As we come to this next section on Ezekiel 43:13-27, Ezekiel is coming before the altar.
Like everything else, it is measured. As you can see, it is not small…the hearth being 12 cubits square.
13 “These are the measurements of the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth): its base shall be one cubit high and one cubit broad, with a rim of one span around its edge. And this shall be the height of the altar: 14 from
the base on the ground to the lower ledge, two cubits, with a breadth
of one cubit; and from the smaller ledge to the larger ledge, four
cubits, with a breadth of one cubit; 15 and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns. 16 The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve broad. 17 The
ledge also shall be square, fourteen cubits long by fourteen broad,
with a rim around it half a cubit broad, and its base one cubit all
around. The steps of the altar shall face east.”
The Priests who minister at the altar will be the family of Zadok. They need to, for seven days, make sacrifices on the altar to make atonement for needing the altar, as well as to cleanse and consecrate it. When those seven days are over, it can be used for the sacrifices of the people.
18 And he said to me, “Son of man, thus says the Lord God: These are the ordinances for the altar: On the day when it is erected for offering burnt offerings upon it and for throwing blood against it, 19 you shall give to the Levitical priests of the family of Zadok, who draw near to me to minister to me, declares the Lord God, a bull from the herd for a sin offering. 20 And you shall take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the ledge and upon the rim all around. Thus you shall purify the altar and make atonement for it. …….26 Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it, and so consecrate it. 27 And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer on the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, and I will accept you, declares the Lord God.”
I have to admit, I would find this difficult. I know I am not alone in this, I have read reports of how people found it difficult to need to sacrifice the best of their herd. How tempting it was to hold that animal back and send the next best.
But it’s what God demanded eh? That giving up of our best to atone for the sin that we do. It’s points us forward to God giving up his best for us.
That’s what all the sacrifices do…they point forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. Just like the lamb did, or the bull, or the doves, or the grain did. Through no fault of their own, they died for the sin of their people. Jesus died for the sin of EVERYONE. Not just one family or group of people ….for every single person ever born.
As the Son of God he was the only one in the position to do so.
Just as people needed to trust that the lamb, goat, bull etc… would take away their sin, we need to the same with Christ. We need to trust that Jesus will take away our sin. It’s starts with us seeing how wrong our sin is and our need for something beyond ourselves to deal with it.
Gods work on our behalf… always.
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