Was The Altar In Front Or Behind?

Q. I know there is no contradiction the Word of God, but in Exod. 30:1-10 and Heb. 9:1-5; articles in the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.. do you see any contradiction?

A. Exodus 30:6 says, “Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony–before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony–where I will meet with you.”

And Hebrews 9:3-4 reads, “Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.”

Because of these two passages, there’s some confusion among scholars as to the actual location of the altar of incense. Since part of its purpose was to provide smoke to help shield the High Priest from the direct view of God, it was more likely inside the Holy of Holies. The Hebrew word in Exodus 30 can mean “before, behind, facing, or in the presence of”, so I think it’s more of a translation problem than anything else.

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