerer to do to his sacrifice?______________________.
Q. v5, What happened with it’s blood?
Q. v9, How is this sacrificed viewed by God?
Through this process of continual sacrifice, God was teaching Israel that no man could come into his presence as a sinner, without the atonement, that is, without his sins first being forgiven. He was also teaching that this forgiveness could only come by the sacrifice of an innocent. By his grace he allowed substitutes to be offered in lieu of the sinner himself.
Although this sacrificial system served Israel well for the time at hand, it was not intended to be permanent and was in fact, a grand object lesson of greater and more permanent things to come.
The Altar – A Shadow of the Cross
• Hebrews 10:1. Q. The sacrificial law was a __________________ of good things to come.
Q. What could the sacrifices on the altar of burning offering never do?
• Hebrews 10:2,3. Q. What is the evidence that these sacrifices never truly took away sin, but simply covered them temporarily?
• Hebrews 10:4. Q. What could the blood of these sacrifices never do?
• Hebrews 10:2. Q. Those that offered sacrifices in the tabernacle still had a c______________ of sin.
When a man would offer a sacrifice on the altar of the tabernacle he received forgiveness for the sin for which he brought the offering, but this forgiveness did not extend to his very nature as a sinner. He could never have the full assurance that he was accepted in the sight of God. He lived every day feeling separated from His God because of his sin, only achieving peace when sacrifice was made for the temporary covering of his immediate sins (Heb 9:9).
The altar of burnt offering was temporary and inadequate to offer full forgiveness for mankind. For this reason, after the lesson of the tabernacle was taught, God offered his Son as the ultimate and permanent sacrifice for sin.
• Hebrews 10:6. Q. How did God feel about animal sacrifices?
• Hebrews 10:5. Q. What was God saying about the old animal sacrifices when he sent Jesus into the world? What did he prepare for Jesus?
• Hebrews 10:10. Q. We are sanctified through the o_______________ of the _______________ of Jesus. Q. For how long?
• Hebrews 10:11,12. Q. How was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross different from the sacrifices that the priests offered?
• Hebrews 10:14. Q. What has His offering done for us?
• Hebrews 10:17. Q. What will God now do with our sins?
• Hebrews 10:18. Q. What never has to be done again?
• Hebrews 10:19. Q. What do we now have to enter into the presence of God? (enter into the holiest) Q. How was this made possible?
The altar of burnt offering in the tabernacle taught us about God’s character, his holiness, justice, grace and longsuffering. It also taught us about our own sinfulness and our need for forgiveness, but ultimately its purpose was to point to the final and permanent sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Unlike the daily sacrifices of the tabernacle, the sacrifice of Christ was only needed once. It offers full and free forgiveness not just from our sins, but from the very conscience of them!