- In this chapter directions are given, I. Concerning the brazen altar, verse 1-8.
- II. Concerning the court of the tabernacle, verse 9-19.
- III. Concerning the oil for the lamp, verse 20-21.
As God intended in the tabernacle to manifest his presence among his people, so there they were to pay their devotions to him; not in the tabernacle itself, into that only the priests entered as God's domestic servants, but in the court before the tabernacle, where, as common subjects they attended. There an altar was ordered so be set up, to which they must bring their sacrifices; and this altar was to sanctify their gifts; from hence they were to present their services to God, as from the mercy-seat he gave his oracles to them; and thus a communion was settled between God and Israel.
The horns of it, were for ornament and for use; the sacrifices were bound with cords to the horns of the altar, and to them malefactors fled for refuge.
The grate was set into the hollow of the altar, about the middle of it, in which the fire was kept, and the sacrifice burnt; it was made of net-work like a sieve, and hung hollow, that the fire might burn the better, and that the ashes might fall through. Now, this brazen altar was a type of Christ dying to make atonement for our sins. Christ sanctified himself for his church as their altar, John 17:19, and by his mediation sanctifies the daily services of his people. To the horns of this altar poor sinners fly for refuge, and are safe in virtue of the sacrifice there offered.
Before the tabernacle there was to be a court, enclosed with hangings of fine linen. This court, according to the common computation, was 50 yards long, and 25 broad. Pillars were set up at convenient distances, in sockets of brass, the pillars filleted with silver, and silver tenterhooks in them, on which the linen hangings were fastened: the hanging which served for the gate was finer than the rest. This court was a type of the church, enclosed, and distinguished from the rest of the world; the inclosure supported by pillars, noting the stability of the church hung with the clean linen, which is said to be the righteousness of saints, Revelation 19:8. Yet this court would contain but a few worshippers; thanks be to God, now the inclosure is taken down; and there is room for all that in every place call on the name of Christ.
We read of the candlestick in the 25th chapter; here is order given for the keeping of the lamps constantly burning in it. The pure oil signified the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are communicated to all believers from Christ the good olive, of whose fulness we receive, Zechariah 4:11,12. The priests were to light the lamps, and to tend them; to cause the lamp to burn always, night and day. Thus it is the work of ministers to preach and expound the scriptures, which are as a lamp to enlighten the church. This is to be a statute for ever, that the lamps of the word be lighted as duly as the incense of prayer and praise is offered.