The Bronze Alter –
The very word “alter” comes from a Hebrew word meaning to slay or slaughter.
Made of shittim wood – signifying the weak and frail humanity of our Lord Jesus
Covered with brass – Brass in Scripture always indicates judgment.
The Lord Jesus was lifted up for us on the cross as a sinless man, but he was covered over “with brass,” or judged, for our sins.
The alter was the unavoidable first thing someone saw when they entered through the gate.
The brazen alter was also prominent in that it was by far the most often used of all the tabernacle furniture. Paul was “determined not to know any thing among [the Corinthians] except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2)
God himself sent fire from heaven and consumed the first sacrifice made on the alter. God showed his acceptance of the sacrifice and said, “The fire shall ever be burning upon the later; it shall never go out” Why never go out? Because the people never would stop sinning.
Fire has always symbolized God’s judgment from the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah until the final lake of fire for all eternity. We should glad that the fire fell on the sacrifice on the brazen alter so show that God accepted it and that judgment need not fall on us.
This series on Christ in the Tabernacle is based on C. Sumner Wemp’s outstanding book Teaching from the Tabernacle Moody Press 1976