When Zachariah entered the Temple to burn incense in Luke 1 was this a daily service or the once per year Yom Kippur?


As I understand it, those in the line of the Levites were too many for them all to serve in the Temple all of the time year round. For this reason they would be given service duties year by year. Zachariah would have been among the sons of Aaron in that he was in the Holy Place to burn incense, but the Ark was in the Most Holy Place and that was not where he was, so I don’t think would have been Yom Kippur.

I am doing this from memory so if the details are fuzzy I welcome edition

God Bless


He was burning incense as was the custom to do twice daily.

according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. (Luke 1:9-11)

The altar of incense was not inside the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies behind the veil but was in the Holy Place outside the veil. Incense was burned on the altar of incense at the time of morning and evening sacrifice.



Thanks, because someone was saying it was on Yom Kippur in order to derive the date of Jesus’ birth on Dec 25.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit