Through the Bible Day by Day
Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;
And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:
THE BUILDING OF THE ALTAR
Throughout their history the true Israelites were eager to maintain their genealogy; wherever they were scattered, they carefully guarded their national registers. Each of us should be able to establish his descent and to vindicate his claim to be considered a child of God, a joint-heir with Christ, a partaker in the inheritance which God has promised to them that love Him. If you cannot establish your sonship, you may doubt your right to the spiritual blessings which are a part of the family estates. This is clearly illustrated by the prohibition issued against the eating of the most holy things by the priests whose names were not found in the register. They must wait till the Urim and Thummin attested that they were Israelites indeed. What that witness was in these olden days, the testimony of the Holy Spirit is within us. He witnesses with our spirit that we are born of God.
The first act of the restored Jews was to set up the House of God. For this they gave willingly, and after their ability. The altar was the center of their religion. So the Cross of Jesus is the center of our life and worship, reminding us of His work for us in justification, or His claims in sanctification.