tabernacle holy of holies incense ChristianityThe Tabernacle Complex
The diagram shows where, under the law of Moses, certain sacrificial offerings were carried out in the tabernacle or temple complex. In ancient Israel, sacrifices were intended to rid the people and their holy sanctuaries of the pollution of sins and transgressions. It was believed that the more willful and widespread an offense, the greater the threat that contamination would spread to the interior of the tabernacle or temple. I tabernacle layout map can be found at this link.

The Altar of Incense
The third piece of furniture found in the holy place, the Tabernacle,  along with the sacred candlestick and the table of shewbread was the altar of incense. It stood directly in front of the veil (see v. 6 ). Like the ark of the covenant and the table of shewbread, it was made of shittim wood covered with gold and had rings and staves for carrying. Hot coals were placed on the altar, and each morning and evening (see vv. 7–8 ) the high priest would burn incense. This ritual seems to signify that one can approach the presence of God only through prayer, for scriptures elsewhere indicate that incense is a symbol of prayer (see Revelation 5:8 8:3–4 Psalm 141:2 ).

altar of incense holy of holies Christian tabernacle old testamentHeavenward Smoke – A Symbol of Prayers Ascending
The smoke that flows to the sky was a symbol for ancient Christians that in fact their prayers did acscend beyond their mortal lips and in fact reach the heavens. They did believe in a God, and a Savior they did say would come, Jehovah he was called.  They believed that one day he would come, armed with power and glory to teach them and save them.  They believe he did come in the flesh as Jesus Christ.

Biblical Evidense of Incense Symbolism
The Holy Bible – Exodus 30:1-10

1 And thou shalt make an aaltar to burn bincense upon: of cshittim wood shalt thou make it.
2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be aof the same.
3 And thou shalt aoverlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a bcrown of gold round about.
4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, aby the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bbear it withal.
5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the aark of the testimony, before the bmercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet aincense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when aAaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no astrange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor bmeat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it aonce in a year with the bblood of the sin offering of catonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

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