Vessels of Honor
“Study to show yourself approved unto Yahweh, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of Yahweh stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
“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,” 2 Timothy 2:15-21.
When I caught on to the full meaning of Paul’s illustration in the text above, it blessed me tremendously but it also amused me. I am sure that was not Paul’s intentions, but I have a very graphic mind, especially when I am listening to illustrations. “In a great house there are many vessels, some to honor and some of dishonor.”
The great house that Paul referred to was very primitive by our twenty-first century standards, so to really understand this illustration our minds must go back to the time when Paul wrote his famous letters. There are scriptures that tell us that the super rich in that day drank from gold and silver goblets. Not only were there decorative vessels, but there were beautiful pitchers that were filled with beverage; some were filled with water and set on stands in the guest rooms for the guest to use for cleansing purposes. I can remember seeing pitchers with bowls, in the guest’s rooms.
There was also another vessel, the faithful old night pot. It had its place among the valued vessels, but it was a vessel of dishonor. I can see the lady of the house showing off her beautiful pottery: hand–painted pitchers, vases, gold and silver wine goblets. But the night pot, an unsightly vessel, was always out of sight. Could it be that the modern church might have more of these hidden things than is its fair share?
Paul leads us to believe that Hymenaeus and Philetus had allowed themselves to become vessels of dishonor by teaching a false message. I am sure these men must have felt they were spreading the gospel of truth, when in fact their words were not only leading others astray; they were raising a very obnoxious smell in the house of the Lord.
We truly need to listen to Paul’s warning. I was delighted when I noticed that our faithful old patriarch made it very clear that we are not predestinated vessels—some predestined to honor and some to dishonor. We have a choice as we seek, knock, and ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to truth; he will surely answer our cry.
If by chance, there should be a time that we become a stench in the house of the Lord, as Peter did in Galatians 2:11-21, Yahweh will reveal our mistakes. We can repent if we choose to and be transformed into vessels of honor again. But that requires accepting the responsibility for whom and what we are; we must refrain from profane and vain babblings. “If a man therefore purge himself from these (profane (heathenish) and vain babblings), he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work,” 2 Timothy 2:21.
“But,” says some, “we cannot purge ourselves.” Paul thought we could. I agree that we cannot purge ourselves through ceremony. We must humble ourselves and come before Yahweh with a repentant heart and be willing to stand corrected. When we see the things that we are teaching are dividing the Body and destroying the hope and faith of others, it is time to examine our doctrine; then by confessing and repenting, we are able to come into full maturity.
Several years ago I heard a man stand in the pulpit declaring what he termed “the sovereignty of God.” He announced that no matter what you were doing or how you were doing it, there was no way you could possibly get out of the will of the Father. He saw us as puppets on Yahweh’s strings. He stated that if you go to the beer-joint instead of the house of the Lord on the Sabbath, that is the Lord’s will concerning you.
A very spiritually zealous young man, a friend of mine, who was warring with the flesh at that time, was sitting in the congregation; he drank from that corrupted vessel. Never again did the young man take responsibility for his decisions and actions, he gradually became unstable, irresponsible and careless. His home was soon broken and his relationship with his beautiful wife and children were severed and eventually time passed for him, and he perished in his deception. He had a choice; he could have stuck with the established teaching of Christ. He accepted what he felt was the easy way out—but it was the hard way in the end. He refused to present his body as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). He had no reason to study to show himself approved (2 Tim. 2:15), because his leader had convinced him that he did not need to mortify the deeds of his flesh (Rom. 8:13 and Colo. 3:5). He did not bind himself in his cocoon of revealed truth. If we never experience the binding like the little worm, we can never experience the metamorphosis that births us into our reality.
In Second Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 12:2, our 1611 translators of the Holy Bible took the liberty of using the English words changed and transformed to replace the original Greek metamorphosis. Perhaps by 1611 the idea of the Living Word of Truth producing a metamorphosis in our bodies seemed a little drastic and out of reach for these people who were emerging out of the dark ages of Rome’s régime.
The resurrected life of Christ is for us, but it is not beneficial to us until we experience it. If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him. If we do not mortify our self-will, we will not make it into the first-fruit call, that is, into sonship. But the suffering of this present time cannot be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.
Creation is groaning in travail, waiting to be delivered from the dominion of the flesh—carnal mindedness. This does not mean that if we tell people they are performing at their highest pinnacle that they will suddenly be delivered from death. It would mean that we have helped them sear their conscience and have encouraged them to turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit’s leadership. “Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest (Sabbath) some of you come short of.
