Angel of the Altar
The Avtinas family closely guarded a secret recipe. For generations, only the members of this household knew the identity of all the sweet spices needed for the Temple incense (Exodus 30:34). Those secret ingredients were protected so that no unauthorized person could reproduce the recipe.
The House of Avtinas grasped the precise quantities of each ingredient, including an herb which caused smoke to rise. This herbal ingredient, possibly Leptadenia pyrotechnica which contains nitric acid, enabled the smoke from the incense to rise in a straight column. The rising smoke was a sign to the priests that the prayers of Israel were being elevated to the throne room of God Most High.
The Avtinas family took the greatest care to thoroughly bruise and mix every ingredient when they prepared the incense compound. Altogether, they produced 368 pounds, a full year’s supply for the Altar of Incense. The priests burned about half a pound each morning and evening.
We may have no bloodline connection to the Avtinas family. But, we do know that our prayers are being blended with fine incense for the heavenly Temple. Our prayers are an ingredient in the special blend which is reserved for the golden Altar of Incense in heaven (Revelation 8:3-4).
The Angel of the Altar blends our prayers with incense, and burns them on the altar before the Almighty’s throne. The fragrance of our prayers is especially appropriate now, as we prepare for a new cycle of biblical feast days.
Published March 24, 2017