Scripture Passage: Exodus 30:1
Exodus 30:1 says, “You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood.”
Incense is a perfume that gives off a sweet-smelling odor. In the Bible, incense illustrates prayer, or intercession to God.
The incense burned in the Tabernacle, burning continually, is a picture of Jesus Christ, who ever lives to pray for us from Heaven.
Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…”
Intercession is His unfinished work for us; however, this golden altar also speaks of His intercession through us.
Jesus is our incense; because of Him, our prayers are also like a sweet perfume to God.
There are two altars described in these passages: gold and brass. Brass speaks of judgment and gold of glory. The brazen altar is for sacrifice, the golden is for supplication.
The pattern and dimensions of this golden altar also reflect Jesus. It was made of wood and gold, which speak of Christ’s humanity and deity as one. He is able to be our mediator, or High Priest, because He is both God and man.
The four horns on the altar (see Exodus 30:3) represent His saving power, as Jesus intercedes for all; prayer is for all times and all places. The crown upon the altar (see Exodus 30:4) speaks of God’s sovereignty, Christ’s exaltation.
Exodus 30:6 tells us this altar is positioned right before the veil. This symbolizes that the way to approach God is through prayer.
And because it is linked to the lampstand (see Exodus 30:7), the altar of incense reveals that our intercession and testimony must always be inseparably linked.
Adrian Rogers says, “You can’t let your light shine unless your incense burns.”
Finally, we see the people of this altar; God made it clear that no one who was unqualified was involved with the making of the incense (see Exodus 30: 9).
Through Christ, we, as Christians, have become a kingdom of priests. If we go to Him through His appointed way (Jesus), we can come to Him in prayer.
As you come to a time of prayer today, remember and revere God’s appointed way to make intercession.
Adrian Rogers says, “God is a holy God; you come by the blood, or you don’t come at all.”