Israel missed their calling; they fell short, not because they were denied the privilege, but they failed to crucify their first nature through the power of the spoken or revealed word; they fell short because of their unbelief.
Paul warned the believers, saying, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom swear he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world,” Hebrews 3:12 through 4:3.
If any person thinks they can bring their first nature behind the veil into the Most Holy Place, they are sadly mistaken. The Most Holy Place is not a geographical place nor is the veil made of cloth. We’re speaking of putting on the pure mind of Christ. As long as a mind is full of corruption, there is no place for the revealed Word. The three things that satisfy the carnal mind are greed, lust, and selfishness. A person cannot see light until he turns his heart to the Lord and the veil is taken away.
Our Master asked the rebellious people of his time on earth, “And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.
Two wills are clearly stated in the above text. This question, taken as a statement, leaves no place for the puppet theory. If they were not doing the Lord’s will, they could not have been doing the will of Yahweh. They must have been doing their own will, which was not pleasing to the Lord.
This, our dispensation, is the time of the harvest of firstfruit. Another term for it is: the sacrifice of the firstfruit. We have a sacrifice to make: we must present our bodies a living sacrifice. Just as Yasha and those who walked with him fulfilled the Passover, we, too, must fulfill the harvest of Firstfruit. We must remember that the Passover Company (Christ and those who were raised with him) was the principle handful, or sheaf of firstfruits, of which we are the greater gathering. When we, as a Holy priesthood, make our final offering we will become the Tabernacled Priesthood Company.
We have been told that we are now walking in the fullness, but we need to look at what Paul had to say on this subject in Romans 8:1-26. Using the sacred names in this particular chapter makes it much easier to understand. Verses one and two assure us that the principle (law) of the indwelling Christ has the power to unshackle us so that we can now experience a freedom from the power of sin and its deadly consequences. We now have a remedy.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Yasha, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the “law of the Spirit of life” in Christ Yasha has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Verses three and four should comfort our hearts—knowing that we now have a choice. We are not “prisoners” bound in a body of sin, and we do not have to suffer the consequences of stinking thinking
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Yahweh sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Verses five and six tell us how to know the difference in our adamic nature and the attributes of the new creature so that the enemy cannot deceive us. The light that beams from these scriptures is, if we have no peace in our heart, no desire to pray, study the Bible, witness, etc., we should not be deceived into thinking we are pleasing Yahweh by numbering ourselves with the spiritually minded. Rather it informs us that we are acting as his enemies. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Verses seven and eight tell us why the world is so corrupt and explains why carnal minded people rebel against Yahweh and persecute the Christians. It helps us deal with carnal minded people when we understand from verse eight that Paul did not say, “Carnal minded people do not try to please Yahweh,” but said, “Carnal minded people ‘cannot’ please Yahweh.”
We understand from this text that it takes the power of the wisdom of the risen Christ within to destroy our old nature. But in our transitory state, we are not separated from Yahweh (Life) because of our ignorance; we have the ever-present Mediator making intersession for us. We look forward to experiencing our soon coming metamorphose from the flesh, which is, being tabernacled by Yahweh—no more flesh to deal with. In the meantime, we thank Yahweh for the mediatorial work of Christ who has kept us connected through the process. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against Yahweh: for it is not subject to the law of Yahweh, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please Yahweh.”
Verses nine and ten assure us that in spite of the weakness of our mortal bodies and the immaturity of our spirit, the presence of the indwelling Messiah restores life and gives light in our mortal frame until death becomes swallowed up in that life. “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Yahweh dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of ‘Christ,’ he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead (still decaying) because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
We glory in verses eleven through thirteen while we are yet waiting for our experience, the time when Yahweh tabernacles us so that our mortal bodies will no longer be decaying, but will be made alive (quickened) by his indwelling Spirit. This experience puts a stop to the decaying process. What a day that will be! No wonder the whole world is groaning and travailing, waiting for this glorious event— the Feast of Tabernacles!
Though the firstfruit (Pentecost) company is about to experience a permanent release, the rest of the world cannot experience their release until this company of believers have presented their bodies on the altar of sacrifice to complete the firstfruit offering, of which Christ was the principle firstfruit at Passover.
It is up to us to mortify our body of flesh, but it is Yahweh’s responsibility to quicken it and raise it up in him with his attributes. Blessed be the day when we are indwelled by the Father. He will not fail! “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yasha from the dead (Yahweh) dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do ‘mortify’ the deeds of the body, you shall live.”
