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Galbanum, from the Hebrew word pronounced khel-ben-aw, was one of the main ingredients of the holy incense. The name is from a Hebrew root word, pronounced khel-eb, which mean the choicest part. The galbanum used by the Israelites was a resinous gum, the pungency of which had the effect of sustaining the presence of the burning incense for a longer time. The holy incense was prepared "after the art of the apothecary" (see the Fact Finder question below).

"Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum"

Galbanum was one of the four equal-amounts (by weight) ingredients of the holy incense that was used for the daily offering at the golden altar within the Holy Place, and once per year, on the Day of Atonement, was used by the high priest in the Most Holy Place where the Ark of The Covenant was kept (all of which were a ritualistic prophecy of Jesus Christ - see Christ's Mercy Seat and What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?). The sacred incense was to be used only by the appointed priests for the specified usages. It was not to be used for any other purpose.

Mortar and Pestle

"30:34 And the LORD said unto Moses [see also The Trysting Tent], Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: 30:35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: 30:36 And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. 30:37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD. 30:38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exodus 30:30-38 KJV)

The rising was symbolic of the prayer of God's true people. King David understood the symbolism.

"141:1 A Psalm of David.

LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." (Psalm 141:1-2 KJV)

The symbolic meaning was not limited to the ancient past. The verses below refer to the time of Christ's return.

"8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." (Revelation 8:3-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: During Bible History, what was the purpose of "the art of the apothecary"?
See Apothecary

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