After seeing a colossal, unprecedented, and astounding revelation concerning the three elements of the new revival portrayed in the golden lampstand, this week we come to the golden incense altar. The type of the golden incense altar in the Old Testament is profound, the reality of this altar in the New Testament is marvelous, and the ministry on this is enlightening.
When we study the incense altar, we are studying the greatest matter in the universe. What makes the golden incense altar the greatest matter in the universe? This incense altar typifies Christ as the intercessor, Christ as the One who prays and intercedes.
In His heavenly ministry Christ lives always to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25); He is in resurrection and ascension at the right hand of God, interceding for us (Rom. 8:34). The ascended Son of Man has all authority in heaven and on earth, and He is carrying out God’s governmental administration throughout the entire universe. This administration carried out to fulfill God’s heart’s desire depends upon the kind of prayer that is offered only at the golden incense altar.
As the Head of the Body, Christ is right now praying to carry out God’s administration, but for centuries He has been waiting for an adequate response from the members of His Body. The Lord needs His Body to echo and match His praying in the heavens – when the Head is praying in the heavens and the Body is praying in oneness with the Head on earth, these prayers govern the entire universe!
However, we all have to admit that the vast majority of prayers are offered in the outer court, at the altar of the burnt offering and not in the tabernacle (in the incarnated God); although they are genuine prayers for forgiveness, cleansing, applying the offerings, etc, they are shallow.
The Lord wants that many of His people would pray at the golden incense altar! The Lord wants to take us all on: He is interceding for us, and He knows how urgent this need is. There’s a need for desperate prayer for the Lord to move and to return.
We begin our journey into God at th altar in the outer court, applying Christ as all the offerings. Here, we see that the blood of the peace-offering gives us peace, we experience the washing of the laver, and we enter into the Holy Place to have the divine light and eat the bread of the presence, and we enter into the Holy of Holies to contact the Lord directly. Here, on the expiation cover, the Lord comes to fellowship with us, give us direction, and commune us, and we are led to pray at the golden incense altar.
How can we experience the prayer at the golden incense altar? We begin by seeing a vision. We should never minimise the importance of having the proper view of something, because this kind of view can change our life. We shouldn’t be in a rush to the experiential side but see a clear vision and then we will enter into the experience of the golden incense altar.
Seeing a Vision of the Golden Incense Altar: Christ praying, Christ Interceding
We need to see a vision of the golden incense altar. The incense altar doesn’t primarily signify prayer but Christ praying, Christ interceding in order to maintain the relationship between God and His people (see Rom. 8;34; Heb. 7:25).
The only way our relationship between us and God can exist and go on is by Christ praying and interceding for us. Also, this Christ is the corporate Christ, the Body-Christ: when Christ the Head with His Body prays, when He prays in the heavens and we echo on earth, our relationship with God can be maintained and God’s administration can be carried out.
The incense altar is one of the deepest types in the Old Testament, and many believers superficially consider it to typify our prayer to God. If we consider the incense altar in a deeper way, however, we will realize that it is a type of the person of Christ, the praying One (Exo. 30:1-3).
We see this in John 17, where the Lord prayed and interceded both for His believers and for those were about to believe into Him. This Person, Christ, is now enlarged to be the corporate Christ, the Body of Christ; now a corporate Christ is praying on earth to release the prayers of the ascended Christ in the heavens.
Our God is waiting for this kind of prayers, and He desires them. We are not here to merely encourage one another to pray: we want to have a heart to learn, be simply willing to learn personally and corporately, and we would be willing to have the experiences we need to become the kind of person that can pray at the golden incense altar.
Christ as our Head in the heavens is now at the golden incense altar interceding and praying, and as a result of His intercession we repent and believe into God, we grow in life, we come into the church life, and we function as members of the Body.
It is not because of our “desperate seeking” that we, out of all people, believe in God and have come into the church life in the Lord’s recovery, but it is because of the Lord’s constant interceding in the heavens that this happened!
It is because Christ intercedes for us in the heavens right now that we turn our heart to Him, we open to His dispensing, and we give Him more ground to grow in us and be expressed through us.
