I bear witness from how the topic came:
It was 4:20 in the morning when I woke up to get ready to go to the house of payer, as I decided to rest for a moment my thoughts suddenly centered around a young man I had recently visited in one of Texas’ state prisons and while debating whether to get up from bed a voice came to my mind that said: “The Altar of the 12” with the scriptures associated with the 12 tribes of Israel. Once my wife woke up, I immediately told her that what I had experienced sounded thematic. Then the following verses came to mind:
Genesis 49: 1-27 speaks to us of the prophetic words that Jacob gave to the 12, and Joshua 4 talks about representing the 12 tribes and their memorials after crossing the Jordan.
Around 5:00 am I arrived at the house of prayer and prayed: “Lord please guide me in this matter, I acknowledge that we need your wisdom to see the depths of your word.” Then I decided to investigate the association of these writings with the words I had received; “The Altar of the 12”
From the beginning of all things, altars play a very important role in developing personal, family, and social settings. They create a course and flow in a certain direction.
Noah built an altar to Jehovah, immediately after a judgment of God against the first inhabitants of the Earth. Gen. 8:20 [Then Noah built an “altar to the Lord, “and took of every clean animal and of every clean fowl, and offered a burnt offering on the altar.] And the Lord perceived a pleasant smell; and the Lord said in his heart: I will never again curse the ground because of man; although every attempt of man’s heart is evil from his youth; I will never again destroy every living creature, as I have done]
Characteristics of this Sacrifice:
CAUSE and EFFECT
Selections are made very carefully, What is sacrificed has to be clean
A clean sacrifice, Generates a pleasant aroma before God
A pleasant aroma, Produces changes in the heart of God
God makes decisions in favor generationally, When God perceives favorable aroma
1. Why did Noah build an altar to Jehovah and offer the cleanest sacrifice?
2. Was is because it was fresh in his conscious what Abel had done, bringing
“of the fattest” Gen.4:4
In summary we can say two things about the altars:
1. An altar is a point of connection between man and God
2. An altar is a point of connection between the visible and the invisible
How do altars function?
1. Function as entrances / access
2. Open doors and gates that allow traffic between the spiritual and the physical
3. Whoever controls the gates of the altars controls the traffic between the two dimensions.
Let’s look at the construction of some altars; the Bible tells us that approximately 1927 years before Christ, Abraham built altars.
* The first in Shechem – site of the great tree of Moreh-Gen.12:6-7 “Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”
* The second in Bethel – Gen. 12:8 “And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.”
* The third in Moriah – Gen. 22:9 “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.”
* Notes: [The Moriah stone is located today where the mosque of Omar is built]. This place is a portal to the universe, there is an impressive angelic activity, and access to the sky, that rises and falls [the angel of the Lord stops him and tells him; Do not lay your hand on the boy, nor do him any harm; [because now I know that you fear God, because you did not withhold your one and only son], the power of the altar opened access to have dialogue with the invisible, and with the eternal, which is in heaven. Our eyes are limited to see space and time, and tangible things because of the human condition, but when we are on the altar of God, God opens our eyes to a dimension our natural eyes can’t see. Then we are able to see other things that are not natural. [He sees the Angel of the Lord and listening to the angel of the Lord, saying: Do no harm to the boy] Abraham stops, and we know the rest of the story, this location has the most activity of the Old Testament.
His son Isaac
Note: When you are a man of the altar, it is more likely that the next generation is going to follow in your footsteps. Because who our children least want to follow is a religious father. They are tired of religion. But if they see the effectiveness of what is happening, [more specifically non-religious altars] this sets a precedence. Our children long for a spiritual father and a practical man who fears God and shuns evil.
They want to be able to say; I can clearly see that God is surely with my father. This will cause the men of the altar to mentor generations for God’s altar.
Isaac: followed in his father’s footsteps, building an altar at Gerar
Gen. 26: 24-25 “And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants [those who love to be on the altar] for My servant Abraham’s sake.” So Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Note: The father by his example enables the son to have an impressive encounter with his God, the God of his father. God appears to him and signs a document so that he can identify himself as been associated with his father, Abraham. Isaac had to know firsthand the experience of seeing the invisible. God appears to him and says: “I am the God of Abraham your father.” How would you like your children to receive a similar experience where God says, “I am the God of thy father?” It would establish and confirm God’s presence not only in heaven but on earth. From that point on, Isaac was not the same man. “I am the God of Abraham your father and I’ll bless you for my servant’s sake, that he who loves me I love you and your generations unto the third and fourth generation, but he which hate me I oppose.” When we go to the altar something happens inside of us. When we want to have contact with the invisible, an action of gratitude enters and releases the best we have to offer. Grateful for what has happened God creates an agape love in our heart, a pure love,
a love that is clean. We cannot offer God anything, if agape love is not active. But God knew that Abraham had this kind of love and blessed both him and his son Isaac; ” I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
Now comes a third generation, his grandson Jacob and Jacob does the same thing.
