Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 27:1-8, verses 1 through 3 are on the outward appearance of the altar, but verses 4 through 8 are on the inward contents of the altar. What is difficult to understand concerning the altar is not the outward appearance; it is the inward contents. The contents of the altar are the grating and the four rings, through which were placed the poles used in carrying the altar.
A part of the altar that is related to the inward contents is the ledge. We have pointed out that the Hebrew word may also be rendered border, margin, or rim. No one can say definitely what this ledge was. I believe that it was used to protect the four walls of the altar from heat. The Bible does not tell us how wide the ledge was. I believe that it went down to the grating, which was at half the height of the altar. There were one and one-half cubits above the grating and another one and one-half cubits below it. Thus, the grating divided the altar in half.
The more I study the portion in Exodus 27 concerning the altar, the more assured I am that the ledge protected the walls from the scorching heat of the fire burning on the grating. The fire burned continually for years. If there had been no protection for the walls, the acacia wood underneath the bronze would have been charred. Therefore, the ledge must have served as a protection. The grating used for holding the wood and the sacrifices was underneath the ledge.
In the foregoing message we pointed out that the four rings typify the Spirit. These rings have two aspects. The first is that they were connected to the grating. This means that the rings were one with the grating. Therefore, the grating was not separate from the four rings. Rather, the rings belonged to the grating and with it formed one piece of work. Second, according to 38:5, these four rings were for the poles used in carrying the ark. There were two rings on each side of the altar.
I would emphasize the fact that the contents of the altar are the grating with the four rings. Some expositions of Exodus speak of the acacia wood and the bronze. These matters, however, are somewhat superficial. It is common for expositors to point out that the acacia wood signifies the humanity of the Lord Jesus, that the bronze signifies the righteous judgment of God, and that the four horns of the altar signify the power and strength of the redemption of Christ. The redeeming blood was sprinkled on these horns. Furthermore, the blood of the same sacrifice was brought into the Holy Place and sprinkled on the four horns on the incense altar, and also brought into the Holy of Holies to be sprinkled on the propitiatory cover of the ark. Since such matters are not so deep or mysterious, it is somewhat easy for expositors to understand their significance. But expositors may not have much to say concerning the grating and the four rings. In this message I am burdened to speak regarding the mysteries of the redemption of Christ as signified by the grating and the rings, which are types, or figures, of these mysteries.
In the human body, the skin, the flesh, and the bones are not as mysterious as the inward parts, especially the soul and the spirit. Our psychological part, the soul, is made up of the mind, the emotion, and the will. The soul, although not as deep as the spirit, is mysterious. Inside the soul and surrounded by it, we have the spirit. Thus, our psychological and spiritual parts are the true mysteries of our being. The inner content of every person is the soul and the spirit. In the same principle, the inner content of the altar is the grating with the four rings.
The grating depicts the mystery of Christ’s redemption. The wood and the sacrifices were placed on the grating to be burned. The grating was the place where the fire was burning. Without the grating, there could be no burning, for the burning was on the grating. Furthermore, we have seen that the grating was at half the height of the altar, reaching from side to side halfway between the top and the bottom. The fact that there were one and one-half cubits below the grating indicates that it was on the same level as the propitiation-cover on the ark in the Holy of Holies. This indicates that the grating comes up to the standard of the propitiation-cover. When Paul speaks of the redemption of Christ in Romans 3:24-25, he definitely says that God made the redeeming Christ our propitiation-cover.
When the altar was carried, the poles were on the shoulders of a number of persons. These poles were placed in the rings. The weight of the grating with the wood and the sacrifices rested upon these four rings. This indicates that the entire redemption of Christ is upon the four rings, which are a type of the eternal Spirit. This should help us to have a clear understanding of the Spirit. Because of shallow, inadequate teaching, not many Christians realize that the redemption of Christ rests upon the power of the eternal Spirit. The wood and the sacrifices were on the grating. Thus, the grating bore the weight to accomplish the burning. This burning signifies the accomplishment of redemption. The weight of accomplishing redemption was on the grating. But what bore the weight of the grating? This weight was borne by the four rings, a type of the eternal Spirit.
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