The Golden Altar of Incense (Ex 30:1-10)
The Golden Altar of Incense was 2 cubits tall.
It was 1 cubit square with a crown of
gold around the top and it had 4 golden
was the Golden Altar of Incense which was straight ahead, before
the veil, this third piece of furniture in the Holy Place on which the holy
incense was burned. Made from
acacia wood overlaid with pure gold it stood higher than any other article
of furniture in the holy place, 2 cubits (3 feet) tall. It was one
cubit square and it had around the top a crown of gold. It had
four golden horns just as
the bronze altar in the courtyard. Lower down on each side there were golden
rings to insert the
poles for carrying.
Exod 30:1-10 "You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make
it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length and a cubit its width-- it shall
be square-- and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece
with it. And you shall overlay its top, its sides all around, and its horns with
pure gold; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. Two gold
rings you shall make for it, under the molding on both its sides. You shall
place them on its two sides, and they will be holders for the poles with which
to bear it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony,
mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.
Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps,
he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he
shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your
generations. You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a
burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on
it. And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of
sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it
throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD."
- It had 4 horns of gold, one with it, a
horn on each corner. (4-camps, e.Judah, s.Ruben, w.Ephraim, n.Dan, all Gods
The golden altar was used for burning incense, which twice every day was
offered by the priest after he had tended the wick and oil on the holy lamps.
Its horns were also sprinkled with the blood of the sin offering.
The incense was a mixture of three rich and rare
spices, which cannot be identified today. These were blended with
frankincense and beaten to a fine powder and then salt was added. It was
totally forbidden for this formula to be used by any private individual. It had
to be used only in the worship of God in the holy place.
Ex 30:34-38 And the LORD said to Moses: "Take sweet spices,
galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be
equal amounts of each. You shall make of these an incense, a compound according
to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. And you shall beat some of
it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in
the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy
to you. But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for
yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD.
Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people."
The incense was burnt on pieces of hot coal, which the priest removed in a
censer or fire pan from the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard. A censer
apparently was a shallow bowl or pan with a handle on it. It could be also be
used for removing the
ashes from the altar or gathering up the burnt parts of the wick from the
The golden altar was used for burning incense
Poured out on burning coals the incense produced a delightful aroma in the
Holy Place. It was the offering of the person whose sins had been forgiven by
blood and who then went on to express the fragrance of love and worship, which
was most pleasing to God.
The Golden Altar speaks to us of the worship of Jesus Christ and God's people
through him as our high priest and mediator. It was only on the basis of His one
sacrifice on the altar of the cross that worship is made possible. The coals,
which lit the incense, was carried from the altar of sacrifice to
the altar of incense.
Although the common priest would burn these holy spices on the altar over 700
times in a year he knew that no priest other than
the High Priest could go beyond that point, and only on the Day of
Lev 16:12 "Then Aaron shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire
from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten
fine, and bring it inside the veil.
- The sweet incense was to be kept burning at all times.
- It was before the veil, and the throne of God (Jesus for us)
On The Journey
Num 4:11 "Over the golden altar they shall spread a
blue cloth, and cover it with a covering of badger skins; and they shall
insert its poles.
Example of Moses' intercession:
Num 16:41-50 On the next day all the congregation of the children of
Israel murmured against
Moses and Aaron, saying, "You have killed the people of the LORD." Now it
happened, when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they
turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and
the glory of the LORD appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle
of meeting. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Get away from among this
congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." And they fell on their
faces. So Moses said to Aaron, "Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar,
put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement
for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun." Then
Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and
already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made
atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the
plague was stopped. Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand
seven hundred, besides those who died in the Korah incident. So Aaron returned
to Moses at
the door of the tabernacle of meeting, for the plague had stopped.
A Type of Christ
The golden altar of incense tells us of the ministry of Jesus as our
intercessor whose prayers never stop ascending to God on our behalf. Jesus said
to Peter, "I have prayed for you." The four horns speak of Christ's ministry
extending to the four corners of the earth. He will always pray for His own no
matter where they are. He can intercede on our behalf because of the atoning
work on the cross of Calvary. The incense was fueled by the fire from the altar.
It is not just anyone praying for us but the King Himself as represented by the
crown of gold. He knows our weaknesses and our failings and He is praying for us
Ps 141:2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of
my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Jn 17:9-10 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom
You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are
Mine, and I am glorified in them.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for
you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith
should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
John 17:15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but
that You should keep them from the evil one.
Heb 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to
God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for
1 Jn 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not
sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
Lk 22:31-32 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for
you, that he may sift you as wheat. "But I have prayed for you, that your faith
should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
Rom 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not
know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches
the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession
for the saints according to the will of God.
