Exodus 35 -- 37
God had given Moses detailed instruction on how to build the Tabernacleand all its furniture. Nothing was left for the people to decide. Within the Tabernacle was the Golden Altar for Incense. It was located in the Holy Place, directly in front of the entrance to the Holy of Holies. The Lord had said to Moses: You shall make the incense altar and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense. . . . Then Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding. . . . Made the incense altar of shittim wood. . . . And he overlaid it with pure gold. . . . And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices (Exodus 35:15; 36:1; 37:25-26,29). Moses was also directed to put it before the veil that is by the Ark of the Testimony, before the Mercy Seat . . . where I will meet with you. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning. . . . a perpetual incense before the Lord (Exodus 30:6-8).
The priests were permitted in the Holy Place, but only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, once a year, on the Day of Atonement. The incense was symbolic of the prayers of God's people accending to Heaven (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4). This Golden Altar was much smaller than the Brazen Altar, but was far more costly since it was covered with pure gold inside and out. The Brazen Altar, dealing with the judgment of sin, was covered with bronze and located near the entrance to the courtyard.
The Altar of Incense was the smallest piece of furniture in the Tabernacle. But it was symbolic of Christ as our Intercessor (John 17:1-26; Hebrews 7:25). Each morning, Aaron the High Priest would refill the lamps with pure olive oil and burn incense upon the altar. God had commanded that it be a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. Aaron would take a coal of fire from the Brazen Altar and place it on the Altar of Incense and then place the incense on it as a sweet fragrance that ascended toward Heaven day and night. God alone was the source of fire on this altar.
Through our High Priest/Intercessor Jesus Christ the prayers and praise of even the most helpless Christian are transformed into a sweet fragrance, precious, expected, welcomed, and pleasing to God.
Jesus Christ alone makes it possible for us to approach the Heavenly Father in prayer. It is Christ that died . . . that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34). In Hebrews, we read: He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). Christ our High Priest is interceding for us each time we pray.
We are assured that: In every thing by prayer . . . with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6-7).
35:10 wise hearted = skillful, expert craftsman; 35:11 his = its; 35:14 furniture = utensils, vessels; 35:32 curious = artistic, skillful.
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