Before the Vail: Lesson 4, Secrets of the Altar
Updated: Sep 22, 2019
Continuing in our study of the altar of incense as it applies to prayer, we now look at the placement of the altar. This is significant. In Exodus 30:6 &7 we read "...and you shall put it before the veil which (is) by the ark of the testimony before the mercy seat which is over the testimony where I meet with you."
Look closely at the placement; "before the veil", "by the mercy seat', "where I meet with you." As we read on we find when these meetings took place; (verse 7) "morning by morning" and (verse 8) "between the evenings... when Aaron sets up the lamps at even."
So we see the priest came before God every morning and every evening while he performed the work of the temple: He set up and trimmed the lamps and burned the incense. This is a good pattern to follow in prayer. Have some one-on-one time with God every morning and every evening to keep your light burning.
Verse eight ends with saying he shall burn incense perpetually before the face of GOD for your generations.
Two things here; 1) pray always, the LORD tells us in 1Thes. 5:16-18 "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
2) If our children and grandchildren will come to know GOD, we must pray now and continually.
Now for a little Hebrew.
The altar is placed before the veil, po-reh-keth (strong's #6532) spelt Pe, Resh, Kaf, Tahv . At first, this seems straight forward and simply means a veil. But when we read further we find that the word comes from strong's 6531, peh-rek (Pe, Resh, Kaf). This means to fracture or break apart.
The veil in the temple was a reminder that our connection to GOD was broken by sin. Whenever sin is present it continues to fracture our relationship with GOD. We must be diligent to pray night and day, " keeping our bodies in subjection to GOD"
The letter meanings confirm this:
Pey: mouth, speak
Note: We speak with our mouth in prayer and confess that Jesus is GOD alone and we need Him in our life constantly in every way.
Here are a few of the ways we are instructed to use words as we pray:
-Ask: you have not because you ask not.
- Thanksgiving, praise and blessing: Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise Be thankful unto him and bless his name
- Healing: the prayer of faith will save the sick and the LORD will raise him up
Resh: a bowed head, or the head (lord, leader)
Note: We bow our head in prayer to repent of sins known and unknown. Christ bowed his head and died on the cross. Likewise, we must die out to our self-will and follow his leading.
Kaf: a cupped hand turned over, poured out, also likeness, sameness; as above so below.
Note: We lift our hands to Him and pour out our hearts. When we are poured out He can fill us with His Spirit. Prayer is a time of renewal where we can find hope, direction, and healing.
Also, the more we pray, the more we are conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus.
If we put the letter meanings into a sentence it could read:
"Lift up your hands, bow your head and talk to the LORD."
The gamatira also tells a beautiful story.
Pe: 80, new beginning new birth
Resh: 200 insufficiency of man, sufficiency of God
Kaf: 20, redemption
total is 300: a divinely appointed period of time, sacrifice, fire
All of these relate to salvation, a new birth, redeemtion.
Our life is a period of testing where we learn of our insufficiency and God's sufficiency. To tap into his sufficiency we must walk a path of self sacrifice. If we do, our prayer will have the fire it needs to be effective.
When Jesus died upon the cross the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, opening the way into the presence of God for all, anytime, anyplace.
May GOD help us to come before him, be more like him, bow our heads, lift our hands and talk with him.
Lord, teach us to pray.
Jesus is waiting for us there, before the veil.