The Holy Anointing Oil and the Holy Incense
It’s pretty wonderful to be around a lady who is wearing a pleasant perfume or a guy with a nice smelling cologne on. I don’t know if folks like being around me on Sundays because I douse myself in patchouli oil, but if you like that smell, the Superior Word is definitely the place to be.
Along with that, I rub a dose of olive oil into my beard after putting on the patchouli. That way my beard is shiny and the oil makes the patchouli last longer and its more pungent.
As far as incense, there isn’t much more pleasing than smelling it when it burns. The air fills with a wonderful aroma and the smoke, rather than stinging the eyes and nose, actually adds to the ambiance.
Because most incense is made in the orient, and because oriental religions tend to use it for a lot of crazy things like honoring the dead, Christian’s generally don’t seem to burn it as much as the general populace, but there is nothing unbiblical about having it going at any and all times.
As far as today’s passage, we will see both a wonderfully pleasant smelling anointing oil, and a most fragrant type of incense which was to be made and used as an offering to the Lord. As God doesn’t have a nose, at least in regards to the presence of the Lord in the tabernacle, then there must be a deeper meaning behind the fragrances that are so meticulously described.
And, as always, there is. Every single detail has been chosen to show us snapshots of the coming Christ and His work. As always, I think you’re in for a treat – a delight to the senses – concerning what lies just ahead.
Text Verse: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
8 All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia,
Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad.
9 Kings’ daughters are among Your honorable women;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Psalm 45:6-9
God is Spirit, and so who would imagine all of the detail that He created in the universe! There are aspects of creation that affect every one of our senses. In fact, our senses were designed to appreciate these various facets of the created order which surrounds us.
But because God is Spirit, the fact that we can appreciate these things shows us that He cherishes us, His creatures, enough to provide them for us in creation. And yet there is more. His word tells us, such as in this psalm, that He actually came and participated in the creation. As He did, we can see why such minute and exacting detail is given concerning those things which are to be set apart for Him alone. Think about this as we go through our verses today. It is all about Jesus and it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Holy Anointing Oil (verses 22-33)
22 Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
This is the third of three times in this chapter that these exact same words are stated, v’dabber Yehovah el Mosheh lemor. They were last said in verse 17. Each time, the words are set off as their own verse. This time, the NKJV translates the same words differently. Instead of “then,” they say “moreover.” This is not incorrect as it is translator’s preference, but the words in the Hebrew are identical. They, being offset in this way, highlight that something new is coming and which will next be introduced for our waiting ears. “Get ready, something new and important is ahead!”
23 “Also take for yourself quality spices—
Moses is now instructed to obtain from the gifts of the people besamim rosh or “of quality spices.” The word rosh means the first, the chief, the head, etc. Thus this indicates that which is preeminent or the finest. They are to be pure in nature. The Hebrew here is especially emphatic – v’atah qah lekha, “And you take unto you.” Although others are noted as assisting in the preparation of this oil, it can be inferred that it is Moses who would personally supervise the gathering and preparing of it.
23 (con’t) five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh,
The first spice named is mar deror or “myrrh of freedom.” Myrrh or mor comes from marar, or “bitter.” The name gives the sense of “distilling in drops.” It will be seen 12 times in the Old Testament. Of these, eight occurrences will be in the Song of Solomon. It will also be mentioned 3 times in the New Testament.
A specific amount is presented and therefore it has its own significance. Five hundred is most readily divided as 5x10x10. Five, as we have seen countless times, indicates GRACE. Ten is the number of DIVINE PERFECTION. “It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete” (EW Bullinger).
The word translated here as “liquid” is introduced into the Bible. It is deror. It is found only eight times in the Bible. It means freedom; hence, spontaneity of outflow, and thus clear. Therefore, it indicates both liberty and purity. This is the only time it is used of a liquid. The other seven times it speaks of liberty, such as the year of liberty, or as being released from captivity.
Myrrh comes from a shrub and can be obtained in one of two ways. The first is the purest form where it naturally exudes from the plant. This is the “myrrh of freedom,” or “free flowing myrrh.” Inferior myrrh comes from the bark when incisions are made in it. Myrrh is fragrant to smell, but bitter to the taste. Looking at the uses of myrrh in the Old Testament, the prominent idea which it symbolizes is love, but more especially, love in intimate union, but not necessarily sexual in nature.
