Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20070425.htm
EXODUS: FUNCTIONING WELL IN A HOPELESS GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Hopeless Trials
M. God's Establishment Of The Tabernacle Of Meeting
6. The Bronze Altar: Christ Our Substitutionary Atonement
Lesson: The bronze altar, the closest article of furniture to the worshiper as he approached the door of the tabernacle courtyard, pictured the cross of Christ where every mortal sinner must go to begin to relate to God! The altar typified how Christ bore the judgment (bronze) of God's wrath against our sin that we might receive forgiveness and salvation by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The idea that a holy God's righteous demands must be met to gain salvation with Him is unsuitable to many "respectable" folk today who view God as widely, indiscriminately accepting of all decent citizens.
- However, regardless of His infinite love for all mankind, the wrath of God had to be satiated for anyone to have just grounds to approach Him for fellowship, a truth revealed in the bronze altar of the tabernacle:
- The Bronze Altar: Christ Our Substitutionary Atonement, Exodus 27:1-8.
- Where the tabernacle tent was the abode of God's presence signifying where man could fellowship with Him, the first article of furniture a worshiper faced as he came to the door of the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle complex was the bronze altar, International Standard Bible Ency., 1929 ed., vol. V, p. 2890.
- That altar was constructed of acacia wood and overlaid entirely of bronze, a metal that in Scripture symbolizes God's judgment, cf. J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee , vol. I, p. 287.
- The altar was square in shape, and at each corner was a "horn" used "to bind the sacrificial animals to the altar (Psalm 118:27)," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Ex. 27:1-8; cf. Exodus 27:2.
- As such, this altar represents the cross of Christ through which every sinner must approach God in order to find atonement for his sin that he might be born again in Christ and fellowship with God (as follows):
- The altar was made of acacia ("shittim" KJV) wood overlaid with bronze, and bronze was the metal representing judgment, so it pictures the cross where Christ provided our substitutionary atonement:
- The Hebrew worshipper who approached God came as a sinner, and that demanded that he die to satisfy the wrath of God against him for his sin and his sinfulness, Romans 1:18; 3:23.
- However, in grace, the sacrificial animal in the Old Testament prefigured Jesus Christ as the substitutionary Lamb of God Who would take away the sin of the world in place of the world's death for its own sin, cf. John 1:29. Thus, the worshiper would rely on the substitutionary death of the animal he brought to atone for his sin in picture of Christ's substitutionary death, Rom. 3:24-25.
- When the sacrificer gave the sacrificial animal to the priest as his substitute, God applied the future substitutional death of Christ to satisfy God's righteous demands that the sinner die for his sin, and that God's wrath thus be propitiated toward that sinner that he not need to die, 1 John 4:10.
- As the animal was tied upon the altar to the horns of the altar, it prefigured how our Lord Jesus Christ was affixed to the cross, the altar of choice for Him by God the Father, Matthew 27:35.
- Then, as the animal was slain in having its blood shed, the loss of its life pictured the substitutionary death of Christ that "finished" the atonement for the sinner, cf. John 19:30; Hebrews 9:22, 24-28.
- Thus, we believers today have full access to God as His wrath against our sin has been fully satiated in the substitutionary atonement of Christ, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13-14; Romans 5:1-2.
- Now, contrary to the teachings of limited redemptionists, Christ's atonement was for the sins of the whole world, not for just the elect, cf. 1 John 2:2; John 3:16-17. Thus, if anyone in the whole world believes in Christ, he will be saved, John 3:16; Romans 10:11-13!
- The altar was the first article of furniture facing the worshiper who approached the tabernacle courtyard door; thus, every man must begin his relationship with God on the grounds of the finished work of Christ on the cross, and so believe in Christ as his Savior from sin to be saved, 1 Cor. 15:1-4; John 3:16. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is no salvation, cf. Acts 4:12 with Hebrews 9:22b.
Application: (1) May we trust in Christ for salvation from sin. (2) Then, may we herald the Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ and His work on the cross that the lost might believe it and be saved!