The Incense Altar in the Holy Place represents the fifth rung and covers “Creative Faith”. It is also known as “Great Faith”. This rung of faith understands the authority of God and believes God’s Word will not return void.
Confession will always follow the Word, and prayer is its life application. “When Yeshua heard it, he marveled, and said unto them that followed, ‘Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [emphasis mine], no, not in Israel’” (Matthew 8:10 KJV).
The Altar of Incense was the tallest piece of furniture in the Holy Place and speaks of the highest act of worship. Burning incense represented the prayers and priestly intercession of God’s people going up before the throne of God (Psalm 141:2).
The need for the intercession was constant, for the priests were defiled daily by contact with the earth on which they walked. They needed confession and intercession at the golden Altar of Incense.
There are, according to Jewish tradition, eleven spices to produce the incense. Five are listed in the written Torah, and the rest are found in the Talmud (Tractate “Keritot”). They are:
* aromatic bark, and
These spices were offered on both the morning and evening sacrifices. On the day before Yom Kippur, the incense would be ground again; thereby producing “the finest of the fine.”
The eleven spices connect with the eleven types of prayer with the incense. They are:
* The prayer for confessing our sins (1 John 1:9),
* The prayer for confessing our faith (James 5:16),
* The prayer of agreement (Matthew 18:19),
* The prayer of faith for the sick (James 5:15),
* The prayer of binding (Matthew 16:19),
* The prayer of loosing (Matthew 16:19),
* The praying in the spirit (Ephesians 6:18),
* The praying in the Spirit with understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15),
* The prayer of thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6),
* The prayer of intercession (1 Timothy 2:1), and
* The prayer for general supplication (Philippians 4:6).
This golden altar is a condemnation of any claim to perfection in the walk that the priest might make. The incense, rising before the veil, was a constant reminder to the priest that he still had the old nature, that he still came short, and that he still needed intercession at the Altar of Incense.
The highest office of the believer is intercessory prayer. Prayer is the process that activates the power of God. As the incense was offered on the altar with exact measurements, so the prayers must be offered with the knowledge and understanding of the authority of God.
God is more pleased with our worship than our service. When the praises go up, the blessings come down.
The incense offering was the most precious part of the Tabernacle’s service in the eyes of God, and every priest hoped to have the honor of conducting this service. It was permitted only as a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was said that the one who had the privilege to offer the incense was rewarded by God with wealth and prosperity forever, in this world and the next.
There can be no acceptable service until you have stopped to worship, first, at the Altar of Incense. It is by the offering on the Altar of Sacrifice you are saved, but it is by the incense on the Altar of Incense you are kept.
The priest at this altar does not pray for non-believers. The priest at the Altar of Incense is powerless to do a single thing for the unbeliever until the unbeliever comes first to the Altar of Sacrifice with repentance.
Prayer without faith is worthless. There is only one way, a personal faith in the finished work of Yeshua. On this rung of the ladder of trust, through prayer, you utterly understand and trust the authority of God.
It is here you believe God’s Word will not return void. This rung, called “Creative Faith”, is, as mentioned before, better known as “Great Faith”. You cannot go to the next rung on the ladder without understanding and trusting the authority of God.