Symbols of Faith – Altar of Incense (5 of 8)

Eternal redemption for man was foreshadowed, pictured, in the Old Testament system of worship and furnishings placed in the Jewish tabernacle built by Moses. In the tabernacle there stood artifacts (furnishings). These furnishings were utilized and maintained by the high priest. All of these foreshadowed (symbolized) the coming eternal redemption of man, ushered in by Jesus Christ. He has become the high priest of our faith, of that better covenant named in Hebrews 7:12; 8:6 and Jeremiah 31:31-34.

These journal notes in no way exhaust the depth of meaning found in the Tabernacle. The writer of Hebrews does not even go into the depth of the possible meaning of all these things. My heart here is to uncover as much as possible in a few words, as might stimulate further inquiry and greater depth of faith.

#5 Golden Altar of Incense


Rest secure in Christ for your acceptance before a holy God (Heb 9:3,4). #ChristOurEternalIntercessor #JesusEverLivesToInterceedForUs #AcceptedInTheBeloved


The Golden Altar of Incense, altar of prayer, was located just outside the veil shielding the Holy of Holies.* Annually (on The Day of Atonement) the high priest, as mediator between God and the people, would stop at this altar and offer prayers. He sprinkled the Altar with the blood of sacrifices made for sin and confessed his sin, which made him acceptable to come into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. Then he confessed the sins of the people.

The Altar was made of acacia wood, overlaid with gold symbolizing the humanity and divinity of Christ, our eternal intercessor (Heb 7:25; Jhn 17:17-20), [Jesus lives forever to intercede with God on [our] behalf].

Special incense was burned twice a day on this Altar. The aroma filled the room. The smoke of the incense rising was symbolic of prayers offered up to God. They were a sweet aroma to him (also note Rev 5:8; 8:3,4).

All of this symbolizes the blood sacrifice of Jesus offered up for our sin once for all time. As our mediator (1Ti 2:5), he prays for us. Further, he makes it acceptable to God for believers to enter into God’s presence and offer our own prayers and intercessions directly to him (Heb 4:16).

Lord, may I rest in the acceptable sacrifice you made for the forgiveness of my sin; for making my prayers in your name acceptable to God.

* There are questions about the translation here. The instructions of Exodus 30:6 and tradition locates the altar “before“ the veil shielding the Holy of Holies.

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