THE ALTAR BESIDE THE MONUMENT
Why was an altar built up next to the monument? We need an altar because we cannot measure up to the requirements of what is written on the monument. This indicates that it is impossible for us to match Christ. Christ, the very God, is holy and righteous, and He is full of love and light. We cannot match Him. Therefore, we need an altar—we need the cross.
I would not say that the altar was a monument, for it was the place where the offerings were burned as sacrifices to the God who made requirements of the people and who placed demands upon them. The burning of the sacrifices satisfied the requiring God.
THE OFFERINGS FULFILLING GOD’S REQUIREMENTS
The offerings burned on the altar as sacrifices for God’s satisfaction signify Christ. On the one hand, Christ is the One who makes the requirements; on the other hand, Christ is the One who meets and satisfies these requirements. We cannot meet His requirements, but He Himself has come to be our Substitute to replace us and to fulfill what He requires of us. This reveals that He is both the requiring One and the fulfilling One.
A WONDERFUL SCENE
In the universe today there is a wonderful scene unveiling Christ to us. As we read Deuteronomy 27 and consider the monument, the altar, and the offerings, we can see this wonderful scene. First, in this scene we see Christ as the embodiment of God standing before us with His demands and requirements according to what He is. Second, we see the altar, which signifies the cross of Christ. Because we cannot fulfill His requirements, He came to be our Redeemer, to be the One cursed for us on the cross (Gal. 3:13). The requiring One is thus the fulfilling One. When this One was crucified, He was consumed by fire as the sacrifice to satisfy God and to fulfill His requirements.
This wonderful scene is unique in the entire universe. In this scene we have the monument and the altar, that is, the requiring One and the fulfilling and satisfying One. The requiring God came in incarnation to be our Redeemer as the satisfying One. Having put on flesh through incarnation, He went to the cross in the flesh and with the flesh to die there for the fulfillment of His requirements (Rom. 8:3-4). Now we can see the monument, but we can also see the altar with the offerings burned upon it to fulfill what is written on the monument. This means that in this wonderful scene we see the requiring God and also the Redeemer, who is nothing less than the requiring God Himself.
THE ENTRY INTO THE GOOD LAND
This wonderful scene, with the monument, the altar, and the offerings, is our entry into the good land. This scene reveals that it is through the monument, the altar, and the offerings—through the requiring God, the cross of Christ, and Christ Himself as the offerings—that we enter into the good land. It is also through the monument, the altar, and the offerings that we receive all the blessings which God would give us in Christ. All these blessings are actually the processed Triune God Himself embodied in Christ.
I hope that all the saints will see this marvelous view. We all need to see that the One who stands before us with His requirements is the Triune God in Christ, that the altar is the cross of Christ, and that, as signified by the offerings, Christ is our Redeemer. He, the fulfilling One, was "burned" on the cross as the sacrifice to satisfy the requiring One. May we all see this wonderful scene with the monument, the altar, and the offerings. If we have this vision, we will surely say, "Hallelujah for God, for the cross of Christ, and for Christ, our Redeemer and Substitute!"
(Life-Study of Deuteronomy, Chapter 26, by Witness Lee)