Exodus Message #44 Ed Miller Oct. 27, 2021 The Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver

Listen to the above audio while following along with the transcript below (which is also available for download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

“Once again, we have the privilege of looking in the Word.  Before we begin, I want to quote a couple of verses from Psalm 119:96 says, “I’ve seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad.”  Psalm 119:130, “The unfolding of Your word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”  The first verse 96, “I’ve seen a limit to all perfection,” means that everything has an end,” but not this book, “but Your law is exceedingly broad.”  There’s a limit to everything, but not this.  And then, “The unfolding of Your words gives light.”  The revelation that He gives when we see the Lord Jesus is like the unfolding of a flower, “and the unfolding of His Words gives light and understanding to the simple.”  And I line up with the simple.  We have this great promise that God will, especially today in this lesson, we’re going to see multum in parvo.  Are you familiar with that?  It’s much in little.  There’s so much and it’s crowded into this little picture.  We’ll see a little bit of that.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts, who always delights to unveil in a fresh way the Lord Jesus to our heart.  We thank You for every part of the Bible, and in a special way these days for Exodus as it gives us a revelation of Christ.  Lord, we confess that we’re the simple ones, and we claim Your promise that You’ll unfold Your words to our hearts.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Welcome again to our mediation of our Lord Jesus through the history of God’s redeemed people as it’s recorded in the book of Exodus.  Once again, I don’t need to remind you, you know why you’re here, to see the Lord.  That’s why I’m here, as well.  We want to see the Lord as He unfolds Himself in the scriptures.  I want to come pretty quickly to where we left off in our meditation, but I do want to give just a little of the review.  We’ve come to the last third of the book of Exodus, and it’s the story about the tabernacle.  I attempted to point out in the past that the tabernacle at the end of Exodus is a summary of the whole message of Exodus.  The message of Exodus is the message of redemption.  Everything about redemption is pictured in the tabernacle.  Exodus present redemption in picture form, redemption by power and redemption by blood.  That’s God’s illustration of our redemption.  Everything is pictured in this tabernacle. 

Exodus 25:8, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.”  I remind you that in the picture the tabernacle was the dwelling place of God.  In the reality you are the dwelling place of God.  It’s a picture of His people.  God has always desired to live in a house made out of skin, to fill that skin with His glory, and to establish His throne in the innermost part of that house, to reign there, to rest there, and to manifest His glory through His temple, through His tabernacle.

When we read about the tabernacle we’re reading about the Lord’s royal rights in our life.  I remind you that when God began to describe the tabernacle He didn’t begin with the tabernacle.  In the tabernacle section you’d expect Him to begin with the tabernacle.  But as we’ve seen, Exodus 25:10, “They shall construct an ark of acacia wood, 2 ½ cubits long, 1 ½ cubits wide, and 1 ½ cubits high.”  When He wants to describe the tabernacle, He first begins with the ark.  The ark was in the shape of a throne.  It’s a picture of the throne of God, King Jesus in the reality.  God has always started with the ark, the throne, the Lordship of Christ.  He begins, Christ is Lord, and then He builds His house around that truth, around that reality.

You know it well, but I’m going to give you God’s inspired declaration, 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God.  You’re not your own.  You’ve been bought with a price.  Therefore, glorify God in your body.”  Colossians 2:6, “As you’ve received Christ Jesus, the Lord,” when you got saved you not only received Christ Jesus, you received Christ Jesus the Lord, the ark, the King, the throne.  Ever since you got saved, He’s been building.  He builds around the Lordship of Christ.

One other piece of review.  I reminded you, illustrated in the history, that the ark was on the move, and we followed that ark, or some of the trail of the ark, and that’s saying that the throne of God, the kingdom of God was on the move.  In the record there were two destinations.  Where was the ark going, or where is Jesus going?  What does He have on His heart, on His mind?  There’s a double answer to that.  Numbers 10:33, “They set out from the mount of the Lord three days journey with the ark of the covenant of the Lord journeying in front of them for the three days to seek out a resting place for them.”  I’m not going to press it, but I personally think the expression, “three days,” might have a spiritual significance.  I know this, the ark has a goal, and that is to seek out a resting place for you.  That’s the first goal.  He wants you to rest in Him.

