In the Old Testament, Sacrifices were placed on altar, and the altar represents a reality in Christ. An altar in the Old Testament is usually erected just after an unveiling of a revelation of God. When God reveals Himself and do something miraculous the witnesses are struck in awe, and they immediately errect an altar. It happened with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc. We would look closely at some of these instances. The first time the word "altar" was found in the scripture was after the flood of Noah's time.
At that time man had gone astray, they had rebelled against their Creator and they were living their lives for themselves. They had no regard for the One who created them and they did whatever they like with their lives. Then God came and reminded man that He created him and man's lives were in His hands. He did this by wiping those people away from the surface of the earth, sparing only a family to be a witness to this revelation. And upon this revelation Noah erected an altar, and God was appease and he made a promise to never destroy the world by water again (Gen 8:20-21).
The altar was erected out of the revelation of the supremacy of God. Every other altar in the Scripture was erected as a response to the sighting of God. The second time we saw altar in the Scripture, it says, "Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said... And Abram built an altar there" (Gen 12:7). God unveiled himself to Abram, and gave him a word. And upon that revelation an altar was erected. "And the Lord said to Abram, "... all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth;"... There he [Abram] built another altar to the Lord." (Gen 13:14-18).
The last time Abraham built an altar was when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. But then God provided a substitute for the sacrifice; "Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”)." (Gen 22:14). God unveiled to Abraham that He is the great provider, and upon that revelation Abraham built an altar. This brings us to Isaac; "Isaac built an altar" (Gen 26:25), when and where, "the Lord appear to him" (Gen 26:24). Then we come to Jacob as "he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him" (Gen 33:7).
The Israelites were to fight with the Amalekites. This was the battle where Moses raised his rod and the Israelites won the battle. Then the Bible says, "And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;" (Exo 17:15). You must have gotten my point by now. Altars are built upon the revelation of God. What this means for the New Testament people is that our worship (our sacrifices) are offered on the revelation of God. In order to worship God you need a revelation of God. This is why we pursue a revelation.
We do not pursue the revelation of God in order to add to our head-knowledge. Rather we do so out of a great desire to worship God. You cannot worship on ignorance, for true worship to take place you must get a genuine revelation. The more genuine the revelation is, the more pure the worship would be. When we sing unto God, we do not sing out of ignorance otherwise such singing is not worship at all. We sing out of a revelation of God. You are to pick a revelation of God, fix your eyes on it so intensely that you lose yourself completely upon that revelation. It is when we lose ourselves that we are able to die to self.
When you lose yourself and die to self then you are set on fire by the Holy Spirit, and something so pure and powerful would begin to pour out of you unto God — that is true worship. This is what we do when we are singing. We pick a song, position ourselves and fix our eyes on God through the revelation he has given us. As we sing we are strengthening our gaze until it becomes so intense that we lose ourselves. Yes, we are lost in the gaze of Him, pouring out with adoration, love and appreciation. We are set on fire by the Holy Spirit and the worship become so mighty that God comes down in his presence to dwell in that worship
This is pure worship, this is the kind of worship that God comes to manifest His presence. This is the worship where the atmosphere of heaven comes down and angels gather around us. Oh, if only we master this pure worship, not just in singing but in the way we live our lives. So how do we practice this worship in the way we live our lives? How do we live a life of worship?
Living a life of worship involves spending your life in the pursuit of the revelation of God. We study, meditate and walk closely with God in order to get this revelation. After getting the revelation we still continue to meditate upon it, but this time not to get more knowledge. This second meditation is to teach our hearts to fall in love with this dimension of God. We just fix our eyes and adore him. We fall in love with each dimension of God that is unveiled to us.
We fall in love with all of God, we grow obsessed with his beauty. He suddenly becomes the center of our world. In fact, he is all we see, he is all we want to look upon. We are lost in the gaze of him, we are addicted to the pursuit of him. It is this addiction that makes it difficult to run away when the cross is presented to us. No matter how badly we want to run, no matter how much everything inside of us is begging us to run, we just can't. We know we can't live without him, we are addicted to this reckless pursuit and we cannot even bear taking a break.
So our love and obsession for him humbles us. It compels us, turning us into a gentle and quiet lamb led to it own death. So humbly we lay ourselves on the altar of sacrifice awaiting our inevitable end. It was love that humbled God and brought him down to die for us. It is only love that would bring one so willingly to the cross. We choose the cross cause we've loved too much. We've become so emotional attach that we can't quit now. If this love walk with God brings us to the cross, we would rather embrace it than to give up on the walk.
No, we would not allow anything come between us and this walk with God. Even if we have to pass through the cross to secure this walk, we would do it. Anyway, the point I am stressing at is that it is only love that can make us strong enough to face the cross. No, it is not an obligation to religion, it is not a duty to the pastor or your church. In fact, all of that would flee the moment you come face to face with the cross. Those things will abandon you, and leave you overcome with fear. It is only love that can keep you strong, comfort you, and make you bold enough to face the cross
Anyway, it is the sweet smelling aroma that pour out of us as we lay dead on the cross, that God is after. In fact, it is what this world needs, the whole of creation needs it. That pure thing that is Christ himself. That powerful smoke that fills your life with God's presence, cultivating your reality to harbor heaven on earth. As long as you remain on that altar, dead and burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit, sweet fragrance will continue to pour out of your life. Everywhere you go it will just continue to pour, cultivating the environment for the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven on earth
Oh we need these kind of priests walking about our streets, pouring out like incense, terraforming the earth for the invasion of the Kingdom. This thing is not just about prayer, yes intercessory is good, but what is coming needs more than intercession if it would fully manifest. What we need are priests who are truly doing their job. Priests all over, filling everything with that thick smoke and sweet fragrance that would lit up the world with God's power. Yes, power exploding at every corner, every little thing leads to the miraculous. Any little prayer and there is a answer. This is beyond having an open heaven, this is an invasion of heaven on earth
Warning: when heaven invade earth like this, it will not just be characterized by quick answers to prayers, but quick judgment on sin. Like what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the church (Acts 5:1-11). Heaven cannot stand unholiness, it would judged it, it will consume it. "you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things... Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb 12:22,23, 28,29).