In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the
midst of the land of Egypt
Josephus F3, and other Jewish writers F4, suppose this to be fulfilled when Onias, the son of Simeon the just, fled into Egypt, and obtained leave of Ptolemy king of Egypt, and Queen Cleopatra, to build a temple and an altar there, like those at Jerusalem, in order to draw the Jews thither, which was about six hundred years after this prophecy; and who did build both a temple and an altar in the nome of Heliopolis, about twenty three miles from the city of Memphis, and which continued three hundred and forty three years; but not a material altar is here meant, but a figurative and spiritual one, and no other than Christ, who is the altar that sanctifies every gift, and upon which the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise being offered up are acceptable to God. The phrase denotes a public profession of Christ, and a setting up of his worship; it is used in allusion to the patriarchs, who, wherever they came, set up an altar to the Lord, and worshipped him:
and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord;
in like manner as the patriarchs used to do, ( Genesis 28:18 ) ( Genesis 35:1 Genesis 35:14 ) it signifies not only that in the middle of the land, but upon the borders of it, the Christian religion should be embraced and professed; so that no sooner did a man step into it, but he should find that this was the religion professed there: it signifies that here would be placed ministers of the Gospel, who are as pillars to hold forth and support the doctrines of it; and a church state, which is the pillar and ground of it; and persons converted, that should be pillars in the house of God, that should never go out; see ( Proverbs 9:1 ) ( Galatians 2:9 ) ( 1 Timothy 3:15 ) ( Revelation 3:12 ) .
F3 Antiqu. l. 13. c. 3. sect. 1. 3. & de Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 10. sect. 2, 3, 4.
F4 T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 109. 2.