Exodus Chapter 30

The Incense Altar

    • Make an 18 inch square, 36 in high, gold overlaid acacia wood altar for burning incense. Its horns should be pure gold. Put golden rings on the sides in which to insert gold overlaid acacia wood poles so that the altar can be carried. This altar is to be placed just outside the veil of the Most Holy Place, in front of the Ark of the Covenant.

      • “The altar of incense stood outside the veil, in the holy place (not in the most holy place). Therefore it was fairly close to the Ark of the Covenant, yet separated by the veil.” (Guzik)

      • Morgan writes, “It was in the holy place of the tabernacle together with the golden lampstand and the table of showbread. “The table of showbread represented communion with God, the lampstand spoke of testimony to the world, and now the golden altar speaks of the offering of adoration.”

    • Aaron is to burn incense on this altar every morning and evening when he tends the lamps. This incense offering is to be made throughout your generations. Do not offer any unauthorized incense, burnt, grain, or drink offerings on this altar. Once a year Aaron must purify this altar by applying blood from the sin offering on its horns. This altar is especially holy to the Lord.

      • Guzik notes, “Incense is a picture of prayer, in the sweetness of its smell and the way it ascends to heaven (golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints, according to Revelation 5:8). The ministry at the altar of incense speaks of how God’s people should continually come to Him in prayer.”

Money for the Tabernacle

    • The Lord then told Moses when he took a census of the people, each man must pay a ransom to the Lord, then, no plague will strike them when you count them. Each person that is counted (every man 20 years old and above) must pay half a shekel. The rich man can’t give more and the poor man can’t give less when giving this offering to make atonement, making them right before the Lord. This money will be used for the care of the Tabernacle and serve as a reminder to the Israelites to atone for their lives.

      • Guzik explains why a census not ordained by God would result in plague, “A census put Israel at risk of plague because a census (a numbering) signified ownership. This spoke against God’s ownership of Israel, because in their thinking, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to Israel; Israel belonged to God. It was up to Him to command a counting…If a count was made without receiving the ransom money, a census communicated the idea that a king or a human leader owned Israel, when God alone did. This was David’s problem in 2 Samuel 24:1-25, when David took a census without the ransom money and God plagued Israel.”

    • “This was not a request for a free-will offering, nor was it a proportional tithe. This was more like a flat tax, where everyone paid the same amount, rich or poor – because this was to make atonement. It wasn’t that the money was the atonement, but it marked the ones who were atoned…In this sense, it is not a pattern for our giving under the New Covenant. New Covenant giving should be proportional, under the principle that we should give in proportion to our blessing (1 Corinthians 16:2).” (Guzik)

      • Guzik also writes, “This money was given to the service of the tabernacle. There was a large amount of silver needed in the building of the tabernacle, and this is how it was obtained.”

The Bronze Basin

    • The Lord then told Moses to make a bronze washbasin to be filled with water and placed between the Tabernacle and the altar. This is where Aaron and his sons would wash their hands and feet. They were required to do this before they went into the Tabernacle to go before the Lord and when they went to the altar to offer sacrifices or they would die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and his descendants throughout the generations.

      • Cole writes, “The laver then was to stand in the great courtyard, before men entered the Tent itself…Priests must certainly have needed to wash after sacrifice and blood ritual, so it had practical value as well.”

The Anointing Oil

    • The Lord told Moses to make a holy anointing oil by this recipe: 12 ½ pounds of liquid myrrh, 6 ¼ pounds of cinnamon, 6 ¼ pounds of sweet smelling cane, 12 ½ pounds of cassia, and a gallon of olive oil. This oil is to be used to anoint the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the table and its utensils, the incense altar, the altar for burnt offerings and its utensils, and the washbasin and its stand. Anoint them and they will be holy and whatever touches them will become holy. Anoint Aaron and his sons with this oil as well. Tell the Israelites that this is My holy anointing oil that is to be used throughout your generations and is not to be used for ordinary anointing on a person’s body. Do not try to make any blend like it to be used in an unauthorized way or you will be cut off from the Israelite community.

        • “This oil was used for anointing the priests and the articles pertaining to service. It was regarded as a sacred compound that could not be imitated nor used as normal perfuming oil. Since oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, we see that the Holy Spirit is not poured out to enhance our flesh, but to glorify Himself…This shows that the work of the Holy Spirit is never to be imitated. There is to be no place for encouraging a man-made imitation of the gifts or operations of the Holy Spirit. To do this denies the holiness of the Holy Spirit, regarding His work as something we can do just as well on our own.” (Guzik)

The Sacred Incense

    • Then the Lord told Moses to make a blend of spices to burn as incense with this recipe: grind into a fine powder equal amounts of stacte (resin droplets), onycha (mollusk shell), and galbanum. Mix these spices with an equal amount of pure frankincense and season it with salt. Grind these together into a fine powder and place it in front of the Ark of the Covenant. This mixture is to be treated as holy and this formula is never to be used to make incense for personal use. Anyone who attempts to do so will be cut off from his people.

      • “The special incense for the tabernacle was made according to the same principles as the anointing oil. God didn’t want this sacred smell – symbolizing the sweetness of prayer – to be used for human attraction or adornment…God was so concerned to protect the unique character of the tabernacle incense that He commanded excommunication for anyone who would make these holy things common.” (Guzik)