Many people of the Christian church see the use of incense as a part of various occult practices, the Buddhist, or New Age movements and not to be a part of the Christian church.
If this is true then why did the Holy Bible scriptures I found referred to the incense as Holy? Has the Christian church missed something? What was the truth? Who was right?
I decided to dig deeper and find out. The first thing was of course to go into the scriptures them self. Many people had posted various options but I wanted the truth. When going into a Bible computer program and putting in the word "incense" I was amazed to see there were 132 references in the scripture.
Glancing over the scriptures I noticed they all seemed to refer to idols of that day. This seemed to go to the side of the people believing the incense were not for the Church. But then I felt a prompting of Holy Spirit to look further.
The best way to examine the scriptures is to lay them all out on the table so I decided to print in order all of the scriptures on incense so I could really look at them. In reading down the page an amazing fact jumped out. The vast majority of the Scriptures were telling how the incenses were being used in the wrong way by God's people. The Scriptures also told how the consequence of using the incense in the wrong way was to cause God's wrath to come upon us. This really caught my attention so I looked further.
Here are just some of the verses I found:
Leviticus 10: 1 - 2 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He (God) had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
I King 22: 43, 50 - 53 .....and he (Jehoshaphat) walked in all the ways of his father Asa. He did not turn aside from them, doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord, Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for the people offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places...... (The high places were where the people who worshipped other gods would burn incense to those gods) Here is God's response - Verse 53: For he served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done.
As I read further into this story in the scriptures I found that even though Jehoshaphat worshiped God he left the altars in the high places and burned incense to Baal the idol. In further study of Jehoshaphat we find as a result the sins were passed down through the generations.
Continuing to read through the scriptures there were even more of the wrong ways the incense were used by God's people and God's reaction. Every time the anger of God came against the people. The wrong way clearly indicated the use of the incense for worshipping idols rather than God.
The Holy Bible showed many places throughout the scriptures where the Lord is brought to great anger when the incense is used by the "idol worshipers".
In Exodus 30 Moses is given instructions for burning incense in the Temple Of God. It also states the incense was to be forevermore. This means they were to never end. The Lord even refers to our worship as "sweet incense" in His nostrils.
We learn in Exodus 30 the Incense of the Bible is for the purpose of worship. Exodus 30:8 and when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
Ok, it seemed I had found the answer. The incense was to be used in the Church of today. Remember the verse said, "Forevermore". That means today too. So now what? So I thought, ok, I will do an experiment.
Since Moses had told Aaron to burn the incense in morning why not try using them while praying in the mornings and see what happens. During the time of research I decided to burn the Frankincense during my intimate times with the Lord. I also decided to ask some friends to do the same and report back to me how they liked the incense. In my own experience
What were the results? I was amazed the times with the Lord went into deep deep times of intercession, revelations that I found later confirmed out with His word, and visions that I found later confirmed in His word. As for the others? They each were equally amazed to find the same thing happening to them.
Another interesting thing was each of us also found that the environment in our homes were changing, each of us in a different way, according to the desire of the Lord. My house became a place of sanctuary, peace, and ministry. This was getting really interesting. I decided to research further.
A book called "Strong's" can be used for studying the Bible a bit more in detail. It actually gives different words in the Bible and the definitions of what they meant in the Biblical days. I decided to look up incense.
Here is what I found:
Incense: Strong's # 6999 - Fumigation in a close place and perhaps thus driving out the occupants (demons) burn incense, make sacrifices smoke, to cause incense to smoke, offer incense
Types of Incense - God's Incense, Strange Incense
God gives us instructions that we are to only burn His incense. The scriptures show us there are certain fragrances used in the Temple Incense. Also throughout the scriptures we see the reference to various other fragrances that represent the Lord which are also used at times to make incense to honor Him. Exodus 30:9a You shall not offer strange incense on it...
Ok, so if incense is a good thing then why not just burn them all the time every day? When this question came to mind the Lord immediately led me to this verse.
Jeremiah 18:15 - Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in path, in a way not cast up.
The Burning of incense was originated for the purpose of worship. We have cheapened it by using it for room fragrances and other religions. The Lord is calling us back to Holiness and is saying to stop using His sanctified things for play and pleasure. They are Holy before Him. Reverence those things which are Holy.
What about room fragrance? Use those things which are not incense for the purpose of fragrances. Use sprays, perfumes, essential oils even. But stop using His Holy Incense.
Example: Would we use the baptism tank at the church for a bathtub? How about the church for a nightclub during the week with all the drinking and drugging that goes on? This may sound extreme and I may be stepping on some toes. But please hear my heart. Through this study I have found God's things are Holy. Our ways are not His Ways. Until we separate ourselves and begin to walk in Holiness we cannot come into a deep intimacy with Him.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thought than your thoughts.
So what does the incense truly represent? Here are the Bible scriptures the Lord led me to.
Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors (incense), which are the prayers of saints.
Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
What happens when we use the Incense the right way? Remember our Strong's definition: Incense: Strong's # 6999 - Fumigation in a close place and perhaps thus driving out the occupants.
Types of Incense:
a) Frankincense: used for the sin offerings
b) Hyssop: used for the sin offerings
c) Rose of Sharon: fragrant of our Lord
d) Cedar: woods used in the temple
e) Pine: woods used in the temple
f) Cinnamon: purity of the Bride of Christ
g) Frankincense & Myrrh: Covering of sin and purity
h) Lily of the Valley: He is the Lily of all my valleys of life - invite Him in
I don't know about you but I think I have found my answer.