23 (con’t) half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels),
The next spice is qinnamon besem, or “cinnamon fragrant.” This is the first of just three times it is seen in the Old Testament and once in the New. It is from an unused root meaning “to erect.” It thus is applied to cinnamon bark which is found in upright rolls. This is to be provided in one-half the amount of the myrrh. The most basic way of obtaining the number 250 is 5x5x10.
23 (con’t) two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane,
The third spice is qaneh bosem, or “cane fragrant.” Qaneh comes from the verb qanah which means to acquire, purchase, etc. It indicates a reed as erect or a rod, especially one for measuring. Thus it is the source of the word canon which we use to indicate the authority of Scripture – as in the canon of Scripture. This spice is also specified to be two hundred and fifty in measurement.
24 five hundred shekels of cassia,
The last spice is qiddah, or cassia. It is introduced here and will only be seen one more time in Ezekiel. This comes from the same root as the word qodqod which indicates the crown of the head. The root is the verb qadah which means “to bow the head.”
From this we can see bark, as in shriveled rolls, resembling the crown of the head. This spice is said to have almost the same flavor as cinnamon, but its smell is more pungent, and it has a more coarse texture. The measurement is to be the same as the myrrh, five hundred shekels. Note the unusual forming of the numbers 500-250-250-500. In all, they equal 1500 shekels.
24 (con’t) according to the shekel of the sanctuary,
A shekel is a set measurement of weight. In this case the weight required was to be of the shekel of the sanctuary. It is a standard shekel by which all other weights would be compared. This is the same terminology which was seen in verse 13 of this chapter.
24 (con’t) and a hin of olive oil.
Although not certain, a hin is reckoned at about 3/4 of a gallon. One hin of shemen zayit or “oil of olive” is to be used.
25 And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil,
The purpose for all of these ingredients is for making miskhat qodesh, or “anointing oil holy.”
25 (con’t) an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer.
Roqakh mirqakhat maaseh roqeakh – “ointment compound worked perfumer.” It’s an alliterational mouthful in the Hebrew because the three descriptions are all formed from the same root, raqakh, which indicates “to perfume.” The roqeakh or perfumer indicates a compounder; a person skilled in compounding drugs, incense, etc.
25 (con’t) It shall be a holy anointing oil.
The Hebrew is literally “an oil of holy anointing.” Thus that which is anointed with it is considered set apart, or holy. It should be noted that if these proportions were simply pounded out and mixed together, it would make a thick, gooey mess.
Rather, these were softened by boiling in water to extract their essence. From this the oil and myrrh would be mixed in and boiled again in order to evaporate the water. This would be the specific job of the roqeakh, or perfumer. We will see in Exodus 37:29 that is it Bezalel who will perform this task. The care of the oil after it is made will go to Eleazar, Aaron’s son. The responsibility for making it in the future would go to the priests (1 Chr. 9:30).
26 With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony;
A particular order is given for the use of the holy anointing oil. First, the ohel; literally “tent,” of meeting would be anointed. This is the tent which covered the mishkan or tabernacle. Everything associated with the structure would be included. This is seen explicitly in Exodus 40:9 where it says tabernacle instead of tent –
“And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy.”
After the anointing of the tent, the first item to be mentioned is the Ark of the Testimony. Though the details for the construction of the Ark were given before the tent, it is the tent which will enclose the Ark, therefore the implements inside are noted after the enclosure itself. The Ark is in the Most Holy Place.
27 the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense;
Next in order are the items in the Holy Place, the Table of Showbread, the Menorah, and the Altar of Incense. The details for the Altar of Incense weren’t given until much, much later, but because it is enclosed within the Holy Place, it is mentioned now, in its proper order according to the room.
28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base.
After the interior furniture, those outside the tent are next. Of note is that in Leviticus 8:11, it says that the altar and all of its utensils were sprinkled seven times. Just because the altar was outside and closest to the people in no way diminishes its immense importance in both what it signified to them and what it pictures in Christ.