If we see that the golden incense altar is a type of the person of Christ who prays and intercedes, we will give ourselves to the Lord to be joined to Him in His intercession for His members and for God’s administration on earth!
Lord Jesus, we present ourselves to You: we give You our consent to Your working in us and on us to make us members of the Body who can pray at the golden incense altar. Thank You for Your constant intercession for us. Lord, it is because of Your intercession and prayer that we are here in the church life in the Lord’s recovery today. Amen, Lord, we want to be joined to You in spirit and echo Your intercession by praying one with You the prayers that You need to release the growth in life, the functioning of the saints, and the administration of God in the universe!
Christ’s Interceding Life Motivates us to Experience all the Items of the Tabernacle
The incense altar is the “motor” that causes all the other items of the tabernacle to be real and experiential to us. The incense altar is the place from which the activities at all the other places in the tabernacle and the outer court are motivated; Christ’s interceding life motivates us to experience the altar, the laver, the table, the lampstand, and the ark.
We may be under the Lord’s light as we read Exodus 25-30 and realize that all these furnitures of the tabernacle are for us to experience in order to build up the church, but none of these can be effective in our daily life and experience unless we are at the incense altar.
If we do not have the center, the incense altar, none of the aspects of the tabernacle and the outer court will be effective in our experience. Oh, we must have a prayer life! We must have the incense altar. The prayer life motivates us to experience the altar, the laver, the table, the lampstand, and the Ark. If you will pray even a little, you will find in your experience that the showbread table is precious, that the lampstand is prevailing, and that the Ark is attractive. (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Exodus)
Just as the heart in our human body causes all the other organs to work properly and is the motor that puts our body in motion and keeps it alive, so the motor, the heart, of the entire tabernacle is the golden incense altar. In order for us to experience Christ as our sin offering we need to pray. In order for us to experience Christ as our burnt offering, the only One that is absolute for God, we need to have a deeper and higher prayer.
In order for us to enter into the Holy Place and have the Lord’s shining (the lampstand), His feeding (the table of the bread of the presence), and the embodiment of God (the ark), we need to have a prayer life, that is, we need to be one with Christ in His praying.
Christ is the motivator; Christ is the motor; Christ is the heart of the tabernacle, the heart of the church, the One who causes all things and all people to live, move, and do everything.
Experientially, it is the prayer at the incense altar that causes us to come to the altar in the outer court and believe in Christ, take Him as the sin offering, apply Him as the peace-offering, and go on to desire to be in the church life built up with the saints to have God’s shining (the lampstand) and His fresh and rich supply (the showbread table).
It is the Lord’s prayer (and the prayer of those who cooperate with Him at the incense altar) that causes and motivates the believers to have a hunger for the Lord, desire to be in the church life, and enter into the second veil to live in the Holy of Holies.
Everything in our experience of the tabernacle is motivated by the prayer at the incense altar. Even as we read these words and are impressed with our need to see and enter into the experience of Christ as the incense altar, we need Christ to intercede for us to motivate us to go on this way.
Lord Jesus, it is Your interceding life that motivates us to believe into You, take You as our sin offering and peace-offering, and desire to be built up with the saints in the church life. Lord, how much we need and appreciate Your intercession! Oh Lord, we don’t want to merely know and understand how the aspects and furnishings of the tabernacle apply to our experience, but we want to enter into a prayer life one with You so that all these aspects would become our reality and experience! Lord, strengthen our prayer life for us to be one with You in Your prayer of intercession today!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, brother Ron Kangas’ sharing in the message for this week, and Life-study of Exodus, msgs. 147-148 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (3), week 5 (week 29), The Golden Incense Altar.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic to strengthen this burden:
# He’s living now to intercede, / Continuing forever; / He undertakes into the age, / His priesthood changes never; / He always lives to intercede, / Such a High Priest is what we need: / He’s higher than the heavens. (Hymns #1130)
# He ever lives above / For me to intercede, / His all-redeeming love, / His precious blood to plead. / His blood was shed for all our race, / And sprinkles now the throne of grace. (Hymns #300)
# Make us those who’re one with You in prayer, / Echoing the things for which You care. / Lord, do make us one so that Your heart’s desire we share; / In this age, Lord gain Your men of prayer. (Song on Cooperating in prayer)