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We may come to the description of the altar of incense. It is significant that in the earlier description of the Holy Place, with its furnishing, this altar was not named. It was specifically the altar of priesthood, instructions concerning which were not given until the priest was prepared for service. It completes and crowns the symbolism of the Holy Place. The table of shewbread represented communion with God, the lampstand spoke of testimony to the world, and now the golden altar speaks of the offering of adoration.
Provision was now made for the taking of the sum of the children of Israel and the process was a recognition of redemption. Everyone was to provide a half shekel of silver. The rich man's value was expressed by the half shekel, as was also that of the poor man.
Instructions concerning the laver follow. It was to stand at the entrance; in it the priests were to wash before they entered the Holy Place. For continued service in holy things repeated cleansing is necessary. Finally, we have in this chapter instructions concerning the anointing oil and incense. In each case these were compounded of precious things, all of them having significance and suggesting that the best graces of the soul are to merge with the sweetness of the anointing from on high. Very solemn are the injunctions that neither the sacred oil nor the holy incense was to be used in any way for personal gratification.
They are symbols of the soul's relation to God at its highest and must not be degraded.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Exodus 30". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany