Sermon Quotes: "Idols and Altars"

“’Dressed stones’ were used by the people of Canaan to construct their altars, because they were building materials of the highest quality from which all the roughness had been chiseled away. An altar made from such costly and aesthetically pleasing stone would be a tribute to human craftsmanship, but it would be defiled from the Lord’s point of view because it distracted attention from him and his goodness. The restriction to natural stone would have emphasized that it was a God-given provision and not an act of human conception.” John Mackay

“Clearly the death of the animal occurred in place of the death of the worshiper. The assumption behind this was that the worshiper was a sinner coming into the presence of a holy Lord. As a sinner, the human participant deserved death, but the animal stood in his or her place.” Tremper Longman

“The sacrifice was a joyous celebration, a kind of religious party, where priests and worshipers enjoyed a sumptuous meal in the presence of God.” Tremper Longman

“The OT sacrifices provide providential categories for the interpretation of Christ’s sacrifice, but it everywhere transcends those categories. For the blood of animals, we have the blood of the man Christ Jesus (Heb. 10:4). For spotlessness, we have sinlessness (Heb. 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19). For symbolic atonement, endlessly repeated, we have real atonement, once for all (Heb. 10:1-10).” New Dictionary of Theology

“God’s instructions [to the Israelites] teach us something about the simple beauty that always characterizes true worship. God didn’t want them to build a fancy altar that might distract them from offering real praise. All he asked was a simple altar made from the good earth and rough stone that he created. Our worship should be simple too. What God requires is for us to worship him in the ordinary acts of singing songs, prayer, celebrating the Lord’s supper, baptism, giving tithes and offerings and reading and hearing God’s Word. Nothing should be done for show.” Phil Ryken