What was the incense used in the Tabernacle made of?
Equal amounts of gum resin, onycha, galbanum and frankincense (Ex 30:34-36).
The gum resin was likely to refer to myrrh resin, while galbanum and frankincense are other types of aromatic gum resin. It is uncertain what onycha might be – suggestions include part of a shell found in the Red Sea or some other aromatic resin, among other possibilities.
The burning of incense has been used in religious worship since antiquity as an offering or as a symbol of prayer. In Exodus, Aaron, the high priest, was instructed to burn incense on the altar every morning and evening (Ex 30:7-8). King David prayed: “May my prayer be set before you like incense” (Ps 141:2). In Rev 5:8, incense symbolises the prayers of God’s people. Paul also used the imagery of incense when he wrote that God “uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor 2:14).