The Tabernacle, The Altar of Incense, Doing It Godís Way, Part 5 - Lesson 31
Philippians 1:9-11, And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Our study of the tabernacle and its furnishings reveals to us Godís singular desire to show His exclusiveness for in all details of construction He is one way about it and that one way is his way.
God is God and as God, He is sovereign in all things.
He is the one and only one who makes this world rotate on an unseen axis with a steadiness that only He knows how to provide.
Every part of the universe, every star, every planet, every meteor, every atom obeys his will and without His approval they dare not to go their own way.
By Him all things consist, all things meaning all things with nothing excluded.
But the scripture reveals to us that Satan wishes to usurp this consistency by attempting to make that which is good into evil and that which is evil into good.
We are seeing the attempt by the Devil of a great leveling of Godís creation and the leveling is coming in like a flood.
Marriage is being leveled so that marriage is being destroyed, God has made men and women only to become one but Satan moves to level this so that any choice of any individual or group can become one.
God has made the man to be the head of the home, commanding submissiveness on the part of the woman but Satan sees to it that the word obey is taken out of the marriage vows as was true in the royal wedding that took place this week.
And it is so amazing how proud, people are of that! How liberating they say!
For why must the woman opt to obey when all are equal in authority in Satanís domain?
But God made men and woman to differ in many ways and that difference was to even be seen in appearance.
Men wearing clothes different from woman but Satan brings in his level and promotes no differences here for gender is God made and anything God made is anathema to Satan.
Down with gender is the mantra of this age for gender is God made.
Our president contributes to this great leveling by preaching the need to redistribute wealth from the rich and give wealth to the poor but God tells us "Thou shalt not steal."
Our president believes the old Communist maxim: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need "
But even in this statement we see an individual responsibility not the forceful taking from the individual by the government to give to another individual.
Giving to the poor is to be an act of love from the hand of God through His people not an act of theft by the ruler.
Worker groups also wish to see that reward is given not by excellence of work but because the worker belongs to a certain group.
Didnít Jesus take from the servant who buried the talent and gave it to the one who brought a profit.
This is how God operates for God is a husbandman who is looking for the most profitable crop.
God rewards hard work and does not promote the lazy but Satan promotes the taking from honest labor and giving it to those who refuse to labor.
The biggest leveler that is taught today, is that we have all come from the same muck and mire and evolved into what we are today.
So why should one evolved creature be ahead of another evolved creature in anything?
Why should a child be under the rule of an adult for they are only both evolved animals?
Some are saying that anything alive is equal to anything else that is alive.
If you have rights then trees should have equal rights.
All of us are simply animals and why should one animal have the right the kill another but God who is the one making the rules says otherwise for He gave dominion to Adam at the creation.
Satan wishes destroy this exclusiveness and level the playing field.
Out with the individual and in with the group.
Out with anything that distinguishes the individual and in with anything that distinguishes the group as a whole.
Out with individual reward and in with group reward even if it means confiscating it from the individual.
Out with grades, out with scores that put one individual above another for this is not acceptable in Satanís program.
Today we are to think globally.
We are to think one worldism.
There is indeed nothing new under the sun for remember the words of God in Genesis to people who also were one worlders.
Satan was busy then as he is busy now.
But God would not allow this to happen for we read of this in Genesis 11:4, And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
God knows that a leveling of a people with sinful natures will always result in a people living at the lowest level for their nature commands this to come about.
The Pilgrims tried out this leveling and soon found out that their sinful nature did not permit it.
Only God can bring out the best in individuals and that comes by a dying of the old nature and a new birth of a new nature that is a product of the Spirit of God.
God is exclusive but Satan is inclusive and man without God will do Satanís bidding.
And it is interesting to note that Godís instructions to Moses, though followed to the letter in the building of the tabernacle grew dimmer and dimmer to the Israelites so that Godís exclusiveness yielded in much to Satanís inclusiveness.
As history unfolded laxness came upon the priests and Godís Holy word, with regard to the tabernacle, fell on increasingly deafer ears.
This process, because of the sinful nature of man, repeats itself in every attempt to bring about righteousness apart from Jesus Christ.
Look at our own country founded upon the principles of Godís word, resulting in a Republic, not a democracy.
A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"
With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."
We started out with a Republic but Iím afraid we have not kept it as our legislators shun reasoned principled arguments in favor of party affiliation, poll results, pressure groups, political action committees, and self aggrandizement.
We have the idea that governing is simply putting ones finger up to measure which way the wind is blowing and then voting accordingly.
I believe we are coming closer and closer to a democracy as we shed righteous judgment.
But God is indeed the righteous judge, He is indeed the perfect instructor and everything about the tabernacle shows that righteousness even when the tabernacle was in its travel mode.
Now much of Godís instruction concerning the tabernacle was in regard to its portability, for even in this, much was taught as to what status the Israelites and as a matter of fact the church is to see themselves in.
For we are to see ourselves only as pilgrims for this present Earth is not our home for this is what comes from a mind that is based on faith.
So as were all parts of the tabernacle, the Altar of Incense was built to be transported,
And there was a God given exclusive procedure for this so 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 under the bundles 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.
No efficiency measures, no introduction of new technology was permitted.
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 badgersí 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 badgersí 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 by faith.
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 that pleases God.
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 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 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).
This was evidence of Godís satisfaction with the animal offered.
This was also the site where the sin offerings for the high priest and congregation were taken to be burnt as told us in Lev. 4:12, 21), which is typical of Christ who was taken outside the gates of Jerusalem to suffer the penalty for our sins.
Hebrews 13:11-12, For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.