“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.” – Psalm 93:4

Readings

Exodus 30:1-10 · Revelation 8 · Psalm 138

Sermon

Altars are mentioned many times throughout the Word. It is recorded that Noah built an altar unto the Lord, Abraham built an altar, Moses built an altar, Joshua, Balaam, Elijah, Gideon, and David built altars. Altars are mentioned also in the Gospels and in Revelation.

An altar is a symbol of Divine worship in general. In the tabernacle there was the golden altar of incense in the Holy Place and there was the great brazen altar in the outer court. Likewise in the temple built by Solomon there were the golden altar and the brazen altar.

We read in the writings that “Altars were made of soil, of stones, of brass, of wood, and also of gold; of brass, wood, and gold because these signified good” (A.C. 8940e).

From most ancient times men built altars for worship. The altar of stone represents worship from truth. The stones were to be used just as they were found in nature, to represent the fact that truths as found in the Word are from the Lord and that they must not be changed or altered to fit the desires of men.

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“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron… offered strange fire before the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.
“And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” – Leviticus 10:1, 2

Readings

Leviticus 10:1-11 · Luke 7:1-18 · Psalm 39

Sermon

In its letter the story of Nadab and Abihu seems to attribute vindictiveness to God. But spiritually it points to the truth that there are two fires of life possible to man, one of which leads to death and destruction and the other to life and salvation. Often in its letter the Bible seems to threaten. That is because the evil may in this way be restrained. To the good it serves as a warning, telling them to beware of the strange fire, that fire which will inflame the interior life with lusts so that they end up where their fire is not quenched.

The true fire on the altar is worship of the Lord from love in the heart. Any other fire is some foreign love in man which is not of heaven, and so must be from some other source.

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“Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it,” by Louis A. Dole

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March 8, 1959

“Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13

Readings

1 Kings 8:35-52 · John 14:1-14 · Psalm 25

Sermon

In the Christian religion prayer is fundamental and vital. In the worship of the Jewish Church the smoke of the incense represented the ascending of prayer to the Lord. So they were commanded to build an altar for the burning of incense which was to be placed before the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.

“Thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon… And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold… And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is before the testimony, where I will meet with thee.” And through Malachi the Lord commanded: “From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Often prayers are likened to incense. In the Psalms we read, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice,” and in Revelation we read of the golden vials full of incense “which are the prayers of saints.”

Prayer holds a prominent place throughout the Word. There are many prayers in the Old Testament. Our first lesson was from Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple. The Psalms are for the most part prayers. And in the Lord’s life on earth prayer held a conspicuous place. He prayed constantly. All of the seventeenth chapter of John is a prayer. And He ended His life with prayer. He taught us an all-inclusive prayer, and has bidden us “always to pray.” He said of the temple, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” And He has given us the assurance that whatsoever is asked in His name He will grant.

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