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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Altar

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A structure on which to offer sacrifices to God: imitated by the heathen in honour of their false gods. The first altar we read of was built by Noah on leaving the ark, on which he offered burnt offerings of every clean beast and clean fowl. Genesis 8:20 . Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alsobuilt altars to the Lord: these would have been constructed of stoneor earth, but it is remarkable that we seldom read of their offering sacrifices on them. At times it is simply said they built an altar unto the Lord and at other times they built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord. The altars appear to have been erected as places of drawing near to God, of which sacrifice was the basis.

Moses was told that in all places where God recorded His name they should build an altar of wood or of stone and offer thereon sheep and oxen for burnt offerings and peace offerings; but such altars if made of stone were not to be made of hewn stone; for had they lifted up a tool upon it, it would have been defiled. Exodus 20:25,26 . There must be nothing of man's handiwork in approaching to God: a principle, alas, grossly violated in the professing church of God! It is added, "neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon." Man's contrivance is here forbidden, for in divine things anything of his onlymanifests the utter shamelessness of that which springs from fallen nature: cf. Colossians 2:20-23 . When the tabernacle was made, minute instructions were given to Moses, and he was to make everything as had been shownhim in the mount.


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Altar '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/a/altar.html. 1897.

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