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The Significance of Frankincense in the Bible


By Lisa BriskeyPublished about a month ago 2 min read

There is a fragrant treasure that transcends time from Bible time to today- Frankincense. Mentioned throughout the Bible, this scented resin has woven its essence into the tapestry of religious rituals, cultural traditions, and medicinal uses from ancient times until today.

Frankincense is a hardened gum-like material (resin) that comes from the trunk of the Boswellia tree according to WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientsmono-448/frankincense). They would cut a tree and sap would come out. The sap would be used as incense. In the Bible, frankincense was used as a perfume and incense and was more valuable than gold. Frankincense is citrusy and sweet. It was important because it was used in worship in the Temple. Labonah is the Hebrew word for frankincense, when translated means "white" due to the gum's color.

In Matthew 2:11, we see the wise men presenting gifts to Mary and Jesus. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh”.

Frankincense was used as an anointing oil and incense to be used in the Tabernacle so that God was honored. We can see in Exodus 30, that God instructs Moses on how to make the altar burn the incense. Exodus 30:34,35, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense of each shall there be a like weight; And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy…”. In these verses, frankincense was to be used as a perfume.

Another use for frankincense was to accompany the meat offering which was part of the burnt and peace offerings in Leviticus 2:1,2, “And when any will offer a meat offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests; and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord…” And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof; with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord” (Leviticus 2:16, NKJV).

Frankincense symbolizes the priesthood; Jesus is our High Priest and his sacrifice for us. Frankincense was burnt as an offering to God by the priest and we see the wise men bringing it as a gift to Jesus. It shows that Jesus was not just an ordinary man.

As we can see, frankincense was important in Biblical times. Frankincense was used in the tabernacle to honor God and symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior. When they burned frankincense in Bible times, it was a symbol to God of worship, devotion, and adoration. Frankincense is still used today but is not as popular as back then.


About the Creator

Lisa Briskey

I love to write, crochet, and sew. I am a grandmother of a two-year-old granddaughter.

Follow me on Medium: https://medium.com/@lisabriskey5

And support me on my Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/lisaj or https://ko-fi.com/lisabriskey

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