‘Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain, opposite the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. I will meet with you there.’ Exodus 30:6.
For those of us reading this in 2012, our eyes may glaze over and the geography of the temple just doesn’t seem to mean much. But what IF the position of the incense altar was significant? In Exodus 30:6, God says, “I will meet with you there.” I guess we should sit up and pay attention!
Henry Law, 1855, had some helpful insights into Exodus 30, at Grace Gems!
The expiating altar is behind. His steps have brought him to the borders of the holiest place. He has passed the spot where dying victims bleed (the bronze atoning altar). Heaven’s clearest emblem (the Ark of the Covenant) is now close by. Thus the Incense Altar’s chosen position seems as a link to join the cross and crown.
Reader! the spot calls you to pause and look within. Say, have your feet attained this position? Has the first altar seen you humble, guilt-stricken, smiting on your breast, and confessing all your miserable sins before it? Has eager faith there touched the atoning Lamb? Is pardon in your hand? Is your soul calm in knowledge of the curse removed and full remission given?
Have you thus pressed towards this inner Altar, where the incense burns? If so, the veil is almost touched. This screens the sanctuary, which pictures heaven’s bright rest. The space is narrow now, which parts you from eternal bliss. The ever-smiling smile of God, the ever-present presence of the Lamb is your near portion. Swift-flying moments will soon waft you to the kingdom from all eternity prepared, throughout all eternity prolonged.
Reader! is such in very truth your place? If so, adore the grace which led you to it!
- You may have wealth. It cannot profit long.
- You may have health. Decay will cause its flower to fade.
- You may have strength. It soon will totter to the grave.
- You may have honors. A breath will blast them.
- You may have flattering friends. They are but as a summer brook.
These boasted joys often cover now an aching heart. They never gave a grain of solid peace. They never healed a conscience-wound. They never won approving looks from heaven. They never crushed the sting of sin. But floods of peace surround this golden incense altar! Its worshipers grasp mercy and survey glory. They look back on all transgression blotted out. Heaven’s rays are breaking on their blood-washed souls. The Incense Altar is so set that these truths sparkle from its instant sight.