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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7302 altar
7302 altar

7302 altar

A construction, usually of wood, stone or metal, for the offering of sacrifice. The conflict between true and false religion often focused on altars, which were of key significance in biblical times.

Early altars built to the Lord

Ge 8:20 These early altars were erected at sites where God’s presence or power had been experienced. By Abraham: Ge 12:7-8; Ge 13:18; Ge 22:9
Ge 26:25 by Isaac By Jacob: Ge 33:20; Ge 35:7 By Moses: Ex 17:15; Ex 24:4
Jos 8:30 by Joshua; Jdg 6:24 by Gideon; Jdg 21:4 by unnamed Israelites; 1Sa 7:17 by Samuel; 1Sa 14:35 by Saul; 2Sa 24:25 pp 1Ch 21:26 by David

Solomon’s temple altar

It was preceded by the tabernacle altar of burnt offering: Ex 27:1-8; Ex 30:1-10; Ex 37:25-28; Ex 38:1-7; Heb 9:3-4
1Ki 8:22; 1Ki 6:20

OT pagan altars

A symptom of decline in the northern kingdom 1Ki 16:32; 2Ki 23:15; Hos 8:11; Hos 10:1

A symptom of decline in the southern kingdom 2Ki 16:10 ignoring the command in Dt 12:2-3; 2Ki 21:3; Isa 17:8; Jer 11:13; Jer 19:13; Zep 1:5

Josiah’s reform targeted illicit altars 2Ki 23:12 See also Dt 7:5; Dt 12:8-14 Josiah was implementing the law requiring sacrifice to be offered only on the altar at the sanctuary of God’s choice; 2Ki 23:15-20

The altar in the second temple

Ezr 3:2-3 See also Ezr 7:17

Laws concerning the altar of burnt offering

Its construction Ex 20:24-26 An earlier more basic form than in the tabernacle. No human hand was to shape the stones. See also Ex 27:1-8; Ex 38:1-7

Its use for the daily sacrifice Ex 29:38-39 See also Ex 30:28; Nu 4:13; Nu 7:10,84

Its use for asylum 1Ki 1:50-51 See also Ex 21:14; 1Ki 2:28; Am 3:14

Laws concerning the incense altar

Its construction Ex 30:1-5 See also Ex 37:25-28

Its use Ex 30:7 See also Ex 30:8-10; Nu 4:11

Altars in the NT

The Jerusalem temple altar Mt 5:23-24 See also Mt 23:18-20; 1Co 9:13; 1Co 10:18; Heb 7:13; Heb 9:4

Pagan altars Ac 17:23

The cross as an “altar” Heb 13:10

Altars in heaven Rev 6:9 The lives of martyred saints are compared to the blood of offerings poured out at the base of the altar; Rev 8:3 The prayers of God’s people are like incense, offered to him on the heavenly altar. See also Rev 9:13; Rev 11:1; Rev 14:18; Rev 16:7

See also

2315Christ as Lamb
7435sacrifice, in OT
7458tabernacle, the
8626worship, places
8752false worship

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