Here’s the second part.  Psalm 132:13, “The Lord has chosen Zion.  He desired it for His habitation.  ‘This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell.  I have desired it.’”  Not only does He want you to rest in Him.  He wants to rest in you.  So, that was the double goal.  When that finally happened, that glorious day—in the picture it’s so wonderful—when the ark was finally brought to Solomon’s temple and placed in the Holy of Holies.  The Bible says, “The glory of God filled that temple, and every priest, every minister was driven out.”  When you are resting in Him, when He’s resting in you, you’re filled with the glory of God; God in/man out.  That it is the goal, and that’s where He was heading.

Having begun with the ark, He then begins to describe the tabernacle.  It’s sort of easy.  I say the tabernacle is the summary of redemption.  Well, if that’s the case, it has to be the summary of Jesus, because Jesus is filled with redemption.  He’s the Redeemer, and it’s true; there are hundreds, I think thousands of details given in connection with this tabernacle, and they are all details of Jesus.  When you study the tabernacle, you’re studying Jesus, and you’re studying the redemption that is in the Lord Jesus.  Having said that, when you study the tabernacle, you’re also studying yourself, because it’s a picture of you.  Now, put it together.  Picture Jesus, picture you, picture Jesus in You, picture Jesus in me.  Since Jesus is full of redemptive truth, and He’s in us, we are full of redemptive truth, and that’s all we know is redemptive truth.  We say, “Well, that’s going to be pretty difficult to get all those facts about redemption.”  No, they’re in Jesus.  You have Jesus, and you have every truth.  I have Jesus, I have every truth of redemption.  That’s all you need forever, and He wants to spell it out.  You say, “I have Jesus.”  Yes, but what’s included in that?  The tabernacle says, “Let’s look at some of the things we have because we have Christ.”  That’s where we are in our study.

I suggested that we would first do a general look at the whole compound, the whole tabernacle, the outer court and the building, the sanctuary, first in a general way and then in a specific way.  In the general way I called it the flyover, so we just got in a plane, and we flew over, the bird’s eye view, and we focused on the Redeemer, the Person.  Then we’re going to take a walk through.  That’s what we begin today, where we land the plane, get out of the plane, and then we begin to look at the details of the tabernacle. 

In our last session we finished the flyover.  In the flyover we wanted to see two things.  We wanted to see that God is holy and we wanted to see on the other end of His Person, that God is love, merciful and full of grace.  So, in the flyover we saw the great white fence, 7 ½ feet to 9 feet high, picturing the purity of God and the message is, “Stay out, God is holy.”  In that fence around we also saw the gate, the broad gate, the beautiful gate, the single gate, and that message was, “Please come in.”  So, God is Holy; stay out!  God is merciful; come on in!  We saw the altar stained with blood, the innocent blood of thousands of animal victims.  Without the shedding of blood, Hebrews 9:22, there’s no remission.  God is holy; blood must be shed.  At the same time, we saw the horns of the altar.  Leviticus 4:7, “The priest shall put up some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrance incense before the Lord, the tent of meeting.”  The horns were like arms lifting up the blood to the perpetual gaze of God.  Always, He never take His eyes off the blood of the Lord Jesus.  That is the grace of God.  How wonderful His mercy!

In the flyover we saw God’s holiness in the laver.  The laver was filled with water like a fountain.  Every provision was made for the priest to enter the sanctuary clean, but if he tried to enter with one speck of dirt upon him, Exodus 30:20, “When they enter the tent of meeting they shall wash with water, so they will not die.”  God said, “I’m holy.  Don’t you dare try to enter with a speck of dirt.  You’ve got to be clean.”  On the other hand, those same priests God chose and set aside and consecrated as a people that would represent His heart, a great privilege they had.  One of the privileges, I’m going to get beyond the fact to the principle, carrying the ark, the ark is the throne, the priests have the privilege of advancing the kingdom of God.  That’s the reality in that, and the priests also had the privilege of ministering unto the Lord and being ministered unto.  That’s what the holy place was all about.  And the priests also represent you and me, so their privilege is your privilege and mine.

