Exodus Chapter 30

EXODUS – Chapter 30 – Chapter 457

FURTHER ESSENTIALS FOR TABERNACLE WORSHIP

This chapter continues the instructions of Yahweh to Moses regarding the construction of the tabernacle and its accessories. It treats with the altar of incense, the ransom of souls, the laver, the holy anointing oil, and the composition of the incense.

The Altar of Incense — vv. 1-10.

It was similar in appearance to the brazen altar, though smaller in size. Instead of being plated with brass or copper, it was covered with gold. Whereas sinners approach the brazen altar that they may be constituted saints; saints approach the altar of incense that they may commune with God.

VERSE 1

"And thou shalt make an altar" The word is miz.beach from zabak, to slaughter. Thus, although no animal was offered upon it, it was given the same name as the altar of sacrifice, being an extension of it. Only after an offering had been made on the brazen altar could the priest approach the golden altar. This teaches that true worship can only be offered in Christ. We must first make contact with him as the brazen altar, before we can properly enjoy the privilege and communion of complete prayer.

 

"To burn incense upon" — The word "incense" is qetoreth in Hebrew, from qatar, "to drive out, to smoke." The word speaks of the purifying effect of prayer (see Psa. 141:2; Luke 1:9-10). In Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4, incense is used as a symbol for prayer, and represents the fulness of the incense principle.

"Of shittim wood shalt thou make it" - See note ch. 25:5. The Oxford Gesenius suggests that this was a loan word from Egypt. If so, it was a reminder of the Egyptian character of flesh. Strong derives the word from the root shotet, "to pierce, scourge" (cp. Josh. 23:13). It is identified with the acacia, from its scourging thorns. W. Brown in The Antiquities Of The Jews, claims: "The original word comes from a root which signifies that which is 'despised, hated, or persecuted'." It thus represents human nature which must be pierced or crucified, or it will in turn pierce or crucify. See notes, Exo. 25:5.

VERSE 2

"A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof" Assuming the cubit is 45cm (18 in.), this altar was 56cm square. Therefore it was not large, and as it was related to prayer, we are warned against lengthy prayers consisting of empty words and vain repetition, expressed by those who "think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" (Mat. 6:5-13).

 

"Foursquare shall it be" — See note, ch.27:l.

 

"And two cubits shall be the height thereof It was only about one metre (3 ft.) high.

"The horns thereof shall be of the same" This description is similar to that of the brazen altar (see our notes on ch. 27:2). The blood of certain sin offerings was smeared on the horns of this altar (Lev. 4:7, 18). Horns are the symbol of power. Here they tell of the power of prayer reaching to the four corners of the earth.

VERSE 3

"And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold" — This is a contrast to the brazen altar. Gold is the symbol of a tried faith, and as the altar is identified with prayer, the symbolism speaks of the "prayer of faith" (James 5:16 — See our exposition in the book Making Prayer Powerful). Though there were close links between the two altars, there also were points of contrast. The brazen altar was outside, and the golden altar inside. The former was made of wood overlaid with brass; the latter of wood overlaid with gold. The first altar had no crown; the second had a crown. The first altar represented Christ in his humiliation, it was related to him as a sacrifice; the second represented him in his glory, at the right hand of the Father. The brazen altar was the place of suffering, and typified Christ as Sacrifice and Saviour. The golden altar was the place of glory, nd typified Christ as Mediator and Redeemer. Sinners came to the first to be made saints; saints made their way into the second to worship Yahweh acceptably.

"The top thereof — The Hebrew word is gog and represents the roof, the chief (see margin).

 

"And the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof — It was entirely enclosed with gold, symbolising a tried faith (IPet. 1:7). The word for "sides" is rendered "walls" in the margin; so that the altar of prayer had its roof and its walls. Hence it was a "house of prayer" (cp. Isa. 56:7).

 

"And thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about" — The crown of gold probably acted as an enclosure to keep the fire intact. It symbolised the victory of faith in prayer (see note, Exo. 25:25).

VERSE 4

"And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it" — The endless rings speak of eternity: the reward of faith.

 

"By the two corners thereof The New Old Testament renders "by" as "upon." Hence the rings of the altar of incense were upon its corners. But what were the corners? The word in the Hebrew is tsalath or sides; a cognate word to that rendered "ribs" in Genesis 2, and which likewise should be rendered as "side."

 

"Upon the two sides of it shalt thou make if" The word "sides" is tsadi, as in ch. 25:32.

 

"And they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal" — The word "places" signifies "houses" in Hebrew; hence a dwelling place for the staves. See note, ch. 25:27.

VERSE 5

"And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold" — See notes above.

VERSE 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 you" — The position of this altar was in the direct line of approach to the mercy seat which represented the dwelling place of Yahweh in Israel. It provided the means of personal approach to the throne on high. By means of prayer we can freely "enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19). This is "the new and living way" opened up by Christ that enables believers to enter in beyond the veil (see Heb. 10:20). In the tabernacle, the veil closed off contact with the Most Holy, which Christ has now opened.

 

V ERSE 7

"And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning" — The Hebrew renders the phrase: incense of spices (see mg.), and the component spices are outlined in vv. 34-38. Incense was offered both morning and evening. It symbolised prayer (Psa. 141:2; Rev. 5:8) so that when the incense ascended, the people lifted up their voices to God (Lk. 1:10).

 

"When he dresseth the lamps" — The lamps of the golden lampstand were to be trimmed and cleaned, their wicks looked to, and fresh oil added, if necessary, every morning and evening (see comment on ch. 27:21). This duty devolved on the priests.

 

"He shall burn incense upon it" — The light of the lampstand symbolised the illumination of the Word of God, and the burning of incense symbolised prayer, so these enactments caused the Word and Prayer to be used in conjunction with each other (Rom. 8:26; Eph. 2:18; Jude 20). Whenever we study God's Word, we should first seek His guidance, and continue to minister within the divine illumination.

VERSE 8

"And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it" — There is a close link between the lampstand and the altar. Instead of "lighteth," the margin gives the literal meaning of the Hebrew: "causeth to ascend" (see note, 25:37). We shine best before men (lampstand) when our hearts ascend most to Yahweh (altar of incense).