29 You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy;
The anointing of the implements with the holy anointing oil consecrated them. They had been shaped by man, but they were now to be set apart to God. Only those who were also so set apart to God were, from this time forward, to touch them…
29 (con’t) whatever touches them must be holy.
kal hannogea bahem yiqdash – “whatever touches them shall become holy.” In other words, if a person were to touch them, they were to already be holy according to the item being touched, or they were to be given over to the Lord so that He might deal with them as He saw fit. This is certainly the intended meaning of this verse because it is explicitly seen in the tragic account of Uzzah –
“And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:6, 7
Uzzah was not holy according to the handling of the Ark and thus his life was forfeit to the Lord’s judgment because of his error.
30 And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.
After the inanimate objects were consecrated, the consecration of the men who would serve as priests is then conducted. This actually only applies at this time to Aaron. The term mashakh is used here which indicates smearing. He is the one to be so anointed now. The term “and his sons” must be taken in the future sense concerning the ones who succeed him in his office.
As we saw in the last chapter, some of the oil will be mixed with blood and sprinkled on Aaron, his sons, and their garments, but this verse is not referring to that. Only Aaron will be fully anointed to act as the mediator and high priest, thus picturing Christ.
31 “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.
The Lord claims this mixture of oil exclusively for Himself. Anything anointed with it was solely His and was to be set apart to Him for all the generations that the law would remain in effect.
32 It shall not be poured on man’s flesh;
The wording here is specific in that it was not to be poured on the flesh of man. However, it was to be poured on Aaron, who was a man. Therefore, it shows us that Aaron, being high priest, was to be seen in type and picture as the coming Christ.
32 (con’t) nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you.
The wording here should read, “after its proportion.” The word is mathkoneth, and it indicates a measurement, quota, or proportion. The people were not forbidden from using these same ingredients, nor were they forbidden from using the same combination of them. What is forbidden is using the same ingredients and proportions of them. The intent is that what was reserved for the Lord’s use was to be only for the Lord’s use. This particular mixture was deemed holy and therefore the proportion itself has particular significance.
33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.’”
No person was to make the same compound as has been described here. Further it was never to be used on a layman. The word for outsider is zuwr and indicates “another.” No person who was not qualified by being chosen for the anointing was to have it put on them. The penalty for this was to be cut off from his people.
The word for “his people” is in the masculine plural. Therefore, it is being used in a particular sense. It is extremely close to the general term for people, but the specific form of the word consistently speaks of someone of his father’s kin. Any such person was to lose their rights of paternal kinship.
Holy anointing oil with a smell wonderful and sweet
Shall be made for the service of the Lord
The exact mixture when it was complete
Was set apart for Him alone, according to His word
With it, the articles of service would be anointed
And with it the priest would be anointed too
These things are according to what the Lord has said
And so in each detail is Moses to exactingly follow through
Thus, consecrated and holy were these things to be
And they would be that way throughout the time of the law
But they are only types of the coming Christ, you see
And so from these things, pictures of Christ we can draw
II. The Holy Incense (verses 34-38)
34 And the Lord said to Moses:
The words are very similar to verse 22, but they are not the same. It is as if what is said now is a continuation of what was started in verse 22, but with a different subject. The oil and the incense are being drawn together into one concept.
34 (con’t) “Take sweet spices,
qah lekha sammim – Take to you sammim. The word sammim has no exact word which we can use to translate. A close choice would be fragrances; “Take to you fragrances.”
34 (con’t) stacte
It is not exactly certain what nataph, or stacte is. The word stacte comes from the Greek translation of the OT. However, we can find out something from the Hebrew. The word nataph means “drop” as in a drop of dew. This word comes from the verb nataph which means something which distills gradually, and thus falls in drops.
It is a resin of some sort from a plant. However, it being unknown what resin, the substance is not what is important, but the act of dropping is. The verb nataph means to fall in drops, and so figuratively it means “to speak by inspiration” or to “prophesy.”
34 (con’t) and onycha
Onycha or shekheleth speaks of the aromatic shell-fish. When burnt, its claw produces a strong odor. The word comes from the same root as shakhal, meaning a fierce lion. That root probably means to roar. The two words may meet in the thought of peeling off by concussion of sound.
