Rev. Sam Wirgau, pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ossian, IN, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Exodus 30:1-10, 34-38 and Exodus 37:25-29.
The LORD patterned His tabernacle among Israel after His heavenly dwelling place. It served as the intersection between the sacred things of God and the common things of humanity. In that very location between the Holy Place and Most Holy Place stood the altar of incense, where the burning sacrifice of incense carried the prayers of God’s people before Him. God heard His people’s prayers not from their own merit, but because He had made atonement for them. The sacrifices of lambs in the morning and evening at the bronze altar happened at the same time as the sacrifices of incense as a concrete reminder of this. For that reason, only the specific incense that the LORD had given could be used, and it could only be used for this sacred purpose. The fragrant scent of this incense would remind the people only of the prayers that were offered in intercession at the tabernacle due to the LORD’s atonement of their sin.
All of this preaches Christ for us. The LORD has answered the prayers offered at the altar of incense through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus His prayers from the cross have been counted as incense, and the lifting up of His hands on the cross is the final, once-for-all evening sacrifice for our sins.
“The Saga of Salvation” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that takes a step-by-step walk through the book of Exodus. This premier account of salvation in the Old Testament proclaims that the LORD is the one true God, the Creator and Redeemer, who alone is worthy of our worship and faith, all the while pointing us forward to the ultimate deliverance He gives through the exodus accomplished by Christ.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Exodus 30:1-10, 34-38
The Altar of Incense
30 “You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. 2 A cubit[a] shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece with it. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
34 The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), 35 and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. 37 And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.”
- Exodus 30:2 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
Making the Altar of Incense
25 He made the altar of incense of acacia wood. Its length was a cubit, and its breadth was a cubit. It was square, and two cubits was its height. Its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns. And he made a molding of gold around it, 27 and made two rings of gold on it under its molding, on two opposite sides of it, as holders for the poles with which to carry it. 28 And he made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.
29 He made the holy anointing oil also, and the pure fragrant incense, blended as by the perfumer.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.