The altar of burnt offerings. (1-8) The court of the
tabernacle. (9-19) The oil for the lamps. (20,21)
In the court before the tabernacle, where the people
attended, was an altar, to which they must bring their
sacrifices, and on which their priests must offer them to God.
It was of wood overlaid with brass. A grate of brass was let
into the hollow of the altar, about the middle of which the fire
was kept, and the sacrifice burnt. It was made of net-work like
a sieve, and hung hollow, that the ashes might fall through.
This brazen altar was a type of Christ dying to make atonement
for our sins. The wood had been consumed by the fire from
heaven, if it had not been secured by the brass: nor could the
human nature of Christ have borne the wrath of God, if it had
not been supported by Divine power.
The tabernacle was enclosed in a court, about sixty yards
long and thirty broad, formed by curtains hung upon brazen
pillars, fixed in brazen sockets. Within this enclosure the
priests and Levites offered the sacrifices, and thither the
Jewish people were admitted. These distinctions represented the
difference between the visible nominal church, and the true
spiritual church, which alone has access to God, and communion
The pure oil signified the gifts and graces of the
Spirit, which all believers receive from Christ, the good Olive,
and without which our light cannot shine before men. The priests
were to light the lamps, and tend them. It is the work of
ministers, by preaching and expounding the Scriptures, which are
as a lamp, to enlighten the church, God's tabernacle upon earth.
Blessed be God, this light is not now confined to the Jewish
tabernacle, but is a light to lighten the gentiles, and for
salvation unto the ends of the earth.