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Bible Dictionaries

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types

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EarthenExo20:24 (c) This altar may represent the Cross of Calvary on which JESUS as the Lamb of GOD died for those who break the holy law of GOD. Immediately after giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord requested that this altar be built at once. He knew that His laws would be broken, He knew that men would need a sacrifice for their sins; He therefore planned that this altar should be built at once so that men could have a way of forgiveness and salvation immediately. It is called an altar of earth because it belongs strictly to this earth. GOD makes no provision for forgiveness and salvation after death. No sacrifice of any kind is available to the lost sinner after he dies. There is no altar in hell.

Stone Exodus 20:25 (c) This altar is to be made of stone to indicate that it is permanent, substantial, solid and cannot be tampered with by man. No tool was to be used in the making of it. Stones are made by GOD. It is a picture of Calvary which was GOD's institution. He planned it, He designed that JESUS was to die there. It must not be tampered with by man. Its blessings are eternal. Calvary came from the heart of GOD through the ages of eternity.

Brazen Exodus 27:1-2 (c) This may be taken as a type of the cross of Calvary, where the Lamb of GOD was offered as a sacrifice for original sin, and a sacrifice for sins committed, and also as a sacrifice for our own wicked selves. CHRIST must die for our character, as well as our conduct. On that altar, the animal represented the Saviour who died both for us and for our sins. He died for what we are as burnt offering. He died for our deeds as the trespass offering.

Golden Exodus 30:1-3 (c) This altar represents the Cross of CHRIST where the beautiful and perfect life of CHRIST was offered up to GOD as a sweet perfume and fragrant incense. The life of CHRIST which was perfect was offered to GOD instead of our lives which are so imperfect. It is typical also of the consecrated life of the believer from which there ascends to GOD as a sweet odor the sacrifices of our lips in thanksgiving, worship and praise.

Idol1Ki18:26 (c) Here we may think of a false altar which is a type of the religious plans and schemes of men wherein they hope to appease the god of their imagination, and to obtain his favor even though what they are doing is not Scriptural.

False2Ki16:10 (c) Here and elsewhere we find altars built ostensibly for the worship of GOD, but really for the worship of idols. These false altars are symbolical for the world's religious schemes and plans under the name of Christianity. Worldly men devise worldly plans for the worship of those who live in their sins, and yet seek a religious outlet for their feelings. Every false religion has an "altar" of this kind.

Deserted Psalm 84:3 (c) Here is brought before us clearly that GOD's people had forsaken both the worship and the service of the Lord to such an extent that the fires had gone out, the altar was cold, and no priest was near. The birds felt so much at home around these altars that they built their nests where the priests should have been serving, and the fires should have been burning.

Christian Matthew 5:23 (b) This probably teaches us that there is a place of worship called "the altar" to which the believer goes for worship, praise and prayer. It may be in the church building or in the home. When we come to this hallowed place, we are to come with a heart that is open and free from bitterness, free from spite, and free from grudges. We are to be a forgiving people if we expect forgiveness from Heaven.

Unknown Acts 17:23 (a) This altar is probably typical of the false faiths by which people go through the motions of seeking and worshipping GOD, though their words and actions indicate clearly that they do not know Him, nor His character, nor His ways.

Hebrews 13:10 (a) The word here probably represents the Lord's table, and all the holy associations which accompany the Gospel of CHRIST.

Revelation 8:3 (c) From this we learn that in some mysterious way there is such an altar in Heaven. At that altar the fragrant incense of the prayers and the worship of Christians ascends to GOD and permeates Heaven.

Bibliography Information
Watson, Walter. Entry for 'Altar'. Wilson's Dictoinary of Bible Types. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wdt/​a/altar.html. 1957.
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