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Sanctuary lesson 03

Lesson 03 – The Courtyard and the Bronze Altar

Hello there!  Previously, we went over a brief overview of the layout of the sanctuary and explained the function of the priests.  Today we will start to go over  the services at the sanctuary, starting with the courtyard.

Let's turn to Exodus 27:9-19.

- According to these verses, where was the entrance to the courtyard?

  • Answer (highlight to read): The entrance was a gate on the eastern side.

- According to these verses, what was covering the entrance?

  • Answer: A curtain (screen) made of blue, purple, scarlet thread, and fine linen

There was only one entrance to the courtyard - a single gate to the eastern side - where Israelites would bring their best animal as an offering to God.

Let's turn to Exodus 27:1-8.

- According to these verses, what was the first thing, the Israelites would see when they entered the courtyard?

  • Answer: A bronze altar

Let's turn to Exodus 38:1-6 and Exodus 40:6.

- According to these verses, what is the purpose of the bronze altar?

  • Answer: It was used for burnt offerings.

Let's turn to 1 Samuel 2:1, 10 and Luke 1:69.

- According to these verses, what do horns represent?

  • Answer: Strength and salvation

The horns on the altar symbolized God's power over life and death - salvation can only come through Him.

Let's turn to Leviticus 1:1-6.

- According to these verses, what kind of sacrifice was a sinner to bring?

  • Answer: An unblemished male

- According to these verses, was the sacrifice mandatory or voluntary?

Answer: Voluntary

- According to these verses, what did the sinner have to do before the sacrifice was killed?

  • Answer: He had to put his hand on the head of the sacrifice

- According to these verses, who killed the sacrifice - the sinner or the priest?

  • Answer: The sinner

Individuals who came to the sanctuary were to bring their finest, most perfect animal for sacrifice - nothing less than the best would satisfy.  Why did God ask for a flawless and perfect sacrifice?  The sacrificed animal symbolized an undeserving recipient of a deserving punishment.  Also, God wanted people to trust in Him completely and offer up their most valuable animal. The sinner would put their hand on the sacrifice's head as a symbol that their sins were to be transferred to that innocent animal. 

This flawless and perfect animal foreshadowed Jesus who died for our sins (John 1:29).  He died the death we all deserve, so that we can have the life we do not deserve (Revelation 5:6-13).  The bronze altar symbolized the cross at Calvary, where Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us (Isaiah 53:4-7).  He bore all of humanity's sins for us.  Like the sinner who killed the animal sacrifice, it was our sins that killed Jesus.

Sin is a life and death matter (Romans 3:23; 6:23).  Only shed blood (which symbolizes life) can pay for sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Like the entrance to the courtyard, there is only one path to salvation, and that is through Jesus.  Jesus shed His blood willingly, so that we can have eternal life in we accept Him as our Lord and Savior!