A Clean Altar

Ezekiel 43:13–44:9 (NKJV)

13 “These are the measurements of the altar in cubits (the cubit is one cubit and a handbreadth): the base one cubit high and one cubit wide, with a rim all around its edge of one span. This is the height of the altar: 14 from the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits; the width of the ledge, one cubit; from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four cubits; and the width of the ledge, one cubit. 15 The altar hearth is four cubits high, with four horns extending upward from the hearth. 16 The altar hearth is twelve cubits long, twelve wide, square at its four corners; 17 the ledge, fourteen cubits long and fourteen wide on its four sides, with a rim of half a cubit around it; its base, one cubit all around; and its steps face toward the east.”

18 And He said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God: ‘These are the ordinances for the altar on the day when it is made, for sacrificing burnt offerings on it, and for sprinkling blood on it. 19 You shall give a young bull for a sin offering to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who approach Me to minister to Me,’ says the Lord God. blood horns altar20 You shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar, on the four corners of the ledge, and on the rim around it; thus you shall cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21 Then you shall also take the bull of the sin offering, and burn it in the appointed place of the temple, outside the sanctuary.

22 On the second day you shall offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they cleansed it with the bull. 23 When you have finished cleansing it, you shall offer a young bull without blemish, and a ram from the flock without blemish. 24 When you offer them before the Lord, the priests shall throw salt on them, and they will offer them up as a burnt offering to the Lord. 25 Every day for seven days you shall prepare a goat for a sin offering; they shall also prepare a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without blemish. 26 Seven days they shall make atonement for the altar and purify it, and so consecrate it. 27 When these days are over it shall be, on the eighth day and thereafter, that the priests shall offer your burnt offerings and your peace offerings on the altar; and I will accept you,’ says the Lord God.”

The altar is a basic place of worship in the Jewish temple.  Offerings for sins are made at the altar, and other offerings of worship.  Even the altar had to be consecrated, though, by the blood of a bull, and the offerings of a bull and a ram.  Wherever you intend to worship, be sure that you consecrate that place to God.  You can worship anywhere, but the altar should be designated, separated, and sanctified for the purpose of meeting with God.  Your heart is part of that altar.  Purify your heart to worship God.

44:1 Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

The prince was the only one eligible to stand in the Eastern Gate.  It was to be shut, and no one actually enter through that gate, because the Lord God had entered the temple through that gate.  Wherever the Lord is, there should be reverence and awe.

Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face. And the Lord said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

“Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

Since the sanctuary was set apart as the dwelling place of the Lord, it must be kept holy, with no abominations or foreigners.  Although a sinner may sit in the sanctuary of a local church building, or arena, or arbor while a service is going on, no sinner may actually commune with God unless they are praying a prayer of repentance.  This tabernacle restriction is actually a type or shadow of how God deals with us today.  A prayer of repentance leads to forgiveness and cleansing, which will then allow an individual into a relationship of communion with Jesus Christ.  Again, I quote the Scripture from the Psalms (24:4), “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart….”  Make the sanctuary (temple) clean, and the Lord will dwell within.

Eze43

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