Exodus 30:1-6, “And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.”
The golden altar of incense was two cubits tall, which would be about three feet. It was one cubit wide and one cubit broad, a square of about eighteen inches at the top. It was made of acacia wood, otherwise called shittim wood, which was a type of wood like cedar, which did not rot easily and was very durable; a type of wood used for making ships. It had a crown around it, and four horns with hooks for carrying it at the corners, which made it easier for one man to lift. The priest had to use it in the holy of holies once a year to burn incense before the Ark of the Covenant to fill the holy of holies with smoke before the offering could be made for the people.
The symbolic meaning of the dimensions of the altar speaks of the square of the number which represents God, ONE. Two cubits in height speaks of the witnesses of God, the Spirit and the Word.
The crown on the altar of incense is a symbol of victory, of the believer coming into kingship. On the table of shewbread there was victory, but it was accompanied with tribulation. In this instance, however, the tribulation is past, and the pure essence of the soul is about to be spirited up to God by an offering of fire. This vital step brings us into becoming kings and priests of God.
Two golden rings symbolize the believer to have reached the stage of being married, and becoming one with both the Spirit and the Word.
All this symbolism which points to the individual also points to an international historic event, when so many individuals will reach this point, that the international church will be changed by the magnitude of this power.
The wood of the altar is humanity, and the gold is the pure nature of God which covers our humanity.
There are two altars of sacrifice in the tabernacle. The first was the brazen altar of sacrifice, where flesh was the sacrifice. That was the type of man being divested of his own righteousness and of his sin nature. The second is the altar of incense. This burning of incense speaks of man’s soul nature being consumed to bring the highest glory to Almighty God. When we first offered ourselves to God, we had nothing presentable (dung, skin, bowels, etc.). Now the nature of the soul has been partly changed, and the four wild beasts of the soul (eagle, lion, ox, man) have been partially tamed. On the other hand, the nature of God has begun to manifest itself within the believer as Christ enters into him. At this point, at the height of his spiritual achievements, he is asked to surrender all his soul’s goodness unto God. This is the meaning of the burning of the incense. ALL SOULISHNESS MUST DIE. Jesus, though He had all power, never exercised it, but gave it back to the Father for His use at His will. “Not my will but thine be done,” was a pattern laid down for us to follow. This is the place where man does not even use his gifts, without being in the direct will of God. Jesus went down to the pool of Bethesda where there were many sick folk, but he healed one and went away, because that was the will of the Father for the time. Many of us would have put up a tent, and held a big revival meeting right there on the spot.
CAPITALIZING ON GOD
We should never capitalize on our spiritual gifts. The gifts of God are given to the church and not to individuals. Truly, we are stewards of these gifts for the edification of the church, but never for our use as we wish. This, however, will happen if the self life is not dead. The death of the self life is an Outer Court work, which should have been done and finished within the Outer Court, but if not done as it ought to have been, then when the soul is being offered up, it will be even as Cain’s offering, unclean and unacceptable to God.
The horns on this altar signify force and compulsion. It is peculiar that, at this point of a person’s spiritual metamorphosis, there would still be the element of law or force. This shows that before one can enter into the Holy of Holies, there is one last compulsory act, COMPLETE SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. This point in man’s spiritual achievement represents one of the crossroads of the Spirit. Man here is asked to submit all that he has attained and achieved in Christ, and to learn the great lesson of power, THAT IT SUBMITS to higher power. The lesson persists in the fact that the road to entering into the Father is the way of surrender of all things that the Father has given to the man. This has been the pattern right along from the outer court. The grain of corn falls into the earth and dies, so that it might bring forth many more grains. The life is given up, so that one might gain the life of Christ. Now, all that one has gained in Christ is being surrendered to gain the fullness which is in Him. What, then, are the consequences of not going the step further?
DEATH AT THE GOLDEN ALTAR
The Golden Altar of Incense is a place of life. The whole idea of the Holy Place is the type of entering into the life of Christ, BUT one must remember that when one enters into the life of Christ, one must give up his own life. It stands out as truth, therefore, that to enter into the very fullness of the life of Christ, one must settle the question of SELF LIFE and ALL OTHER ALIEN TYPES OF LIFE, upon which the Covenant of the Outer Court was sealed and signed with blood.
There is a fearful record of DEATH AT THE GOLDEN ALTAR. Leviticus 10:1-2 records the death of Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron who were also priests. In our time, it represents not only ministers, but those who have reached that stage in Christ.
