The Golden Altar of Insense

The Golden Altar of Incense

(Ex 30:1-9; 34-38)

1  “You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. Exodus 30:1 (ESV)

The Dimensions
2  A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height . . . Exodus 30:2 (ESV)

The Horns Of The Altar

 . . . Its horns shall be of one piece with it. Exodus 30:2 (ESV) [The horn is the emblem of strength.]

The Overlaying
3  You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns And you shall make a molding of gold around it. Exodus 30:3 (ESV) [A picture of excellence]

The Rings and the Staves

4  And you shall make two golden rings for it. Under its molding on two opposite sides of it you shall make them, and they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it. 5  You shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Exodus 30:4-5 (ESV) [transportation]

The Position of the Golden Altar

6  And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you. Exodus 30:6 (ESV)

David Levy: The closest the priests could come to God in daily worship was when they ministered at the altar of incense. The same principle holds true for Christians. The closest we can come to God is through prayer (Jas. 4: 8).

 The Incense: Exodus 30:34-38

The Perpetual Use Of The Altar
7  And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, 8  and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the LORD throughout your generations. Exodus 30:7-8 (ESV)

 The incense burned perpetually before the Lord throughout the years (Ex. 30: 8), This pictured believers, offering up prayers continually to God.

The Warnings
9  You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. Exodus 30:9 (ESV)

Two warnings:

First, no strange incense could be used on the altar (Ex. 30: 9), nor could anyone make the incense for his own personal use (Ex. 30: 37).

Second, no fire other than that from the brazen altar could be used on the golden altar (Leviticus 10:1-2; 16:12).

The Blood On The Horns Of The Altar Of Incense
10  Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.” Exodus 30:10 (ESV)

David Levy: When blood from the sin offering was sprinkled on the horns of the altar, it symbolized a prayer for the pardon of sin before God. The blood, when applied to the altar, gave the incense of prayer its value. So it is with Christ’s blood, which gives value to our prayers before God (Heb. 9: 14; 12: 24) and opens the way for us to come before the throne of grace to find mercy and grace in the time of need (Heb. 4: 16).