A vessel in which fire and incense were carried, in certain parts of the Hebrew worship. Little is known of its form. The censer for the daily offering was at first made of copper, Nu 16:39. That used on the great Day of Atonement, (and perhaps others also,) was made of pure gold, 1Ki 7:50; Heb 9:4. In the daily offering, the censer was filled with coals from the perpetual fire, and placed on the altar of incense, where the incense was thrown upon the coals, Ex 30:1,7-10. On the day of atonement, in the Holy of Holies, the censer must have been held in the hand, and probably by a handle, Le 16:12-13.
There are two Hebrew words, which are translated censer in our English Bibles. The one signifies strictly fire-pan. The other signifies incense-pan, a vessel for burning incense; but we do not know its exact shape.
The censers of the Egyptians had long handles, like a human arm and hand, upon the palm of which the incense-cup stood. Those of the Greeks and Romans had chains, by which they were carried, like those now used in the Romish service.
In the New Testament, where the twenty-four elders are said to have golden "vials" full of odors, Re 5:8, the meaning is vessels of incense, censers, not vials in the present sense of the word.
the vessel in which incense was presented on "the golden altar" before the Lord in the temple (Ex 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 (Le 16:12-13), which sent up a cloud of smoke, filling the apartment with fragrance. The censers in daily use were of brass (Nu 16:39), and were designated by a different Hebrew name, miktereth (2Ch 26:19; Eze 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 (1Ki 7:50; 2Ch 4:22). The angel in the Apocalypse is represented with a golden censer (Re 8:3,5). Paul speaks of the golden censer as belonging to the tabernacle (Heb 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 (1Ki 6:22). It was intimately connected with the high priest's service in the holiest.
An instrument to seize or hold burning coals. Latterly the portable metal vessel for receiving from the altar burning coals, on which the priest sprinkled the incense for burning (2Ch 26:16,18-19; Lu 1:9). Korah and his company were told to take censers, with which they had furnished themselves as aspiring to share in Aaron's priesthood. So Uzziah. So Eze 8:11. But Aaron was told to take "the censer" (Hebrew), namely, that of the sanctuary or of the high priest, and make atonement to stay the plague (Nu 16:46). On the day of atonement the high priest was to carry the censer of the golden altar within the most holy place, and put the incense on the fire in the censer "before the Lord" (Le 16:12-13).
Solomon made censers of pure gold, probably to take fire from the brazen altar, and to convey incense to the golden altar on which it was to be offered morning and evening (Ex 30:7-8; 1Ki 7:50). In Re 8:3-4 the "angel" is not Christ, who always has His own title in Revelation, but a ministering spirit. The incense, i.e. Christ's meritorious obedience and death, is given to the angel that he may give it to (so the Greek) the prayers of all saints, to render them a sweet smelling savor to God. "The golden altar," moreover, is Christ Himself (Heb 13:10), resting on whom alone prayer is accepted before God. How the angels' ministry exactly is exercised we know not, but we do know they are not to be prayed to (Re 19:10).
If we send an offering to the King, the King's messenger is not to appropriate what is due to the King alone. In Heb 9:4 "the holiest ... had the golden censer "does not mean it was deposited there, for then the high priest would have had to go in and bring it out before burning incense in it, but that the golden censer was one of the articles belonging to the yearly service in the holiest place; it was taken into the holiest on that anniversary by the high priest. Its shape was probably that of a pan with a handle.
A small vessel made of metal, to contain burning coals from the altar, on which incense was sprinkled by the priest, that a cloud of incense might arise therefrom. Le 10:1; 16:12. Solomon made some of gold. 1Ki 7:50; 2Ch 4:22; Heb 9:4; Re 8:3,5. The same word is used when the company of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were put to the test; the censers were probably hastily constructed ones, for 250 were needed. Aaron ran with a censer and incense between the living and the dead, and the plague was stayed. Nu 16:6-48. The same Hebrew word is translated 'fire-pan' in Ex 27:3; 38:3; 2Ki 25:15; Jer 52:19.
A small portable vessel of metal fitted to receive burning coals from the altar, and on which the incense for burning was sprinkled.
2Ch 26:19; Lu 1:9
The only distinct precepts regarding the use of the censer are found in
Solomon prepared "censers of pure gold" as part of the temple furniture.
The word rendered "censer" in
probably means the "altar of incense."
CENSER, a sacred instrument made use of in the religious rites of the Hebrews. It was a vase which contained incense to be used in sacrifice. When Aaron made an atonement for himself and his house, he was to take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar of the Lord, Le 16:12. And Solomon, when he provided furniture for the temple of the Lord, made, among other things, censers of pure gold, 1Ki 7:50.