The Altar (the Cross) Governs Everything (continued)
The Cross In Its Place (continued)
Although it is not said here, I think we are right in concluding that this altar was of brass. The altar in the tabernacle was of brass, the altar in Solomon's temple was of brass, and I think that we can assume that this altar was of brass. We have already met brass. We have met brass in the Man in the gate, and we have said that with His reed He measured everything according to what He was. Brass is the type of the righteous judgments of God. This great altar represents the fullness of the righteous judgments of God. This altar of brass is measured by the Man of brass, so that this altar represents God's thoughts in judgment.
In this altar of whole brunt offering, the one unrighteous man is completely removed. That altar of brass sees one man brought to ashes. The ashes were taken from this altar and emptied onto the ground at the side of the altar. That is a picture of God's Mind about the unrighteous man, or the natural man. He is consumed in the fire of God's judgment, he is reduced to ashes, and he is poured out on the ground. That is God's Mind about the natural man. On the other side, it is only the Righteous Man that can stand here in the presence of this altar. Of course, those are the two sides of the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus. On the one side He was made sin for us, and in that capacity He was wholly consumed and brought to ashes. When He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" - it was the cry of the ashes! He had been brought to ashes, and poured out on the ground.
But then there was the other side of the Cross - "He knew no sin." In Himself, there was no unrighteousness, and, therefore, He can go through the altar, He can live after the fire! "Thou wilt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." Because in Himself that was no sin, He could not be holden of death. His Holy Nature could overcome all the righteous judgments of God! This is the meaning of the great altar: one man is brought to an end, and Another Man stands in his place. Everything had been judged at the altar. Everything is judged in the Cross.
We have been judged in the Cross of the Lord Jesus, and in our own selves we have been brought to an end. Everything of the natural has been judged and brought to an end in the Cross of the Lord Jesus. It is a very important thing to recognize that. You see, that makes anything possible. That is why I have said that if the Cross is in its place, everything else would be right. The House will be right; that is, the Church will be right. The ministry will be right. The order will be right. You will not have to go to work to try an bring about a right order. It spontaneously comes out of the work of the Cross.
I do hope that you are writing that in your minds. You may meet disorders in the House of God. You may meet the natural man in the House of God. You may meet conditions which are all wrong in the House of God. How are you going to deal with them? You can only deal with them by the principle of the Cross. You cannot deal with the people themselves, you cannot deal with the things themselves; but if only you can bring the Cross into that situation, you have solved the whole problem. It is like that. We do not start from the outside. We do not start with the people, we do not start with the order of the Lord's House, we do not start with the ministry - we start with the Cross. And if only people see the Cross, everything else would put itself right. Everything is judged by the Cross.
(continued with # 52)