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Exodus 30:6

The LORD describes where the altar of incense was to be placed.

The LORD instructed Moses to put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony. To this point, located in the holy place is the lampstand with seven lamps (Exodus 25:31-40). The veil separated the holy place from the most holy place, where the ark was located. The high priest would pass through the holy place on his way into the most holy place. Leviticus 16:12 – 13 states that the high priest would take incense from this altar and “bring it inside the veil” when ministering in the most holy place on the Day of Atonement.

This would indicate the altar of incense was located in the holy place. However, the placement of the altar of incense has been debated. Hebrews 9:3 – 4 can be read to imply that its location was in the “Holy of Holies.” However, most believe that only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and only once per year (Leviticus 16:30), and the incense was burned. The word translated altar in Hebrews 9:4 can also be translated “censer” which could refer to the incense-burning instrument the High Priest was to carry into the Holy of Holies.

Biblical Text

6 You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you.