7.2 Counterfeit Hattamid – Sweet Aroma

When the Jewish mind heard the word hattamid, he certainly associated it with the sweet aroma to Jehovah resulting from a spirit of self-sacrifice, full consecration, and constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ, which is acceptable to God. The words “sweet aroma” express in characteristic human language the thought that God was well pleased with the offering and accepted the one presenting it.(82)

The substantive hattamid used in the cultic setting of Numbers was principally associated with the cultic burnt offering and corresponding sweet aroma (14 of 16 occurrences). The sweet aroma of the burnt offering which was ordained at Sinai (Num. 28:6) was a continual reminder that Jehovah brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt to dwell among them (Ex. 29:46). As they identified in heart and spirit with the purpose of the corporate daily burnt offering, a humble and contrite response of thankfulness rang through their hearts.

The counterfeit cultic symbolism in Dn. 8 confirms a counterfeit cultic hattamid in 8:11 which is linked with a counterfeit sweet aroma both of which are derived from the cultic language of Leviticus and Numbers. The counterfeit “daily” (hattamid) is characterized by a repugnant aroma, not a sweet aroma, resulting from self-exalting rebellion against God which the Bible calls the “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thes. 2:7). The contrasting characteristics of the genuine and counterfeit hattamid are summarized in the following table.


Genuine Counterfeit
1. Sweet Aroma
burnt offering
food offering
fat burned as incense
1. Repugnant Aroma
false sacrifice
Baal worship
2. Contrite Heart
humility Ex. 29:46
2. Self-Exaltation
Dn. 8:11
3. Pure Offering
no blemish Lv. 1:10, 13
3. Blemished Offering
Mal. 1:13-14
4. Pure Incense
continual incense
Ex. 30:8
4. False Incense
Is. 65:3; Jer. 32:29
Baal worship
5. Agape Motivation Flowing
From Slain Lamb
5. Motivation: hope of
Reward & Exaltation

Rebellion against God manifested by disobedience and false worship practices results in Jehovah’s refusal to condone the incense altars and to smell the “sweet aroma” of false worship (Lev. 26:30-31). Through Isaiah, Jehovah cautioned Judah: “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of cattle. Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me” (Is. 1:11, 13; see also Amos 5:21-22). Jehovah abhors attempts to offer sweet incense to idols (Baal worship) declaring He will lay waste the altars, break the idols, and cut down the high places (Eze. 6: 4-6, 13; see also Hos. 11:2). Baal worship is repeatedly associated with burning incense(83) to Baal in Jeremiah upon which Jehovah pronounces doom.(84) Finally, the contrast between genuine worship of a contrite spirit and false worship with counterfeit sacrifices and incense is set forth in Is. 66:2-3, “But on this one I will look; on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck; he who offers a grain offering as if he offers swine’s blood; he who burns incense, as if he blesses the idol. They did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.” The continual (tamid) persistence in counterfeit worship of Baal by those who sacrifice in gardens and burn incense on altars of brick, and who represent themselves as holier than their neighbor is condemned by Jehovah in Is. 65:3-6 where tamid is linked directly with counterfeit incense.

The scriptural evidence supports the conclusion that the counterfeit cultic hattamid or sweet aroma in Dn. 8:11 is intimately associated with Baal worship of pagan and papal Rome in which the latter lifts up hattamid from the former.

82) F. D. Nichol, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Washington, DC:Review & Herald, Vol. 1, p. 654, p. 716-717, 1978.
83) See Note 74.
84) For example see Jer. 7:9; 11:13, 17; 19:4-5; 32:29.


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