The Tabernacle, The Altar of Incense, Doing It Godís Way, Part 4 - Lesson 30
If it has not been clear to you in the past that Satan hates God and everything God stands for, your vision, as days go by, ought to become clearer for it is so apparent that Satanís program is fully becoming the program of this world and specifically of our nation.
It is becoming easy to see that Satanís program is an inclusive program, a program that promotes the complete erasure of individuality in favor of equalitarianism, another name for egalitarianism.
It did not take long for Satan to expose his program for Satan first revealed this in the Garden of Eden, at his first appearance on the scene when he opposed Godís program of exclusivism.
God told Adam and Eve to eat freely of all the fruit trees, but God excepted one tree.
In other words God choose to exclude one tree from their eating, and that tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan immediately opposed this exclusivism by saying: Hath God said Ye shall not eat of EVERY TREE (inclusivism) of the garden?
And further he challenged Godís statement concerning the results of eating of that tree, the result called death that has come upon every man, woman and child.
Think about the words that God uses in His word.
Words like, the way, the truth, the life, elect before the foundation of the world, chosen, narrow is the way, none other name, no other gods before me, one God, one mediator, one Spirit.
These are black and white words, not words to wonder about, not words to be confused about but words of exclusivism.
At every point Satan opposes Godís exclusivism and proposes inclusivism.
Think about the statue in Nebuchadnezzarís dream which shows Satanís plan for his world of inclusivism in that the materials which indicate sovereign kingdoms go from a head of gold to feet of iron and clay.
They indicate a deterioration of authority from a sovereign king to government defined by democracy, government of people pictured in Daniel as iron and clay.
Clay being people and iron being authority, and the authority is of course loose authority for it is founded on the ideas of multitudes of men.
So the last government of men is a government of inclusiveness, one man, one vote; i.e., democracy.
This is Satanís plan however Godís plan overrules in that a stone cut without hands (no involvement by men) smites the image and breaks Satanís inclusivism to pieces.
This stone cut without hands is Godís exclusiveness, Godís only begotten Son.
Now a cursory study of Godís word will bring you to the truth that God is an exclusive God.
Exclusive means that He chooses to categorize, He chooses to place some of his creation in places of honor and some of his creation in places of dishonor.
Romans 9:14-23 is replete with this principle for God says He will have mercy and compassion on whom He chooses.
He says clearly that he raised Pharaoh up in order to show His power that his name might be declared throughout all the earth.
He said he chooses to have mercy on some and He chooses to harden others.
He asks those who question this exclusiveness, Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
And the Apostle Paul adds, What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
So God fits vessels for wrath and God fits vessels for mercy,
Why? That He might make known the riches of His glory.
Now how dare you or how dare me to reply against God.
Are you not formed by God; am I not made by God? Are we not but clay?
It is not a wonder how God chose to exercise wrath on the vessels fitted to destruction; it is a wonder that God choose to make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which he had afore prepared unto glory.
That is the wonder! God choose to extend mercy and compassion on some which is fully Godís right for He is the Sovereign of Sovereigns.
Now we have seen that this exclusiveness is expressed in every part of the tabernacle that we have studied.
God expressly gave Moses the plans for every part of the tabernacle and every procedure concerning its use.
Any ideas of Moses and the millions of Israelis were excluded for God had only one thought in mind when He commanded Moses and that thought was to present His Son, the redeemer of those fitted for glory.
And this presentation clearly showed that God is a God of the exclusive for there is none other name given among men whereby ye must be saved.
We talked in our last lesson about Godís exclusivity concerning the fire that was to be used to light the candlestick and the incense of the Altar.
It was to come from the fire of the Brazen Altar that had first been lit by God.
On the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle, God showed His approval by lighting the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court with Divine Fire coming out from the Glory of God resting upon the Ark of the Covenant.
Lev. 9:24, And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
God saw what He had commanded to be made and he said it was good and pronounced it good by His Divine fire.
So God chose to provide an exclusive fire. He chose to provide a divine fire.
When the fire on the Brazen Altar was lit, the coals were taken from the Brazen Altar and used to light the Golden Altar and the Candlestick.
Divine fire from God lit the oil of the candlestick providing divine light in the Holy Place indicating that God is the source of light.
Any other source of light is strange light.
All religions attempt to bring strange light before the throne of God.
Also this divine fire from God lit the incense atop the Golden Altar indicating that God was the source of prayer for it was prayer to be prayed in the Spirit.
Any other fire was called "strange fire."
Any other fire came from Satan who had defined all fire as equal.
Satan is a "whatever" kind of creature donít you know!
Whatever floats your boat he says. If it feels good do it. Go ahead and do it your way.
Whatís the big deal about the fire anyway.
Well, ask Nadab and Abihu about using a "whatever" kind of fire for it was that kind of fire that burned them to a unrecognizable crisp.
And also God was particular about the incense for any incense other than the prescribed incense was "strange incense."
Anyone who attempted to offer such an offering on the Golden Altar would be punished by being cut off from the Presence of God.
God only accepts that fire which originates with himself on the basis of the blood atonement accomplished at Calvary.
God is exclusive that way for He rejects all other ways.
God lit the fire in the Church on the Day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:3-4, And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
God is only interested in worship that is rooted in Spirit and in Truth.
God only accepts incense that He has prescribed.
And He has prescribed Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
I Timothy 2:5, For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus?
Satan hates this for it is not inclusive.
He hates the fact that no man can approach God the Father except through the Son, Jesus Christ.
Incense, which means prayer, apart from being offered in the exclusive name of Jesus Christ is an abomination to the Lord.