34 (con’t) and galbanum,
Khelbenah or galbanum is only found here in the Bible, but it is apparently well known to chemists. Different plants are known to produce it. When it burns, it has a strong and pungent odor which is not nice smelling by itself, but it is used to bring out the richer smells of other spices and it prolongs their burning. The word comes from khelev which means fat and thus the best or finest.
34 (con’t) and pure frankincense with these sweet spices;
These words are reversed in the Hebrew. It says “…fragrances and pure frankincense.” In other words, the frankincense is in addition to the other spices. Levonah, or frankincense is introduced here. It comes from the word lavan, meaning “brick” and thus it gives the idea of “white,” perhaps because of its smoke. There is an adjective attached to the frankincense though. It properly reads u-levonah zakkah – “…and frankincense pure.”
34 (con’t) there shall be equal amounts of each.
bad b’vad yiyeh – alone by alone there shall be. The sense probably means that they were beaten separately and then mixed together. Thus, the proportions would be equal in amount.
35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.
The fragrances, combined with the frankincense, was to be compounded as a perfumer would do. Older versions then say “mixed” or “tempered together,” but the word used is malakh, the verb form of “salt.” Thus, the mixture was to be “salted.”
Salt was considered an integral part of offerings to the Lord. This incense was to be offered to Him by the priests with salt, just as the people’s offerings were to be. This is seen in Leviticus 2 –
“And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Leviticus 2:13
Because of the ingredients and its salting, it is thus described with an adjective and a noun. It is tahor qodesh – pure, holy.
36 And you shall beat some of it very fine,
The word shakhaq or “beat” is now introduced. It will be used just four times. It means “to pulverize.” Also, the word daqaq, or very fine, is also introduced. It carries the same idea of being crushed or pulverized. The incense was to be completely crushed to powder.
36 (con’t) and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you.
The portion that was taken from the main whole, after it was beaten fine, was to be placed “before the Testimony.” What this means is that it is the portion to be burnt upon the Altar of Incense. The compound was one large mass, but a portion was taken off, pounded and burnt at the regular hours of incense offering. The idea is that it would mix better and be easier to spread on the coals. Further, it would burn more purely and ascend more quickly.
36 (con’t) It shall be most holy to you.
In contrast to the anointing oil, this is considered not just holy, but qodesh qadashim, or holy of holies. This implies that it was set apart for the use of the Lord alone as is next seen…
37 But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the Lord.
This provision is similar to that of the anointing oil. No incense was ever to be made which was according to the same proportions. Instead, it was to be considered for the sole and sacred use of an offering to the Lord.
*38 (fin) Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”
And again, the same prohibition is given concerning replicating this incense as was given for replicating the anointing oil. Any person who so made it was to be cut off from the rights of the paternal kinship.
Sweet smelling spices combined into one
Shall be used to make a holy incense for Me
And every detail points to the coming Christ, God’s Son
This is the reason for such specificity
The work that He will do is revealed in each sweet smell
And the salt speaks of Him and His work also
Every detail has a wondrous story to tell
And as you ponder each detail, their meaning you will know
And so look into the things as they are recorded for you
Ponder them and take each thing to heart
In so doing, there is a blessed reward; it is true
Marvelous things will this precious word to you impart
III. Pictures of Christ and His Work
As always, the Lord is giving us specific instructions, not just for us to see what the priests did and what was expected of them, but to show us types and pictures of Christ and His work.
The anointing oil was first said to be of besamim rosh, or the first or preeminent spices. Each is a foreshadowing of the preeminence of Christ.
Myrrh, comes from the word marar, or bitter. As I noted, the main significance of myrrh in Old Testament passages reveals the prominent idea of love, but more especially, love in intimate union, but not necessarily sexual in nature. Understanding the work of Christ for us, nothing could be more obvious.
The myrrh here is described as mar deror, or the myrrh of freedom. Without a doubt this signifies the bitterness Christ was willing to go through in His earthly life to secure our freedom. It is reflective of His words, cited in a synagogue in Nazareth which were read from the book of Isaiah –
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18
It should be noted that there are three times myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament. The first was presented to Him at His birth by the Magi (Matthew 2:11). Once it is recorded as having been used in His burial (John 19:39). The third time was in Mark 15 –
“Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.” Mark 15:23
Notice that the myrrh was mingled with wine to form a gall which would deaden His pain, but He refused it. Because of His love for us, He was unwilling to dilute the pure myrrh of freedom which was provided to redeem us. Our liberty, and our freedom from oppression, came at a very high cost indeed.
