Qeren as Part of the Altar – Part 4

Gabriele Monacis

Regarding the Hebrew word Qeren. The Messiah will offer up a blood sacrifice and enter the Holy of Holies as the High Priest.

In the first articles of this series, we encountered the term qeren in the contexts of sacrifice and suffering, as well as in the contexts of power and salvation for those who call on God. In one instance, God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham obeys, and Isaac is spared at the last minute. A ram is provided to be sacrificed in his place. We also looked at the Book of Samuel (First and Second Samuel as a whole). At the beginning of the book (1 Sam 2) we find the prayer of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. At the end of the book (2 Sam 22) we find David’s song of thanksgiving. Hannah and David both cried out to God as the waves were crashing over them, and God heard them and gave them victory over their enemies. Hannah prayed, “My horn is exalted in the LORD,” and David expressed himself similarly. Their words prophesy to us that God will exalt the horn of His Anointed One (Hebrew: the Messiah). The Messiah will be exalted from below, from the grave (as was the case at His resurrection), and He will triumph over His enemies.

The word qeren is also used several times in Exodus and Leviticus to indicate the four corners of the altar of burnt offering (Ex 27:2), which stood in front of the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle). The altar of incense also had four horns at its corners (Ex 30:2-3). The altar of incense stood in the tabernacle before the veil, which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the sanctuary. The Ark of the Covenant was inside, and as God directed, “Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering 
of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the 
year throughout your generations...” (Ex 30:10). This “once a year” was the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the day when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies (Lev 16:18).

Blood also had to be sprinkled on the four horns of the altar when one of Aaron’s descendants was ordained as a priest (Ex 29:10-12). Leviticus 8:15 gives an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons: “And he killed it, and Moses took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar around it and purified the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it to make atonement for it.”

According to Leviticus 4, anyone who broke any of God’s commandments had to have blood from a sacrifice sprinkled on the four horns of one of the altars on his behalf. If the priest himself was the sinner, bringing guilt upon the whole people, he had to slaughter a bull at the entrance to the tabernacle, and then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of incense that stood inside (v. 7). The same was true when the whole congregation of Israel had sinned (v. 18). If a ruler had sinned by breaking any of the commandments, a he-goat (rather than a bull) was to be slaughtered in front of the tabernacle. The priest was to put some of the blood, not on the horns of the altar of incense inside the tabernacle, but rather  on the altar of burnt offering which stood outside it (v. 25). The same was true when one of the common people sinned, except that a sheep or she-goat was to be sacrificed instead of a he-goat (vv. 27-35).

So the word qeren is used in Exodus and Leviticus in three types of situations: on the Day of Atonement, at priestly ordination, and at the sin offering. All three situations shed prophetic light on the person of the Messiah. He came into the world to be a High Priest who would offer a pure sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of the sins of His people. The connection between qeren and the Day of Atonement indicates that the Messiah had to pass through the veil which separated God’s presence from man and carry the blood of a pure sacrifice into the Holy of Holies, as the High Priest also did on that holy day. Christ “entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12).

News from Israel - 04/2023

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