The Two Altars of Praise

Author Name: 

Thanksgiving Day as known to North America is a harvest festival. As celebrated in the United States and Canada, it is traditionally a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude.

The date and location of the first Thanksgiving festivities is a subject of modest contention among historians. The Plymouth Plantation site in 1621 is venerated as the first traditional site. However, the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida. These arguments are neither essential nor fundamentally significant. The truth is that men and nationalities have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. However today, a Thanksgiving day is nationally assigned to the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and to the second Monday of October in Canada. Gathering of family members or friends often marks Thanksgiving dinners.

The aforesaid thanksgiving altar built among men and by men can be acceptable in the eyes of the Almighty. This altar though is a tangible altar for tangible gifts. It is an expected offering; by the Almighty who is the sole being by which all tangible benefits are bestowed. The created is answerable for returning thanks for that which is given by the Creator. To do less is a mockery of the Creator. By this unalterable principle, any soul in stewardship of more than nothing, can and is, accountable to offer a thanksgiving sacrifice for tangible benefits to the Creator and Blesser of mankind. Thanklessness for the tangible and failure to build and sacrifice upon such an altar is kin to scoffing the Creator. Of a premeditated motive, thanklessness is inexcusably, unforgivably anti-Christ. For mankind to designate a fleshly day of reminder for this physical, thanksgiving altar is admirable and necessary.

There is though a spiritual altar upon which is laid a heavier and spiritual oblation by the faithful. Upon this altar is placed a voluntary offering of the sacrifice of praise to their Creator, redeemer and Savior. The Hebrew writer (13:9-16) speaks of this voluntary gift in dynamic faith pictures. This spiritual altar can only receive an intangible offering. This intangible oblation can only be offered by those who possess it. It can only be offered by faith through the Lord Jesus—by those who die without the camp with the Lord Jesus.

This altar of praise and thanksgiving is independently separate of tangible objects. This offering is an offering for nothing tangible, but everything spiritual. The profferer builds an altar and then unreservedly places everything into the altar fire that is ignited by the Almighty (the flames are only dampened by advent of tangible tinder). The profferer then praises in spirit and truth for sufferings; he praises for disciplines; he praises for redemption; and he praises for the favor to be counted a child of the Father. This intangible offering does not superimpose itself upon but rather supplants all that is tangible. Its purpose is a sacrifice of praise, not an outworking of goods. only faith obedient Spirit anointed ones who possess the hope of praise can offer it. religion does not possess this gift to offer, though it holds many tangible benefits. Groups can not offer this oblation because it only descends singularly from above by faith; for as the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.
The fire on this altar is fueled by a promise of Habakkuk the prophet— “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places” (Hab 3:17, 19).

Such sacrifice can never be plucked by the devil from the Father’s hand. Abiding in its flames is a guarantee to victory—a holy site of safety. From this holy site, the devil is forever barred. He cannot enter its worship environs burning at the foot of a cross.

Greencastle PA
November 2009