Jacob grandson of Abraham built an altar in Shechem
Gen. 33:19-20 “And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.”=”God: The God of Israel”
The God of Israel wants to show us how to intimately know him through worship at His altars. It stands to reason, that the bible offers us information that shows us the importance of this. We can see this through the example where King David bought the land where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. This was approximately 976 years after Abraham built three altars, and about 951 years BC.
2 Sam. 24:24 says: “Then the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”
Note: The reason the plague happened was because David took a census of Israel, and God didn’t like it. For many years I scratched my head wondering what caused God’s anger? What was so bad about taking a census of the nation or counting the number of people? Until one day, something came to my heart that made me think of a possible answer [not that it is]. When God deals with Abraham, God is not just looking at Abraham. He is seeing several generations. Similarly, when God interacts with an individual, He is not just looking at him; God looks at his children and his children’s children. He views them as a full complete package, because he thinks generationally.
Perhaps you and I are the first generation of christian people among our families, that beautiful, that powerful, This doesn’t change the fact that when God sees at my family He doesn’t just look at Alvaro and Linda, God is also seeing at my 5 children and my children’s children, Praise God!
Notice what God says to Abraham: Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them”. And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be”. David forgets this promise and begins to count what God says not to count. It makes sense then that because of David’s sin, a plague came. But David was also then given three options. David could choose the following options: 2 Sam. 24:13-14 “So God came to David and told him; and he said to him, shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me. And David said to God, I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”’
In addition, 2 Sam. 24:25 says: “And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”
Because David was aware of the active altar, it was like God was telling David, don’t mess with my plans.
If I want to multiply My people don’t count them for Me. Tremendous mortality occurred when David counted the people, where more than 70,000 men died. Then as the angel of the Lord was flying just above Mount Moriah, David looks at it and is terrified. God tells the angel to hold his sword because many more people were going to die in Jerusalem. But because David humbles himself and builds an altar seeking God, God forgives him. David sensed God’s presence because he was familiar with offering an appropriate sacrifice to the Lord that would generate a pleasing aroma before Him. This also brings to mind, nations like Mexico, where there has been massacres because of innumerable crime waves….
• We want in our nation; to stop abuse, murders, drug trafficking, consumption of alcohol, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, pornography, abortion, idolatry, corruption, divorce, sexual immorality ?…
• We as the body of Christ have to build altars and offer supplications to stop the carnage.
The place that David was buying was an access between the spiritual and the physical. This was a place where Abraham had opened a portal to the universe.
This is the place where King David saw the angel of the Lord floating between heaven and Earth.
1 Chron. 21:16 “Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.”
Shortly after the death of King David, his son Solomon built the Temple in the same place.
It took 7 seven years to build the temple.
2 Chron. 3:1 “Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
1 Kings 6:37-38 “In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.”
God promises His permanent presence on the temple on Mount Moriah.
2 Chron. 7:14-16 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek
My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and
heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now
I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart
will be there perpetually.”
Approximately 1000 years later Jesus was crucified at Golgotha located on the slopes of Mount Moriah.
Currently; on this same Mount Moriah, is Omar’s mosque or the dome of the rock, a Muslim building which
was built between the years 688-692 of our era.
Presently, between this building and the Wailing Wall, three of the world religions [Muslims, Jews and Christians] are concentrated.
• In this century, neither Muslims, Jews nor Christians have a literal altar of stones, as it was before the sacrifice of Christ.
• The people of Israel hoped to build the third Temple on the same site as the first and the second were destroyed.
• We know prophetically that when this happens, the Antichrist will make his appearance.
• The third Temple will be measured [Rev. 11:1 “…Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar,
and those who worship there.”]
• In Revelation 14 we are informed that the Lamb will be standing on Mount Zion, next to Mount Moriah. And with Him 144,000 in whose mouth was not found lying 14:5 and those who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes 14:4
I developed the theme of The Altar of the 12, with this in mind.
Firstly, when Jacob prophesied over his children in Genesis 49, he was carrying the blessings his father Isaac had spoken over him as a result of God’s covenant with his grandfather Abraham.