Ps 121:4 Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Rom 8:34 It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at
the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Acts 6:4 "but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the
ministry of the word."
Heb 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise
to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Lk 1:8-10 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the
order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell
to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole
multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
Rev 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the
twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden
bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Rev 8:3-4 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the
altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers
of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the
smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from
the angel's hand.
The golden altar of incense tells us of the ministry of
Jesus as our intercessor whose prayers never stop ascending to God for
THE TABERNACLE OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
"And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among (in) them"
- Exodus 25:8
The Purpose and Heart
of the Law - A Devotional Message
Atonement - A Bible Study
The Tabernacle of Ancient Israel was a sanctuary which was given in a vision
to Moses as a pattern and constructed by the children of Israel. God's promise
was that He would dwell within the Holy of Holies above the Mercy Seat of the
Ark of the Covenant.
Why Study the Tabernacle?
A) 50 Chapters Mention The Tabernacle
Because at least 50 chapters (13-Ex, 18-Lev, 13-Num, 2-Deut, 4-Heb) in the
Bible tell of the construction, the ritual, the priesthood, the carrying of the
tabernacle, and the meaning of it all. Also many other places in Scripture speak
in figurative language concerning the tabernacle. In many Bible studies this
subject is overlooked and considered insignificant.
B) The Tearing of the Veil
thought so much of the importance of the type, as shown by the tearing of the
Matt 27:50-51 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up
His spirit. Then, behold,
the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth
quaked, and the rocks were split,
If we don't understand the meaning in Scripture of
the holy of holies and the veil we miss out on extremely significant
information concerning exactly what Christ's death meant to sinful mankind.
C) The Tabernacle is a Type of Christ:
Remember what the Word says, "all Scripture is given by inspiration
(God-breathed) of God..." When we look at the Bible we must remember
that it is completely God-breathed. When we look at each Word we must remember
that every Word is specifically God-breathed. That was the view of Christ when
it came to the Scriptures, that was the view of the apostles, and that must be
our view. This is the very Word of God. It doesn't just contain the Word of God,
or just point to religious experience, this is the Word of God.
Is it any wonder then that each and every detail and Word about the
tabernacle has spiritual significance? As we look to the tabernacle structure
itself and its unique pieces of redemptive furniture there is great symbolism
and typology found in them. Remember, everything was a finger pointing to the
Messiah. The tabernacle, as a type, designed specifically and in detail by God,
would point to the character and aspects of the ministry of Christ. The more we
become familiar with the tabernacle the more we become familiar with Christ and
all that He means to us. What a great reason to become familiar with the
Scriptures concerning the tabernacle.
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through
the veil, that is, His flesh,
Col 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of
Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
D) It is a Representation of the True Tabernacle in
The Lord wants us to be aware of His nature and character. Even the angels
don't fully understand the nature and character of God but they learn from
watching His dealings with His church (Eph 3). Things are really happening in
the heavenly dimension and the Lord wants to reveal to us what took place in
heaven after the resurrection of Christ. There is a real tabernacle in the
heavenlies and Christ really appeared before the throne of heaven as the Lamb of
God (Rev 5). There is no doubt that some of these things are a mystery but the
more we draw close to God and His Word the more He draws close to us.
Heb 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,
with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not
of this creation.
E) The Presence Within the Holy of Holies Dwells
Within the Believer in Jesus:
Jesus said I am the temple (Mishkan) of God. When the glory (Heb. Sh'chinah)
would come down like a tornado or funnel right through the roof of the holy of
holies and the Presence would manifest on the
mercy seat between the
cherubim after the blood was sprinkled, that was the mishkan. That Presence
was what Jesus said dwelt within Him. And in fact Paul said about the church,
"Know ye not that you are the temple (Mishkan) of God?" We, as the body of
Christ, have the same Presence dwelling within us. God doesn't dwell in
buildings now but within His people.
1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
F) Its teaching covers in type almost all of
New Testament truth.
The study of the tabernacle is so rich in meaning to the Christian and so
pregnant with Messianic significance that we can spend a lifetime in the study
of it and only begin to understand the riches and the depth of truth that lies
within the study of the tabernacle.
Rom 15:4 "Whatever things that were written before were written for our
G) Studying the Tabernacle will absolutely strengthen
our faith in the Bible.
Be assured that anyone who has delved into the wonderful details of the
tabernacle will confess that the Bible is more than just a book. No man could
have thought of this. The Bible is the Word of God.
"all Scripture is given by inspiration of God..."
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