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107 - That's No Barbecue

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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August 13, 2022 1:00 pm

107 - That's No Barbecue

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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August 13, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 107 - That's No Barbecue (13 Aug 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, it's summertime and there's meat on the fire in the backyard with the barbecue. Don't you smell it in the neighborhood? Somebody's cooking. Well, you know, as we look at the tabernacle, we're going to find meat on a fire there, too. But the purpose is not to have a barbecue.

It's totally different. We're going to find out today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim. And we are sitting here at our dining room table about to feed on the Word of God as we are in the habit of doing.

Sit down to record these these conversations for you. And we've been talking for a few weeks now about the tabernacle, the instructions for the tabernacle, God's tent, God's tent in the midst of these people. And just to remind you, we're still on the mountaintop with Moses during those 40 days.

That's right. He's still just receiving the instructions. Later on, we're going to come to Exodus when all of the instructions will be repeated in the actual building.

Yeah, and they'll do it. Tabernacle. But at this point, we're just receiving the instructions. And so God keeps saying to him, now, I showed you the pattern on the mountain.

Make sure you do exactly as the pattern you saw. Right. So and to remind you, this is God's intention. This is his working out of wanting to dwell in their midst.

Right. You know, I'll remind you, I think a couple of weeks ago we talked about that when they when they actually did their camping out in the desert, they would pitch their tents in a very specific pattern. And in the center of that pattern was God's tent. Well, this is it.

This is what we're talking about. God's tent as he travels with them across the desert in the promised land. And God is very specific about the design of the tent because in no small term, it turns out that the design of the tent speaks volumes about the nature of God and our relationship with them and our approach to him. Right. In fact, last time we talked about the only entrance into the tabernacle being this beautiful linen wall, basically. And as you looked at it, you'd say that's the entrance.

Right, a hanging curtain. Yeah. So we're moving now into the outer court. Yeah, we're going inside to outside.

Today we're going to focus on the major piece that is out there in the outer court. And it still is within an enclosure, but this part's open to the sky. Right. And that is the bronze altar that's out there. And so God's very specific about the instructions about the altar. So we're just going to read these seven or eight verses that give God's instructions for the building of the altar. Yeah. And then spend the rest of our time probably talking about the significance of what happens at the altar. Right, what it means. Well, I'll start into it.

Okay. We're going to use the word altar. What is an altar exactly? Well, in its crudest sense, it's a killing place. Okay, that's literally what the Hebrew word means, a place of sacrifice.

It's a place of sacrifice, yeah. And so this is where they'd bring their burnt offerings. Right.

You know, live animals would be brought up to it, they'd be killed, they'd be burned on this thing. Right. This is what we're talking about. This is this bronze altar. Okay. And God had told them earlier in Exodus, now, when you build an altar to me, make it earth or make it uncut stones. Right.

Because if you wield your tools on it, you will profane it. Yeah. Right. So we have to, the altar is according to God's design. Exactly. Well, let's see what the design is. Okay.

Go ahead. Chapter 27, verse one. Well, you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long, five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. And you shall make horns for it on all four corners.

Its horns shall be one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. Let's just stop there. Okay.

Because he's going to make stuff that goes with it. So we're talking about, talking about what so far is just kind of a... It's a box. It looks like a box. It's an open box.

Yeah. In our measurements, it's about seven and a half feet wide and seven and a half feet wide, you know. It's a square. A square. On top. It's about four and a half feet tall.

So it's about a person tall. So this is a big thing. And on top of it, that's where the sacrifice of these animals is going to take place.

Okay. And it says you shall make horns for it on the four corners. Horns? So there's something that pokes up. Yeah.

On each of the corners. And we're not quite sure what the significance of that is. Right. Right.

But God's very specific now. The corners have meaning. Make the horns. Right. Yeah. And there is some really good speculation.

I haven't gotten very deep into it. But one thing, when he says horns, yeah, you know, think horns on a cow. I mean, we're talking horns, horns. And some speculation was it was used to tie the animals that were being sacrificed. You tie them to those horns. But we know in other places that this is not speculation, that the blood from those sacrifices was actually sprinkled on those horns. Right. What that means, symbolically, it could be a number of things. But the other thing is in Old Testament symbology, when you talked about the horn of an animal, you're talking about focused power. Focused strength.

