Exodus 30 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
Refer to the Diagram of the Tabernacle (opens in a new window or tab) in this study.
   The Golden Altar of Incense (v.1-10) -
30:1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon:
[of] shittim wood shalt thou make it.
30:2 A cubit [shall be] the length thereof,
and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be:
and two cubits [shall be] the height thereof:
the horns thereof [shall be] of the same.
30:3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold,
the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof;
and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
30:4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it,
by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make [it];
and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
30:5 And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
30:6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that [is] by the ark of the testimony,
before the mercy seat that [is] over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
30:7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning:
when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
30:8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it,
a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
30:9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice,
nor meat
{ie., 'meal'} offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
30:10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year
with the blood of the sin offering of atonements:
once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations:
it [is] most holy unto the LORD.
thou shalt make an altar... of incense.-
It seems strange, but the order of revelation skips from the "consecration of priests" (ch. 29) to the construction of another item of furniture for the Holy Place. Instructions, regarding the other pieces of furniture for the Holy Places, were given way back in ch.25. Why was there no mention of this altar until now?
There is a lesson in this order:
  -- Without the consecration of our High Priest, we would have no place of prayer.
The Golden Altar of Incense...
  • was constructed of wood, overlaid with gold- This speaks of Christ.
  • was for the purpose of burning incense.- Which speaks of prayer.
    cp. Psa 141:2; Rev 8:3,4; also Luke 1:9,10
    So, Christ is represented here, in His work of intercession. cp. Heb 7:25; Joh 17:1-26
  • was placed adjacent to the Mercy Seat, but separated from it by the Veil (v.6).-
    The prayers of priests & people arose before the LORD, like the smoke of incense filtering through the Veil.
       The Mercy Seat was the actual place of meeting with God (v.6; Ex 25:22). Yet, direct access was blocked by the veil. Thus, the Golden Altar of Incense, pertained to that meeting place, for men could come no closer. This may be the intended meaning of Heb 9:3-5 (which seems to place this altar within the Most Holy Place).
       But when the Veil was rent {ie., torn}, the separation was removed (Mat 27:50,51; Heb 4:16).
  • incense was offered morning and evening, perpetually (v.7,8).-
    This speaks of Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for His own (Heb 7:25).
  • the blood of atonement was applied to the horns of the altar of incense.-
    1. The power of our High Priest's intercession is based on His sacrifice at the Brazen Altar (Heb 9:22-24)
    2. The prayers of our High Priest benefit the 'blood bought' children of God. Joh 17:9
      Until a man "lays his hand upon" the Savior, as his substitute, he has no access to this altar.
      Until he prays "God be merciful to me, a sinner." There is no drawing near to the Mercy Seat.
    3. The blood of "the one sacrifice for sins" (Heb 10:12), provides access for those who are in Him (Heb 10:17-22). We are allowed to draw near, because we are identified with our High Priest's Person, His Sacrifice, and His Ministry. As believer-priests we share in His ministry of intercession. Eph 6:18; 1The 5:17
ye shall offer no strange incense.- cp. Lev 10:1-3
  • Strange incense and strange fire represent "all efforts of worship by the unhallowed powers of nature." [CHM]
    • 'Strange incense' suggests the substance of fleshly worship, which may be centered on ritual or tainted by corrupt doctrine.
    • 'Strange fire' suggests the enthusiasm of fleshly worship, which may move the emotions with musical or visual effects.
    • Worship, which is 'strange' to God, may seem sweet and perfectly acceptable to religious people. But the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:5-8).
         Nadab and Abihu were exercising prescribed priestly duties (eg., v.7,8), when the LORD judged them for using 'strange fire' in their censers. Apparently, they had kindled their own fire, rather than drawing from the fire which the LORD had kindled at the Brazen Altar (Lev 9:24 - 10:3). The priests were charged with maintaining that fire on the altar (Lev 6:12; cp. 16:12).
  • Acceptable worship must be kindled by the LORD.
    Worship "in Spirit and in Truth" is energized by God's Spirit and informed by God's Word:
    • The LORD is the object of worship.
    • Christ is the ground and material of worship.