 

Great things have happened at such a time, illustrating how powerful prayer can be. Consider Elijah on Mount Carmel (lKgs. 18:36-38); Daniel before Gabriel (Dan. 9:21); Peter and John at the temple (Acts 3:1); Cornelius seeking help (Acts 10:30-31); the Lord upon the cross (Mat. 27:45-51). All took place at the appointed time of prayer.

 

"A perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations" — The efficacy of prayer has not lessened because the altar of incense is not longer used. The principle remains for spiritual Israel to apply (see Luke 18:1; Phil. 4:6; lThes.5:17).

VERSE 9

"Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon" — Specific details are given regarding the composition of the incense to be offered thereon (see νv. 34-38). Two of Aaron's sons perished because they defied this ordinance (Lev. 10:1). Prayer should not be entered upon lightly, but offered with due consideration of its solemn importance. We must not use an easy familiarity in our approach to Yahweh, but manifest a respectful and reverent attitude as we approach before the eternal Deity.

 

"Nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon" — The service of the golden altar was to be distinct from that of the brazen altar in the court, though used in conjunction with it. Its sacrifices were those of the heart, the calves of the lips: in emotion and expression (Heb. 13:15).

VERSE 10

"And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year" — On the great day of atonement (the tenth day of the seventh month), after burning incense within the veil, and sprinkling the blood of a bullock and a ram towards the mercy seat, the high priest was to take of the blood, and put it on the horns of the altar of incense "to make an atonement for it; to cleanse and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel" (Lev. 16:18-19). This presents the same lesson as the "cleansing" of the brazen altar (cp. notes, Exo. 29:36).

 

Christ is the antitypical altar of sacrifice, and altar of incense. He had first to be "cleansed" of human nature before his sacrifice became truly efficacious; and the same applies to prayer. Prayer was not offered through him until he had died and "was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). The Lord told the disciples: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name" (John 16:24), but he went on to say that this would be changed, and henceforth they should ask in his name as the medium of approach to the Father. As the antitypi-cal altar of incense, atonement had been made, and now prayers are offered through him.

 

"With the blood of the sin offering of atonements" — The altar of incense became the channel of prayer, and the fact that it became so through sacrifice taught that prayer is unacceptable except through the sin offering. This was further impressed by another use which was made of this altar. When the high priest had sinned in his official character, and offered a sin offering for his cleansing (Lev. 4:3-12), or when the whole congregation had committed an offence through inadvertence, and offered the same (vv. 13-21), the high priest was to put the blood of the sacrifice on the horns of the altar of incense. This taught that confession of sin should be made in prayer.

 

"Once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto Yahweh" — The altar of incense acted as a link between the Holy and Most Holy places. It is most significant, that in describing these two sections of the tabernacle, Paul makes no mention of the altar of incense, but refers to the golden censer as being in the Most Holy (Heb. 9:3-4). Thus his "exposition had relation to the tabernacle on a certain occasion: the day of atonement. On that solemn day a golden censer of burning incense was taken into the Most Holy itself (Lev. 16:12-13) as representing the altar of incense which, in consequence, is not mentioned by the writer. The symbolism taught that through prayer, we can enter the Most Holy itself "by the blood of Jesus," our sin offering (Heb. 10:19).

 

In consequence of this symbolism, the altar of incense is styled "the altar that belonged to the oracle" (1Kgs. 6:22, RV). Christ, as our altar of incense, is "most holy unto Yahweh," as was the altar in the tabernacle. Whereas the brazen altar commenced acceptable worship by providing the means of atonement, the golden altar completed the process by providing a channel of communion.

The Ransom Of Souls — vv. 11-16.

There was to be no placing of confidence in flesh, no glorying in numbers, but a recognition that everyone was dependent upon Almighty God for salvation. Accordingly, whenever, for any purpose, a census of Israelites had to be taken, the principle that "the flesh profiteth nothing" was brought home by every individual paying a "ransom for his soul.'7 The word "ransom" means expiation, and conveys the same idea as atonement (v. 15). Payment of this ransom was obligatory; failure to do so could result in a plague upon offenders. The payment also brought home to a person his real worth in the sight of Yahweh.

VERSE 11

"And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying" — Further important laws are now given for Israel follow.

VERSE 12

"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number" — Whenever a census was to be taken, this ransom money had to be paid. Examples of such numberings are recorded in Exo. 38:25 and Num. 1:2; 26:2.

 

"Then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto Yahweh, when thou numberest them" — The word "ransom" is kopher, "cover," from kaphar, "atonement" (see v. 15). The payment of this ransom reminded every Israelite that he owed his life unto Yahweh, and because of the consciousness of his own failings, there had to be a recognition of his personal unworthiness to be numbered among the people of God. The ransom money paid is contrasted by Peter to "the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:19).

 

"That there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them" The payment of such a sum was calculated to humble each Israelite, to remind him that he was related to death, and, in need of Yahweh's mercy and grace. If, through pride or presumption, the payment was not made, the plague of death would retain its power and destroy those guilty of such. Even forgetfulness would be so punished (see 2Sam. 24:15).

VERSE 13

"This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary" — The shekel so defined was a weight of silver (see Lev. 5:15), so that symbolically silver became the metal of redemption. The words of Yahweh, which reveal the means of redemption to a believer, are likened to pure silver refined in a furnace of earth (the flesh, Psa. 12:6). Solomon taught that divine wisdom which develops faith (true gold) and brings to light the principles of redemption (true silver) "is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold" (Pro. 3:14).

 

How much, in money value, did an Israelite have to pay as a ransom for his soul, and his life (as the word signifies)? What will a man give for his life when held to ransom? He will give everything, mortgaging every possession to keep his hold on life. And merely for a few short years of frustration and disappointment leading to death!

 

But what about the redemption of life by the bestowal of immortality? How much is that worth! All the wealth in the world cannot purchase it: "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him (for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever); That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption" (Psa. 49:6-9).