• Jacob was under a generational blessing
• This was the result of a promise God gave Abraham “and your seed, will be blessed…”
• He was the son, the child of promise – Isaac-
• The credentials to prophesy about his sons were at a high point.
• There was a deep identity with what he was and what he had to do.
• Jacob had a dream where he saw a staircase and angelic traffic. Gen 28:12.
According to Dt. 27:12-13 these twelve are selected in groups of six, to bless and to curse.
Note: When the book of Deuteronomy was written, more than 480 years had passed from the time that Jacob came to Egypt with 70 people, Gen. 46:27. By then all of his children had died, and are now being represented by tribes.
1. Ruben, to curse, Ruben rebels, son of Leah
2. Simeon, to bless, Avenged Dina, son of Leah
3. Levi, to bless, Also avenges Dina, son of Leah
4. Judah, to bless, Tribe of Judah – Jesus -, son of Leah
5. Zebulun, to curse, Was merchant, son of Leah
6. Issachar, to bless Strong Mule – intercessor -, son of Leah
7. Dan, to curse, Snake in the road, son of Bilhah-R
8. Gad, to curse, Warriors/Violence, son of Zilpah-L
9. Asher, to curse, Supports King, son of Zilpah-L
10. Naphtali, to curse, Unruly servant/fine language son of Bilhah-R
11. Joseph, to bless, Fruitful Branch, son of Rachel
12. Benjamin, to bless, Fights wolves, son of Rachel
The following are the curses pronounced from Mount Ebal, Dt. 11:29; 27:13:
12 Curses and Consequences of:
Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. Idolatry
Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt. Disrespect
Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s landmark. Suppression
Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road. Abuse and Mockery
Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow. Corruption
Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed. Sexual Immorality
Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal. Aberration
Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother. Lack of moral judgment
Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law. Loves pleasure more than God
Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly. Betrayal
Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person. Bribery and homicide
Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them. Disobedience
The following are the blessings pronounced from Mount Gerizim Dt. 11:29; 27:12, 28 Joshua 8:30-35:
12 Blessings Associated with:
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Prosperity
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Fertility
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Multiplication of Bread
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. Protection
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face. Alliance
The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you
set your hand. His Rain
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you. His Property
Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and
they shall be afraid of you. His Grace and Power
The Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground. His Limitless Abundance
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. His Support
The Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath,
if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them. His Priorities
But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Consequences of Rebellion
We know that Moses was not allowed to enter the promise land. Dt. 34:1-6 He was only was permitted to
see the land from a distance. Nevertheless, his successor Joshua, who was full of the spirit of wisdom Dt. 34:9,
has an encounter with God; where God establishes him as the new leader of Israel enabling him to guide Israel.
In the book of Joshua, chapters 4 and 9 coincide with Dt. 27:12-13 and Dt. 29. When you’ve passed the Jordan, they will be on Mount Gerizim.
Comment to emphasize: From Mount Gerizim to bless and from Mount Ebal to curse as we saw in groups of six.
Joshua 4:1-3 “And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.”
There were 2 monuments made of 12 stones
Joshua initiates to build the first altar in the middle of the Jordan, v.9. “Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant stood; and they are there to this day.”
The second altar was erected by God’s command Gilgal v. 19-20 “Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal.
After conquering Jericho, Joshua sent about 3000 men to conquer the city of Hai, but the Israelites fled. The inhabitants of Hai, killed 36 men and as a result devastated the people of Israel [Jos. 7:1-5]. Joshua humbles himself before the Ark of the Covenant of God making claims [Jos. 7:6-9]. But God gives Joshua a reason why their attempt to conquer Hai failed [Jos. 7:10-12].
• The sin [of the greed of which has the anathema, [of the cursed], theft and the lie]; produce that is not able to face the enemy
• Since man does not live or die for himself, his activities invariably affect the lives of many people.
• Curses need to be addressed to make progress in life.
• Only after the curses were removed, was Joshua able to conquer the city of Hai.
• Joshua raised an altar to the Lord, “The Altar of the Twelve” on Mount Ebal [Jos. 8:30]
• Having the Ark of the Covenant among them, half of them – six – went to Mount Gerizim and the other
half – six – went to Mount Ebal.
• We should aspire to be people of God’s altar.
• A people who approach God with our best.
• A people who are willing to offer a visible, fragrant aroma to God
• A people who are able to take authority to make decrees.
• A people who are capable of monitoring the access between the visible and invisible.
• A people who are consecrated and dedicated.
• A people who are not willing to negotiate God’s holiness.
We have been called to be a generation of kings and priests. Rev. 1:6 and we have been called to guard the altar “A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out”. Lev. 6:13