Fire holders were used in various ways in connection with the service at the sanctuary. There were gold fire holders that apparently served as containers for holding the pieces of burnt lampwick removed from the lamps on the golden lampstand. (Ex. 25:38; 37:23; Num. 4:9) The copper fire holders of the altar of burnt offering evidently served as ashpans or utensils for removing coals from the fire. (Ex. 27:3; 38:3) Additionally, fire holders were used to burn incense. (Lev. 10:1) Each morning and between the two evenings, the high priest made perfumed incense smoke upon the golden altar of incense. (Ex. 30:7, 8) Then, yearly, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest took the fire holder, doubtless the “golden censer” mentioned by Paul, into the Most Holy.—Lev. 16:12, 13; Heb, 9:3, 4.
The fire holders as well as the other utensils used with the lampstand and with the altar of burnt offering had to be covered when the Israelites broke camp and the tabernacle was transported to another location during their journeys.—Num. 4:9, 14.
Solomon made fire holders of gold and silver for the temple, the plans of which had been given to David by inspiration. Possibly these were of more ornate form than those used in the tabernacle in the wilderness. (1 Ki. 7:48-50; 1 Chron. 28:11-19; 2 Chron. 4:19-22) Mention is made of genuine gold and silver fire holders being taken from the temple at the time of the Babylonian exile.—2 Ki. 25:15; Jer. 52:19.
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu used their fire holders to offer illegitimate fire before Jehovah and lost their lives as a result. (Lev. 10:1, 2) Likewise the rebellious two hundred and fifty men headed by Korah were consumed by fire when they presented their copper fire holders before Jehovah. (Num. 16:16-19, 35, 39) King Uzziah was smitten with leprosy while using a censer illegally. (2 Chron. 26:18, 19) The seventy older men of Israel seen in Ezekiel’s vision were using censers to offer incense to idols.—Ezek. 8:10, 11; see INCENSE.