In the flyover we ended with this.  We looked at the veil, the beautiful veil that hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, and like the message of the fence in the outer court, the veil said, “Stay out.  But then we also jumped to the New Testament where our Lord Jesus when He died the veil was rent.  Let me read it again.  Matthew 27:50, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His Spirit, and behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook, the rocks were split, the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”  While the veil hung, it said, “Stay out.”  When Jesus died the veil was rent and God said, “Everyone now is welcome,” and every priest in that moment became a high priest.  The veil was opened.  Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh.” 

That’s what we’ve seen in the flyover, but now this morning I’d like to land the plane and begin our little walk through.  I want to revisit what the Lord is doing as He builds His temple.  He took great pain when He handed down the blueprint to Moses, and He gave meticulous detail.  That’s why I called attention to our opening verse, “His Word is exceeding broad.”  How much He gave in that blueprint.  It would blow the mind of any contractor who had to try to build it, meticulous detail.  Every detail has a spiritual significance.  I haven’t seen the spiritual significance of every detail, but I don’t deny that it has one.  It’s important of the Lord to show us in the tabernacle those thousands of details, because it’s showing us the fullness of redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

As I go on with the Lord and you go on with the Lord, as He goes on to build around His Lordship, more and more He’s going to fill your whole landscape with a vision of Christ and everything in Him, all the facts of redemption, and then He’ll use us to proclaim that message to others.  He wants to fill us first with the truth of redemption, because we don’t want to give a partial gospel, and give a half truth to anybody.  We don’t want to leave out anything.  We want to present the whole counsel of God.  So, to present the whole counsel we have to see the whole counsel.  To see the whole counsel, we have to see Jesus, so that’s sort of before us.  Don’t be frightened saying, “Ahh, a million facts of redemption; how am I going to remember?”  Just Jesus.  You look to Christ, and everything is in Him.  That’s the great simplicity.

As He’s been pleased to spell out the details, let’s begin then to look.  I have to confess that when I was teaching Exodus, I was sort of dragging my feet because I didn’t want to get to the tabernacle section, because I knew there was so much there.  My head was swimming with so many details.  I suppose that given enough time I might be able, if I studied hard and long enough, to be able to at least repeat the details, and say, “Here’s a fact, here’s a fact, here’s a fact, there’s a fact,” but I think if I had a hundred lifetimes I would not be able to show the spiritual significance of all that’s included in this tabernacle.  So, we’re going to look at a few things, but have mercy on me as we go through it.

The problem I had was that I thought He gave me the facts so I could understand the facts and present them.  That’s not why He gave all those millions of details.  He gave the facts to overwhelm me.  It’s like the facts of the universe.  There’s so much.  You can’t know the universe, and this is a universe, this book.  You can’t know it, but you can begin to see certain things.  So, I’m set free now.  I’m not under the bondage to think that I need to understand all the facts and give you what I see.  No, no.  The facts are designed to bring you to your knees to make you worship and adore and wonder.  The facts are designed for that. We’re going to notice as we get closer, like we did in the flyover, some of the same things, but we’re going to look at some of the details.

In our walk through I’m going to focus especially on the six items of furniture, as they’re called.  In the outer court there were two pieces of furniture: the brazen altar of sacrifice and the brazen laver of cleansing.  The Holy Place had three pieces of furniture; the light on the left, the table on the right and the golden altar of incense before the beautiful veil.  And beyond the beautiful veil in the Holy of Holies was one piece of furniture, and that was the ark of the covenant.

You’ve got to play with my imagination here, because I had to come off with a teaching device in order to try to answer some of these questions.  So, we land our plane outside the walls of the outer court, and then together now let’s crawl under this beautiful, broad, single gate and enter the court.  I showed you in the flyover that once you are standing inside the beautiful gate the first thing you notice is that you are surrounded by this tall wall representing the perfection of Christ.  It’s just pure, white, high wall; it’s the perfection of Christ.  As I pointed out, in the outer court there’s only natural light.  There’s no roof over the outer court.  It’s just sunlight, natural light.  Even though I’m surrounded with the righteousness of Christ, I don’t understand it yet because all I have is natural light.  Natural light can’t understand it.  I’ve got to wait until I get supernatural light to understand all of that. 

