Exodus 30: This chapter covers the last article of furniture in the Holy Place: the altar of incense. All 3 articles of furniture speak of worship. The other two articles in the Holy Place, the lampstand and the table of showbread, speak of fellowship and meeting. The altar of incense speaks of the prayers of His people.

(Exo 30:1 NASB) “Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood.
(Exo 30:2 NASB) “Its length shall be a cubit, and its width a cubit, it shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits; its horns shall be of one piece with it.

Exo 30:2: This altar was not very big.


(Exo 30:3 NASB) “And you shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and its sides all around, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding all around for it.
(Exo 30:4 NASB) “And you shall make two gold rings for it under its molding; you shall make them on its two side walls– on opposite sides– and they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it.

Exo 30:4: This altar, like the ark of the covenant and the table of showbread, was made with acacia wood overlaid with gold. This durable, almost indestructible, hardwood speaks of the perfection of Messiah. The overlayment of gold speaks of the deity of Messiah.
This small piece of furniture had rings for staves so that it too could be carried through the wilderness on the shoulders of the Levites.


(Exo 30:5 NASB) “And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
(Exo 30:6 NASB) “And 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.

Exo 30:6: This altar was to be placed right in front of the veil leading to the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat. This is where man could come into the presence of Elohim.


(Exo 30:7 NASB) “And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps.
(Exo 30:8 NASB) “And when Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

Exo 30:8: This is not an altar for burning anything but incense.


(Exo 30:9 NASB) “You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a libation on it.

Exo 30:9: There was to be only incense placed on this altar, and only a certain kind of incense. Every time the lamps of the lampstand were to be lit, incense was to be burned on this altar.
This altar speaks of prayer (Psalm 141:2). The Revelation gives us an excellent picture of incense (Rev. 8:1-4). An angel comes to the altar which is before the throne of Elohim with a censer filled with incense. He offered the incense at the altar along with the prayers of all the saints. We are told in Rev. 8:4 that the smoke ascended to Elohim along with the prayers of the saints.
What are the prayers of the saints in Rev. 8? Most likely they are praying, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” This is a cry for the judgment of Elohim. The angel then takes the incense, sets it on fire with the judgement of Elohim, and hurls it to the earth.
Elohim was very specific as to what kind of offering was to be placed of the altar of incense. This speaks of the fact that we do not dictate how we are to come to Elohim. Elohim Himself tells us that we can only come to Him through repentance and through the sacrifice of Yeshua Messiah. He is our Great Intercessor. When we come to Elohim in prayer, we have to come through Yeshua Messiah.
When one has a realization of Messiah, can you go directly to Elohim? No. You can only come to Elohim through Yeshua Messiah. He is our High Priest up in heaven praying for us.
Only the priests could offer incense on the altar. King Uzziah was struck with leprosy when he tried to break this command from Elohim (2 Chron. 26:16-23). Man cannot attempt to just walk in on Elohim and do things his own way. Only a priest can offer incense, or prayers, up to Elohim. And a true believer in Elohim is his own priest, with Yeshua Messiah as his High Priest.
Incense was to be burned on the altar every morning and evening.


(Exo 30:10 NASB) “And Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.”

Exo 30:10: Aaron was to pour blood on the incense altar once a year on the Day of Atonement.


(Exo 30:11 NASB) The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying,
(Exo 30:12 NASB) “When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.
(Exo 30:13 NASB) “This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD.

Exo 30:13: Another requirement of the people is that they were to be ransomed if they were to worship. They had to be bought with a price. They could not come in to worship until they were redeemed.
This points to the fact that Yeshua Messiah paid our ransom for us through His death (1 Cor. 6:19-20).


(Exo 30:14 NASB) “Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD.
(Exo 30:15 NASB) “The rich shall not pay more, and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves.

Exo 30:15: The cost of atonement for sins was the same for everybody. The poor were not any better off and the rich were not any better off in Elohim’s sight. All are lost and need the same redemption.
The twentieth year is the year a man came into military service for Israel.


(Exo 30:16 NASB) “And you shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel, and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”

Exo 30:16: All of us were bought with a price and bought with the same price. The blood of our Messiah paid the price equally for all those who are chosen.


(Exo 30:17 NASB) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Exo 30:18 NASB) “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.
(Exo 30:19 NASB) “And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it;

Exo 30:19: Aaron and his sons were to wash their feet and hands before they enter the tent of meeting..


