The 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 ).
Heavenward 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