Picture us standing inside this beautiful outer court dumbfounded, and I want you to imagine that a priest in white linen approaches us and says, “I understand that you’re going to have a walk through.  May I be your guide?”  So, now we’re going to have a priest as a guide as we go through our walk through.  And I had to name the priest, and Lillian said, “Why don’t you name him Ezekiel, since he was the heart priest.”  So, now Ezekiel is going to guide us in our walk through as we go to each piece of furniture.  He’s a heart priest, so he’s not only going to talk about the facts, but he’s going to talk about them in a suggestive way, so that we can see spiritual reality.    So, Ezekiel greets us as we’re standing in this outer court, and he invites us to walk with him and to ask any questions that we might have along the way, and he would try to open them to us.  So, we’re thankful in our walk through that we have an informed priest/guide to help us.

So, the priest/guide says right at the beginning, “You’re standing in the outer court.  What you need to know first of all is that this is the place where the sin question is dealt with, everything about the sin question, the entire truth about the sin question, and it’s important as we move on that one of things that we need to be clear about as God puts redemptive truth in His temple is that we need to be very clear about the sin question.  Ezekiel assures us that every question about sin, about guilt, about punishment, about forgiveness, has to be settled in the outer court.  If it is not settled here, he says, “As you go from the gate, you are heading toward the presence of God.  If the sin question is not dealt with, you can’t continue.  You’re cut off.”

So, Ezekiel the heart priest explains the main difference between the outer court and the building that we’re about to enter.  And he said, “In the outer court is where God deals with the sin question.  Once you step beyond the veil into the Holy Place, you aren’t dealing with sin anymore.  That’s been dealt with.  The sanctuary is about fellowship with God, and not about sin.  The outer court deals with the sin, and when you get into the Holy Place and into the sanctuary, then you will be talking about fellowship with God.”

The priest asks us, “What do you see as you stand in the outer court?”  We answer, “Right smack dab in the center of the first half of the outer court we see an altar.”  He said, “Yes, that’s called the brazen altar of sacrifice,” and then he tells us, “And by far this is the largest piece of furniture you will see in your walk through.  In fact, every other piece of furniture could fit inside this one piece of furniture.  That’s how large it is.”   And then we say, “Well, we also see beyond that altar in the center, right in front of the veil that leads into the building, and we see another altar.”  He said, “Yes, you’ll notice that’s also of brass.  It’s a brazen altar, a laver.  It’s not an altar, it’s a laver of cleansing.”  So, we admit that we see this huge brass bowl and it’s filled with water.  The priest says, “Later on it’s going to be called the brazen sea, and that you’ll find in 2 Kings 25.”  We ask, “Where did you get the water for this?  It’s always in there, but where do they get it?”  And he said, “This is the water that flowed from the smitten rock.  That’s the water we’re using.”

Ezekiel the heart priest, as we approached the altar, he says, “Let’s start with these eyes.  Just look with these eyes, not the eyes of your heart, just with your physical eyes, and tell me what you see?”  So, we say, “We see this first altar is a square, about 4 ½ feet high, but it’s long, it’s wide, and it’s about 7 ½ feet long and wide.  We notice that the top of the altar has no cover to it, and it’s actually sort of hollow.  We can look down inside the altar.  As we do that, about halfway down, in other words, 1 ½ feet down, Exodus 27:4, ‘You shall make a grating of network of bronze.  On the net you shall make four bronze rings on its four corners.  You shall put it beneath under the ledge of the altar, so that the net will reach halfway up the altar.”  In other words, there was a grating, a network.  If you picture in your mind the cast iron or porcelain grate on your grill, that’s pretty much what it was.  It may have been more of a screen than bars, but halfway down the altar there was this grill, and Ezekiel says that’s where the animals are put and are to be sacrificed, and the ashes would then fall through the grill and there will be a place on the bottom where they can be shoveled out and dealt with, and even that is a spiritual truth.

