Exodus 30:1,6,12,16,20,21,25,36 “Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense... Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony—before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony—where I will meet with you... “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them... Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD, making atonement for your lives”... Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come”... Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil... Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.
If not for awe, I am unsure what other emotion I can express for God who has not left a single stone unturned in terms of His plan for a place to dwell among His people.
Not only has God shown an ability to plan to perfection but His provision of skills, material and willingness to the Israelites show He is a master orchestrator and is beyond brilliant!!!
The question again this morning is to understand how all this relates to us who live nearly 3,500 years after this incident?
The altar of incense was to be placed before the mercy seat and is that not such a reminder of Christ who always appears in the presence of God for us?
He is our advocate with the father as stated in 1 John 2:1, My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One and His intercession for us to God is considered a sweet-smelling aroma. This is like the incense that was burnt on the altar of incense, day and night.
The atonement of the altar annually is furthermore a reminder of Jesus' suffering for us and His blood shed was therefore the perfect and final sacrifice needed for us and all mankind.
We then move on to the atonement money that was paid at the time of census. It sure is an interesting concept because it was not a tithe but an offering made to pay as ransom.
Today we do not need to pay a ransom because that was paid once for all by Jesus through His shed blood, but we are reminded to do our bit for the maintenance of the gospel. The amount collected per person was very nominal and was easily afforded but it was to be paid and we should do the same.
Then we move on to the basin for washing which was an act the priesthood had to perform every time they entered the tent of meeting or offered a sacrifice. Do note though that it was only for their hands and feet, not their entire bodies!
It was to teach them purity in their service and to dread the corruption of sin. The priests certainly bathed before they came to serve God but the washing of the hands and feet reminds us of Jesus' response to Peter when He washed their feet and Peter asked Him to wash his hands as well - John 13:10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you”.
Finally we arrive at the holy anointing oil and the incense that was made to be used in the service of the tabernacle. This was to show the excellency of holiness both in sight and smell.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 7:1 that, A good name is better than fine perfume and what better name is there than Jesus. In Philippians 2:9-10, we are reminded by Paul that, 'Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
What a privilege that we have in Jesus the totality of all God wanted in a dwelling place and through Jesus alone do we have access to God the father.
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If you are a sinner transformed by God’s grace alone, I hope that like me, you are growing in excitement for all that God set out for us to do to receive Him but we failed and celebrating in the truth that Jesus attained it all on our behalf and lives today as our Lord and Savior!
In His Loving Service,
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