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From: DICT.TW English-Chinese Dictionary 英漢字典

 al·tar /ˈɔltɚ/

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Al·tar n.
 1. A raised structure (as a square or oblong erection of stone or wood) on which sacrifices are offered or incense burned to a deity.
    Noah builded an altar unto the Lord.   --Gen. viii. 20.
 2. In the Christian church, a construction of stone, wood, or other material for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the communion table.
 Note:Altar is much used adjectively, or as the first part of a compound; as, altar bread or altar-bread.
 Altar cloth or Altar-cloth, the cover for an altar in a Christian church, usually richly embroidered.
 Altar cushion, a cushion laid upon the altar in a Christian church to support the service book.
 Altar frontal. See Frontal.
 Altar rail, the railing in front of the altar or communion table.
 Altar screen, a wall or partition built behind an altar to protect it from approach in the rear.
 Altar tomb, a tomb resembling an altar in shape, etc.
 Family altar, place of family devotions.
 To lead (as a bride) to the altar, to marry; -- said of a woman.

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

      n 1: the table in Christian churches where communion is given
           [syn: communion table, Lord's table]
      2: a raised structure on which gifts or sacrifices to a god are

From: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

    (Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
    earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
    were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
    places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
    14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
    upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
      Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
    the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
    "to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
    inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
    apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
      The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
    8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
    by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
    (Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
      In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
    were erected.
      (1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
    "brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
      This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
    27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
    breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
    and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
    ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
      In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
    enumerated. They were made of brass. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
    Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
      In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
    4:1. Comp. 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
    brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
    renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
    16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
    reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
    by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
      After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
    6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Comp. 1 Macc.
    4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
    burnt offering was taken away.
      Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
    place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
      The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
      In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
    which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
    projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
    length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
    about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
    been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
    probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
    this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
    Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
      (2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
    golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
    "before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
    altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
    the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
    commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
    burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
    5:8; 8:3, 4).
      This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
    overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
    breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
      In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
    made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
    Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Comp. Ex.
      In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
    Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
    by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
    carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
    of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
    9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
    appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
    in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).