 

To bring that principle home to the people, and to humble them as to their real value, in this age of inflation, the half shekel of silver has been rated at about 50 cents. A man could look at that coin in his hand, and consider that God so considers his worth as 50 cents! Or, on the other hand, he could view it as a mere token of a price beyond his ability to pay. He would then see, in the pitifully inadequate sum, a manifestation of the goodness and grace of Yahweh. As he contemplated the beneficence of Yahweh towards him, in the small amount that he was compelled to pay, he might be induced to manifest a similar beneficence and mercy towards his fellowmen. The parable of the unforgiving debtor (Mat. 18:23-35) is illustrative of our responsibilities towards each other in view of the mercy and forgiveness we receive from God. Compare the 50 cents in value, which we might render unto the Father in service and thanks for all He has done for us, in comparison with the great price that actually has been paid for our redemption (1Pet. 1:18)!

 

"(A shekel is twenty gerahs)" — A half shekel, therefore, represented ten gerahs, and ten is the number of fulness. If Israel provided one half shekel of redemption money, who completes the shekel? Surely Gentile believers, so making the shekel complete.

 

The word "shekel" comes from a root signifying to suspend, as though incomplete. The word "gerah" is the name given to a berry, like a bean, twenty of which made a shekel, being about 15 grams (half an ounce). It signifies "to drag or bring up; hence to ruminate," and as such it is related to chewing the cud. What a significant word to use in this relationship!

 

Each Israelite had to bring ten gerahs, and the number "ten" has the spiritual significance of fulness. This taught that Yahweh did not merely want their ten gerahs of silver, or the redemption money. He sought their ten gerahs of thoughtful meditation on all that He had done for them.

 

"An half shekel shall be the offering of Yahweh" — The census revealed that some 603,550 men had to pay the half shekel of silver (Exo. 38:25-26). Though the amount paid was small in regard to each individual, it made a good sum when accumulated. So with the Truth. Though an ecclesia may be small in number, its members will make up part of that great company of people "which no man could number" (Rev. 7:9), who, though humbled by Yahweh, have performed a useful service in His ministry.

 

The silver given was to be devoted to "the service of the tabernacle" (Exo. 30:16). It provided the means for the silver sockets of the tabernacle, and hooks for the pillars upon which was displayed the veil. Significantly, the silver sockets provided the foundation of the tabernacle, teaching that the basis of "the ecclesia in the wilderness" (whether in Old Testament times or now) is the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ; whilst the hooks, displaying the veil which set forth the work of Yahweh in Christ, are expressive of ecclesial members proclaiming the Truth set forth before men.

VERSE 14

"Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto Yahweh" — The age of twenty was considered the age of maturity, when an Israelite became liable for military duties (Num. 1:3), and Levites began their service in the temple (1Chr. 23:24). Likewise, young people in the ecclesias should reach forth to maturity in Christ, giving themselves to the fight of faith, assuming responsibilities for the service of the Brotherhood.

VERSE 15

"The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel" — A wealthy, successful man might imagine that he was worth more than his poor brother, and therefore seek to give more, but the Law reduced all to one common level. The king on his throne, the shepherd leading the sheep: both were equally in need of redemption, and the price of this for one was exactly the same as for the other. Each one had to pay for himself. The poor had to make his contribution, and in doing so, reached equality with the wealthiest of the land; whilst the latter was brought down to a common level with his poorer brother. Thus, salvation in Christ illustrates that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free... for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).

 

Christ similarly paid the redemption money (Mat. 17:24-27). By then, payment of a yearly tribute had become a custom brought about, based upon the ransom money required under the Law. Originally, the instructions, as outlined in the chapter before us, provided that it should be paid only when a census was taken, but Jewish tradition had converted this into a kind of yearly temple tax. Therefore, there was no obligation according to the Law for the Lord to pay the tax, but in his humility he complied with the requirements of the time, "lest we should offend," as he told Peter. He did so voluntarily, generously (v. 27), and not out of necessity: and therefore, humbled himself to comply — a spirit we should learn to emulate.

 

"When they give an offering unto Yahweh, to make an atonement for your souls" — The lives of Israelites were forfeited if they failed to carry out the instructions completely.

VERSE 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" — The ransom money provided silver for the sockets that supported the boards of the tabernacle, and for the hooks, capitals and connecting rods of the pillars surrounding the court (Exo. 38:25-28). Thus every Israelite was represented in the tabernacle, doing service to the glory of Yahweh.

 

What does this mean to us today? What is the token money we offer back to Yahweh as payment for His grace and mercy? It is our humble service in the things of the Truth. In comparison to the blessings we receive from God, our sacrifices are like a mere "50 cents," in contrast to the wealth of the world. But by the combined efforts of many they can become great in what is accomplished, and provide pleasure for Yahweh. The humble efforts of faithful men and women are not to be despised, and are not disdained by the Father and Son. By co-operation in the support (sockets) and display (hooks, etc.) of the Truth, fruit can be brought forth to the glory of Yahweh (see John 15:2, 5, 16). "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (v. 8). The co-operation of humble labourers in the things of God can produce great results through His blessing.

 

"That it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before Yahweh" — As a memorial, the payment of this money, and the terms that governed it, were designed to be thoughtfully considered by true Israelites, that they might see beyond the obvious facts to the underlying principles, and reach forth to the spiritual lessons intended to be revealed thereby.

 

It was a memorial before Yahweh. Israelites are called upon to consider its teaching in the light of His revelation.

 

"To make an atonement for your souls" — An "Israelite indeed" would see that this pointed forward to the true atonement in Christ (1Pet. 1:18-20). It is obvious that the Psalmist meditated upon this ordinance, and recognising the limitations of the Law, looked forward to the complete redemption to be brought about through the means of the Seed of the Woman promised at the very beginning (see Psa. 49). Notice that this Psalm 49 is "for the sons of Korah." Koran perished in the great revolt, as did his companions in crime, together with their families. But the sons of Korah were saved from that catastrophe, for in some way they were separated from the sin of their parent, and preserved from the disgrace and death that overcame him. This incident reveals that Yahweh is always just in His judgment and does not act causelessly toward His people (Eze. 14:23).

The Laver — vv. 17-21.