Then the priest said, “Here’s an interesting thing.  If you take the ark of the covenant and set it right next to this brazen altar you will notice that the height of the seat of the throne is exactly the height of where the sacrifice is in the brazen altar of sacrifice.  There’s significance in that, but I won’t touch that now.  Is that all you see?”  Then we say, “No, actually we see a lot more up close than in the flyover.  There’s a lot of things attached to this altar.  There are pans, and we see shovels, and we see basins, and we see flesh hooks, and we see a fire pan, and we see a censer.  There is so much attached to this.  And he says, “Yes, and there’s purpose for each one.  The pans are for the ashes, and the shovels are for taking fire from this altar and bringing it to the altar of the golden altar of incense, and the basins are utensils for holding blood and sprinkling blood, and the flesh hooks are what takes the offering and puts it on the grate,” and he begins to go through a lot of that, and our heads are spinning.  From the air we just saw an altar, and in our spiritual life we say, “Christ died for me,” and that’s what I see in the altar, and I praise God for that.

We’re only focused on one piece of furniture and already there are so many details in its construction, in its position in the outer court, in the things attached to it, that we begin to scratch our heads.  The priest explains, “Every fact, every detail of this altar, everything connected to it, has spiritual significance.  God put it in there on purpose.  It not only had a practical purpose, but a spiritual purpose.”  He invited us again to behold the horns of the altar where the blood was smeared and kept constantly before the gaze of a thrice holy God.  Our heads are spinning at the fulness of detail, and we’re only looking with these eyes.  We’ve only just looked at the shell of it, and the priest began to expound on the importance of it. 

He said, “Let me just give you a few facts.  He said, “No sin can be atoned for apart from this altar.”  If you want to know the Lord you’ve got to worship the Lord.  There can be no praise or worship that is not connected to this altar.  Every morning at nine o’clock and every afternoon at three o’clock a sweet savor will be sent up to God from this altar.  Every Sabbath day will begin with additional sacrifices on this altar.  Every month of the year will be opened with an additional sacrifice on this altar.  And there are special sacrifices connected with this altar.  Every annual feast, every holiday will be crowned with abundant sacrifices on this altar.  The consecration of every priest must take place at this altar.  People are to offer their first fruits.  If they are from the farm, it’s the flock or the herd, and they can’t do it apart from this altar.  If, for example, it’s from the garden, the first fruits of their crops, they can’t do it apart from this altar.  Even when they dedicate their children, it has to be in terms of this altar.  The entire worship of God’s people takes place here, and this is only one piece of furniture.  We haven’t even begun to look at the fulness of redemption.”

In this light the priest then turns and says, “Any questions?”  We say, “Any questions?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I’m full of questions.  In the light of what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard we think how in the world are we going to enter into this?”  So, Ezekiel asks us this heart-searching question, “The sin question is dealt with in the outer court.  As a sinner coming to have the sin question dealt with, what do you think,” asks Ezekiel, “Is the first need to be met by this altar?”  So, I answer foolishly, “I think the first need, since this is the place sin is dealt with, forgiveness.  I need forgiveness, before anything else I need forgiveness.”  And the priest says, “You’re partially right.  You do need forgiveness, but that’s not pictured here in this altar.  It is in a sense; there’s a judicial forgiveness pictured here, but your first need is not forgiveness.  That’s your second need.  Your first need is to deal with the debt that you owe God.  You have sinned and there is a required debt to be paid.  That is your first need.  It wouldn’t help if you were forgiven now.  Forgiveness wouldn’t help you at all if you still had an unpaid debt.  Every sin needs to be punished.  That’s the first need.  If God were to overlook one sin and leave it unpunished, He would lose His character as God and the entire universe would fly to pieces.  That’s because the universe is held together by the character of God.  Your first need is to have that penalty paid for.  The altar, the bronze altar of sacrifice is where God provides your first need, justification.  An animal victim will be your substitute and take what you deserve. 

