Temple Baptist Church - 2-17-2021
A. The First Mention of “Altar” in the Bible speaks God’s mind on the subject. An altar is a specified place used for a specific reason. It is a place of sacrifice.
Genesis 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
B. Our context in Hebrews 13:10-13 sets forth a contrast between 2 different altars.
1. The Altar of the Old Covenant. “Meats” – Plural or Many. In the beginning, a place of shame and reproach where the innocent had to die for the guilty.
a) The first article found in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness was the brazen altar where the sacrifices were killed. This type of altar was used throughout the Old Testament for the atonement of the people.
b) It had unfortunately become a “common” place by the time Isaiah wrote about it because the people offered with a sinful heart.
Isaiah 1:11-15 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. (12) When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? (13) Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. (14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. (15) And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
c) By the time that Christ had come, their “altar” had become one of ritual: works and not grace: meats and not grace.
Hebrews 13:9-10 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (10) We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
d) Their “altar” had become one of pride instead of “shame and reproach.”
The Jews gladly sacrificed their Atonement because they felt right with God without personally suffering for it. Animals suffered within the gate because there was no shame or reproach to those who offered it. They were not required to go outside the gate.
2. The Altar of the New Covenant. “Grace” – Singular or One. A place of shame and reproach where the innocent Lamb of God had to die for the guilty.
a) A place called Calvary (Greek word used was “kranion” from which we get our word “cranium” or a skull. The brazen altar was for the sacrifice of animals, but the “place of the skull” was a place of human sacrifice.
Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
John 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
b) Christ Jesus suffered outside the gate because He was a reproach to the people of Israel. They neither accepted His sacrifice in their place, nor did they accept those who went unto Him without the gate, bearing His reproach.
Isaiah 53:1-3 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? (2) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
C. Paul, when ending his letter to the Hebrews, made mention of an altar. The Jewish believers were well acquainted with the concept of an altar as altars were used from Noah until that present day.
D. To continue to “serve the tabernacle,” is to have no right to Calvary. Though we are not Jewish, the same principle still applies to day as many tend to place their religion and its ceremonies above or on an equal plane with Calvary and the finished work of Christ in the Gospel.
1. An Altar Is A Place Of Sacrifice. A place of the smell of blood and death!
Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
2. An Altar Is A Place Of Privilege. A right granted by the grace of God. We do not have any right outside of Calvary.
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
3. An Altar Is A Place Of Propitiation. Jesus Christ bore our sin and our reproach.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
4. An Altar Is A Place Of Separation. Christ died without the camp. He was despised and rejected by the world.
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (23) Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
5. An Altar Is A Place Of Identification. The child of God goes without the gate bearing His reproach.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.