Very little is recorded concerning this mportant piece of furniture. We are not told its shape or size, nor the manner in which it was covered or conveyed when taken from place to place. So much concerning it is enshrouded in mystery. But even this is appropriate. For the laver represents the Word of God upon which so many have stumbled. The gospel in Christ is described as "the revelation of the mystery [secret], which was kept secret since the world began" (Rom. 16:25).

VERSE 17

"And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying" — Further instructions are now given concerning the laver in the outer court of the tabernacle.

V ERSE 18

"Thou shalt also make a laver" The word in the Hebrew is kiyor, and J. Strong gives its meaning as something round. It is from a root signifying to excavate or dig, which is most appropriate in view of the type. The laver represented the Word of God, shown beyond doubt by Paul's use of it in Eph. 5:26, "That he [Christ] might sanctify and cleanse it [the ecclesia] by the laver of water, by the Word."

 

The word "washing" in this verse is loutron in the Greek, and signifies bath or laver. The laver, therefore, relates not to baptism as such, but to the Word of God that makes baptism valid. The priests washed at the laver both before and after attending the altar of sacrifice (Exo. 40:30-33); before ministering at the altar, and before entering the tabernacle proper. The antitype is revealed in the influence and need of the Word both before baptism (i.e., in making contact with Christ as the altar of sacrifice), and after baptism (when walking in the holy place in the course of daily life). It is appropriate that the laver should be round (as the Hebrew intimates) for it reveals the way to life eternal, symbolised by the unending circle.

"Of brass" — Most likely copper or bronze (a mixture of tin and copper then in frequent use). The metal, having gone through the fire to purify it and make it malleable, represents the flesh purified by the trials of life upon the basis of the Word of Life (Num. 16:37-38).

 

The laver represents the Word of God, but by what means has it been given? Through the channel of flesh specially prepared for the purpose, for "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2Pet. 1:21; Heb. 1:1). The prophets were men of flesh, but through divine inspiration, they have given unto us the infallible Word.

 

"And his foot also of brass, to wash withal" — The word for "foot" is ken, from a root signifying, to stand erect, to be upright. It is rendered "faithfulness" (Psa. 5:9), "establish" (2Sam. 7:12; Psa. 89:2, 4), which the antitypical laver-washing is intended to accomplish.

 

Its shape is not given, but some have suggested that it was a wide shallow bowl into which the water from the large upper reservoir could pour. Eastern people do not wash in a bowl or basin, but always in running water, if at all possible. If a basin is used, the water is poured over the part of the body to be washed. Accordingly, in connection with the laver, Kitto writes: "Our impression is that the laver, whatever were its shape, stood upon another basin, more wide and shallow, as a cup on a saucer; and that the latter received, from cocks or spouts in the upper basin, the water, which was allowed to escape when the priests washed themselves with the water which fell from the upper basin. If by 'under-basin' we understand the 'foot' of the text, the sense is clear. The text does not say that the priests were to wash themselves in the basin, but at it. In it they could not well wash their hands and feet if the laver was of any height. The rabbis say the laver had several cocks, or 'nipples' as they call them, from which the water was let out as wanted. There were several such spouts, but the number is differently stated. How the priests washed their hands and feet at the laver seems uncertain. That they did not wash in either the laver or its basin seems clear, because then the water in which they washed would have been rendered impure by those who washed before or with them; and as we know that Orientals do not like to wash in a basin, after our manner, in which the water with which we commence washing is clearer than that with which we finish, but at a falling stream, where each successive effusion is of clean water, we incline to think that the priests either washed themselves with the stream as it fell from the spouts into the base, or else received in proper vessels so much water as they needed for the occasion. The Orientals, in their washings, make use of a vessel with a long spout, and wash at the stream which issues from thence, the waste water being received into a basin which is placed underneath. This seems to us to illustrate the idea of the laver and its base, as well as the ablutions of the priests. The laver had thus its upper-basin, from which the stream fell, and the under-basin for receiving the waste water; or it is quite compatible with the same idea and practice to suppose that, to prevent too great an expenditure of water, they received a quantity in separate vessels, using it as described, and the base receiving the water which in washing fell from their hands and feet. This explanation, although it seems to us probable, is, necessarily, conjectural. The Jewish commentators say that any kind of water might be used for the laver; but that it was to be changed every day. They also state that ablution before entering the tabernacle was in no case dispensed with. A man might be perfectly clean, might be quite free from any ceremonial impurity and might even have washed his hands and feet before he left home, but still he could by no means enter the tabernacle without previously washing at the laver."

 

The evidence seems strong, that the laver was round in shape, and that it stood in a shallow base like a huge cup in a saucer, and that the water was received through spouts or taps. It certainly suggests the type. The circular form of the laver suggests immortality, for its rim is never ending; whilst running water speaks of living water, the water of life.

 

"And thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar" — The laver stood in this prominent position as an important lesson to all Israel. Placed between the altar and the tabernacle, it reminded worshippers that those who bear the vessels of Yahweh had to be clean (Isa. 52:11).

 

Therefore, before engaging upon any of the work set them to do, the priests were publicly seen to wash themselves in its water, representative of the Truth (Psa. 119:9; John 15:3; 17:17). The Word must be our guide, cleansing our actions: "When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee" (Pro. 6:22).

 

"And thou shalt put water therein" — In itself, the laver was useless, an empty vessel, without the water; the Bible is of little use unless its message is understood. When this is heeded, and becomes the motivating influence of our lives, it will cleanse us of evil, and guide us in the way that Yahweh would have us go. The Word reveals sin for what it is (Rom. 3:20), enables a believer to recognise "what manner of person he is" (James 1:23-25), and teaches him of the way that is pleasing to God.

VERSE 19

"For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat" — Aaron and his sons had been thoroughly washed at their consecration as priests (Exo. 29:4), but because of the proneness of flesh to go astray, additional periodic cleansing was required (Psa. 26:6; John 13:10; Eph. 5:26-27). Having been educated in the Word, believers are consecrated as priests in baptism (1Pet. 2:9). But can they henceforth ignore the Word? By no means! Constant study and meditation thereon, is necessary. There must be a continual "increase in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10) if they are to retain their virility in His service; otherwise they would become useless in the service of Yahweh.

