Within the Tabernacle proper, the Lord gives Moses instruction concerning the altar of incense (30:1-10, 34-38). Related to this altar of incense is the remark by Jewish theologians: Nadab and Abihu lost their lives “when they brought an unbidden, and therefore forbidden, offering” (Chumash, p. 483). The census tax (30:11-16) was regarded as the way in which a census was properly taken (p. 484). This tax is a “ransom” in order that the Lord plagues them not. It will be a half-shekel, and both the rich and the poor will pay. Moreover, this tax will provide for things pertaining to the tent of meeting. The bronze basin will be for the priest and ceremonial washings (30:17-21). “The purpose of the washing was for sanctity, rather than cleanliness” (p. 486). The holy anointing oil (30:22-33) that sanctifies the Tabernacle, its furniture, utensils, the altar of burnt offerings, and the priests. So sacred is that Jewish theologians said Moses made it himself (though the text says nothing of the sort). Moreover, so sacred is it that “this first supply of oil made by Moses was the only anointment oil ever used, and its whereabouts will be revealed again with the coming of the Messiah (p. 487).
Application: The approach of the priests to God was a sacred matter, and any effort that regarded not as such was disrespectful of God. This is why it is so noteworthy that we remember Aaron’s sons and their death (Leviticus 10). If the Lord went to such detail in giving these instructions to Moses, those who regarded them lightly had the weight of the Law of Moses on them (cf. Acts 15:10).