7. Mercy Seat lid of the Ark of the Covenant
Almond blossoms with almond fruit
Olive Tree and it's fruit
"As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world" (John 9:5)
Exodus 30:1-9 And you shall make an altar to burn incense upon. You shall make it of acacia-wood. A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square. And two cubits shall be the height of it, its horns from itself. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around, and its horns. And you shall make to it a crown of gold all around. And you shall make two golden rings to it under the crown of it, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides of it you shall make it. And they shall be housings for the staves to bear it with. And you shall make the staves of acacia-wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy-seat that is beside the testimony, where I will meet with you. And Aaron shall burn sweet incense on it every morning; when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Jehovah throughout your generations. You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meal offering. Neither shall you pour drink offering on it.
The Altar of Incense (aka the Golden Altar) was set directly in front of the Veil and the High Priest had to pass it to get to the Veil and then into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat were. The golden altar was used for burning incense, which twice every day was offered by the priest after he had tended the wick and oil on the holy lamps. Its horns were also sprinkled with the blood of the sin offering. The incense was burnt on pieces of hot coal, which the priest removed in a censer or fire pan from the Brazen Altar in the courtyard. A censer apparently was a shallow bowl or pan with a handle on it.
This Golden Altar speaks of Christ Himself, and the incense was a figure both of His intercession and the praises which He presents to God. Through Jesus we pray to the Father and praise the Father. The smoke from the incense also represents our prayers and praises through Jesus. Jesus is always before God on our behalf acting as our High Priest, presenting us to the Father, making intercession for us.
‘Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God’ (Ps. 84:3).
Both altars are mentioned and form the solid and abiding rest for our poor and needy soul.
The incense was sacred, for tabernacle service only and if anyone manufactured any for his personal or family use it meant the death-penalty for his presumption (30:28). Only the priests of the seed of Aaron were allowed to handle it. Poured out on burning coals the incense produced a sweet aroma in the Holy Place. It was the offering of the person whose sins had been forgiven by blood and who then went on to express the fragrance of love and worship, which was most pleasing to God
Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree through slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense was lavishly used in the Jewish Tabernacle (and later the Temple). In Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense and myrrh were among the gifts given to Jesus by the wisemen from out of the east.
Frankincense trees and resin
Onycha: Onycha is the operculum of a mollusk found in the Red Sea. It was used in ancient incense and perfume formulas as a fixative to help amplify the overall fragrance of a compound or formula. This needs to be ground into very fine powder and be used in proper ratios to have the desired affect.
Stacte: There are many different interpretations about what plant or tree Stacte is. We believe it is Storax or Styrax. This is a gum resin, but can also be obtained periodically in a powder form the bark of the tree. The gum resin has a chemical type smell. Again it is typically used as a fixative in a fragrance compound or formula. When blended correctly it will create a interesting balsamic aroma.
Galbanum: Galbanum is a gum resin obtained from a large perennial herb that contains resin ducts. The resin is collected by making incisions at the base of the plant. Galbanum resin often has plant particles, stems and twigs in it. It has a very strong green, turpentine scent. Again it is used mainly as a fixative.
Notice that all the incense ingredients were hammered, beaten, gathered by piercing the bark or flower stem. All of this represents Jesus, who was beaten, pierced, crushed for our sins. This incense was described as precious (valuable), sweet, pure and holy. All which describe our Savior.
This incense was to be kept burning perpetually which represents that Christ is eternally before God, the Father, on our behalf.
Rev 8:3-4 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.
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