Four corners of the earth and of the altar

29 March 2012

Maybe the altar represented the earth with its four corners

I just noticed this morning that there seem to be two principle uses of the phrase “four corners” in the scriptures. First is the gathering of Israel. They’ll be scattered to and gathered from “the four corners of the earth” (e.g., Isa. 11:12). Second is the altar of sacrifice in the tabernacle (and later the temple). The Lord instructed the Israelites to create horns on “the four corners of [the altar]” (Ex. 27:2; 38:2) as well as on the altar of incense.

This makes me wonder if the altar represents, in part, the earth. It also makes me wonder if the ashes from the burnt offerings are to remind us of Israel, and the prophecies that she would be scattered and gathered. This seems reinforced by the fact that Nephi quotes these prophecies of the scattering in the same passage that he compares Israel to being “burned … as stubble” (1 Ne. 22:15).

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1 Comment

  1. luke

    Yea bro, I noticed the same thing. I think there’s another piece to the puzzle here too…

    Sacrifice is about raising earth into heaven.

    An animal takes the place of the worshiper, it is killed in place of him/her, and then is burnt on the altar and the smoke rises into heaven. This is just like Jesus takes our place, dies in place of us, and then is raised into heaven for us and with us.

    If the whole earth is an altar, then the whole earth needs to burn in order to be raised into heaven.

    Jesus is the first fruit of what has begun to happen and will ultimately happen in the day of judgment.


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