the vessel in which incense was presented on "the golden altar" before the Lord in the temple ( Exodus 30:1-9 ). 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 Leviticus 16:13 ), 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 ; Ezekiel 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;" LXX. pureion = a fire-pan. Solomon prepared for the temple censers of pure gold ( 1 Kings 7:50 ; 2 Chr 4:22 ). The angel in the Apocalypse is represented with a golden censer ( Revelation 8:3 Revelation 8:5 ). 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 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.
An instrument used for burning incense.
And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the CENSER, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. ( Revelation 8:4-5 )
A small portable vessel of metal fitted to receive burning coals from the altar, and on which the incense for burning was sprinkled. ( 2 Chronicles 26:19 ; Luke 1:9 ) The only distinct precepts regarding the use of the censer are found in ( Leviticus 16:12 ) and in ( Numbers 4:14 ) Solomon prepared "censers of pure gold" as part of the temple furniture. ( 1 Kings 7:50 ; 2 Chronicles 4:22 ) The word rendered "censer" in ( Hebrews 9:4 ) probably means the "altar of incense."
In the King James Version censer is used as a translation of two Hebrew words, namely, machtah, and miqTereth. The former word is generally rendered "censer," sometimes "firepan," and in three cases (Exodus 25:38; 37:23; Numbers 4:9) "snuffdish" It denoted a bowl-shaped vessel used for different purposes, namely,
(1) a censer, in which incense was burnt (Leviticus 10:1);
(2) a firepan, made of bronze, used in connection with the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:3);
(3) a snuffdish, i.e. a receptacle to hold pieces of burnt lamp-wick removed by the tongs or snuffers (Exodus 25:38).
Probably in all these cases the same kind of vessel was meant, namely, a bowl-shaped utensil with a handle, not unlike a saucepan. The other Hebrew word (derived from the same root as the word for "incense") denoted a vessel for conveying incense (Ezekiel 8:11; 2 Chronicles 26:19). The Greek word thumiaterion, by which the Septuagint rendered miqTereth, is used also in Hebrews 9:4, where the King James Version gives "censer," but the American Standard Revised Version is probably more correct, namely, "altar of incense" (see Commentaries under the word). Compare also Revelation 8:3,1, where libanotos, properly the adjective of "frankincense," is translated "censer."
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