Holy Vessels

In the service associated with the tabernacle and later the temple there were numerous instruments or vessels that were used to carry out the worship service. According to 1 Sam. 21:5, 1 Kings 8:4, 1 Chron. 22:19, and 2 Chron 5:5 these vessels are called holy vessels. Since the word, holy, means separate or set apart, these vessels were set apart for use in the service of the tabernacle or temple and thus called holy vessels.

Holy vessels used in the service of the tabernacle included the following:

1. Tongs and snuff dishes for the candlestick (Ex. 25:38).

2. Pans, shovels, basins, flesh hooks, and fire pans for the brazen altar (Ex. 27:3).

3. Dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls for the table (Ex. 25:29).

4. Bowls of the candlestick (Ex. 25:33).

5. Censors and vessels for the pure oil olive for the lamps (Ex. 27:20).

6. Vessels for the anointing oil (Ex. 30:23 25).

7. Vessels for sweet incense (Ex. 30:34).

8. Earthen vessel for bird sacrifice (Lev. 14:5).

9. Earthen vessel to contain holy water that caused the curse (Num. 5:17).

10. Vessel for water of purification (Num. 19:17).

11. Vessels for the shew bread (1 Sam. 21:5).

These vessels were designed and prepared for specific uses and were not to be used otherwise. When a wicked Babylonian king decided to use some of these vessels as party vessels, God tried him and destroyed him for this wicked use of the holy vessels (Dan. Chapter 5).

Similar to the old testament tabernacle service the new testament service has holy vessels and instruments. The vessels and instruments are the Lord's people. According to Romans 9 the Lord's people are described as vessels of honor and vessels of mercy:

1. Rom. 9:21 "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?"

2. Rom. 9:23, 24 "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"

Thus we conclude that it is the Lord who is the potter and he hath made us vessels of honor and hath before prepared us unto glory and as such has poured out his mercy into us as vessels of mercy.

According to Rom. 6:12, 13 we are to yield our bodies as instruments of righteousness in the service of God: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

Paul warns us not to pollute our vessels in 1 Thes. 4:3 7: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we have forewarned you and testified."

God has made us vessels of honor and vessels of mercy. We are to prepare ourselves for the service of God as we read in II Tim. 2:20, 21: "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." Thus we have a responsibility to purge ourselves from unrighteous or sinful activities and to sanctify or set ourselves apart to the service of God to be used as it pleases him. Furthermore we are to prepare ourselves unto every good work."

We will not all be used of God in the exact same way as the Lord told Ananias concerning Saul of Tarsus, "Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." Now Paul was one of the few that was chosen of God to be a vessel known as an apostle. A few others were vessels known as prophets. Likewise, other gospel ministers are chosen of God to preach his gospel to the people of God. But God has given gifts to his people according to his grace (Rom. 12:6) and dividing to every man severally as he will (1 Cor. 12:11). Thus each of his children are vessels to be used by the Master. What a great treasure God has given us that we might be holy vessels in his service. Thus we should remember that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us."


Anointing Oil






Nation   Priesthood

Most Holy Place


Holy Place

Holy Garments Part I   Part II   Part III