Jesus is the Altar of Burnt Offerings
Foundational material necessary to understanding this post can be viewed in the two postings below:
The purpose of introducing this material is to lay the groundwork toward understanding that the shedding of blood and the sacrifice of life at the Altar of Burnt Offerings are prophetic of Jesus who is the Christ. This statement becomes extremely clear when we look for its fulfillment in the life of Jesus. Jesus shed His blood[ii] and sacrificed His body, laying down His life[iii] so that we would be forgiven[iv] of our sins.
In addition, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for this purpose because He is the perfect Son of God who lived His life without sin[v]. He was held down by the hands of the high priests[vi] who were effectively the head of the nation. When they sent Jesus to His death they said, “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children[vii].” Therefore, the blood of this perfect sacrifice resulted in the forgiveness of sin[viii] for the nation that would believe in Him. The consequence of these facts is that His sacrifice brings a far better benefit than was achieved at the Alter.
Here is a scripture that explains this fact rather well:
‘Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another. He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.’
‘For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; In the volume of the book it is written of Me; To do Your will, O God.” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” says the LORD: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.’ (Hebrews 9:18 – 10:18)
Therefore, the single sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of all the sacrifices at the Altar of Burnt Offerings. What this means is that the prophecy of the Brazen Altar is fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross. Jesus therefore is the Lamb of God whose innocent blood was shed to carry away the sins of the world[ix].
Since His sacrifice was perfect He made obsolete the Altar of Burnt Offerings as well as the blood sacrifice of animals. The consequence of this is that the priests who performed these functions are also no longer required. Therefore, the law pertaining to the priestly duties at the Altar of Burnt Offerings was no longer necessary. A common saying today is that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, and by understanding His sacrifice on the cross, we realize how this obsolescence occurred.
As we have covered earlier, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be “The Way”, and therefore the passageway into the courtyard of the Tabernacle. We can validate this claim by investigating the attributes and functions of the Tabernacle court and then authenticating that they are achievable through Jesus, and can be validated by looking at His actions and words.
Based on the correlation between what we have presented about the Alter of Burnt offerings, and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we conclude that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Alter of Burnt Offerings’. In fact, we conclude that Jesus is also the sacrifice, the offering and the high priest all rolled into one. He is the sacrificial Lamb who was slain, and whose body and blood are given in exchange for the forgiveness of our sins. His body and blood are the new covenant[x] that eliminates the need for the Altar of Burnt Offerings and the Leviticus priesthood. He is the perfect sacrifice required for the reestablishment of our love relationship with God.
Therefore, His statement “I am the Way …” indicates that forgiveness of sin comes only through Him.
[i] Leviticus 4:22 – 26 When a ruler has sinned, and
done something unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD his God in anything which should not be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD. It is a sin offering. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. And he shall
burn all its fat on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of the peace
offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
[ii] John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
[iii] John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
[iv] Matthew26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
[v] Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
[vi] Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them,
“What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said
to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”
[vii] Matthew 27:25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
[viii] Acts 26:15 – 18 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. ‘But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
[ix] John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
[x] Luke 22:19 – 20 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.