A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!




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."

Holy Priesthood

God promised Israel in the wilderness that "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex. 19:5, 6). God chose Aaron and his sons to make up the priesthood for the children of Israel. The priesthood consisted of Aaron as the high priest and his sons as the priests. The office of the high priest passed to one of the male descendants of Aaron who met the qualifications as given by the Lord.

To be a priest a man had to be a male descendant of Aaron. To serve in the office of a priest he had to be anointed according to Ex. 28:41: "And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office." In addition, the priest had to be washed: "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and thou shalt wash them with water" (Ex. 29:4). Furthermore, to minister in the priest office the priest had to be clothed with the holy garments: "And thou shalt bring his sons and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them..." (Ex. 29:8, 9). Also the priest had to be consecrated to serve in his office (Ex. 29).

The primary function of the priest was to minister in the offerings and sacrifices of the people. There were seven principle sacrifices in which the priest ministered:

1. Sin or trespass offering.
2. Burnt offering.
3. Peace offering.
4. Heave offering.
5. Wave offering.
6. Meat offering.
7. Drink offering.

These sacrifices or offerings are detailed in the book of Leviticus. Similar to the sons of Aaron serving as priests under the old covenant, there is likewise a new testament priesthood:

1. 1 Pet. 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

2. 1 Pet. 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." These to whom Peter was writing were said to be the "elect" of God. 

The "elect" are identified in Eph. 1:4, 5 as being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world...to the adoption of children. Thus all the elect are the children of their high priest, Jesus Christ.

According to 1 John 2:20: "But ye have an unction (anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things." Also 1 John 2:27 further teaches this anointing of the elect of God: "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things..." Thus as the old testament priests were anointed, so are the elect anointed.

The elect are also washed as we read in Rev. 1:5, 6, "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father..." Also Titus 3:5 reads, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

Furthermore the elect are clothed with holy garments as we read in Rev. 7:9, "After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands..."

In addition, as the old testament priests were consecrated or sanctified, so are the elect of God as we read in Heb. 10:12 14, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God: From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

In summation, the new testament priests are the children of their high priest, are anointed by the Holy One, washed from their sins by Jesus Christ and the washing of regeneration, clothed with Holy garments of Jesus righteousness, and consecrated by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.  In comparison to the old testament priests who ministered in the priest's office by offering animal sacrifices, the new testament priests
are to offer spiritual sacrifices.

There are seven spiritual sacrifices set forth for us in the scriptures:

1. Sacrifice of a broken spirit Ps. 51:17.
2. Sacrifice of righteousness Ps. 4:5.
3. Sacrifice of joy Ps. 27:6.
4. Sacrifice of thanksgiving Ps. 107:22.
5. Sacrifice of communicating to the needs of others Phil 4:18.
6. Sacrifice of faith Phil. 2:17.
7. Sacrifice of doing good Heb. 13:16.

Now all of these spiritual sacrifices can be summed up in Rom. 12:1: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

In conclusion, as the elect of God and the priests of God we each have the privilege of offering up the above spiritual sacrifices to the honor and glory of Him who hath made us kings and priests to God.

Holy Anointing Oil

Under the old covenant of worship there were many things that were anointed:

1. Aaron and his sons Ex. 28:41.

2. The tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the table of shew bread and his vessels, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot Ex. 30:26 29.

Thus the tabernacle, furniture of the tabernacle, all of the vessels, as well as those who ministered in the tabernacle service were anointed. The purpose of the anointing is set forth for us in Exodus 40:9 15: "And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is therein, and shall hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons...And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons...and thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." Thus the anointing was designed to sanctify or make holy that which was anointed. The priests had to be anointed before they could serve in the priest's office and the vessels had to be anointed before they could be used in the service of the tabernacle.

In addition to the tabernacle service and the priests who served therein, those who served in the office of king had to be anointed. Saul was anointed as the first king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:1), then David (1 Sam. 16:12), then Solomon (1 Kings 1:39), and so on. Thus to serve in the office of priest or in the office of king a person had to first be sanctified (made holy) by being anointed.

The oil used to anoint was to be a unique compound. It was to be used for anointing only: Ex. 30:32, "Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you." In Ex. 30:25 it is called an holy anointing oil. Thus "common" use was strictly prohibited!

Now in this new testament age we have a better anointing that was present under the old covenant. The word, "Christ" comes from the  Greek, "Christos," meaning "the anointed one." Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedec (Heb. 6:20) and he is our King being "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16). Thus being both the High Priest over the house of God and the King sitting upon the throne of David in an everlasting kingdom it was necessary that Jesus be anointed so that he could serve in those offices.

The following three verses of scripture prove that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit:

1. Lk. 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised."

2. Acts 4:27 "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together."

3. Acts 10:38 "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

From the above we gather that the Holy Spirit did the anointing and was the anointing oil! Thus thru the anointing of God Jesus is both our holy High Priest and holy King.

In similar fashion we see the new testament priesthood are anointed of God as well. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and said, "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God."   ikewise, in 1 John 2:20 we read, "Now ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." Moreover, 1 John 2:27 reads, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." Again we may conclude that it is the Holy Spirit that anoints us so that we are made kings and priests unto God (Rev. 1:5).

The anointing by the Holy Spirit is the new or spiritual birth. In similitude to Jesus being conceived in the womb of the virgin by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, so we as the elect of God are born of the Holy seed by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit and thus become spiritual in the inner man. Having been born of the Spirit we are able to offer spiritual sacrifices as priests of God and to reign in the dominion God has given us as kings. In conclusion the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the miraculous work of the new birth has made us saints (hagios=holy), enabling us to minister in the offices of priest and king. May all praise and glory be given to God.

Primitive Baptist