Yeah. In fact, I remember being nudged once by a cow calf that had little nubby horns that were maybe the size of my thumb. And this calf was very affectionate.

And he came up alongside me and kind of nuzzled my thigh and left a bruise there. Because when you're talking about a 500-pound animal that pokes you with something the size of your thumb that's hard, it really hurts. Well, think about a developed sharp horn as well. So this is a horn in the Old Testament is always focused power and might. So that's an interesting thought because there is only one altar associated with the altar of burned offering, the altar of sacrifice. Of sacrifice. In God's tabernacle. Now, there's another altar inside that we'll talk about later, the altar of incense.

Still to come. But this is the bronze altar. And it's always referred to as the bronze altar, which indicates it could withstand the heat of the fire.

You're going to burn stuff there. Of the judgment. Yeah, yeah.

Mm-hmm. And there's different things that you have to use in administrating this altar. That shows up in verse three. So you shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, shovels, and basins, and forks, and fire pans.

And you shall make all of its utensils of bronze. Okay, this tells us it was a real working device. Yeah, it wasn't symbolic.

Right? There was tools that went with it. There was tools, yeah.

And, in fact, those tools, I was curious about those. We won't make too big a deal out of it, but there was a need to actually shovel ashes out that had fat drippings in it. Those had to be dealt with and cleaned out. There were basins that very likely caught blood, you know, when you're up there doing this. There were forks. They say forks? Oh, because the meat was roasted.

Right. Well, yeah, I found out in 1 Samuel 2, there's a place where it says there was this three-fingered fork that they would go in and whatever meat they could pull out, that's what the priests could eat as their daily. Yeah, well, that was an aberration. That wasn't what God commanded them. That was their disobedience.

That was their disobedience. But that's what these forks are. And then there's fire pans, ostensibly to carry coals into the other burning place, which is that altar of incense inside. So, you know, they were all very practical things to make this go. And all these utensils are made of bronze because they have to withstand the heat. Right.

So that makes a ton of sense. And then four, there's a little bit more, and you shall also make for it a grating, a network of bronze. And on the net, you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners, and you shall set it under the ledge of the altar so that the net extends halfway down the altar.

So, here we get this thing to it. It looks more like a grate on top of a barbecue. Yeah, to keep the animals off from the coals. To separate the meat from the coals.

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And then, since everything is part of old during this time in Israel, verse six, and you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. And the poles shall be put through the rings so that the poles are on the two sides of the altar when it's carried.

So, it's the portable thing again. And you shall make it hollow with bores, as has been shown you on the mountain, so it shall be made. So, there's the specification for the bronze altar where burned sacrifices will take place. Yeah. So, it strikes me that it's made of wood. It's overlaid with bronze. Isn't that interesting? Well, that would have meant that it was portable.

Yeah. If it was solid bronze, it would have required more than two guys and a couple of poles to carry it. Not going to move it.

You would never have been able to move it. Well, even this monstrous thing, even though it's wood at the core and then overlaid with bronze. It's seven and a half feet square. It's monstrous. It's a big deal.

I mean, it's the size of a car. Well, if you're going to sacrifice an ox, you need a pretty big grate. Yeah, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. So, what goes on here is an atonement for sin is what we're talking about.

Yeah. Although the Rite of Hebrews says that in effect it really didn't do that. It sort of points us to where the real atonement through Christ comes from, but it was atonement for sin. If there was no sin in the nation of Israel, they wouldn't need this.

So, isn't it interesting that there's simply no explanation at this point? God just says, now, to enter my tent, you have to pass. You have to pass the altar. Yeah. You have to come past the sacrifice. Yeah. It's part of the pathway toward the presence of God. Right. That's telling you something right there, symbolically, which is the path into the presence of God, somewhere in that path you have to deal with the problem of sin.

Mm-hmm. And that's where this animal sacrifice, we have to deal with sin. You can't just bypass this and walk around it and try and go into the presence of God. Somehow, in the one path in, you're going to have to deal with the issue of sin. Because sin causes death. Right.

Right? And that set me thinking of what takes place at this altar is the sacrifice of animals, which requires the bloodletting, right? Yeah, yeah. And they did some specific things with the blood. In most of the daily sacrifices, they would cook the meat, and then it would be eaten.