 

Accordingly, the priests of Israel were seen to frequently wash at the laver; and our attention to the "washing of the Word" (Eph. 5:26) must be evident to others.

VERSE 20

"When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not" — This solemn warning emphasizes the importance of regular Bible study. In his last exhortation to Israel, Moses called upon the people to "set their hearts unto all the words" he had placed before them; for, said he, "it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life" (Deu. 32:46-47). The subsequent failure of the nation was due to their neglect of this essential quality (Jer. 13:11).

 

"Or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto Yahweh" — Worship in the absence of the cleansing influence of the Word avails nought. The washing at the laver before offering the burnt sacrifice demonstrated what the offerer should do: give himself completely to the will of God through the influence of the Word.

VERSE 21

"So they shall wash their hands and feet, that they die not" — Hands and feet symbolically point to work and walk. These must be according to the will of Yahweh, and not according to what we assume would please Him. So stringent was the law, that the death penalty was the price paid for ignoring it. The preparation for service on the part of the priests therefore required:

[1] Their nakedness be properly covered (Exo. 28:43) — the antitype is the covering of Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:26-28). The principle of preparation.

[2] They constantly wash at the laver (Exo. 30:21) — the antitype is the constant reading of the Word (Eph. 5:26-27). The principle of application.

[3] Their sound to be heard in the Holy Place (Exo. 28:35) — the antitype is the constant preaching of the gospel by those in Christ. The principle of activity and performance.

 

There is an important progression of ideas thus set forth for believers to emulate today.

 

"And it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations" — The principles remain to be observed to this day.

The Holy Anointing Oil — vv. 22-23.

Moses is instructed to make a special anointing oil. It is to be used exclusively for those things and persons as Yahweh should direct. It consecrated them, set them apart from others for His especial use. It conferred divine authority upon them in the work set them to do. Its anti-type is the Word of God, described also as the Truth (John 6:63; Eph. 6:17; 1John 5:7). An understanding of the Word brings with it responsibility to obey, and therefore is the medium of sanctification (John 17:17).

 

VERSE 22

"Moreover Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying" — This statement introduces a new subject to the narrative.

VERSE 23

"Take thou also unto thee principal spices" — The word besemim signifies "fragrance." There was to be a pleasing odour about the anointing oil which finds its antitype in actions motivated by the Spirit-Word (cp. Phil. 4:18).

 

"Of pure myrrh five hundred shekels" — The word derowr rendered "pure" actually signifies "free running," hence suggestive of spontaneous reaction to an influence. The RV renders it as "flowing." It is translated "liberty" in Lev. 25:10; Isa. 61:1; Jer. 34:8, 15, 17; Eze. 46:17. As to identification of the myrrh, Zondervan \s Encyclopaedia of the Bible states: "It is generally agreed that myrrh came from Commiphora Myrrha, which grows in Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Arabia. The trunk is large and carries numerous knotted branches, the outer bark of which is thin and papery. Small leaves grow in clusters on the wood. When the bark is pierced, a thick white gum appears, which hardens and turns reddish on exposure to the air. This aromatic gum is gathered and taken to market, where it has been sold as a spice or medicine from the earliest times."

 

Though the gum exudes naturally from the branches, any artificial incision will produce an immediate supply. It then becomes "flowing myrrh."

 

The word "myrrh" comes from a root signifying, bitterness. Indeed, the taste of the gum is bitter, but its smell is agreeable. It is, therefore, an apt ingredient for the anointing oil, related as it is to the Spirit-Word. When Ezekiel and John were given scrolls of the Word of God to eat, they found the experience both sweet and bitter (Eze. 3:3, 14; Rev. 10:9). This first ingredient of the anointing oil spoke of the bitter-sweet experiences occasioned by viewing life from the standpoint of the Word.

 

The weight of five hundred shekels suggests the abundance of grace.

 

"And of sweet cinnamon" — In its Hebrew form the word "sweet" (bedem) suggests that which is fragrant or spicy, whilst the word "cinnamon" (qinnamown) signifies that which is erect or upright. This is appropriate to the symbol. The Spirit-Word will cause a person to become fragrant and upright. The spice was obtained from the inner bark of the Cin-namomum Zeylanicum, a tree that grows to about ten metres (30 ft.) high, and is native of Ceylon or India. Its presence in the anointing oil suggests the development of an inner life, "the man within." When processed, it produces a golden oil suggestive of faith that comes through "hearing the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

 

"Half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels" — Only half as much cinnamon, as myrrh, is to be supplied, perhaps because fewer are prepared to dig deeper into the Word.

 

"And of sweet calamus" — This is a translation of the Hebrew qanech signifying erect, and relating to a fragrant cane whose root is highly prized as a spice. It is said that the fragrance is more pronounced when the cane is bruised. This is also the reaction of those motivated by the Word, when subjected to trial. The same word is used for the measuring reed of Eze. 40:3.

 

"Two hundred and fifty shekels" See note above. The cinnamon and calamus together add to the five hundred shekels: both elements being required to produce the "grace" here represented.

VERSE 24

"And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary" The Hebrew word qiddah is from a root signifying, to shrivel up, to bend the body or neck in deference. Cassia is a coarser variety of cinnamon.

 

"And of oil olive an hin" — The olive is used frequently as a symbol; see note on Exo. 27:20. The measure hin is of Egyptian origin, and is approximately 3.5 litres (6 pints).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VERSE 25

"And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment" — In v. 31 this is rendered as "an holy anointing oil." It was holy because it was separated for exclusive use, with a specific prohibition against others using it (cp. v. 32).

 

Oil is a symbol of the Spirit of God. The Hebrew word, shemen has the idea of richness, such as seen in the flowing liquid. Being "holy," the oil was to be used solely for the divine purpose, and represents Yahweh's selection of a people who manifest His characteristics.

 

This principle was only perfectly fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was anointed with the Spirit, and so received the title of Christ (Heb. 1:9; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38). But his true status as such was acknowledged after his resurrection to spirit-nature (Acts 2:36; Rom. 1:4).

