Temple Incense Altar and What It Represents (Hebrew acronym)

Temple Incense Altar

Just as the Holy Incense was to be burnt perpetually, we are to pray continually and be ready to pray at any time as needs arise,

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer (Romans 12:12).

Burning the resins on hot coals is reminiscent of the fiery trials we face from time to time. When the testing of our faith becomes difficult we immediately cry toward Heaven for help.  And, like the heat of the coals that release the aroma of the incense instantly, our prayers in times of need are instantly released. This is when Elohim (God) turns a bitter experience into something sweet.

Teshuvah or true repentance is the ability to restructure a new life out of the raw ingredients we are given to work with and transform it into a sweet fragrance pleasing to Him.

And Yahweh is there, expecting our prayer and ready to “meet with thee” (Exodus 30: 6). When He hears our prayer, He responds. He gets great joy when we seek Him out in fervent pray,

Ointment and perfume (incense) rejoice the heart. (Proverbs 27:9)

The Torah states that this is the most powerful form of offering because it has the power of life and death.

In the Midrash (Tanchuma, Tetzaveh 14), the letters of the word Qetoret can be read as an acronym: q (Koof), j (Tet), r (Reysh) and a t (Tav). This acrostic starts with the letter q for Qodesh, which means holiness and the letter represents the back of the head or last. j is for Tohorah which means purify and the letter j means, to surround.  r is for Racham which means Mercy and the letter r means head or the highest. The final letter t is for Ti Tikvah which means hope and the letter t means covenant, sign or cross. When you put it all together, it says:

Koof (Behind/back of the Head – last)

Tet (Surround)

Resh (Head or the highest)

Tav (Covenant, Sign, Cross)

He is the head of the body and it is his holiness that purifies us and surrounds us with His love. His mercy offers us hope and it is through His covenant on the cross that we can enter into His presence. Simply put, Yahweh has got your back.