And you shall make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare…
In this we have a significant type of our Lord, regarded more particularly in His Divine nature. This view "is supported by our Lord Himself, when He says that the altar is greater than the sacrifice (Matthew 23:19). Both sacrifice and altar were but shadows, and derived their importance wholly from the reality to which they referred. But as a shadow of Christ's sacrifice, the importance of the legal victims was immeasurable; and yet our Lord says the greatness to which the altar pointed transcends it. Then lies not the thought very near, that the altar pointed to His Divinity? And still further is this conclusion justifiable by the additional saying of our Lord, that the altar sanctifies the sacrifice; for was it not the union of His Divine with His human nature which imparted to the latter its majesty inconceivable, and to His sacrifice its miraculous and eternal efficacy?" A remarkable confirmation of this view is found in the fact that the altar, during removal, was covered with a purple cloth, which colour symbolized the hypostatic union. The construction of the altar pointed another lesson. The outer covering of brass concealed and protected an interior of wood. In fact, the altar was said to be made of wood. Now in Hebrew, wood and tree are synonymous, and trees are frequently spoken of in the Bible as emblematic of God's saints. By the wood of the altar was signified the members of Christ: "It was a visible parable of the mystical union between Christ and His people. As the wood was hidden within the altar, so in God's eye were they hid in Him." And the lesson thus taught by the altar was this: Romans 8:1. "The altar was surmounted by four horns, the well-known emblems of power; and these horns were deeply marked with sacrificial blood; and it fell from them as it fell from Him whom the altar typified in the garden and on the cross. These horns were, therefore, at once symbols of might and reconciliation, and were outstretched to the four corners of the earth, to call men to flee unto Christ to be saved."
(E. F. Willis, M. A. , with quotations from H. Douglas, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.