9714. 'And you shall make the altar' means that which was representative of the Lord and of the worship of Him. This is clear from the meaning of 'the altar' - the one to be used for burnt offerings and sacrifices - as that which was representative of the Lord; and since the burnt offerings and sacrifices were the signs of all that constituted worship of the Lord, the altar was also representative of the worship of Him. Not that the Lord is worshipped with burnt offerings and sacrifices but with what they represented, namely the celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith, 922, 923, 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519, 6905, 8680, 8936.
Arcana Coelestia 922-923)
 There were two objects which served to represent the Lord's Divine Human - the temple and the altar. That the temple did so He Himself teaches in John,
Jesus said, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again. He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21.
That the altar did so is likewise made clear by the Lord's own words, where He speaks in Matthew about the temple and at the same time the altar,
Fools and blind! For you say, Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is guilty. Which of the two is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold holy? In the same way, Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is guilty. Fools and blind! Which of the two is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? He who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything that is on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. Matthew 23:16-22.
From this it is evident that just as the temple was representative of the Lord's Divine Human, so too was the altar; for something similar is stated regarding the altar as is stated regarding the temple, namely that the altar is what makes the gift on it holy. This shows that the altar was a channel through which other things were rendered holy, and for this reason was also representative of the Lord's Divine Human, the Source of all holiness. But the altar was representative of the Lord in respect of His Divine Good, whereas the temple was representative of Him in respect of His Divine Truth, thus in respect of heaven since Divine Truth emanating from the Lord makes heaven. This explains why the Lord says in regard to the temple that he who swears by the temple swears by it and by Him who dwells in it, and goes on to say that he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. 'God's throne' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, and so is heaven, while 'He who sits on it' is the Lord, 5313. Much the same as was represented by the temple was represented also by the dwelling-place; the Lord in respect of Divine Truth there is the Testimony which was within the ark, 9503.
John 2:19, 2:21)
 Since the altar represented the Lord in respect of Divine Good it was the real holy of holies, making everything that touched it holy, as is made clear later on in this Book of Exodus, where it says,
Seven days you shall make expiation on the altar and sanctify it, that the altar may be most holy, 1
and all that touches it may be made holy. Exodus 29:37.
This was the reason why fire burned unceasingly on the altar and was never put out, Leviticus 6:12-13; and from this fire and no other source the incense-fire was taken, Leviticus 10:1-6. For the fire on the altar was a sign of the Divine Good of the Lord's Divine Love, 5215, 6314, 6832, 6834, 6849.
 As regards the altar and its being representative of the Lord, this is evident from the following words in David,
Let Your light and truth lead me to Your holy mountain and to Your dwellings, that I may go in to the altar of God, to God ... Psalms 43:3-4.
And in the same author,
I wash my hands in innocence, and I go around Your altar, O Jehovah. Psalms 26:6-7.
 But as regards the altar and its being representative of worship of the Lord, this may be seen in Isaiah,
All the cattle of Arabia will be gathered to You, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to You; they will come up with acceptance on My altar. Isaiah 60:7.
The Lord has abandoned His altar, He has abominated His sanctuary. Lamentations 2:7.
'Abandoning the altar' stands for doing away with what was representative of worshipping the Lord from the good of love, 'abominating the sanctuary' stands for doing away with what was representative of worshipping the Lord from the truths of faith.
 In Ezekiel,
Your altars will be destroyed, I will scatter your bones around your altars. Your altars will be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols will be broken and cease to be. Ezekiel 6:4-6.
'Altars being destroyed, laid waste, and made desolate' stands for the ruination of that which belongs to representative worship. In Isaiah,
The iniquity of Jacob will be expiated, when He makes all the stones of the altar like chalk-stones scattered about. Isaiah 27:9.
'The stones of the altar scattered about' stands for all the truths of worship.
 In the same prophet,
On that day a person will regard his Maker, and his eyes [will regard] the Holy One of Israel. But he will not regard the altars, the work of his hands, and what his fingers have made. Isaiah 17:7-8.
'Altars, the work of hands, and what fingers have made' stands for worship that is the product of self-intelligence.
 In Hosea,
Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning. Hosea 8:11.
'Multiplying altars for sinning' stands for devising meaningless forms of worship. In the same prophet,
Thistle and thorn will grow up on their altars. Hosea 10:8.
This describes how evils and falsities will come in and compose worship.
 In Isaiah,
On that day there will be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of Egypt. Isaiah 19:19.
'An altar to Jehovah' stands for worship of the Lord.
 Because the altar that is the subject here was portable it was made from shittim wood and overlaid with bronze. But an altar that was to remain permanently in the same place was built either from soil or from unhewn stones. An altar of soil was the chief representative sign of worship of the Lord that springs from the good of love, whereas an altar of unhewn stones was the representative sign of worship springing from forms of the good and of the truth of faith, 8935, 8940. The portable altar however that is the subject here was representative of worship of the Lord that springs from the good of love; and this was why it was made from shittim wood and overlaid with bronze.
1. literally, holy of holies