The qinnamon, or cinnamon is found four times in the Bible. Two point to Christ, two point to harlotry. The one in this chapter is used to picture Christ’s work. The one in Song of Solomon 4:14 is used of the description of the bride by the bridegroom – thus it pictures the redeemed of Christ. The two other uses are in Proverbs 7:17 where a harlot spices her bed with cinnamon and other fragrances, and in Revelation 18:13 which is connected to Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots.
The word comes from a root meaning “to erect.” Thus there is a house which is being erected by the Lord for His people, and there is a false one which is being erected by the false religious system of the world for those who would pursue her harlotry. One will stand forever; the other will be forever destroyed.
The third spice is qaneh bosem, or “sweet-smelling cane.” Qaneh comes from the verb qanah which means to acquire, purchase, etc. It indicates a reed as erect or a rod, especially one for measuring. It is the source of the word canon, which we use to indicate the authority of Scripture – as in the canon of Scripture. Thus, this spice is used to indicate the word of God which permeates throughout the anointing oil. It is reflective of Christ, the word of God who both embodies it and reveals it. His word is that which is used as the standard measure for the acquisition and purchase of God’s people.
The fourth spice is qiddah, or cassia. It is derived from the same root as qodqod which indicates the crown of the head. The root is the verb qadah which means “to bow the head.” In this, we see Christ’s submission to God in all ways. This is evident throughout the gospels which record His earthly ministry and it is well summed up in Hebrews 10 –
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7
This word qiddah, is found only twice in the Bible. The second is seen in Ezekiel 27:19 as one of the goods traded by the kingdom of Tyre. This leader of Tyre is used as an allegory for Satan by Ezekiel. Samuel Ridout explains the symbolism –
“For the world would make merchandise of the excellencies of Christ, and Satan, its prince, seek to rob the Lord of that which is His alone.”
The weight of the four spices was meticulously provided. In order they were 500-250-250-500. First, four is the number of that which is created; it is the world number. Individually, they each reduce to the digits 10 and 5 or divine perfection and grace. Cumulatively, they equal 1500 and thus reduce to 10, 5, and 3. Three signifies that which is real, substantial, complete, and entire.
Therefore, the four together point to the entirety of divine perfection and grace towards God’s creation. These, not surprisingly then prefigure the four gospels. As this is so and the weight of the first and fourth are the same, and the weight of the second and third are the same, we should find a pattern in the gospels according to the spices.
The first is myrrh and is what was presented in Matthew to the newborn Child. Myrrh speaks of bitterness, as in the bitter herbs of the Passover. Thus it reflects the King who came to die for His people as the Passover Lamb.
The fourth is the same weight and corresponds to John. Its root indicates bowing the head as an act of obedience and this is what the divine Son of God, portrayed in John, came to do. He came in obedience to the Father.
The second, qinnamon besem, or “cinnamon fragrant,” comes from an unused root meaning “to erect.” It reflects Christ in the book of Mark; the Servant, the builder of the house for His people.
The third, qaneh bosem, or “cane fragrant,” comes from the verb qanah which means to acquire, purchase, etc. It is the source of the word canon which we use to indicate “canon,” the authority of Scripture. In it we see Christ the Son of Man who acquired His people by fulfilling the law, the rod of God’s measurement.
The second and third spices were only one half the weight of the others. This speaks of lowliness. In contrast to the King in Matthew and the Son of God in John, the gospels of Mark and Luke speak of the Servant and the Son of Man – both lowly stations in relation to their counterpart.
Despite the lowly weight though of these two middle spices, only they are described by the term bosem, or fragrant. It is the life of the Servant, the Man – Christ – which was considered a fragrant offering to God. Though being lowly, or more rightly, because of the voluntary lowly station He took, there was an markedly sweet fragrance connected to it.
Each of these spices was said to be “according to the shekel of the sanctuary.” In other words, His work is according to God’s divine standard by which all else is compared. It is by Him and His work that all of the holy attributes of God are measured.
