The Bronze Altar: Tabernacle Series Part 1

Psalm 26:6-7

“I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.”

(The Bronze Altar.)
In these two verses, David is talking about the Bronze Altar.  God had given him a revelation of it that, when you see what he saw, it will bless you.  It will make you, as a Christian, both a winner and an overcomer!
When he says, “I will compass thine altar,” he’s saying that every side of it is rich with meaning.  These amazing and beautiful pictures that the Holy Spirit has drawn demonstrate our Father’s great love for us and to show us more about Jesus.
Four Corners.
The altar was located in the outer court of the Tabernacle.  Notice it is shaped like a cross?  That is what it represents. The four corners:  North, South, East and West point out that the cross is effectual for all the four corners of the earth; for all nations, for ALL peoples.  It also depicts how we approach God:  BY THE CROSS.  When we come to Him in our sins, we are cleansed of them ONCE AND FOR ALL!
The altar itself was made of a kind of copper that is much more sturdy than anything we have today.  It was so durable that it could never be burned up.  Sacrifices were offered continually upon it and arose as a sweet smelling savor to the Lord, reminding Him of His beloved Son.  Even the four corners have meanings and speak of our Christain life.
The North Side.
Leviticus 1:10-11
“And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish. And he shall kill it on the side of the altar NORTHWARD before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.”

(Four horns or corners of the altar.)
The lamb is always killed on the North side because for Israel, evil always came from the North.  The North wind, for instance, is a destructive wind.  Draw a straight line Northward from Jerusalem and what do you hit?  Moscow.  Who is behind and funding terror attacks on Israel?  You guessed it.

The sacrificial Lamb that the offerer brought to the North side of the altar was slaughtered there. The man bringing it would lay his hands on it’s head, his sins would pass to the innocent lamb and the representative righteousness of the lamb would pass to the man in a Divine exchange.  The innocent was slain for the guilty.

(For more on the topic of the Levitical offerings, follow the link below:

That’s how our Christian life begins:  With the cross and the death of Christ.  The Innocent Lamb of God was slain for guilty man.  His ETERNAL righteousness passed to us as our sins were laid on Him and the Divine exchange took place.  The righteousness of Christ that we receive is ETERNAL not temporal as under the Old Covenant.  We only need cleansing from sin ONE TIME for our entire lives.
Isn’t God good?  He put His Son right at the place where evil would come into your life:  On the North side.  THE CROSS HAS STOPPED IT!
The answers to all your problems are found in the cross of Jesus Christ.  Any physical need, any financial need, any lack, worry or concern of any kind, the answer is always the cross!  Jesus took all of it upon Himself so that you and I could have His COMPLETE SHALOM:  wholeness in every area.  AS HE IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD!
The East Side.
Next we come to the East side.
Leviticus 1:16
“And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the EAST part, by THE PLACE OF THE ASHES:”


(Priest carrying ashes away.)
The East side of the bronze altar is the place of ASHES.  Once you are born again, you approach the Cross no longer from the North side but, ever after, FROM THE EAST!
The East side of the bronze altar, being the place of ashes, reminds you that ALL YOUR SINS WERE (past tense) REDUCED TO ASHES.  There is no more judgment for your sins because they have all been judged!   Jesus consumed in His body ALL the Father’s wrath, ALL the indignation and ALL the righteous anger for all our sins on our behalf.  We all stand before God completely free of all sin because of the cross!  HALLELUJAH!!!
That is why David declared:  “May He (God) remember all your offerings, And accept (reduce to ashes) your burnt sacrifice. Selah. May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And FULFILL ALL YOUR PURPOSE.” Psalms 20:3-4

(King David wrote much of the Psalms. )
The word in Hebrew for “accept” in this verse is “deshen,” which also means “fatness.”  It is in the “ashes” that you find the “fatness.”  The knowledge that all your sins, not just your past up to now, but all of them for your entire life gives you a clear conscience devoid of the fear of punishment.  NO MORE CONDEMNATION.  NO MORE SIN CONSCIOUSNESS.
Therein is the FATNESS:  Knowing that you stand before God completely clean.  This was David’s greatest dream which, because of the cross, is our reality!
When the sun rises in the morning, what part of the altar would it illuminate first?  The East side!  That’s how God sees your sins.  They have all been burned up to ASHES!  That’s why He can fulfill all your purpose!
The South Side.
The prophet Ezekiel has something to say about this side of the altar.

Ezekiel 47:1-2 “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was WATER, FLOWING from under the threshold of the temple TOWARD THE EAST, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, SOUTH of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and THERE WAS WATER, RUNNIGN OUT ON THE RIGHT SIDE.”

After Jesus died, the Roman soldier came to check and see if He was really dead.  He thrust a spear into His right side and there flowed out blood and water.  Water is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The mature Christian life can only be lived successfully when we are flowing in the Spirit.

How To Flow With The Spirit.

The Bronze Altar gives us clues as to how true flowing in the Spirit is accomplished.  First we come to Christ by the North side of the altar with our lamb that was slain in our place –the innocent for the guilty.  Then we come upon the East side to the place of ASHES where we come to understand the there therefore is no more condemnation.  We shed sin-consciousness here, or at least we’re supposed to.  Then and only then can we proceed to the South side where we can truly be lead by the Holy Spirit.

If you try to bypass the place of ashes and jump to “following the spirit” you will not succeed because you will still have sin on your consciousness and project that onto others.  You will see them through the lens of judgment because you lack the assurance that YOUR SINS have all been reduced to ASHES!

Here’s an example of attributing things to “the leading of the Holy Spirit” that are, in fact, not Him at all:
“The Holy Spirit in me is grieved over sister so-and-so because she wears too much makeup;” or that “brother (or sister) so and so is dressed so inappropriately.”
It’s most likely the spirit of jealousy ’cause it sure ain’t the Holy Spirit being “grieved.”

(For more on this topic, follow this link:

If you are lead by sin consciousness or what Paul called “an evil heart,” you will inadvertently  misrepresent God to other people.  You see sin in other people instead of ashes. Pastors pay particular attention to this.
The West Side. 
What is on the West side of the altar?  The Mishkan; the Tabernacle.  The house of God where His people dwell together.   That is where we gather together as a people to worship.  Here is where the corporate anointing flows from God to His People as a body.  There is strength in numbers.  Sheep were made to dwell in flocks. We don’t necessarily need to be doing “holy” things.  It is just good to be together and fellowship with others of like precious faith where there is mutual encouragement and strength.
That’s why Psalm 26 ends with this:
“I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD, That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells……
My foot stands in an even place; In the congregations I will bless the LORD.”
Psalms 26:6-8, 12
That is what David meant by compassing the altar.  He went around all four sides of it in admiration of all it signified.  They really do tell of His marvelous works:  Of our salvation, of our sins being reduced to ashes, of the precious, sweet leading of the Holy Spirit and of the sweet company of believers in the house of God.
That’s our wonderful Abba!  He loves us so much that He painted us beautiful pictures in the description of the Bronze Altar.
Please follow the link below to Part 2:

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