It didn't go to waste, except in the case of a whole burnt offering, where the entire thing is consumed. Yeah. So it set me thinking of Leviticus 1711, where God says, for the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I've given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls. Right. For it's the blood, by reason of the life, that makes atonement. So that's what's happening here. Yeah.

And we talked about this once before. Blood seems like a kind of an icky thing to put on all these images. But that's the core of it right there, what says Leviticus, is that they knew enough, in terms of science of the body of animals and people, that once you lose all your blood, you die. Right. So the very tight metaphor was, there's life in the blood. As long as the blood is there, there's life in it.

Right. So when God wanted to paint a picture of the transferring of blood from one creature to another creature, he would do it by the moving of this blood. Which is why, again, when you talk about the death of Christ, we're talking about being saved by his blood. The blood is kind of the medium of life itself. So that's what's going on here, to atone for your sins. Something has to die, because judgment for your sins would mean your death. Well, is it possible that the life of another, symbolically through that blood, can be given on my behalf, and I can benefit and have life?

That's what the whole blood imagery is meant to be, and they get that totally, more than we do. And that was a very ancient understanding, right, if you could clear back to, what did Noah do after the flood? He's the first person in scripture recorded as building an altar.

Right. But he sacrificed one of those clean animals that he had been carrying in the ark. And think back to Genesis, when Abraham takes his son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him. On an altar. An altar, right, to pour out his blood. There's this ancient understanding that I owe a life because of my sin, because sin brings death.

And blood, and the shedding of that blood is the visible symbol of the transference of life. Right, right. Exactly. Exactly.

You were going somewhere specific. Well, I was just thinking about, oh, I was going back to chapter 24, when before Moses had come up on the mountain, remember, they had this covenant ceremony, and they slaughtered the animals, and Moses took the blood, and he sprinkled it on the altar, and then he took the rest of the blood, and he sprinkled it on the people. On the people. So there's the transference right there. There's the transference right there.

Very visible. So they already had done that at some sort of an altar, a stone altar, before Moses went up the mountain. But here we have God giving specific instructions saying, okay, now we're going to codify.

We're going to make, it's only going to be done this way, at this place, only at this altar. Right. In the pathway coming into the presence of God. Right.

With him there. Yeah, and the other cases before that, you could think, well, this was just a particular event here. They were talking about the long-term presence of God in their camp, and they were going to have to deal constantly with the presence of sin in their lives in front of God. Okay, and we haven't gotten there yet, but we're going to find out, reading on, that sacrifices were offered on this altar morning and night. Yeah, it was a busy place.

So morning and night there were sacrifices, the slaughtering of animals, shedding of blood, roasting of meat, and twice as often on the Sabbath, twice as many. Right. Right.

And there was constant activity at this altar. Yeah. And the blood issue, they went through Passover, right?

We talked about Passover, and the fact that the lamb was sacrificed for the family. Right. They already had that picture. And you collected the blood from that lamb, and you painted on the doorpost of your house kind of as a way to say the wrath of God doesn't come in here.

This is the entryway. Right. Right. Yeah, so that blood, they already know this really visibly.

So this is not a foreign kind of symbol to them. And also, you know, that lamb on Passover was burnt and totally eaten. Totally consumed. Eaten. Consumed. Yeah, totally consumed, taken in.

So this is a more formalized way of saying this is going to be a part of your life from this point on as long as I live in your presence, that's going to happen. So let me circle back to the Passover for a minute and the painting of the blood on the doorway. Yeah. Because it's helpful if we remember what was going to happen in Egypt, right, when the God, the angel was going to pass through and slaughter the firstborn that day. Right. And so God's people had to go in to their homes through that blood-soaked doorway.

They went in to protection from the judgment that was going to fall. Yeah. And then the next day, they went out.

Then you go out the same way. Whole new life. Right.

Whole new beginning through the blood the next day. So they already had that picture. So here it is kind of solidified in the symbology of the tablet.

Yeah. And as we all know, experientially, we have life today because a lamb gave its life for us. Something substituted. Something substituted for us.

So this is a very old idea. It's not made up in Jesus' death and resurrection. This is something that's a lifelong picture from the nation of Israel, which is because of your sin, judgment comes upon you and the wrath of God.

