THE GOLDEN ALTAR
(Prayer and Worship)
Exodus 30:1 (NASB) "Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood.
2 "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.
3 "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.
4 "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.
5 "And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
6 "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.
7 "And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps.
8 "And when Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
9 "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.
10 "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."
Exodus 37:25-29 tells of the instructions being carried out.
The Altar is located inside the Holy Place. The Altar is about 18" x 18" x 36". The Bible discussed the other furniture in chapter 25, and then went on to discuss the consecration of the priests, before discussing the Golden Altar. The Lord may not have wanted to give the Altar until there was a priest to minister on it.
The Altar of Incense was as close as you could get to the shekinah glory of God - as close as you could come without being consumed.
If you draw a line through the furniture in the tabernacle, you have a cross. The Golden Altar is at the very center of the cross.
The Altar of Incense holds the same position in heaven as it did on earth as can be seen in Revelations 8:3-5.
Revelation 8:3 (NASB) And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
The only difference between the two is that once there hung a Veil between the Golden Altar and the Presence of God, but now there is no Veil. It has been rent in two and we have boldness to enter into His presence.
The purpose of the Golden Altar was the burning of incense. Worship acknowledges one's inferiority as compared to the object being worshipped. You must center your thoughts - not on what He does for us, but on who He is. All men worship something. Sometimes it is themselves, other people, possessions, etc.
The wood overlaid with gold again speaks to the humanity and divinity of Jesus. God takes to Himself only that which emulates from Himself. He can only receive that which is perfect and only that which came from Him is perfect. If we give Him love, it is only because the Holy Spirit filled us with love from God. If we worship, it is only because God has revealed a part of Himself to us. He who is absolutely perfect can receive nothing but the perfection of His own Being.
When the priest came to the Golden Altar, all he saw was the gold of the outside. He didn't see the wood inside. When we come to Jesus today, all we see is His divinity (gold), not His humanity (wood).
The Golden Altar is a picture of Jesus Christ - for as the smoke from the incense ascends, so does the ministry of Jesus as He intercedes for us.
Many people think of Him interceding - on His knees before God praying for us. This is a very elementary concept. An intercessor is really one who lives on behalf of another. You may ask me to pray for your kids - and I will, when it comes to mind. It is always on your mind, you live for your kids. He says remember the covenant. Look at My hands and feet.
Revelation 5:8 (NASB) And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
There is a memory trigger attached to worship. You smell it and you remember. Use the example of the Catholic priest with the censor. The same thing happens when you hear a song. Our prayers are ascending to the Father. Revelations 8:3 speaks of Jesus adding His prayers.
In Hebrews, it says that the Golden Altar was in with the Ark of the Covenant. It was normally separated by the Veil. At this point, the Veil had been rent.
Hebrews 8:1 (NASB) Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
2 a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
Hebrews 9:2 (NASB) For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
3 And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant.
The writer may have been speaking of the present, since the Veil was torn when Jesus died.
We are in picture form standing before the Golden Altar (Jesus) offering praise and worship to the Father. The incense was made of a specific formula, given by God to be offered to Him. Christ mingles His prayer with ours.
Revelation 8:4 (NASB) And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
The Golden Altar has horns on it which speak of power and protection. It does not give the quantity Jesus has been given all power. Those horns were anointed with the blood of the sacrifice once a year. They speak of Jesus's power on the earth.
The Golden Altar speaks also of prayer. Prayer changes things. Great things happen at the hour of prayer when incense is being offered.
1 Kings 18:36 (NASB) Then it came about at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word.
37 "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O LORD, art God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again."
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Daniel 9:21 (NASB) while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.
22 And he gave me instruction and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.
23 "At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.
Acts 3:1 (NASB) Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.
2 And a certain man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.
3 And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
4 And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, "Look at us!"
5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-- walk!"
Acts 10:30 (NASB) And Cornelius said, "Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments,
31 and he said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.
32 'Send therefore to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.'
Matthew 27:45 (NASB) Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?"
There was a crown around to keep the coals from rolling off. God is able to keep you from falling.
Hebrews 2:9 (NASB) But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Three pieces of furniture in the Tabernacle had crowns. The crown of the Ark of the Covenant was the crown of holiness. The crown of the Table of Showbread was the crown of fellowship and the crown of the Golden Altar was the crown of priesthood where we glorify God.
The Golden Altar was carried using golden rings and staves on the shoulders of priests
Aaron put incense on it in the morning when he came in to trim the lamps. Worship can only happen with the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The light of the Holy Spirit reveals the Father and worship is. We worship in spirit and in truth. When the first sacrifice was put on the Brazen Altar, God sent fire from heaven to accept the sacrifice and burn it up. This fire was kept continually burning and fire was taken from it for the Golden Altar. Our praise comes from the fire of the cross (the Brazen Altar). It was lighted from the remnant of the sin offering. The fire from the sacrifice released our praise and worship. The sacrifice (Jesus) is connected to and before us continually.
The curtains were above - kind of like being under the shadow of Elshaddai. The smoke from the incense rose (our prayers and worship) under the shadow of Elshaddai. Aaron would come out of the Holy Place with the smell of incense in his clothes, hair, and beard. People would smell this and say - yes he's been with God. As we spend time under the shadow of Elshaddai and then go among the people, they say, yes he's been with God.
Aaron then trimmed the wicks to eliminate everything but the sweet aroma of God. Our high priest does this for us.
The last thing Aaron did at night was to put more incense on the Golden Altar.