(Exo 30:20 NASB) when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD.
(Exo 30:21 NASB) “So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they may not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”

Exo 30:21: The priests could not come into the presence of Elohim unless they are cleansed. This is the meaning of traditional baptism in the Brit Hadashah. This represents the cleansing of our sins that must take place before we can approach Elohim through Messiah. We must confess our sins to be cleansed of them.
When we choose to enter the tabernacle court, atonement must first be made for our sins. This happens symbolically through the ritual killing of an animal on the brazen altar. Death is the only method of payment for our sins. In reality, this happened through the sacrificial death of Messiah as the price paid in full for our sins.
After the realization of our sinfulness and of Messiah as the payment of our sins, we must step up to the bronze laver to be cleansed. This represents the confession and repentance the Holy Spirit leads us to in order to be cleansed of our sins. The sin question must be dealt with before we can come into fellowship with Elohim.
After the sacrificial death and the necessary cleansing, we may enter into fellowship with Him. We can partake of the lampstand (representing Yeshua as the Light of the World) and the table of showbread (which represents Yeshua as the bread of life).
Then our prayers may be heard by Elohim personally through Yeshua Messiah at the altar of incense. Our prayers are taken from the altar of incense to the ark of the tabernacle and the mercy seat which is the very presence of Elohim Himself.
The whole tabernacle speaks of Messiah and the relationship we can have through Him when we submit ourselves to Him as our Master.


(Exo 30:22 NASB) Moreover, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Exo 30:23 NASB) “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty,
(Exo 30:24 NASB) and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin.

Exo 30:24: This is speaking of the ingredients needed for the anointing oil. They were very costly due to the costly transportation by land or by sea in order to get them. These all came from Egypt, but Egypt imported them from Arabia, Somoliland, India, and even China. It required huge amounts of raw material in order to manufacture the desired amount. Perfumery was a highly specialized art that required a high level of skill and experience.


(Exo 30:25 NASB) “And you shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.
(Exo 30:26 NASB) “And with it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony,

Exo 30:26: The oil of anointing described here is one that is extremely rare. As a matter of fact, some of these items cannot be determined for sure. With that being the case, there is no known way to make this oil ever again.
The prophet Daniel had a vision pertaining to the last days called vision of the 70 weeks in Daniel chapter 9:24-25. In that vision, he stated that in the last days, the Most Holy would be anointed. This is probably in reference to Messiah Himself being anointed with the holy oil referenced in Exodus 30: 25-26.
There are rumors that some of this anointing oil was found in a qumran cave. I do not trust the source and I doubt it is true.


(Exo 30:27 NASB) and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense,
(Exo 30:28 NASB) and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand.
(Exo 30:29 NASB) “You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be holy.

Exo 30:29: There are many folks in Israel that are remaking these utensils just as prescribed in this passage in order to allegedly get ready for Temple worship once again. But since there is nothing in Scripture concerning the rebuilding of the Temple before the return of Messiah, so that is ridiculous.


(Exo 30:30 NASB) “And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister as priests to Me.
(Exo 30:31 NASB) “And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.
(Exo 30:32 NASB) ‘It shall not be poured on anyone’s body, nor shall you make any like it, in the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you.
(Exo 30:33 NASB) ‘Whoever shall mix any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a layman, shall be cut off from his people.'”

Exo 30:33: The anointing oil is not like anything else made in that day or any other day. It was extremely unique.


(Exo 30:34 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each.
(Exo 30:35 NASB) “And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.
(Exo 30:36 NASB) “And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.

Exo 30:36: The incense also was very special and the ingredients have also seemingly been lost.


(Exo 30:37 NASB) “And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD.
(Exo 30:38 NASB) “Whoever shall make any like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people.”

Exo 30:38: This incense was not intended to make worship more acceptable for natural man. You cannot make worship desirable to sinful mankind. The highest form of worship of the Father is to live our lives as He commands. But natural man will not like it. It will not make sense to him.
Elohim makes these very strict requirements to demonstrate that man cannot come to Elohim by His own devices. He must come to Elohim in the way that is pleasing to Elohim and not by a way that is pleasing to man. Man must come to Elohim through Yeshua Messiah and through repentance.

Elohim makes these very strict requirements to demonstrate that man cannot come to Elohim by His own devices. He must come to Elohim in the way that is pleasing to Elohim and not by a way that is pleasing to man. Man must come to Elohim through Yeshua Messiah and through repentance.

Patrick McGuire

Copyright 2014
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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