    • The Holy Spirit moves the believer's heart to worship. cp. Joh 4:22-26
    "True worship begins beyond the Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver, at the Golden Altar of Incense. Sin and flesh is left behind. We are wholly at leisure from ourselves, and wholly engrossed with Christ. It is His fragrance that we offer up to God." [CHM] Heb 13:15
   The Silver of Redemption (v.11-16) -
30:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number,
then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD,
when thou numberest them;
that there be no plague among them, when [thou] numberest them.
30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered,
half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel [is] twenty gerahs:)
an half shekel [shall be] the offering of the LORD.
30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered,
from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel,
when [they] give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel,
and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation;
that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD,
to make an atonement for your souls.
every man {shall give} a ransom for his soul (v.12).-
From this offering of silver, the silver items of the Tabernacle were made (Ex 38:25-28).
No one can purchase salvation with money. cp. Psa 49:6-9
This was a token of identification with the Salvation pictured in the Tabernacle. 1Pet 1:18,19
rich... poor... (v.15) - There was one price for all, regardless of their station in life.
half a shekel, a shekel is twenty gerahs (v.13) -
A gerah was the smallest unit of money, equivalent to our penny.
Therefore, the price of redemption was merely ten cents. This shows us that:
  -- The way of redemption is open to "whosoever will." The only price is identification with Christ. cp. Joh 3:16; Rev 22:17
True worship (as despicted at the altar of incense) is possible only for the Redeemed. cp. Psa 107:2
   The Brazen Laver (v.17-21) -
30:17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
30:18 Thou shalt also make a laver [of] brass,
and his foot [also of] brass, to wash [withal]:
and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar,
and thou shalt put water therein.
30:19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
30:20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation,
they shall wash with water, that they die not;
or when they come near to the altar to minister,
to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:
30:21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not:
and it shall be a statute for ever to them,
[even] to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
a laver {ie., basin, pot} of brass...- Brass speaks of judgment.
The Laver is a type of Christ cleansing the redeemed from incidental defilement. cp. Eph 5:25-27
     In Joh 13:2-11, Jesus spoke of two aspects of cleansing. The person who had recently 'bathed' at the public bath house, but who then walked home on dusty streets, needed only to 'wash' his feet.
     In a similar way, the believer is declared fully righteous, through faith in the blood of Christ, at the moment of salvation. However, as he goes about his activities in this sinful world, he becomes defiled, due to worldly influences and his own fleshly weaknesses. Therefore, he must frequently recognize and confess his sins, to be cleansed of defilement and restored to purity. 1Joh 1:9
     [However, the person who has not bathed remains filthy, even with washed feet. Although Jesus washed the feet of all twelve disciples, Judas was 'not clean', because he had rejected the Savior. Sin must be dealt with at the Brazen Altar, before one can wash at the Brazen Laver.]
they shall wash with water, that they die not...-
In performing the work of ministry, the priest's hands would become defiled with the blood of sacrifices, and the ashes of the altar. His feet also would accumulate dust from the dirt floor of the Tabernacle court yard. While unclean, no priest would dare enter the Holy Place to worship and serve God.
First, he must wash his hands and feet, at the Laver.
True worship is only for those who are Cleansed.
  • No true communion with God is possible for the believer-priest, unless personal holiness is maintained (Joh 13:8).
       Cleansing from sin is based on the blood of Christ (1Joh 1:6-9). But a believer's cleansing from incidental sin is administered through "the washing of water by the word," as God's Word convicts of sin and conforms the heart to holiness (Eph 5:26; cp. Joh 17:17; Psa 119:9).
  • The Brazen Laver was made of "looking-glasses" (ie., mirrors, Ex 38:8), which picture one function of the Word of God (cp. Jam 1:23-25).
    The believer-priest is to examine himself, and deal with impurities as directed by the Word.
  • The more keenly we feel the "edge" of the Word, the more we shall prize the merciful ministry of our High Priest (Heb 4:12-16). [CHM]
   The Anointing Oil (v.22-33) -
30:22 Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
30:23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices
{ie., the finest spices},
of pure myrrh five hundred [shekels],
and of sweet cinnamon half so much, [even] two hundred and fifty [shekels],
and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty [shekels],
30:24 And of cassia five hundred [shekels], after the shekel of the sanctuary,
and of oil olive an hin:
30:25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment,
an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary:
it shall be an holy anointing oil.
