Using incense and other aromatic substances during rituals has a very symbolic meaning. Such things are used in rituals of all religions. What is the symbolic meaning of using those aromatic substances?
Burning aromatic substances such as incense, myrrh, and cinnamon takes place during religious rituals. When they are burnt smoke rises up. They exhale perfume during combustion and fragrance when these substances and spices are burned as an act of worship.
The practice of using incense can be seen in all religions from ancient times. It has been a widely practiced in the ancient Oriental religions for thousands of years. Evidences for the use of incense can be seen in ancient scriptures and other historical records.
History says that the Egyptians of the Fifth Dynasty were using incense during their ceremonies five thousand years ago.
What is the significance of using incense during religious ceremonies?
When the incense is burnt by the priests or participants smoke rises from the altar and goes up. This is a visual cue that symbolizes that the offerings and prayers rise up to heaven. Burning symbolizes the sacrifice. It marks that the worshipping person burns himself and becomes empty before Almighty God. The smoke that rises from the incense signifies that the prayers of the faithful reach God in the highest. Going up of the smoke signifies the visual evidence to prove that the prayers of the faithful also goes up.
The incense used as a symbol of sacrifice can be seen in many scriptures. The Holy Bible says, “From the farthest east to the farthest west, my name is honored among the nations and everywhere a sacrifice of incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering too, since my name is honored among the nations.” (Malachi 1:11)
Incense is set before God as a symbol of a faithful heart. “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”(Psalms 141:2)