Do you have an altar?
1 Samuel 7:17 -
And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.
In our times people are taught that altar is a place where the Lord is worshipped. In certain Christian Churches we see a lot of importance is given to the altar. Which is a raised platform (table) on which they offer service and keep the things connected with the service.
In the Old Testament the people worshiped the Lord at two places one was a raised platform on which the sacrifices was (slaughtered) offered. And the second was a monument like a stone or a pillar. The Hebrew word translated as 'altar' comes from the root word 'place of slaughter' or 'sacrifice' to God / god.
Taking the monument factor first: - Many of the places in the Old Testament Men of God made monument altars. These were either as a memorial of a promise or a memorial of a great blessing of God. They put up rock or a pillar primarily to remind they of the Lord will do or what the Lord had done. They worshiped the Lord at it but did not worship the stone or pillar.
We too need altars or memorials and one of the greatest memorials is Jesus Christ - Son of God. When we look at Him it is a promise that the Lord will make us like Him. We too will one day become Sons of God like Him.
I too have a memorial altar in my house. It is not a place I worship at but is made as a reminder of a promise which the Lord had given me. Whenever I look at this monument it encouraged me and reenergizes me in my work in the Lord, for it refreshes the promise and I worship the Lord for it.
The sacrifice platform factor: - In the Old Testament sacrifices were made on altars which were raised platforms but in the New Testament one will not read any things as an altar. The only altar one reads of is the hearts of people on which the sacrifice of praise is offered.
Can we offer any other sacrifice? No.
Because Jesus became the eternal sacrifice, a sacrifice offered once for all. When we break bread, we are not offering anything but doing it in remembrance of the sacrifice offered. We also receive the sacrifice offered by Jesus but are not offering any sacrifice. If we are not offering any sacrifice can we have an altar?
We can have a table which we can use for service but we cannot call it an altar. If we do so we are rejecting the sacrifice which Jesus made. Even in the Old Testament the Lord was very angry against making high altars. Everything and anything associated with the Lord and His statutes should be meaningful and with a purpose, we are not allowed to do as we wish or feel.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord God, through your Word You teach us of Heavenly things. In your Word in Old Testament You symbolically put the functions of an altar by raised platforms, in the New Testament You showed that this alter is not made of stones or precious metals but of flesh and bones; the altar being our bodies. When we have the Testimony of Jesus Christ in us we become a living altar and the only thing we can offer on this altar is a sacrifice of praise. Lord we pray that we keep this true altar holy and sanctified...
We make this prayer in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
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