That was the wrath of God in Egypt at Passover as well. If God's going to live in your presence and you're going to live with him, we've got to deal with the issue of sin. And we need to impart life to you symbolically through blood so that you can have life at the cost of another. And of course, that's just a gigantic pointer forward to the Lamb of God himself, Jesus, who has sacrificed on our behalf that we might find life through his death. And then Paul even goes on and says not only through his death but in his resurrection we find life as well. So it's not just a coincidental connection back to this picture back in the tabernacle. This is God prepping their minds to think, you know, I want to live in your presence but we have to take care of the problem of your sin.

Something is going to have to die for you so you can get my life. So that's the context of why Jesus came as the Passover Lamb. That's what John the Baptist called him. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

So sin's the problem. And I would dare say, I've said this many times, that when you look at the life of Israel with first the tabernacle, the life around the tabernacle, and the life at the temple itself when God finds a more permanent home in Jerusalem, you know, the life at the temple is dominated by dealing with blood and the failings of their sin. And in fact, the nation gets so large by the time Jesus comes around that the temple area actually has built in plumbing and drainways for the amount of blood that's created on these big events. And if you think about it, thousands and thousands and thousands of sacrifices that had to be brought at the Passover, every family had to bring their own lamb, that would have been, that would have taken forever. Every Levite in existence would have been employed in the slaughtering and preparing of those sacrifices.

It was a busy place and blood flowed like you just cannot believe. I mean, they speculate about a lot of the plumbing issues, the engineering problems with having that many animals sacrificed. But this is the beginning of it. This is God saying, I'm dwelling in your midst. And so we have to have a constant problem solved through the atonement of these animals. So while you were talking, I was kind of looking for a passage that's been ringing in my head. I know it's in Hebrews 9 or 10, where the writer of Hebrews is talking about those who serve the tabernacle with its old system, that we in Christ have an altar that those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat, right?

Because they are still serving. Oh, Hebrews 13. Oh, it's 13. There we go.

I'll find it so that I don't mangle it in the quoting. Oh, while you're going there, I'll bring out just another little tidbit of truth. That's the Korah Rebellion. Do you remember the Korah Rebellion that happened in Numbers?

The Korah Rebellion, it was a pretty nasty deal. But a whole bunch of bad people who challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron were basically swallowed up in the ground that was there. But they had these censors, these incense things, these bronze incense things they used. And God said, as a reminder to this rebellion and how I judge this kind of thing, we're going to take... I think this is right, we're going to take these incense censors, these burners that the Korah people used in ministry, and we're going to melt them all down and turn them into bronze plate, and we're going to actually clad this tabernacle altar with more bronze from their censors. And I've never quite figured out exactly what that's symbolizing, but he does say in the text there in Numbers that that overlay would be something that people would see and recognize and it would remind them. So last week that I said that bronze in the scriptures is often associated with judgment. Yes.

Right. And this is one of the things that illustrates that, that we know bronze has a very high melting temperature, which is why it works in the burnt offering altar. It's associated with the burning. But the burning, well, when God melts something down, the cleansing fire of God's judgment is associated with bronze, this shining, strong metal, heavy metal, but it would be a visual reminder that God judges rightly.

God will melt you down, essentially put you through the smelter and refine you, right? That is a picture that comes back in the prophets. Here's that passage we were looking for in Hebrews 13.

Oh, we have another altar. Well, right. Where the writer says, he's talking about Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and yes, forever. So don't be carried away by varied and strange teachings, for it's good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods.

Right? So he's talking about the old law, keeping the old law. And then he says, through foods through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.

In other words, keeping the law didn't do anything for you. It's simply a picture. And here's the verse I was aiming for, but we have an altar, we in Christ, have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.

This is what we're talking about right here. Right. Because we have participated in the death and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world once for all.

Yeah. So you could say, I started off saying that an altar is a kind of a killing place of sorts, it's a sacrifice place, that even from what the writer of Hebrews is saying there, is that we as Christians also have a killing place, and it's the cross. It's the cross where the sacrifice is made on our behalf. And so that's why the writer of Hebrews is saying, you know, we have another altar.