You’re correct, though; you do need forgiveness.  That’s why there are two pieces of furniture in the outer court.   You see, the first piece deals with your debt, judicial forgiveness.  The laver deals with cleansing and that’s what deals with forgiveness.  I can’t take a single sin to heaven.  Nothing less than 100% perfection would ever get me into heaven.  I need judicial forgiveness.  I need my debt paid.  God dealt with that in the outer court, and I also need to have forgiveness.  I need cleansing.  And he said, “That is dealt with in the laver.”

Now Ezekiel says, “There’s a temptation for you to look at the altar and say, ‘There’s a single message for this altar, and that is that God has accepted a substitute victim in my place,’ and Ezekiel says, “That is right; that’s the one message, but how much is included in that message?”  See, I can say, “Christ died for me.  Let’s move on.”  No, let’s not move on.  What’s included in Christ died for me?  So, he says, “God, in order to show that, begins to break it down.  God has instituted five offerings that need to be taken place on this altar.  It’s not five different messages.  There’s only one message, but there are five parts.  What does this mean, a victim is my substitute?  Let’s break it down and let’s look at these five offerings, and then you’ll begin to see, not anything new, but the fullness of what you have.”  So, he begins to dip into the heart of the altar.

What takes place next blew my mind as I studied it, and I know Ezekiel is me, he even says la, la, la one time, so he copies me.  As I began to read this, these are the facts.  I was absolutely overwhelmed, and I’m just going to recite them as the Lord gave them to me, and if this doesn’t overwhelm you, I don’t know what will.  Anyway, Ezekiel begins to explain, “The different sacrifices are connected with this altar.  Christ died, but what is included in that?  There are five offerings, and three of them are called sweet savor offerings, sweet smelling offerings.  One is a burnt offering, and one is a meal offering or a grain offering and the other one is a peace offering.  And then there are two non-sweet-smelling offerings.  One is a sin offering and one is a trespass offering.” 

Then he began to spell out the regulation.  He said, “You’ve got to be sure that you follow the blueprint because sometimes you need to bring an ox and sometimes you need to bring a lamb and sometimes you need to bring a goat and sometimes God allowed for birds, a pigeon or turtledove.  A lot of that depended what you could afford, but some of it depended on other things.  Sometimes you had to bring a male animal.  Sometimes you had to bring a female animal.  Sometimes you had a choice; you could bring a female or a male.  You need to know what to do and what to bring.  Sometimes the worshipper had to lay his hand on the head of the victim.  Sometimes he was not allowed to do that, but the priest had to do that as his representative.  Don’t mix those up.  You need to know that.  Sometimes the sinner, the worshipper, the one coming for forgiveness had to actually take the knife and actually slit the throat of its victim.  Other times the priest had to kill the animal.  Sometimes in the middle of a ceremony the priest had to leave and go change his garments and then come back and continue the ceremony.  Sometimes the ceremony had to be accompanied with unleavened bread.  Sometimes it had to be leavened bread.  Sometimes the grain could be offered raw, uncooked.  Sometimes it had to be baked.  Sometimes it had to be fried.  It’s different and you’ve got to know each time what to do.  Some offerings had to be mixed with oil.  Some offerings had to be mixed with oil and meal, and sometimes salt, and sometimes no salt, and sometimes frankincense. 

Are you following this?  Other offerings were totally consumed, burned up, and some were not.  Some the priest could take and some they had to eat in the Holy Place.  Some they could take home and share with their families.  Some they would share with all the worshippers, the whole congregation.  Some animals were to burned right on the altar.  Some were not allowed to be burned on the altar.  They had to be burned outside the camp.  One message of the altar, but the fullness, and how much is included, every detail, every command has a spiritual significance. 

There are different kinds of offering, and different kinds of peace offering; one is for making vows, and one is for thanksgiving, and one is a supplementary of another offering.  The animals had to be treated in different ways.  The blood of one animal had to be treated differently than the blood of another animal.  The skin had to be treated one way.  Even the innards, the kidneys, the fat had to be dealt with in certain ways.  Some offerings dealt with who you are, and some offerings dealt with what you did. 

