Today we look at some of the different names the Bible uses regarding this altar.
1. THE ALTAR OF INCENSE (Exodus 30:27; 31:8; 35:15; and 37:25). These passages emphasize the importance of prayer/worship/intercession to be a fragrant smell in God’s nostrils. Whatever we ask for, or whenever we worship, we do it all in the name of Jesus whose “name is as ointment poured forth” (Song of Solomon1:3).
2. THE GOLDEN ALTAR (Exodus 30:2; 39:39; and 40:26). These Scriptures emphasize the high value, inestimable worth, and preciousness of the ministry of prayer. The golden altar was the highest piece of furniture in the holy place.
3. THE GOLDEN ALTAR WHICH IS BEFORE THE THRONE (Revelation 8:3) which emphasizes prayer and worship connecting us to the throne of God enabling Him to rule and reign in us over all the earth.
4. THE WHOLE ALTAR WHICH IS BY THE ORACLE, the ark bearing the ten commandments, the covenant and truth (1 Kings 6:22). Prayer and worship open our hearts to the oracle or words of God’s truth and keep us close to it.
5. THE ALTAR BEFORE THE LORD (Leviticus 16:12-18). This emphasizes the nearness of God’s heart. We become close to the presence of God when we pray. We are to be the people of His presence. Exercising this ministry at the altar of prayer and worship releases God’s presence in our midst.
6. THE ALTAR TO BURN INCENSE (Exodus 30:1). This emphasizes the need of fire to burn the incense on the altar of our lives. There needs to be Holy Ghost fire in our prayer lives. Speaking of Jesus, John the Baptist said: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”
This Holy Spirit fire burns up the chaff in our lives and causes prayer and praise to be sweeter and stronger in devotion and fervor.
7. THE ALTAR OF SWEET INCENSE BEFORE THE LORD (Leviticus 4:7). This Scripture emphasizes the need for our prayer/praise/worship to be very sweet before the Lord. No bitterness or critical spirit is acceptable to God. The Lord’s prayer teaches us that when we pray, we must also forgive (Matthew 6:12-16).