Exodus Chapter 30 Incense, Ransom Money and Anointing Oil

Nov 13, 2013  |  Exodus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

This chapter continues God’s commands specifying the physical elements of worship for the children of Israel.

The Altar of Incense

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As God specifies the details of His temple, he commands the construction of a 3 foot tall altar for burning incense.  What does this mean for us, today?  Incense was part of the ritual the priests performed to approach the throne of God.  Christians, due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, may approach the throne of God without fear.  Incense was also used to honor God – in

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, the angels offer incense to God along with the prayers of the saints.  This implies that our prayers are, like incense, a sweet aroma to God.

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Some of the details about the incense altar are interesting.  It was to be placed in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the testimony where God said He would meet Aaron.  Aaron was to burn incense every morning and every evening.  If our prayers are like incense, shouldn’t we be intentionally offering our prayers every morning and evening as well?  This is another perpetual ordinance, thus it is a continual instruction for us as well.

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It is an interesting admonition not to burn strange incense nor to offer an unauthorized sacrifice on the altar of incense.

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The other purpose for the altar was for atonement on the annual Day of Atonement.  It was to be sacred and not used for any other purpose.

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God next commands a census and a monetary offering as a ransom for the lives of the Israelites.   It’s interesting to me that each man chose to be numbered, i.e. ransomed, and there was a fixed amount for that ransom.  This ransom was also for atonement, but atonement for their lives as opposed to the annual atonement for their sin.

For Christians, Jesus provided atonement for both our sin and our lives, but we also must decide to be numbered.  We need to consciously choose to accept the free gift of salvation in order to receive the much needed atonement.

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God is a holy God and commanded that His priests be clean before approaching Him. This was also to protect them, so when they came into the presence of God they would not die.  So, too, must we be clean before coming before Almighty God, but for us it is a spiritual cleansing by the blood of the lamb.

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I find it interesting that God provides so much detail in His instruction, down to the recipe for anointing oil and incense. In this section, He commands Israel to anoint the areas of worship and the priests.  He prohibits the use of the anointing oil from any other purpose.  Through anointing, the areas of worship are set aside for God and the priests are sanctified before God.

The recipe for the incense is given here as well, with the admonition not to use it for any other purpose or the offenders would be cut off from the community.  Although it seems harsh, it is an indication of the importance of being set apart to worship our Holy God.

 

 

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