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in THEM THAT COME NIGH ME, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die; for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.” Leviticus 10:1-7
God did not kill these people. They transgressed basic principles, and became the victims of their own folly. No other fire was to be used in the tabernacle but the fire from the Outer Court altar of sacrifice, which God Himself lit, and which was a holy fire to be perpetuated. They disregarded instructions, and EXPERIMENTED in things of God. All this sounds familiar to me. The men and women of our day are transgressing in this very thing at the Altar of Incense, and are indeed DROPPING DEAD, both physically and spiritually.
Adam was created of God, a LIVING SOUL, but Adam died. Since that time, the perfect will of God for man has been to see man move again, NOT ONLY INTO LIFE, BUT INTO IMMORTALITY.
2nd Timothy 1:10, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
It is God’s will, therefore, for man to move higher than just being a LIVING SOUL, but to the very LIKENESS OF GOD, becoming a QUICKENING SPIRIT.
This, in other words, is the SONSHIP MESSAGE which we now preach.
It is the message of God to His creatures to lift them from SERVANTSHIP to SONSHIP. They are to be masters and rulers in the natural, but children in the spiritual.
It transpires, therefore, that when the soul realm is conquered, and the GIFTS AND FRUITS of the Spirit begin to come forth in our lives, and we begin to have power over the enemy, having overcome the enemy within, THEN there remains only one enemy, or one VEIL yet, and that is ourselves. The veil represents flesh, and there are three to be crossed in the Tabernacle, before we come into the Holy of Holies, where God meets with man in a FACE TO FACE relationship.
Exodus 25:22, “And there I will meet with thee and commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.”
The horns of the Altar of Incense signify the absolute necessity of the work which they depict – the necessity of the soul being offered. The offering must be “without spot or blemish, a male of the first year.” God’s perfect offering is prime, not second grade. Many of us give God what is left of a life half lived for Him, but He wants the FIRST FRUITS of our lives. The term WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH carries much meaning here. Hebrews 5:9 speaks of Jesus Christ on this wise,
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation.”
To the casual reader, this would suggest that Jesus was not perfect but was made perfect, BUT when we see the thing in the Spirit, then we understand that Jesus Christ could only be made the perfect sacrifice through BEING SACRIFICED. Thus, it was through His suffering that He became the perfect sacrifice. To be this, He had to suffer in the flesh. Here again, we have another scripture which has sometimes been misinterpreted by us.
1st Peter 4:1, “For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”
It is a fact that many have suffered in the flesh and have not ceased from sin, therefore, the word “suffered” here must carry a specific spiritual meaning. The suffering in the flesh which God requires is not a type of penance as some think, but the RESISTING OF THE FLESH AND ALL ITS DESIRES. Thus, suffering in the flesh destroys the power of the flesh life and immobilizes the force of its enticements. The mind of Christ leads us into this type of suffering.
WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH
We can see, therefore, that the term “without spot or blemish” speaks of a soul as the lamb of old without any scar or tarnish of sin, which has been thoroughly cleansed of God, and emptied of self, and offered to its Maker for His use. It is possible that a person can reach the stage right HERE AND NOW, where he or she does not sin with his Mind, neither with his or her Emotions, neither with the Will, nor with the Desire. When you are in this condition, then you only need to make sure that your motive for all this was not SELF. Self PRESERVATION could easily make a man get so smart with His God that he would submit and do all he needs to do. If self-anything is our motive, then self is still alive. All our motive must be GOD AND GOD ALONE. God’s people, God’s plan, God’s will. Lost, utterly lost in God, and absolutely rejecting that which we knew to be the thing called self. When Adam fell, his thought pattern fell. Now we rise. Our thought pattern must rise.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, SO IS HE.” Proverbs 23:7.
The Christ cannot be fully resurrected from within us until we are dead in Him. Death of the seed precedes the life of the new plant. If Jesus cleanses us of all sin, then, praise God, we should reach the point where sin is completely driven out of our soul nature, and the Divine nature is being formed within. Without spot or blemish… blameless.
Wherever men of faith dwell, and wherever men live by faith, the name Abraham becomes a beacon and a sign post to them.
Genesis 22:2, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; And offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Verse 4, “Then on the THIRD DAY Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” Verse 6, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.” Verse 10, “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Verse 11, “And the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, ABRAHAM, ABRAHAM: and he said, Here am I.”
