WHAT ABOUT THE ALTAR?
The Altar is “a place of slaughter or sacrifice”. In the Hebrew Bible they were typically made of earth (Exodus 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25). Altars were generally erected in conspicuous places (Genesis 22:9; Ezekiel 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8). An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches, and other places of worship. God commanded Abraham to leave his land, his relatives and his father’s house and throughout his sojourn, he built four altars. They represented the stages of his experience and growth in the faith. An altar is a raised area in a house of worship where people can honor God with offerings. It is prominent in the Bible as “God’s table,” a sacred place for sacrifices and gifts offered up to God.
An altar is a place of sacrifice and a power point to draw spiritual and supernatural strength (Genesis 8:20-21), “And Noah built an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth: neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.” Noah built an altar as a place to sacrifice and worship the Lord, immediately after the flood and his feet were on earth again. He built and altar to appreciate and worship God.
Balaam a prophet that turned false (Num. 23:1-4 and Num. 24), a Moabite of the descendants of Lot knew how to set up an altar; just like many false teachers and preachers today know how to set up an altar. You may know how to set up or build an altar but for what purpose? Balaam was trying to bribe or appease God: If God could change his mind. Now you will see that Balaam was a spiritual mix. He was able to talk and hear from God but was neither able to know when God had made up his mind nor to obey and listen to what God was saying. You may ask how many altars does one need to approach God? Balaam asked Balak and his men to each time build seven altars and on each he sacrificed a bullock and a ram. God works in sevens, but this was Balaam’s kind of sevens. God has to originate it. Remember the Lord told Joshua to march around Jericho seven times. God told Elisha to tell Naaman, the Syrian to dip himself seven times in Jordan. Elijah sent his servant 7 times (1st Kings 18:43) to the seaside for the sign of rain as a cloud in the form of a hand. All the prophets of God, of old built one altar for each occasion but Balaam the Moabite built seven altars in the case of Balak. The number of altars does not change the outcome. Balaam built these altars not to appreciate or worship God, but to bribe or change God’s mind. He even built these altars of seven on three occasions; even after God had given him the answer from the first altar of sacrifice. God does not operate that way. Make your altar a place of appreciation and worship.
The Cross of Calvary was and is still an altar to true believers. Why is it an altar you may ask? God made this altar and sacrificed himself in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ for all mankind. This is the altar where God reconciled man back to himself; since the separation in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God and broke the relationship between them. At this altar you appreciate the forgiveness of sin and healing of your disease all paid for, the joy of reconciliation and the hope of eternal life. At this altar you find strength in the blood of the sacrifice. The is the altar of joy , peace, love, mercy, judgment, life, and restoration. When you experience this Calvary altar then you can make your own altar to the Lord in your heart always (very important, that is where you pray in the Holy Ghost, talk things over with God), you can designate any part of your room or house or a special place where you steal away to appreciate and worship the Lord and pour your heart out to him and wait for his reply. Remember to present your body as a living sacrifice (Rom.12:1) and the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15); at the altar. These have to do with the altar of your heart. Your heart is the main sacred altar where you offer your personal sacrifices, appreciation, and worship to God. Keep this altar with all diligence because you may have the Abraham experience. Remember Genesis 15:8-17 but especially verse 11 , “And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.” This is the same as when you are at your altar the fowls (demonic interferences by thoughts and vain imaginations in your altar moment with God). But as you persist God will respond to your call as seen in verse 17, “And it came to pass, that, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces ,” on the altar. The Lord spoke to Abram about his seed, their stay in a strange land, and will be afflicted for four hundred years and that Abram would be buried in a good old age. These things happen when you meet the Lord at the altar.
Now the altar in the day of Gideon, Judges 6:11-26 was a unique one. In verse 20-26, “And the angel of God said unto him, take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this ROCK and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the ROCK and consumed the flesh and unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.——–, And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee, fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.——, And built and altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this ROCK, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock , and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
Altar in heaven, there are several examples about the heavenly altar, Rev. 6:9-11, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” Rev. 8:3-4 states, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayer of all saints (your prayers and mine) upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
This is a little attempt to make us aware of the importance of the altar. For the unsaved person, the Cross of Calvary is your most important altar. You must take time to know and understand the Cross of Calvary, it was the altar where the sacrifice for sin was offered once and for all. Death was turned into life for all who believe and accept the finished offering, of the sacrifice, of the life of Jesus Christ. God took the form of man and offered himself as the sacrifice on the altar at Calvary. You must be born again to appreciate the altar at Calvary’s Cross. Here you sin and diseases were paid for. Go on your knees repent and be converted and appreciate and worship the Lord. Your next important altar is your heart. Honor the Lord in the altar of your heart. Make melody in your heart unto the Lord, come with praises and offer songs; and worship unto the Lord. Commune with the Lord in your heart. You may pick a place where you talk things over with the Lord. Your altar should be sacred, separate and unto the Lord. Talk and pray to the Lord in the spirit. Come with appreciation and always expect to hear from the Lord and do not go the way of Balaam. Repent and be converted, take the altar seriously, it is part of the secret place of the Most High God, (Psalm 91:1). According to Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.”
092 – WHAT ABOUT THE ALTAR?