As with other items for the tabernacle, the altar of incense was to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. It was to be about 18 inches square and 36 inches tall. It would have rings on each side for poles with which to carry the altar. It would sit before the veil before the ark of the Testimony.
Aaron or the high priest would burn sweet incense on the altar every morning, and when tending the lampstand, and when lighting the lamps. They were not to offer strange incense on the altar or an offering of any kind. Aaron would make atonement on its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement.
Once a year, the leader of Israel would number the people in a census, and every person would give a half-shekel as an offering to the Lord. It would be offered as atonement money and used for the service of the tabernacle of meeting.
The altar of incense was used in the tabernacle to perhaps signify the presence of the Holy Spirit in the tabernacle. The sweet incense smell replicates the sweet presence of God in the worship of the people. Whenever we meet together and worship God, we invite and invoke the glorious presence of God. The altar of incense is a great type of the presence of the Holy Spirit that moves among us today.