This has been my favorite part of the study! When I arrived on the west side of the two main miracle pictures, I began to see the Lord as the temple. In Looking Glass, The City God Loves, I wrote the following:
The altar of sacrifice is also known as the altar of burnt offering or the brazen altar. It took a little while for me to figure it out, but I think the red curved object on our right is a ramp. Instead of stairs, the priests would use something like this to walk up to the altar (Exodus 20:26). This particular ramp, however, is much lovelier since it is likely made of a gemstone instead of a piece of wood. Hebrews 8:5 says that the earthly sanctuary is "a copy and shadow of what is in heaven." I can hardly believe my eyes, but I am blessed to tell you that we could be looking at an illustration of what is in Heaven. Throughout this chapter and the next one, we will take a look at each part of the tabernacle and see what the Lord has to show us.
Remember the great rock from chapter six? Well, I have another idea for the picture below. Instead of building something, I think it could be a priest placing coals on the fire to keep it burning. It was God who initially lit the altar of sacrifice when He accepted the offerings during the tabernacle's dedication (Leviticus 9:24). Therefore, the introduction of the fire, its origin, began with God. And the priest's job was to keep the fire burning.
He could also be taking coals from the fire to keep the altar of incense burning. The coals apparently needed to come from the altar of sacrifice. As we will see, everything comes from the Lord.
Directly above the ramp and the priest, I believe, is the altar of sacrifice. The reddish-orange color could represent a jasper or jacinth gemstone. I think God chose this particular stone to remind us of Jesus' blood that was shed for our sins. It also represents the fire from the burnt offering.
If you look carefully, there is a lamb on the altar. This, of course, represents the perfect Lamb of God without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:19).
The placement of the lamb is fascinating. It is a part of the Lord's [red] legs. Here we see Jesus' legs from the south side. As already noted, there is a wound through His ankle.
When we turn the picture ninety degrees, we see the lamb. The wound is found in the back of its neck or head.
The Lord gave Moses and Aaron precise instructions for the Passover meal. In Exodus 12:46, He says, "Do not break any of the bones." When Jesus was crucified, the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to break His legs. When the soldiers came to the Lord, however, He was already dead. Therefore, one of the soldiers pierced His side instead (John 19:31-34). Just like the Passover lamb, none of Jesus' bones were broken.
When we looked at this image in chapter six, I initially thought it represented the cart that carried the ark of the covenant to the City of David. After learning more about the altar of sacrifice, however, I think it could represent this altar instead. According to Exodus 27:6-7, wooden poles covered in bronze were inserted into rings to carry this altar. They built it in the shape of a square (v. 1).
Here is a view of the altar of sacrifice from the south side. Also, I just noticed a large profile of a man. He is looking in the direction of the smoke.
*See pages 160-166 in Looking Glass, The City God Loves. You can read the book for free on the "Looking Glass" page. This particular section is under Chapter Eight, Tree of Life.
Copyright © 2016 Heidi Rabe