The fourteenth and fifteenth verses give us great hope and at the same time they destroy our illusion that we can be fully led of the Holy Spirit while we are walking around in our mortal bodies. About the time we feel certain that we are being led by the Spirit, we rush in the house to make that important telephone call only to get no answer, or find ourselves passing our turnoff on the freeway: an oversight that demands we go ten extra miles before we can turn around.
Verse fifteen is pretty clear on who the “we” are that Paul is addressing in this letter—the adopted, or son-placed ones. But, says someone, “I am already son-placed.” If someone has been son-placed, I am anxious to communicate with him or her. I have not received my full inheritance and it is their responsibility to complete that transaction of restoration. There are a lot of other responsibilities that need their attention. I also want to see what a glorified body looks like.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of Yahweh, they are the sons of Yahweh. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
When we are dealing with the authority and legacy of the Son-placed Priesthood Company, we do not want to miss the full meaning of “if so be that we suffer with him.” Another way of expressing this is “union pain.” We know we do not have to literally go to the cross in the manner that Yasha did, but we do have to mortify the deeds of the body to present our bodies living sacrifices. This operation is not an ice cream and cake party, but the possibility is there and that alone is tremendous, even awesome. I think of thousands of people traveling the world over, armed with the powerful ministry that Christ exhibited to the world. Knowing that I have the potential to be numbered with them, I groan in travail, crying out against the weakness of my flesh and trying a little harder to yield my self-desire to him, so I may hasten to the altar to present myself a living sacrifice.
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of Yahweh: And if children, then heirs; heirs of Yahweh, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
I identify with the statement expressed in verse nineteen, but I was truly surprised when I found that there is that same hidden desire in the heart of everyone to witness this expedition. I thought I was alone in my desire; I have always hungered to be much more than I am. For I have felt that creation is a trillion times greater than is visible to our limited vision. I have always experienced a deep desire to have a relationship with the spirit world around me. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of Yahweh.”
Though Paul knew the Lord had opened the door to this glory, he also knew it would be ages before mankind could comprehend this truth when he penned his famous letter, for he expressed his insight into the mystery in Ephesians 1:7-10: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all (things) in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”
When I read verses twenty through twenty-four, I have the urge to display them on billboards across the nation to be read by all mankind. But that is not the plan of Yahweh; he displays his glory in tried vessels of gold. We started our journey as created beings on the ground floor with the ability to freely receive and express spirit by word. Expressed word is expressed spirit, so that we do not embrace his Word without embracing the Spirit of that Word. Yahweh creates all things by Word. Christ expressed the Spirit of the spoken, or Living Word. The Word was spoken before Christ came, but was not received because the Spirit of the Word had never dwelt in clay temples.
Christ, the Anointed (living or energized) Word quickens the spirit of man so that it is made alive through the word, but it takes the gradual in-working of the Anointed Word to quicken or redeem the mortal body by Christ (anointed word) dwelling in the mortal body.
The anointed word is truth. Truth, when received (believed), destroys the misconception of the reality. This misconception of truth is the lie that is producing death in the body. When we began to receive the truth, the truth will redeem the body by restoring the line of communication between man and his life’s source. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him (Yahweh) who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of Yahweh. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Praise the Lord we are living by hope, but we are not the only ones that are hoping, Yahweh himself has committed himself to an operation of hope; when he hopes, he does not hope in vain.
Creation, especially this creature, could look pretty hopeless from where I am standing, but I am looking over its head. I have my eyes on the creative power of an omnipotent Creator who has already done by, far, more than natural man could ever hope for, because natural eyes cannot see the things that are prepared for those that love him and are now anticipating his appearing. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
VESSEL (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary): Any kind of container or receptacle.
The vessels of the Hebrew people were usually earthenware. But vessels of glass, metal, leather, wicker, and stone were not uncommon. They were used to hold everything from documents <Jer. 32:14> to wine, fruits, and oil <Jer. 40:10>.
In a broader sense, ships are sometimes referred to as vessels <Is. 18:2> since they are the receptacles of people. In an even broader sense, vessel refers to people who carry within them the knowledge of Yahweh <2 Cor. 4:6-7>. Just as any clay vessel reflects the craftsmanship of its potter, so people reflect the craftsmanship of Yahweh. Man is in Yahweh’s hands and is formed in accordance with His plan <Rom. 9:21-23>.