The angel had spared Isaac by his intervention, BUT had slain the self life of Abraham. How significant it is that all this took place on a mountain which was afterwards the site of the temple built by Solomon. 2nd Chronicles 3:1. The site is Zion City, the stronghold of the people of God, and a SYMBOL of God’s elect in the end of this age. This was also the same spot where the threshing floor of Ornan stood, where David offered the sacrifice to God and saved Israel from a terrible plague. Today, the spot is covered by the Dome of the Rock and the El Aksa Mosque, a Moslem house of worship.
God, the same today as He was yesterday and shall be forever, required from Abraham the same sacrifice of self which He requires of us today. With the greater knowledge and more ABUNDANT LIFE which we have received, we will automatically give more when we give all. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Luke 12:48. All of a bucket is different from all of a well, and yet the sacrifice is the same.
The soul of man is the prize of God. This is the one earthly item which we definitely know that God desires more than all others. Gold, silver, lands, cattle, angels? No! The soul of man is the great prize. When this is won, then all creation is won. God DESIRES SONS, not robots, not beings compelled to worship Him, but sons who willingly lay at His feet all the goodness He gave to them.
“Not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42.
Gifts from the Spirit of God are to be given back to God. God is not making man independent of Himself, but by His goodness being poured out upon us, He is drawing us to Himself. There is nowhere else where the goodness of God can be MAXIMUM EFFECTIVE, but in the hand of God. Do you use God or does God use you? God is His own administrator, and when man acquires the attributes of God and uses them for self, he is usurping authority.
There is another classic example in the Bible in Revelation 4:10 and 11.
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Here the beasts represent the souls of men, changed from the beast nature to the nature of the Christ. They took off their crowns, came off their thrones, fell down before Jesus Christ, and worshipped Him.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power.”
This is what they say, surrendering to Him all the power and glory He gave them by His blood and sacrifice. This loudly suggests that they will not be their own, but forever be His and part of Him who redeemed them.
According to the promises of the Lord, we are to be made priests and kings. Revelation 4 shows this situation, when man is at last made priest and the soul is inhabited by the King, Jesus Christ, thus, we also become kings. Even as Jesus surrendered all power and authority to the Father, and submitted Himself to the ignominy of the cross, so also the sons of God, true to pattern, surrender their crowns and their priesthood to Him who redeemed them. A very beautiful picture indeed.
THE GOLDEN ALTAR CHURCH
This church represents a realm of worship one step beyond the Holy Ghost baptism realm. This is the place where the church prepares to enter into the Holy of Holies, and to even taste of the abundance of union with God. The death of the old ministry and the complete reliance on God is absolute at this point. Man must lay aside the last vestige of FLESH. Here carnality suffers a mortal blow. The priest takes off his outer garment and leaves only the linen. When he entered into the Outer Court, he died to sin. When he entered into the Holy Place, he died to self. Now he is about to enter into the Holy of Holies, and he has to die to SOUL. In other words, he has to give up the gifts, and take on the NATURE of the Christ. Giving up the gifts does not mean that he does not use tongues or prophecy any more, but that he lays them in the hands of God, and they are only used as the Father uses them. The man is no more. Only the Christ is seen in the Holy of Holies. For this reason, we have not seen the church in this condition. It seems a continuous going in and coming out. God is leading His shepherds to lead His people into the Holy of Holies, and to teach them to remain in the presence of God in an everlasting union. There is not much more to say about this place. ALL THE CHURCHES SO FAR, AND ALL THE MEN OF GOD, HAVE EITHER HALTED HERE OR FALLEN. Those around us who are boasting that they are in the Holy of Holies are still in the Outer Court marching around. Mankind is waiting for LIFE, and when it breaks forth from any of us, it is hard to hide.
Thus, the question of how we will know when one goes in is irrelevant. Even the blind sinners will see the glory of God manifested in such blinding light, that nothing will withstand the glory of THEIR shining. On the day of atonement, the last act the priest does in the holy place before entering the Holy of Holies is lifting up the Altar of Incense, and bodily carrying it into the Holy of Holies with him to complete the soul offering before the mercy seat.
IN THE REALM AS THE BODY OF CHRIST
In this realm, the Golden Altar of Incense represents the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12. She has been sanctified, consecrated, baptized into Christ, and the nature of Christ is being formed within her womb (soul). This prepares her for the entry into the Holy of Holies.
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