The Dividing Line…

The incense of the Tabernacle was to be burned within the confines of the Tabernacle on the Golden Altar and only the priesthood could offer it.

The Golden Altar which sat next to the veil in a position as close to the Ark of the Covenant as a priest could attain except on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest passed beyond the veil into the Holiest of Holies to apply blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.

The smoke from the burning incense on the Golden Altar filled the Holy Place and the Holiest of Holies with its fragrance making both God and man aware of an existing communication and fellowship between themselves.

At Sinai, God instructed that this incense would be burned in the Holy Place on the Golden Altar in the Tabernacle that Moses was to build according to the plan which God had given him.

However, in the sixteenth chapter of Numbers there is a very obvious exception, and the only exception, of the burning of the incense in the golden censer (which was used only to take the burning incense into the Holiest of Holies by the High Priest), where twice Aaron is instructed to bring the Golden Censer filled with burning incense out of the Tabernacle and used among the congregation of Israel which were in rebellion to God’s leadership.

It was Aaron’s use of the Golden Censer with the incense from the Tabernacle that drew the line between life and death as the judgment of God was executed upon Korah and his cohorts. It drew the line between rebellion and righteousness.

The burning incense on the Golden Altar was a type of prayer and praise and the fellowship between God and man. When it was brought forth out of the Tabernacle and used among the people its fragrance gave evidence that that fellowship can only be maintained properly by a praying and worshipping people that acknowledge His leadership.

The rebels also smelled the fragrance but because their fellowship had become corrupted through their rebellion and found themselves on the wrong side of the dividing line marked by the censer.

This incident shows clearly that rebellion to God will always find its place beyond the line of true praise and worship and will find that the fragrance of prayer and worship will not be a pleasant smell because rebellion will always abhor true prayer and praise.