Next was the measure of olive oil. This is the vehicle by which Christ’s work was effected. It is the anointing of the Spirit upon Him. This was seen, for example, in Acts 10:38 where it says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”
The spices, though differing in weight, all diffused into the oil evenly resulting in all being equally on display and none having priority over another. Thus we see in equal measure Christ the King, the Servant, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Each radiates out equally, forever revealing the mystery of Christ.
To summarize, in the anointing oil we see Christ the King, the Myrrh of Freedom giving His life for our liberty; we see Christ the Servant, the builder of the house for His people; we see Christ the Son of Man who acquired His people by fulfilling the law, the rod of God’s measurement; and we see Christ, the Son of God, who stepped out of His eternal realm to do His Father’s will.
This oil, after it was made, was used to anoint the tabernacle, every piece of furniture, and the high priest, all of which has pointed perfectly and completely to Christ in our past sermons. The anointing of the Spirit was applied to every aspect of His life, work, and ministry – both past and ongoing – effusing out His fragrance in the great plan of redemptive history.
What is remarkable is that this anointing oil is described directly after the bronze laver. The laver was used as a means of cleansing from defilement. It signified sanctification from all that would hinder our walk with God. The anointing oil, is just the opposite. It signifies the anointing of the Spirit, an emblem of sanctification for our walk with God forward; propelling us ever forward.
After the Anointing Oil, the Holy Incense was described. Moses was told to take fragrances for this incense. The first is nataph, or stacte. The word means drop, but it is connected to the verb which means “to speak by inspiration” or to “prophesy.” This signifies the word of Christ; the divine word of inspiration and prophecy.
The next was shekheleth or onycha. The word comes from a root meaning to roar, and thus signifies the power of the word of Christ. He is the Lion of Judah and His word issues forth like a roar.
The third is khelbenah or galbanum. This comes from the word khelev which means fat and thus the best or finest. It therefore indicates that the work of Christ is the finest, the epitome of all works before God the Father.
This particular spice was noted as not nice smelling by itself, but it is used to bring out the richer smells of other spices and it prolongs their burning. Thus this aspect of Christ is what was not considered nice in and of itself. His work of fulfilling the law included His atoning death under the law. And yet, it is this that brings out all of the other aspects of His work and makes them everlasting for His redeemed.
The fourth ingredient is levonah, or frankincense. It comes from the word lavan, meaning “brick.” The concept of a brick in the Bible is one of human work. At the tower of Babel, the people made bricks in order to work their way to heaven. In Egypt, the people were forced to make brick without straw and were unable to perform their duties. In both instances, pictures were being made of man’s futile attempt at pleasing God through works. Their brick-making was tainted and unacceptable.
This spice for the incense is contrasted to that. It contains an adjective so that the words properly read u-levonah zakkah – “…and frankincense pure.” This pure frankincense symbolizes Christ’s perfect works which are acceptable to God.
With the four characteristics of Christ seen in the spices, we were then given the words bad b’vad yiyeh – “alone by alone there shall be.” The sense is that these aspects of Christ are separate, but when mixed together the proportions are equal in amount.
Once these were compiled, they were to be salted. In the Bible, no amount of salt is ever detailed. Because of this, it indicates an unlimited amount. Salt signifies covenant faithfulness, incorruptibility, and that which provides flavor. It was worked into the compound and each aspect reflects the work of Christ.
In the salt we see His covenant faithfulness, His incorruptible nature, and His adding flavor to the life which we are captured in, granting us a new taste, never before experienced. Through His word, represented by these four spices and salt, an offering can be made to God with is tahor qodesh – pure and holy.
After the incense was made, the next instructions were given which were that it was to be beaten very fine and placed before the Testimony. The incense was to be prepared so that it would diffuse in the quickest and most thorough manner.
To grasp this, the symbolism of incense needs to be understood. In both testaments, incense is directly equated with prayer, and thus the prayers of Christ in His ministry, based on His person and work, are what are being pictured Here.
