“The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 15
“Since the altar of burnt-offering represents or symbolizes the ransom sacrifice of the man
Christ Jesus (T21); it must of necessity also bespeak forgiveness. Yet it is such forgiveness, as the
Lord declared, that is contingent upon our forgiveness of others. (Matt 6:14, 15; Mark 11:25, 26)
Peter, on one occasion inquired of Jesus as to how many times one should forgive his brother: “Seven
times?” (Luke 17:4; Matt 18:21) You will recall the Master’s reply to the effect that it should be
“seventy times seven” (Matt 18:22), implying, of course, that one was not to count but to be always
ready to forgive.
This thought, we believe, is reflected in the measurements of this altar. We are told that it was
foursquare: five cubits long and five cubits broad. (Exod 27:1; 38:1) The two diagonals, therefore,
measured just about seven cubits each, and incidentally formed the mathematical sign (X) for
multiplication. Adding the length to the breadth produces a total of ten cubits. Then if we multiply this
figure by the length of one diagonal we arrive at 70 cubits. The fact that there are just two such
diagonals seems to suggest that we use the second seven also as a multiplier, and thus 70 times 7, the
equivalent of Jesus’ words to Peter, “seventy times seven.” However, since the diagonals measure just
a bit more than seven cubits (actually 7.071+ cubits), the altar seems to say, “Be liberal in the matter,
but forgive and forgive and forgive, again and again and again.” How truly wonderful! (“Notes on
the Tabernacle”, Page 121)
Keeping in mind the dimensions of the Altar the following interesting applications may be made:
30 Years of the life of Jesus as a man: Sum of length and breadth of the top of the altar (5+5 cubits)
plus the perimeter (distance around) of the top (5+5+5+5) equals 30 cubits, representing these years.
3 ½ years of his ministry and sacrifice: Distance from the center of the top to any one of the four
corners (half of seven) is 3 ½ cubits, thus we have four corroborations to these very important years of
his life in cubits.
33 ½ years of his entire life: Sum of 30 + 3 ½ cubits, or 33 ½ years.
1000 years of blessings for the world of mankind through the sacrifice of Christ (and
incidentally of the Church): Sum of perimeter of the base of the altar (5+5+5+5) plus the perimeter
of the top (5+5+5+5) equals 40 cubits, or 1000 inches, an inch for a year.
(Note in this instance the scale used is 1 cubit = 25 inches)
How refreshing to our minds and hearts to note anew through the witness of the “Brazen Altar” of the
Tabernacle that through the 30 years of Jesus’ life as a perfect man, and through his sacrifice of 3 ½
years, a great blessing is yet still to come to the poor groaning creation during a period of 1000 years.
Next we will examine the “Laver”, which was placed midway between the Altar and the “door” (or "First
Vail") to the Tabernacle proper.
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