On The Right of The Altar

And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right of the altar of the incense. [Lk. 1:11]

Saint Bede: “He stood beside the altar of incense to teach that he had come as the herald of a new covenant. There were two altars in the temple [Ex. 27:1, 30:1], which expressed the two covenants in the Church. The first, the altar of burnt offerings, which was plated with bronze and was situated in front of the doors of the temple [3 Kgs. (1 Kgs.) 8:64; 2 Chr. 8:12], was for the offering up of victims and sacrifices; it signified the fleshly-minded worshippers of the old covenant. And then there was the altar of incense which was covered with gold [Ex. 30:1-3] and set near the entrance of the Holy of Holies where fragrant gums were burnt. This signified the interior and more perfect grace of the new covenant and its worshippers. The angel stood on the right to point out that he was not promising earthly and lowly things, but the joys of heavenly and everlasting happiness.”

The Orthodox New Testament, Volume I, Fourth Edition, Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado.

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