It symbolizes the office of High Priest, mediating between God and man. This is why the incense was termed qodesh qadashim, or holy of holies. Only Christ’s prayers are truly acceptable to God because only He is without sin. Therefore, as our Mediator, our prayers are only acceptable to God through Him. But when we belong to Him and our prayers reach to God through Him, they are holy of holies; acceptable to God.
Finally today, in both the Anointing Oil and in the Holy Incense, there were similar prohibitions concerning making either in the same proportions and/or using them in an unauthorized manner. These carry the same connotation.
There is one Lord, one Christ, and one path to God, which is through what He has done. The Spirit of God does not reside on any outside of Christ, and people’s prayers are not heard by God outside of Christ. We are never to mix our worship of God, or our prayers to God, with those who are not of God in Christ.
This does not mean that we can’t have unsaved people in a church; that should be expected. Nor does it mean we can’t walk into a religious service of another faith to learn what they are up to or to perform a necessary function. The example of Naaman the Syrian performing his duties in the temple of Rimmon shows us this.
What it does mean is that we are not to participate in religious services with others who are not of the faith. Our worshipping with them is mixing the holy with the profane.
If we publically pray with Mormons, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. We are implicitly condoning their faiths in their own eyes. We are demonstrating, openly and publically, that the Spirit which anoints us, and the Christ who mediates for us, is on the same level as their false god. This is not to be condoned.
As we have seen today, everything about these two mixtures points to Christ and His work. The amazing thing is that because of Him, we too are now authorized to share in what these picture. We are anointed with the same Holy Spirit because of Him, and we are given the same right to offer our prayers to God through Him.
Who here has never called on Jesus and yet prays to God? I tell you now that the symbolism of these things, and the words of the rest of the Bible, show that your prayers are unheard by His ears. The only prayer God wants to hear from you is the prayer of accepting Jesus. Should you choose to do that today, you too will be anointed with the Holy Spirit and your prayers will then be holy and acceptable to the Lord. Choose life; choose Christ; do it today.
Closing Verse: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Next Week: Exodus 31:1-11 What they will build is no prefab… (Bezalel and Aholiab) (87th Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Oil and the Incense
Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
These are the words He began relaying
Also take for yourself quality spices—
Five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh
Half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon
Two hundred and fifty shekels, for sure
Two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane
Five hundred shekels of cassia also
According to the shekel of the sanctuary
And a hin of olive oil, as you now know
And you shall make from these
A holy anointing oil, one set apart
An ointment compounded
According to the perfumer’s art
It shall be a holy anointing oil, so you see
Follow these directions ever so carefully
With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting
And the ark of the Testimony; as I to you tell
The table and all its utensils
The lampstand and its utensils as well
And the altar of incense; you shall anoint too
The altar of burnt offering with all its utensils
And the laver and its base, so shall you do
You shall consecrate them
That they may be most holy
Whatever touches them must be holy
These things are set apart to Me
And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, you see
And consecrate them
That they may minister as priests to Me
And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying
This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me
Throughout your generations, as I am now relaying
It shall not be poured on man’s flesh
Nor shall you make any other like it
According to its composition
It is holy, and it shall be holy to you, I submit
Whoever compounds any like it
Or whoever puts any of it on an outsider
Shall be cut off from his people
You shall stand by this instructive divider
And the Lord said to Moses:
Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha, as to you I teach
And galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices
There shall be equal amounts of each
You shall make of these an incense
A compound according to the art of the perfumer
Salted, pure, and holy will be its contents
And you shall beat some of it very fine
And put before the Testimony some of it
In the tabernacle of meeting
Where I will meet with you, as I now submit
It shall be most holy to you
Following these instructions you shall do
But as for the incense which you shall make, this I tell
You shall not any for yourselves make
According to its composition as well
It shall be to you holy for the Lord, only for His sake
Whoever makes any like it, to smell it
He shall be cut off from his people, so I now submit
Wonderful pictures of Christ and His work for us
Are revealed in the holy oil and incense of Israel
Every word shows us more hints of Jesus
And of His marvelous works each does tell
Thank You, O God, for such a wonderful word
Thank You for the mysteries which are hidden there
Each that we pull out speaks of Jesus our Lord
Thank you that in His goodness we too can share
For all eternity we shall sing to You our praise
Yes, from this time forth and for eternal days
Hallelujah and Amen…