First the incense is offered (we offer ourselves to God), then our service to Him. Many get so wrapped up in the service that they forget about the One they serve. Everything that is not of God is burned away.
The work that Jesus has given us is to believe on He who sent Him. People want to be used by God. He usually doesn't give us orders like go here or there, but it sometimes happens. Usually, you spend quiet time alone with Him where He reveals Himself to you. From that revelation you are changed to be more like Him. It is this likeness that He uses. This way, at different times in our lives, He can use us where we are.
There is a link between the Altar and the Lampstand.
Isaiah 6:1 (NASB) In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory."
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5 Then I said, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7 And he touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is forgiven."
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
The Angel took a live coal from the Golden Altar to sear his lips, Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up and said, I am just a man ( in Hebrew), I'm falling apart. He cried out unclean. He saw the Holiness of God. Isaiah became a living Golden Altar offering up the praises to God.
Hebrews 13:15 (NASB) Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
17 Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
After his lips were touched with the coals, the Lord said go. We will be a witness because our lips have been touched with the coal from the Golden Altar.
We shine best before men when our hearts burn before God.
Ezra 9:8 (NASB) "But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.
Jesus is the peg nailed in the Holy Place.
Daniel 9:25 (NASB) "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26 "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
In Daniel 9:25, the year of Jesus's death was foretold. The day was foretold by the day the Passover lamb was offered and the hour was foretold by the hour of prayer. The destruction spoken of was Titus, the son of Vespasian. This tape has a good history of the attacks on Jerusalem.
Hebrews was written because Jesus put an end to sacrifice and the Jewish Christians didn't accept it. Titus made it desolate just as the scriptures said. Every stone was moved to find the Gold between the stone.
Only the family of Aaron could minister in the Holy Place. If you were from the tribe of Levi, you could help in the Outer Court. Anyone could enter the Outer Court. Only sons of Aaron could serve as High Priest. Uzziah was a Godly man (king) who attempted to make offerings on the Golden Altar and became leprous because of it. Leprosy is a picture of sin. It attacks the skin which keeps our inners from hanging out. Our covering is diseased.
2 Chronicles 26:16 (NASB) But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
17 Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the LORD, valiant men.
18 And they opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, "It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful, and will have no honor from the LORD God."
19 But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense.
20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the LORD had smitten him.
21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king's house judging the people of the land.
Kings came from Judah. Jesus was a king and also a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He took the leprosy, the result of our sin and dealt with it. He can - He is our High Priest.
Exodus 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.
You can only come to God in the way He prescribes.
Let us compare the Brazen Altar and the Golden Altar:
The Brazen Altar was brass covered - The Golden Altar was gold covered.
The Brazen Altar was outside - The Golden Altar was inside.
The Brazen Altar was made of wood and was strengthened with brass, the Golden Altar was also made of wood, but it was beautified with gold.
The Brazen Altar has no crown - The Golden Altar has crown (kingship).
The Brazen Altar was a place of suffering and typifies Christ as Savior.
The Golden Altar was a place of triumph and typifies Christ as the Mediator.
The Brazen Altar was a place for sinner - The Golden Altar is for saints.
The Brazen Altar puts attention on death - The Golden Altar put attention on resurrection.
There were similarities as well:
Both Altars were foursquare, which is a symmetrical sign of solidity and equality.
At the Brazen Altar, Christ died for the whole world - At the Golden Altar, Christ is interceding for the whole Church.
Both have rings and staves, the symbol of non-isolation, and both have the symbols of universal strength--four horns.
By the offering of the sacrifice on the Brazen Altar, we are saved, but by the incense on the Golden Altar we are kept.
The position of prayer is not a physical position, but a position of your heart. All true prayer starts with God. God accomplishes His purposes through us. The Golden Altar is where prayers were offered. Prayer is not causally saying let us pray for this or that. You pray for heart felt desires. If you have ever fasted, you know that about the third day, you really desire food. This is how badly you must want something when you pray.
When the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year, he was protected by the blood of the lamb and a cloud of incense. If you see God's glory, it should be only after much prayer and praise.
The sweet smelling aroma ascends to heaven and makes a little of heaven on earth and a little of earth in heaven. Prayer does the same thing, it kind of brings the two together.
Hebrews 9:24 (NASB) For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own.
26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Hebrews 7:25 (NASB) Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Ephesians 5:2 (NASB) and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Romans 8:34 (NASB) who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Luke 22:32 (NASB) but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."(Peter)
1 John 2:1 (NASB) My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
John 17:9 (NASB) "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine;
10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.
11 "And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.
12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Psalms 141:2 (NASB) May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
We must not present strange fire. Nadab and Abihu presented incense on coals from their own campfire and were consumed by fire. Don't kindle you own fire. All acts of worship that come from man are strange fires. We pray with an awareness of God and who He is.
Leviticus 10:1 (NASB) Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
2 And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
The steps to the Holy of Holies are:
1. Make a decision at the Gate.
2. A sacrifice at the Brazen Altar for acceptance.
3. Cleansing at the Laver.
4. Fellowship at the Table of Showbread.
5. Intercession at the Golden Altar.
6. Enlightenment by the Holy Spirit at the Lampstand.
7. Faith turned into sight inside the Veil.
Our natural inclinations are to side with sin. God who is Holy requires His people to be holy and will go through great expense to bring that about. God is teaching about His Holiness. There is only one way to God, and that is through the personal faith in the finished work and the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abandon all of self, and rest entirely upon the work of your substitute.
Romans 8:3 (NASB) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:33 (NASB) Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
John 16:24 (NASB) "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.
25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.
26 "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf;
27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father.