We have an altar that those people who served at that old tabernacle temple, what they ate off of, they can't benefit from. Our altar, in that metaphoric sense, is the cross itself. And you know, Paul says in Galatians 2, 20, I've died. And the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God. And I've been crucified with Christ. My life has been given up, and I've received a new, a replacement life from God himself, a holy life.

So it's a place where there's death and where we benefit from life. You know, a life is given for our benefit, and we come up living. I've been crucified with Christ. And now the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who gave himself up. So here's the sacrifice, there's the transfer of life.

There was another place in Galatians I had, I forgot about that one, but in Galatians 6, he says in 14, but, you know, far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. That's the killing place again, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. Death, a two-way death.

The world is dead to me, and I'm dead to the world here. And yet I find life in Christ at the cross, because he is the sacrifice lamb. So this imagery from very early in the life of Israel that we're getting at the top of Mount Sinai, this is working its way all the way out in its final end realization in Christ dying on the cross on our behalf. Fascinating. So as we kind of wrap back to coming into, if you enter the outer court of the tabernacle, the fenced yard around the tent where God lives, the first thing and the biggest thing you encounter is that bronze altar.

It would be intimidating too, you'd be seeing things dying. If you're coming to meet with God, there's going to be sacrifice, because there has to be a penalty paid for sin in order to come in. But there's another element. Yeah, it's deliberately in the pathway toward God. Yeah, there's another element of what happens at the altar, and that is as the animal is sacrificed, the meat is cooked, and then you eat it, right?

Take it in. Now Paul talks in 1 Corinthians about being a participant in the altar, right? Don't you know that when you eat in the altar of an idol, you're participating in that altar? Well we, in taking the symbol of the body and the blood of Christ, are participating in his altar, in the sacrifice. And that's an important distinction, we're not spectators in this salvation. We have to participate, not that we actually accomplish anything, but what we have to say is, I want to be part of this. We have a part. Yes.

I want to be part of this, although the sacrifice is Christ on our behalf, but I want to be part of this. So you eat, that's a way of, that's actually a very old kind of pagan idea as well, is that anything from pagan gods, if you take it into yourself, you're taking in a piece of that God. Right, right. So God is just using that culturally.

Well, that's what made it so appalling when Jesus said, now this is my body and blood, eat it. Right, right. Right? Yeah. They said, you want us to eat your flesh? Is that what you're saying? Well, yeah.

Yeah. Well, and that's the point at which people left his ministry, right, when he said, unless you eat the flesh of the Lamb of God and drink his blood, you have no life in you. And people at that point said, too weird for me. This is John 6, I think, where that is recorded.

Too weird for me, I'm out of here. And he turns to the other disciples and says, are you going away too? And Peter says, Lord, where else will we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Yeah. He said, drink my blood, which sounds very Dracula-like to us. But again, we said the blood symbolizes the transferring of life from one to another. So what all he's saying literally right there, and the strongest way he can, is that the life that I have now, I give to you if you'll take it into you, if you'll receive it. All you have to do is receive it.

You can't take any credit for what's going on to your benefit, but you do have to say, I'll receive it. But there's theology in there, right? We know that we are what we eat. And that's true.

We see what we ingest literally becomes the stuff which produces life in us. Yeah. Well, there's the picture. Yeah. Yeah. The life of Christ in us. Yeah. Oh my gosh, we're out of time.

Yeah. Look what we got from the bronze altar. And I'm thinking too, if I'm a person outside of the courtyard near the Tabernacle and I'm looking over, I may perhaps see the presence of God in the column of smoke and in the light and stuff like that. And then in the courtyard, you're going to see billowing black smoke. You'll see two things billowing up. And you'll smell it.

And you'll smell it. So, you know, the Tabernacle was constructed to appeal to all of our senses. So we'll come back to that. Yeah. But it's kind of a, when you look at that, it'd be kind of a good news, bad news. Good news. God is here. Bad news is something has to pay for our failures. Yeah.

So those two issues are coupled together with what you'd see just looking in from the outside of this. Well, so I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us. We're going to stay in the courtyard, maybe even get to the gate of the courtyard next time. We'll see that as we get together next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Sometimes we can do it. Sometimes it just happens.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 09:11:40 / 2023-03-12 09:24:33 / 13

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