30:26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith,
and the ark of the testimony,
30:27 And the table and all his vessels,
and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
30:28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
30:29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy:
whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30:30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them,
that [they] may minister unto me in the priest's office.
30:31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying,
This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
30:32 Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured,
neither shall ye make [any other] like it, after the composition of it:
it [is] holy, [and] it shall be holy unto you.
30:33 Whosoever compoundeth [any] like it,
or whosoever putteth [any] of it upon a stranger,
shall even be cut off from his people.
The Holy Anointing Oil - was formulated with a special recipe,
which combined olive oil and specific aromatic spices in prescribed measures.
     Some of these spices were used, by the Jews, in preparing bodies for burial. That thought foreshadows the death and burial of Christ {the Anointed One} (Joh 19:39,40).
     However, this Anointing Oil was a 'holy ointment' for the purpose of sanctification. Therefore, it could never be defiled by contact with the dead, or with unholy things. Rather, it is a type of "the varied graces of the Holy Spirit, found in their fulness in Christ" (Psa 45:8; Acts 10:38) [CHM].
...thou shalt anoint... that they may be most holy...-
  • The Tabernacle and its furnishings, the High Priest and his sons, were all anointed with this oil, for all depicted the Person and work of Christ, whose anointing is beyond measure (Joh 3:34).
       Although Aaron's ministry was only a picture of our Great High Priest, the anointing set him apart, in every aspect of his life (from head to toe), for the service of God and the blessing of His people (v.30; Ex 29:5-7; cp. Psa 133:1-3).
  • The believer-priest is also anointed, for service with our High Priest.
       Our service is to savour and to send forth His fragrance. Eph 5:2; 2Cor 2:14-16; 1Joh 2:27-29
       Flesh can neither imitate nor appreciate the fruits of the Spirit (cp. v.32,33; 1Cor 2:14; Gal 5:19-25).
       True worship and service is limited to those who belong to Christ ('strangers' are excluded). Christ's own are anointed by the Holy Spirit. Joh 4:23,24; Rom 8:8,9; Eph 2:18; 5:18,19
   The Incense for the Golden Altar (v.34-38)...
30:34 And the LORD said unto Moses,
Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum;
[these] sweet spices with pure frankincense:
of each shall there be a like [weight]:
30:35 And thou shalt make it a perfume,
a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure [and] holy:
30:36 And thou shalt beat [some] of it very small,
and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation,
where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
30:37 And [as for] the perfume which thou shalt make,
ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof:
it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.
30:38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto,
shall even be cut off from his people.
The holy incense (to be burned on the Golden Altar of Incense, cp. v.1,6-9,36)-
  1. was a special formula.- This speaks of Christ in His intercession,
    which "was given" by God, and "offered with" the prayers of the saints (Rev 8:3,4),
    yet, is distinct from and superior to their prayers.
    1. The ingredients are without measure.- The excellencies of His Person are without limit.
    2. Each are of a like weight.- Each aspect of His Person is in proper proportion.
    3. Together it was beaten "very small."-
      "The smallest incident of His life emits the same balanced fragrance of all of the divine graces." [CHM]
    4. It was "holy for the LORD."-
      • There is, in Jesus, that which only God can appreciate.
      • The fragrances of His petitions...
          -- are well pleasing to His Father.
          -- permeate the Mercy Seat "where I will meet with thee."
        Our prayers, to be accepted before the Father, must be in harmony with His.
        cp. Mat 18:19,20; 1Joh 5:14,15
  2. was not to be counterfeited (v.37) or used for personal pleasure (v.38).-
    True worship is for the LORD.
    'Worship experiences,' made for the pleasure of the flesh, are not worship at all. cp. Joh 4:23,24

Click here to continue the study in Exodus 31:1-
Return to Exodus - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from www.theBookwurm.com

Go to The Book opening page.