Fragrant Incense

Fragrant Incense by Leah Adams for CBN News

Think for a moment about something that you love to smell. Is it a fresh pound cake baking in the oven or perhaps bacon frying in a pan? Maybe it is the aroma of coffee or spiced tea brewing? Perhaps it is the smell of freshly cut grass or a puppy. Each of us can identify smells that bring us pleasure.

Have you ever considered that there is an aroma that pleases God? Let us look to the Old Testament tabernacle and the furnishings within it to find the aroma that brings pleasure to our God.

In Exodus 30 we are told about the golden altar and the incense that was to be burned upon it. The altar of incense stood within the Holy Place, just outside the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. On this altar, Aaron, the priest, was to burn fragrant incense every day while he went about his duties. The last part of verse 35 says that the incense was to be “salted, pure, and sacred.” This incense was to be considered holy to the Lord and was reserved solely for this purpose. The Hebrew word used for perfume, is “qetoreth” and it means incense or perfume, but it also means “sweet smoke of sacrifice.”

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The Holy of Holies was the place where God met with the high priest who represented the Israelites. So, if the Holy of Holies is where God lived among the Israelites, then the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was, in essence, God’s front door. The altar of incense, then, became God’s doorbell for Moses and Aaron. The incense that burned continually on the altar offered up a pleasing aroma to God and signified that the Israelites were obeying God’s command for the tabernacle.

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