 

A person or thing anointed by God's appointment was set apart for the office or purpose to which either he or it was called, whether it be as king, priest, prophet, place of authority, or of worship. Inanimate objects such as the tabernacle, and its furniture, were anointed to show that Yah-weh laid claim to them, and that they, too, were separated for exclusive use as required by God. The anointing with oil as far as individuals were concerned was a symbol of endowment with the Spirit of God (1Sam. 10:1,6; 16:13; Isa. 61:1) by which a person received guidance in the execution of his high office.

 

The term "Holy Spirit," however, can apply to the Word of God (see John 6:63; Eph. 6:17; Uohn 5:7). In his prayer to the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ referred to this as the medium of sanctification (John 17:17). It is sometimes called "the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16-17) because it was revealed through the spirit-power of God (Heb. 1:1; 2Pet. 1:21; IPet. 4:14; Rev. 2:11).

 

Having come to an understanding of the Spirit-Word, a person must allow its influence to motivate him, for, figuratively, he is anointed with it (see Uohn 2:26-28).

 

Hence the special anointing oil has an application to the Word of God in its influence upon believers today.

 

The number of ingredients is also important. It was compounded, as we have seen, of four basic spices mixed with olive oil, making five ingredients in all. Five is the number of grace, and the purpose of anointing is that divine grace may be revealed for the edification and help of man. However, different quantities are given of the spices: twice as much myrrh and cassia than of cinnamon and calamus, the whole being divisible into six parts of 250 shekels each.

PRINCIPLES OF THE ANOINTING OIL

Consider the five ingredients in regard to their application upon believers:

 

Free-flowing myrrh Bitter; fragrant: the different experiences of life occasioned by the knowledge of the Truth.

Sweet Cinnamon — The inner life of uprightness: the mental development of the divine wisdom.

Sweet Calamus To be erect, upstanding: such qualities stem from understanding, and develop a spiritual attitude in life. Hence, "Quit you like men, be strong" (1Cor. 16:13). "Endure hardness" (2Tim. 2:3). As calamus produces its best fragrance through bruising, so the disciple develops through the trials of life (Heb. 12:11).

 

Cassia — to shrivel; bend over: manifested in a responsive attitude. Thus, to bow the head in reverential worship, an aspect of maturity and respect to the holy things of Yahweh.

 

Olive Oil — God manifestation and faith, suggested by the purple ripeness of the olive berry, and the golden colour of the pure oil. When all spices are combined in the life of the believer, as the golden oil of faith (Zech. 4:12), a fulness of quality will be seen in the principles of God manifested in heart, mind and life.

THE ANOINTING OF CHRIST

Now consider the effect of the anointing upon the Lord who had poured upon him the Holy Spirit without measure (see Isa. 11:2).

 

Myrrh (500 shekels, or two parts): Wisdom and understanding. Thus life-giving words dropped freely from Christ's lips (John 18:20). Though he experienced bitterness, his life was blended with fragrance as he learned "obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8).

 

Cinnamon (250 shekels): Counsel, the inner thought, the mind of Christ which found reflection in the expression of his lips.

 

Calamus (250 shekels): Might. In spite of all opposition and bruising from men, the Lord remained erect, upstanding, and strong in the work of his Father.

 

Cassia (500 shekels): Another double portion: the knowledge and fear of Yah-weh, inducing reverential worship.

 

Olive Oil: The separating principle. The oil blended all the spices together and made them effective for anointing.

 

Thus of the Lord it was predicted: "The spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding [500 shekels], the spirit of counsel [250 shekels], and of might [250 shekels], the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh [500 shekels].

 

In the composition of the anointing oil, the first and the last of the spices were related, for 500 shekels weight of each was contributed to the whole. So in the list of attributes of Christ, in Isa. 11:2, the first two (wisdom and understanding) are related to the last two (knowledge and fear). Again, in Pro. 1:7, those attributes are further listed in conjunction with each other: "The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

 

"An ointment compound after the art of the apothecary" — The word "apothecary" is from raqach, "perfumer." The anointing oil was not a simple mixture of the various ingredients, but a careful compounding of each by one skilled in the art. There is a need to develop skill in the use of the Spirit-Word. Its effect will then be revealed in all its fragrance: "By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Christ taught the need of disciples being spiritually begotten from above (John 3:3 mg.), through the Truth (John 17:17) by the Word properly understood (1Pet. 1:23). So James taught: "The wisdom that is from above [a form of anointing through the Word] is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits" (James 3:17; 1:17). This wisdom comes from "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," involving study, meditation and prayerful communion.

 

The divinely inspired Bezaleel was given the task of preparing this exclusive and important oil (Exo. 37:29).

"It shall be an holy anointing oil" This oil, used on anything or anyone, separated such for the purpose Yahweh determined. When the oil of the Word is poured out upon believers today, it constitutes them "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1). They are therefore "anointed" for the exclusive use of Yahweh, and become devoted to His will.

VERSE 26

"And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony" — The first application of the holy oil was to the inanimate objects designed for the form of worship delivered unto Israel. By so doing, it was shown that these objects were to be considered holy, separated unto exclusive use as defined by God.

VERSE 27

"And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense" — The oil was now applied to all the furniture of the Holy Place. This represents the walk of the believers relating to the manifestations of Yahweh's worship.

 

V ERSE 28

"And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot" — These articles are found in the court, identifying the principles of sacrifice and washing: both of which are Yah-weh's means of redemption through the anointing oil.

VERSE 29

"And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy" — See Exo. 29:37.

 

"Whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy" — See Exo. 29:37, and note that it is the contact of believers with the Anointed in baptism that constitutes them "holy" (Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:22; 3:12; Heb. 3:1). They were not "holy" before they made contact with the Christ-altar (Heb. 13:10), but because of it. And "holiness" so defined does not relate to moral qualities, but to status. A disciple is constituted holy not because of what he is in character, but because of his status "in Christ."

VERSE 30

"And thou shalt anoint Aaron" After the inanimate objects of the Mosaic worship had been anointed, the priests were set apart. Therefore the tabernacle and its furnishings were first prepared, and then those who would officiate therein.

