Anglican Morning Devotion, 24 February 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 7And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein.” (Exodus 40:6-7; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
At the very entrance of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was the Altar of Burnt Offerings whereby all who sought to have their sins forgiven must first bring an offering to be sacrificed on that Brazen Altar. None –can, today, approach the Holy Place of God – the Mercy Seat – without a sacrifice. It was at the very Door and entrance of the Tabernacle. So what sacrifice can we offer today, and where is our Tabernacle?
The entire Tabernacle represents our Lord Jesus Christ. It was furnished within with beautiful accommodations, but without it was covered with goat’s hair (not at all appealing to the eye of the beholder from without). This is the very beauty of Christ – not appealing to the eye of the stranger, but beautiful with the gifts and blessings of salvation within.
In the Reformation Church of England, whose biblical example we follow, there is no physical altar for burnt offerings. Instead, we have a Lord’s Table. There is no longer justification for an altar in any church for the sacrifice has been made two thousand years ago at Calvary. On our Lord’s Table, we have an empty cross representing the fact that the Lord is no longer on the cross, but He is risen!
The Lord Jesus Christ is our Altar. The bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament Church are consummated in Christ, our Sacrifice: “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. N18ow where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:9-18)
It is the nature of fallen man to always believe, as did Cain, that sufficient offerings for sin are a matter of the works of man’s hands. But it was never so. Cain brought offerings from a cursed source – the earth. “…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” (Genesis 3:17) “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.” (Genesis 4:3) No man is saved by good works, but by grace Unto good works. Even the seemingly innocence of plowing is sin to those whose hearts are not staid on Christ. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. 3To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. 4An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” (Proverbs 21:2-4) How many attend church regularly with an “high look?” Are any good? Not at all! “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) How may we be justified in the eyes of the Lord? Can we make a bloody sacrifice? Do we pray for the Temple bloody sacrifices to resume? Do we crucify Christ anew, or reject His once-and-for-all sacrifice? “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Christ is fully revealed by the Tabernacle itself, and every furnishing thereof. He is the Door of the Tabernacle of God (See John 10). His sacrifice is our means of justification for redemption. So, my friends, let us accept the Altar provided by God for the covering of every sin – that Altar which Christ is to us! “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. 10We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Hebrews 13:8-12)