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The priest filled the censer with live coal from the sacred fire on the altar of burnt-offering, and having carried it into the sanctuary, there threw upon the burning coals the sweet incense (Leviticus 16:12-13), which sent up a cloud of smoke, filling the apartment with fragrance.
The censers in daily use were of brass (Numbers 16:39), and were designated by a different Hebrew name, miktereth (2 Chronicles 26:19; Ezek. 8:11): while those used on the day of Atonement were of gold, and were denoted by a word (mahtah) meaning “something to take fire with;” Septuagint pureion = a fire-pan. Solomon prepared for the temple censers of pure gold (1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chronicles 4:22).
The angel in the Apocalypse is represented with a golden censer (Rev. 8:3, 5). Paul speaks of the golden censer as belonging to the tabernacle (Hebrews 9:4). The Greek word thumiaterion, here rendered “censer,” may more appropriately denote, as in the margin of Revised King James Version, “the altar of incense.” Paul does not here say that the thumiaterion was in the holiest, for it was in the holy place, but that the holiest had it, i.e., that it belonged to the holiest (1 Kings 6:22). It was intimately connected with the high priest’s service in the holiest.