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The staves were long poles made of Acacia wood overlayed with bronze. These were used to transport the altar whenever the camp moved. As the camp moved, it was covered with badgers' skin and a cloth of purple, and carried by the priests (Kohathites). The altar was always with them no matter where they journeyed and even on into their rest in the promised land. They were strangers and pilgrims in the desert but the provision through the blood was always available.
In Ezekiel's temple, which is a picture of Israel's kingdom age, the altar has no staves or rings (Ezek 43)