 

The antitype provides the same order. Christ was first altar and sacrifice, then priest (see Heb. 9:22-24; 8:4; 7:11-26). Aaron's anointing is described in Lev. 8:12 and Psa. 133, and types that of the Lord (Heb. 1:9), whose anointing was made complete by a change of nature (Rom. 1:3-4). That is the completion of the process as far as the call of the gospel is concerned. Thus believers must be subjected to two begettals and births: that of water, and then of the spirit (John 3:5). The first is at baptism; the second is through redemption to spirit nature at the Lord's return.

 

"And his sons" — The mode of anointing the sons of Aaron differed from that of the father. The oil was poured on the head of Aaron (Lev. 8:12), but only sprinkled on his sons (Lev. 8:30). Therefore, the high priest is sometimes styled the "anointed priest" (Lev. 4:5, 16; 6:22; 16:32), thus defining his higher status, though in fact, all priests were anointed. So with the antitype. Christ was anointed "above his fellows" (Heb. 1:9), given the Holy Spirit "without measure" (John 3:34); of greater status than that of "his sons" (Heb. 2:10; 2Cor. 1:21; Uohn 2:20, 27-28). Therefore believers, being called to be priests today (1Pet. 2:9), are "anointed" in the sense that the Spirit-Word rests upon them (John 6:63), and separates them for the use of God. So Christ prayed for those who would believe on him: "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17).

 

"And consecrate them, that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office" — The word "consecrate" is from the Hebrew qadash, and signifies, to be set apart for divine use.

VERSE 31

"And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations" — The anointing oil was reserved for the most exclusive use, separating those "unto Yahwen," those for whom it was ordained. So with the gospel. It is not designed for all, but for those only who are called (Acts 15:14). Christ therefore commanded his disciples: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs" (Mat. 7:6).

VERSE 32

"Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured" — The holy anointing oil was not to be used generally as a mere unguent, but was to be reserved wholly for sacred purposes.

"Neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it" The Hebrew word for "composition" (mathkuneth) is better rendered "proportion." The Israelites could use the various spices, but not in the proportions as prescribed for the anointing oil. There was to be no imitation of it in any circumstance.

 

In like manner, Uohn 4:1-3 is a stringent warning against any who set forth a variation of the teaching of the Spirit-Word. They offered a "spirit," or teaching, but not in accordance with the Truth.

 

Notice, also, the extreme care that Moses had to exercise in the preparation of the anointing oil. It was to be blended together in its proper proportions. Thus, in the work of the Truth, the emphasis should not be on prophecy at the expense of doctrine; nor a glossing over of doctrine, to emphasize love; nor an ignoring of one's responsibilities of action in favour of mere academic study — but everything beautifully and skilfully blended in its proper proportion. See 2Tim. 1:12-15; 2Tim. 2:15.

 

"It is holy, and it shall be holy unto you" — Israelites were called upon to treat with proper respect that which Yahweh reserved for His own use. So the Word of God should be treated with the greatest care and reverence. It is holy, and should be so viewed by those who would come unto God through it.

VERSE 33

"Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people" — By "stranger" is meant anyone not of the family of Aaron. The wrong use of the anointing oil would result in excommunication (see note, Exo. 25:16). Those who bring others to a relationship with God through Christ, have a heavy responsibility to see that they are properly educated, and that they clearly understand the responsibilities associated therewith, before they are inducted into Christ.

The Composition Of The Incense - vv. 34-38.

The incense to be burned on the altar was to be especially fragrant. The spices used, when mixed properly, constituted a well blended perfume. Put together so as to produce a solid mass, portions could be broken off as required for burning on the altar. Incense is the symbol of prayer (Psa. 141:2). It was wholly consumed by fire (Exo. 30:7), teaching that prayer should comprise a complete absorption of one's hopes, desires, will and purpose in those of Yahweh.

 

It was offered morning and evening (Exo. 30:7-8), typifying that the day should both commence and end with God. It was burned in conjunction with the tending of the lamps, illustrating true communion with God, both hearing Him and speaking to Him. It was to be offered perpetually (Exo. 30:8), so "men should always pray and not faint" (Luke 18:1). The incense was ignited with coals taken from the brazen altar (Exo. 30:9), so acceptable prayer is offered through the Lord Jesus Christ. It was joined with faith, for its altar was of gold; and with works, for it was carried in spoons (Num. 7:14), and taken in handfuls (Num. 16:12). It was also properly compounded, for prayer should be a balance of praise and petition, of intellect and emotion. For further details see the book "Making Prayer Powerful."

VERSE 34

"And Yahweh said unto Moses" The Deity now prefaces a new subject, the compilation of the incense.

 

"Take unto thee sweet spices" The word for "spices" signifies that which is aromatic. Prayer can ascend as a sweet odour unto Yahweh.

 

"Stacte" — Stacte is translated from the Hebrew nataph, signifying a liquid drop, suggestive of a tear! Frequently prayer finds its real comfort, most tangible blessing, and greatest benefit when tears are in the eyes of the petitioner.

 

However, the Hebrew word is often used to define the utterance of prophecy, or the proclamation of the will of Yahweh (Eze. 20:46; 21:2; Amos 7:16). It is translated "prophecy" in Mic. 2:6, 11 and Zech. 13:3. This suggests that prayer must be governed by the teaching of the Spirit, according to the will of Yahweh: "If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (Uohn 5:14). As stacte was prepared as a component of the incense, we should seek to learn the will of Yahweh from His Word that we might be guided thereby.

 

"And onycha" - Onycha (Heb. shecheleth, from shachal, a lion, from its roaring), was derived from a white sea-shell found on the shores of the Red Sea: suggesting deliverance! It was there that the Israelites saw evidence of Yahweh's power to deliver, and His goodness towards them in particular. So they joyfully sung the song of deliverance, as the "roaring of a lion," in its power and fervour.

 

When onycha is burnt, it gives forth a pleasant odour. So in life, God's goodness is often manifested in its greatest degree in times of trouble, when the fires of afflic­tion are felt. And, certainly, is it not as a pleasant odour when we ultimately find deliverance out of evil? Do not we then rejoice before our God? Let us recall such occasions in our communing with the Father, and "in everything give thanks." Onycha speaks of the reality of God, the utter dependence of Israelites upon Him; their recognition of His ability to deliver in any circumstances of evil.