And then the priest asks, “Do you have any questions?”  Once again, my mind….  How are we supposed to know?  That’s why I didn’t want to teach this because I read all of those facts and I said, “What in the world, how am I ever going to put it together?”  So, my first question to the priest is, “Ezekiel, is all this really necessary, and is God going to be picky about what happened and when?”  And he says, “Indeed, every detail is important on the worshipper’s part, on the priest’s part, the blood, the occasion for coming, the occasion for offering, the salt, the oil, the frankincense, the victims, the place of offering, and every detail,” and we’re only at the first piece of furniture. 

I want you to get overwhelmed with what this is saying.  So, he said, “Perhaps I can simplify it.  I said, “Well, thank the Lord! Please simplify it!”  And so, Ezekiel begins to tell the following story. He said, “One way to understand what God is doing as He brings out the fullness of the altar is to note the order in which God gave these offerings, because the order in which He gave them are from His viewpoint, and they are the order in which Messiah will fulfill them.  However, the order in which you experience them is the exact reverse of the order in which He gave them.  Let me try to explain.  The first offering that God gave was the burnt offering, Leviticus 1:3, “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd,” Leviticus 1:10, “From the flock,” Leviticus 1:14, “An offering of birds,” the first offering is the burnt offering.  The next is the grain offering, or meal offering.  Leviticus 2:1, “When anyone presents a grain offering to the Lord.”  The third is the peace offering, Leviticus 3:1, “If his offering is a sacrifice of peace.”  The fourth offering is the sin offering, and the Lord spoke to Moses, Leviticus 4:1, “Speak to the sons of Israel saying, ‘If a person sins.’”  The final offering is the trespass offering.  Leviticus 6:2, “When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the Lord,” verse 7, “The priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord; he’ll be forgiven for any one of the things for which he may have done to incur guilt.”  So, that’s the order.  First the burnt, then the meal, then the peace, then the sin, and then the trespass.

He said, “Let me tell you about Messiah when He comes, what He will do.  First, the burnt offering.  He will give Himself entirely.  That’s where it begins.  God gives everything.  In the burnt offering nothing was spared, and nothing was saved, and everything went up in fire and everything was offered to the Lord.  In the first offering Messiah gives His all.” 

“The next offering was a meal offering and is a thank offering, and Messiah after He gives His all, thanks God for the privilege.  You know, we celebrate in remembrance by taking the Lord’s Table.  We celebrate this.  When we read about that in Luke 22:17, “When He had taken a cup and given thanks He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves.’”  Verse 19, “When He had taken some bread and given thanks..”  At the last supper when He gave thanks that was not table grace.  He wasn’t saying, “Thank you for this food.  Thank you for this drink.”  He knew what was in front of Him.  He knew what He was about to go through, and when He gave thanks for that bread and for that cup, He was thanking his holy Father God for the privilege of dying for you and me”. 

He said, “Next is the peace offering.  After Messiah has given His everything, and after He’s thanked God for the great privilege, then He offers the peace offering, because the peace offering is the reconciling, bringing the sinner and a holy God together in peace, and He thanked God for the privilege that He could reconcile sinful man with a holy God.”

“The next offering is called the sin offering.  The sin offering is different than the trespass.  I say sin, and there’s no “s” on that, not sins.  The sin offering is not for what you do.  It’s for who you are.  It’s for your nature, your old sin nature, your person.  I need deliverance from who I am.  We just say that Christ died for me, but when He died for me do you realize that He gave His all, and when He died for me do you realize that His heart was full of gratitude to do that, and when He died do you know that He reconciled sinful man and a holy God, and do you know that He dealt with your old sin nature, that He dealt with who you are?  And then the trespass offering, not only who you are, but everything you’ve done.  As you read the record it’s sins of ignorance and sins that are deliberate. 