Satan has authored multitudes of religions with multitudes of names ascribed to be mediators.
Satan says come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and come in your own name for I am not like that mean God who excludes but I am tender toward you for I include.
Now the Altar of Incense was to be used exclusively for the burning of incense.
There was to be no burnt offering, meal offering or drink offering upon this altar.
There were no sacrifices of blood here.
Incense is all that was to be burned upon the Golden Altar in the Holy Place.
The Outer Court was the place of sacrifice.
The inner court was the place of worship and service.
It speaks to us of Christ fulfilling the law at Calvary and dying once for all.
He now lives in the Power of an endless life to make intercession for us, never to sacrifice himself and die again for death no longer has a hold on Him nor does it have a hold eternally on those who are His!
Romans 6:9-10, Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now the Altar of Incense was built to be transported, as were all parts of the tabernacle.
In the wilderness wanderings all the articles were covered with their appointed coverings.
If you observed the travel of these articles in the wilderness you would observe as it were bundles being carried on the shoulders of four men through the use of staves.
The human eye, observing the vast congregation of traveling Jews would only behold these "bundles" which would not be very attractive to the natural man.
The beauty of all these things would only be seen when they were arranged in the tabernacle in accordance with Godís instruction.
They were not to be seen except by certain individuals appointed to keep them functional and in their proper place so that Godís plan of redemption would be clearly seen.
It was a very precise and orderly process, very exclusive, and was to be without any contribution from the imaginations of men, therefore no strange fire or strange incense, and no fancy carts or vehicles were to be introduced for transporting.
Now the transport of the Altar of Incense is described in;
Numbers 4:11, And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgersí skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:
Again we see a beautiful picture of the Godhead in these coverings.
The covering of blue, as in the blue of the sky, points to the Lord from heaven.
The badgers' skin, as we have spoken of before speaks of the Word being made flesh among us, in the person of Jesus the Son.
Now certainly there was beauty in the Altar of Incense when it was in the Holy Place but when it was in the world, traveling the wilderness it was covered in badgers skin.
There was no beauty in the badgersí skin and this is what is spoken of in Isaiah 53 where we are told: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
In other words Godís Son was not sent to attract to himself followers on the basis of beauty, or outward appearance and when he traveled the dusty roads of Palestine he traveled as did the Altar of Incense covered by badgers skins.
In the Holy Place He reveals His beauty but in the world only His children can see His beauty for His beauty is a Heavenly beauty only revealed in Holiness.
Satanís world operates on the economy of outward beauty, and promotes an inclusiveness even in this, but God only attracts followers on the basis of faith in His exclusive Word which will bring an inner beauty.
Now the Altar of Incense was the source of the incense that was taken into the Most Holy Place on the one day of the year that the High Priest brought in the Atonement blood to sprinkle on the Mercy Seat.
The Altar or table of Incense was not brought into the Most Holy Place but a vessel called the golden censer, referred to in Hebrews 9:4, was filled with incense and brought in by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
Though the writer of Hebrews does not specifically say that the golden censer was from the incense altar, he does state that it was in the Most Holy Place before the ark, which corresponds to the ritual of the Day of Atonement when sweet incense was burned before the ark.
So each piece of furniture showed its importance by its function.
The Altar of Incense speaking of the intercessory work of Christ, the brazen altar speaking of the blood shed at Calvary by our Lord, the table of showbread speaking of Christ as the sustainer of life, and the candlestick, speaking of Christ as the Light of the world.
This illustrates that it was not the item, which was important, but what its use spoke of.
The brazen altar without an offering would have no effectiveness, the candlestick without oil would be useless, the table of showbread without bread would illustrate nothing, and likewise, the altar of incense without incense would be meaningless as well.
Now all of the items in the tabernacle were related in function for all are connected together in the worship of Jehovah and corporately they give us a picture of Christís total work.
One harmonious relationship is displayed when we look at what takes place concerning the daily burnt offering and the Altar of incense.
Many of the activities of the priestís work were associated with the same time of day, morning and evening.
There was the daily burnt offering (Num. 28:3-4), the replenishing of oil for the candlestick (Lev. 24:3), the burning of incense at the incense altar (Exod. 30:7-8), and the removal of the ashes from the brazen altar to a clean place outside the camp (Lev. 6:8-12).
Numbers 28:3-4, And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the Lord; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.  The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even;
Leviticus 24:3, Without the veil of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.
Exodus 30:7-8, And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.  And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
Leviticus 6:8-12, And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.  And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.
These activities involved every furnishing of the outer court and the holy place twice daily.
The responsibility for these tasks belonged to the priests, whose activities reveal a clear picture of their significance.
Several priests were involved with performing these duties.
There were three areas of work:
1. At the Holy Place
2. At the Brazen Altar
3. Outside the Camp where the ashes were disposed of.
This would necessitate at least three priests (the number left after the death of Nadab and Abihu) if the work in these areas was to be done simultaneously.
If it was not simultaneous; the probable order would have been carrying the ashes outside the camp, making the offerings, followed by ministering in the holy place.
The removal of the ashes from the brazen altar was not an insignificant chore, at least not typically.
The wood used to burn the evening burnt offering, and any other offerings afterwards, was only ashes in the ash pans under the grate by morning.
A priest would remove these pans from under the altar and then change into other garments before carrying them out to the ash pile outside the camp.
Leviticus 6:11, And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.
The Levites probably did the actual transporting of the ash pans.
Although the ashes were taken outside the camp, this removal was not insignificant (Heb. 13:11-12).