 

"And galbanum" — This is an acrid smelling preparation when burnt. It is said that its main use was to keep serpents away! Let us confess our failings before God, and seek His help to overcome the venomous effects of sin.

 

The word comes from the Hebrew chelbenah, from cheleb, fat. The fat was always burnt in sacrifice (Lev. 3:16-17), symbolising the worshipper's energy consumed in divine service.

 

Prayer can become an outpouring of energy, "the sacrifice of praise to God... the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15). To become such, prayer needs to be a concentration of the mind; in it we need to make a conscious effort to "really feel the prayers that we utter." Consider the agony of effort, the concentration of the mind given by the Lord, when engaged in prayer: "Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44). By the concentration of mind in prayer, we can add galbanum to the spices that make up the incense we offer Yahweh.

 

"These sweet spices with pure frankincense" — Frankincense is obtained from a spice tree which yields a white gum at the slightest scratch. It therefore speaks of the use of prayer for all occasions, and the ready response of the Father to the petitions of His people. Yahweh is never indifferent to the prayer of faith. He may not answer exactly as we would like, nor when we would desire; but the answer will come, even though it be a refusal of our petitions, as in the case of the apostle Paul (see 2Cor. 12:7-9). In such matters "His will is best."

 

The Hebrew word translated "frankincense" is lebonah, signifying "whiteness," the symbol of purity. Prayer should be pure, without wrong motives, or personal ostentation (Mat. 6:5-8).

 

"Of each there shall be a like weight" — All the elements, symbolised by the various ingredients, should find a place in prayer. There should be a balanced approach unto the great Majesty of the heavens. There is a place for thanksgiving as well as for confession; a need for praise as well as for petition. Prayer should not be one-sided, but completely balanced.

 

"And thou shalt make it a perfume" — Compelling and appropriate prayer is pleasing unto Yahweh. It can be offensive to Him otherwise: see Amos 5:21; Isa. 1:11; Mat. 6:5; James 4:3; Psa. 66:13; Pro. 28:9. When prayer is properly balanced, and when the actions of the petitioner conform thereto, prayer will become a perfume, pleasing to the nostrils of the Father.

 

The R.V. has: "Thou shalt make of it incense." Incense was a blending of all the ingredients listed above.

 

"A confection after the art of the apothecary" — There is a play upon words in this statement, expressed by the RV as: "A perfume after the art of the perfumer." The burning incense was sweet-smelling, and therefore pleasant to God. It was skilfully compounded by the art of the perfumer, teaching that worshippers should seek to become skilful in prayer.

This will result if proper thought is given to what is said, and the prayer is uttered in true sincerity. Skilfulness in prayer is not to be measured by the use of flesh-satisfying and thoughtless oratory, but to the extent that scriptural principles govern the words, and the manner in which priorities are placed in their proper order. Prayer should be an expression of intellectual, and not merely fleshly emotion.

 

"Tempered together" — The margin renders this as "salted together" (Heb. malach, to rub together, to salt). Salt is both a preservative and a flavouring. It was an element of sacrifice (Lev. 2:13). Prayer is the sacrifice of the lips, and must not be insipid. It needs to be flavoured with the Word. It should be linked with the preserving principles of the covenants of promise. Paul taught: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt" (Col. 4:6. See also Mat. 5:13; Mark 9:49).

 

"Pure and holy" — Yahweh refused to hear the prayers of those whose lives did not conform to His teaching (cp. Pro. 28:9; Jer. 7:16; 11:14; Psa. 50:16-17). On the other hand, James taught: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). Prayer needs to be sincere. Even in our failings we can be sincere, recognising them for what they are, seeking forgiveness, and strength to overcome (Psa. 51:5).

VERSE 36

"And thou shalt beat some of it very small" — When the incense was required, a small portion was broken off the whole lump, and prepared for the burning. This points to the quality of prayer; that it should not be verbose and longwinded. Christ warned: "Let thy words be few." In a moment of great need, David cried: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, Ο God, Thou wilt not despise" (Psa. 51:17). The word "contrite" is very expressive in this context. The Hebrew signifies to beat or bruise, as in beating out of metal. The process reduces thick masses of metal into thin, malleable plates, easily turned into any desired shape, as God may desire.

 

"And put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation" The incense was burnt on the golden altar that stood by the veil separating the Most Holy from the Holy. But Christ has opened the way into the Most Holy itself (Heb. 9:12), and made it possible for us to freely avail ourselves of the privileges thus granted (Heb. 10:19-21). Paul wrote: "Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

 

"Where I will meet with thee" Thus Yahweh promised to heed the prayers that mingled with the ascending fragrance of the incense. He meets with us through the mediatorial work of the "Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" (Heb. 3:1).

 

"It shall be unto you most holy" Prayer must not be entered into lightly, but with due respect unto the One to whom we pray, expressing the greatest reverence for His name. There should be no slovenly or disrespectful approach to God in prayer, such as is characteristic of many relationships today. Let us exercise the greatest care.

VERSE 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 Yahweh" — Prayer is exclusive, and should be offered to Yahweh alone. He will not tolerate a mixture of worship (Mat. 6:24).

 

VERSE 38

"Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people" Excommunicated: thus the most serious injunction is applied to the principle of divine worship. See note, v. 33.

 

LESSONS FOR US:

 

  • In the spices we see an alagory of both Christ’s atoning work and the life of a believer

  • Nature can teach us many spiritual lessons

 

 

 

REFERENCE LIBRARY

 

  • HP Mansfield – Exodus

  • W. Brown - The Antiquities Of The Jews

  • Zondervan - Encyclopaedia of the Bible

 

PARAGRAPH QUESTIONS:

 

  • How are we annointed?

  • What lessons does the laver teach?

 

ESSAY QUESTIONS:

 

  • Outline the principles set out through the anointing oil

  • What is the symbology of the various metals found in the tabernacle?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

  • What is the symbollic meaning of incence; and how does this teaching apply within the Ecclesia? Should we burn incense at the Ecclesial hall?

 

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