The altar of incense is constructed. The making of the anointing oil and the incense is described. The specifications for building these items were given in Exodus 30:1 – 6.
The altar of incense was made as follows:
Bezalel, the chief craftsman, made it of acacia wood. This is the same wood used to make the ark, the table of showbread, and items associated with them.
The altar’s dimensions were a cubit long and a cubit wide, square, and two cubits high. This would make it eighteen inches (1.5 feet or 45.7 centimeters) square and thirty-six inches (3 feet or 91.4 centimeters) tall.
Its horns were of one piece with it (v. 25). The horns were not added to the altar. Instead, they were made with the altar as one unit. Horns are a symbol of power.
The craftsmen overlaid it with pure gold, its top and its sides all around, and its horns; and Bezalel made a gold molding for it all around(v. 26). Because of the role of this altar, the overlay was gold instead of bronze, as with the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 35:16).
To make for easy transport on their journey, he made two golden rings for it under its molding, on its two sides—on opposite sides. These would serve as holders for poles with which to carry it.
Next, he made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. The Levites would slide the poles through the gold rings and carry it.
Finally, he made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense of spices, the work of a perfumer (v. 29). The incense, when burned on this altar, produced a sweet aroma that went to the LORD. The Suzerain LORD made it clear that His vassals (Israel) were to provide the incense in order to make their prayer acceptable to Him [the LORD]. It was a picture of intercessory prayer given by God’s covenant people. As stated in Hebrews 9:23, the tabernacle and each item in it reflects the true article in heaven. In Revelation 5:8, the Apostle John sees a vision in heaven of bowls full of incense that are the prayers of God’s people. In Revelation 8:3-4, an angel adds incense to these prayers, and offers them to God from a golden censer.
The altar of incense was placed in front of the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place (Exodus 30:6). The writer of Hebrews stated that the altar of incense was in the Holy of Holies along with the ark and other items (Heb. 9:3 – 4).
To sum up, the following diagram shows the plan of the tabernacle and its furniture:
(from Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on Exodus)
25 Then he made the altar of incense of acacia wood: a cubit long and a cubit wide, square, and two cubits high; its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it with pure gold, its top and its sides all around, and its horns; and he made a gold molding for it all around. 27 He made two golden rings for it under its molding, on its two sides—on opposite sides—as holders for poles with which to carry it. 28 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. 29 And he made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense of spices, the work of a perfumer.
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