Do you see the fullness?  When Messiah comes, He’s going to give His all.  When Messiah comes, He’s going to thank His Father for the privilege.  When Messiah comes, He’s going to reconcile sinners and a holy God.  When Messiah comes, He’s going to deal with who you are.   When Messiah comes, He’s going to deal with everything you’ve ever done.”  I said, “Thank you, Ezekiel, that does simplify for me.”  He said, “We’re not finished yet, because I told you that the worshipper came in the opposite direction.  The altar pictures one thing.  That’s why the sinner is pictured in the Old Testament by the leper, and when you read about the leper, Leviticus 14 and so on, the leper had to go through all five offerings, because he’s saying, “There’s one message, Christ died for me, but oh the fullness of Christ died for me!” 

He said, “Now, what I want you to do is I want to go in reverse, and I want to use one of you as a volunteer.”  So, I said, “Alright, I’ll volunteer.”  He said, “The first thing you are going to experience is the guilt offering or the trespass offering, an individual sin.  That’s how it starts, “I’ve sinned against the Lord.  I lied; I was proud.”  He said, “I’m going to be the priest and you be the sinner coming for forgiveness.  Think of a sin that you have committed.”  Well, I’m going to use for me, “I thank the Lord for my Lillian, and I’m commanded to love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.  I don’t live up to that, so I’m going to use that as my sin.  I’ve sinned against my Lillian, I took her for granted, or I was mean to her.  So, I come with my offering, my trespass offering.  I’ve sinned,” and it’s accepted.

The next day I show up again and Ezekiel says, “I see you brought a bull with you.  What have you done this time?”  I say, “No, no, no, this is the same sin.  It’s about my Lillian.  It’s not that I did something again, but I realized that I can’t stop doing it, that my nature needs to be dealt with, and I’ve come to make an offering about my sin nature.”  The priest said, “Alright, that will be accepted.”  Then the next day the priest sees my coming again and here I come with a goat, and He says, “What are you doing?  What have you done now?  You must be a wicked sinner.”  No, no, no, it’s the same sin.  First, I offended her and then I brought it because I realized I will keep offending her, and then I realized when I offended her I broke fellowship with God, and I need to be reunited, so I’m bringing this peace offering so that we can be one again.  I want to be in fellowship with Him.  So, the priest says, “Alright, your transgression has been forgiven, your nature has been dealt with and your fellowship has been restored.”  The next day I come, and he notices that I have a cake of unleavened bread with oil and frankincense.  He said, “What in the world did you do this time?”  I said, “No, no, no, this is the same sin.  You see, I sinned against her and then I realized that I had no choice to do that in my sin nature, and then I was reunited with God, and as I meditated on that, I just have to say, ‘Thank You, thank You for forgiving my sin, and thank You for dealing with my sin nature, and thank You for restoring me to fellowship.  I offer this meal offering now to say thank You.”  And he accepts it.  And the next day I come again with a bull or a ram or a goat, and he said, “You must have really blown it this time.”  I said, “No, no, no, it’s the same sin.  Because our Lord forgave me and because He delivered me from me, and because He gave me fellowship with Himself, and because He’s filled my heart with praise, there’s nothing left for me to do, except to give myself as a whole burnt offering, acceptable to Him.” 

Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies and living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship.”  I can do no less than give Him everything, and every offering just shows the fulness of the one offering.  From God’s point of view, He did it this way.  From my experience I do it in reverse, but He’s showing me, and Ezekiel says, “Have you seen the altar and some of the things pictured there?  We’re not going to deal with the things attached to the altar yet.” 

But there’s one more thing Ezekiel says that I’ve got to show you that takes place at this altar, and then we’ll continue our walk through, and I’ll show you the laver.  We’ll pick up there next time.

Let’s pray together.  Father, thank You for Your Word, for all that was included in the brazen altar of sacrifice, that You dealt with our sins, You dealt with our sin, You dealt with our relationship with You, You dealt with our own unthankful heart, and now You’ve accepted us as we offer ourselves unreservedly, totally, a whole burnt offering unto You.  Thank You for doing that in reverse for us.  Lord, take us forward as we continue our walk through this glorious picture of redemption.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”