The altar may be described as the place of man’s initiative to activate the presence of God, initiate fellowship contact and connection with God. An altar is a form of divine portal.
But when Jesus came to the earth, he announced that he was the temple of God (John 2:19-22). He was a walking altar. Wherever he was you can find solution to your problem. He told Nathanael, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man (John 1:45-51). He was the walking altar.
God said that he does not dwell in house made with human hands, he want to dwell in human beings. Jesus as the quintessential house of God, and was so described partly because God poured out his Spirit to him without measure (John 3:34). The life he lived was a portal (way, truth and life [John 14:6]) for our individual experience of God. He said we would do greater work, but it is still him doing it in us.
Jesus is the portal of heaven because he is the conduit for us to experience God in all his essence. In the Old Testament, there was a limit to the people’s experience of God. Jesus came to break that limit. If perfection was through the Old Testament, then there is no need for the blood of Jesus to be shed (Hebrews 8:8). The difference in the blood of Jesus and that of goats and sheep, is the difference between the old and New Testament.
The blood of bulls can bring us to a physical temple; the blood of Jesus can bring us to the spiritual temple. The blood of goats can give temporary solace from the problem of sin, the blood of Jesus gives permanent solution. With one sacrifice he perfected forever those who come to God through him (Hebrews 10:10-14).
Jesus said that the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist who was even greater than Moses (Matthew 11:11). There is no one born of a woman who is greater than John the Baptist. That means it is about birth.
While John the Baptist was a prophet of the Old Testament cadre, he was not born of the Spirit. But Jesus said that he was going to send the Spirit, and he does certain works in us: regeneration, infilling and transformation. That is God living in us, making us at the most basic level greater than John. We have access to heaven, to the very presence of God, because of Jesus.
With Jesus as the template, we now have the possibility for millions to please God, coming to him wearing the righteousness of his son Jesus because of the application of the work of regeneration in their hearts (Titus 3:3-7).
The Holy Spirit is the water of regeneration. But he is also the river of life. And Jesus said those who come to him and believe will experience the Holy Spirit as a river of living water flowing out of their belly (John 7:37-39). With that we become walking altars of God, just like Jesus. God reaches us through the water of regeneration, and we are able to reach others for him with his life through the rivers of living water flowing from our belly, bringing life to this world.
To make an altar is to seek connection with God. It is setting other things aside to seek God, to embrace the higher calling, to seek the purpose of God, the presence and his mandate, to see clearly as he does, to relate with him intimately.
These are all we do in the place of prayer which is another meaning of altar. Jesus said that when we pray we should do it in private, and the God who sees in secret will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6).
In the focus verse, the burning of the incense is associated with the altar. And incense is associated with prayer in the book of Revelation (Revelation 8:4). So in that sense the altar is about prayer. That means wherever you pray becomes the altar, becomes the point where heaven can kiss the earth in the realm of the spirit.
The bible says that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therefore (Psalm 24:1). He made the earth, and his intention is that the whole of it will be an altar, populated by people in constant communication with him.
But things changed when the devil usurped authority from the Adam, when there was only two humans on earth. This happened because God had given man a lease on the earth, and the devil by deceiving man got the world, but not the earth. God still said that the animal on a thousand hills are his (Psalm 50:10).
But the devil became the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4). The world is a system, the way things work, and the basic dynamics of mental engagement, and relationship interactions on the earth, including the basic thought patterns of people. That is the world. That is why Jesus said that we are not of this world (the entrenched satanic order), i.e. those of us who believe in him. He did not say that we are not of this earth, because we are. God told Adam dust are you and to dust we will return (Genesis 3:19).
Man’s destiny is attached to this earth. Jesus said that the meek will inherited earth (Matthew 5:5). When the world between our ears are changed, then we can live heavenly lives, setting our hearts on things of heaven and not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:1-3), as veritable altars of God. That way we bring the force of the unseen reality of divinity back to this earth, which is the platform for the world. The new different world that Jesus is interested in setting up on the earth beginning from now is called the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 4:17).
God when he created man, wanted him to set up a world that will be heaven on earth. The Garden of Eden before the fall of man was a special place. It was an altar, a place for God to come down and meet man. But when man was chased out form the garden, there was hardly any other altar anywhere on the earth. But in the fullness of time, Jesus walked the earth and said that his mission was to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). And what was lost was God’s absolute influence (the definition of his kingdom) on the earth through man.
- Preachers Today Should Follow the Example of Bible Preachers in Denouncing Sin (blackchristiannews.com)
- Make Us Like You! (newheavenonearth.wordpress.com)