The Altar & The Throne
Isaiah saw God’s Throne of holiness.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3
In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed. He stood naked before a Holy God.
“ So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:
“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell. I had this experience myself when I met the Lord. For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness. No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.
In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God. Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs
from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6, 7
“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”. T Austin Sparks
Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)
“ But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14
It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way. After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed. Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.
Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16
There were three items contained in the Ark: the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.
These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.
The Golden Pot of Manna: reveals Christ as Prophet
The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people. Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33
He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.
Aaron’s Rod that Budded: reveals Christ as Priest
As Aaron went in before God on behalf of the people, so too Christ our Great High Priest, goes before the Father on our behalf.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God. (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)
Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17). The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself. Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.
These were the two unbroken tables of Law. The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry. These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.
However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ. These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard. He is the law-giver and the law-keeper. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Yet these tables of Law were under the blood. The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.
As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ. No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table. But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16
Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him. Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life. This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege. Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.
Blessings in Christ,