From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

A rite or ceremony of dedicating things or persons to the service of God. It is used for the benediction of the elements at the Eucharist: the ordination of bishops is also called consecration. The Mosaical law ordained that all the first-born, both of man and beast, should be sanctified or consecrated to God. We find also, that Joshua consecrated the Gibeonites, as David and Solomon did the Nethinims, to the service of the temple; and that the Hebrews sometimes consecrated their fields and cattle to the Lord, after which they were no longer in their power. Among the ancient Christians, the consecration of churches was performed with a great deal of pious solemnity. In what manner it was done for the first three ages is uncertain, the authentic accounts reaching no higher than the fourth century, when, in the peaceable reign of Constantine, churches were every where built and dedicated with great solemnity.

The Romanists have a great deal of foppery in the ceremonies of consecration, which they bestow on almost every thing; as bells, candles, books, water, oil, ashes, palms, swords, banners, pictures, crosses, agnus deis, roses, &c. In England, churches have been always consecrated with particular ceremonies, the form of which was left to the discretion of the bishop. That observed by Abp. Laud, in consecrating Saint Catherine Cree church in London, gave great offence, and well it might. It was enough, as one observes, to have made even a popish cardinal blush, and which no Protestant can read but with indignant concern. "The bishop, came attended with several of the high commission, and some civilians. At his approach to the west door of the church, which was shut, and guarded by halberdeers, some that were appointed for that purpose cried with a loud voice

Open, open, ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in! Presently the doors were opened, and the bishop, with some doctors and principal men entered. As soon as they were within the place, his lordship fell down upon his knees; and, with his eyes lifted up, and his arms spread abroad, said, This place is holy; the ground is holy: in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I pronounce it holy. Then, walking up the middle aisle towards the chancel, he took up some of the dust, and threw it into the air several times. When he approached near the rail of the communion table, he bowed towards it five or six times; and, returning, went round the church, with his attendants in procession; saying first the hundredth and then the nineteenth Psalm, as prescribed in the Roman Pontifical. He then read several collects, in one of which he prays God to accept of that beautiful building, and concludes thus: We consecrate this church, and separate it unto thee as Holy Ground, not to be profaned any more to common use. In another he prays

That ALL who should hereafter be buried within the circuit of this holy and sacred place, may rest in their sepulchres in peace, till Christ's coming to judgment, and may then rise to eternal life and happiness. Then the bishop, sitting under a cloth of state in the aisle of the chancel, near the communion table, took a written book in his hand, and pronounced curses upon those who should hereafter profane that holy place by musters of soldiers, or keeping profane law courts, or carrying burdens through it; and at the end of every curse he bowed to the east, and said, Let all the people say, Amen. When the curses were ended, which were about twenty, he pronounced a like number of blessings upon ALL that had any hand in framing and building that sacred and beautiful church; and on those that had given, or should hereafter give, any chalices, plate, ornaments, or other utensils; and, at the end of every blessing, he bowed to the east, and said, Let all the people say, Amen. After this came the sermon, then the sacrament, which the bishop consecrated and administered in the following manner:

As he approached the altar, he made five or six low bows; and coming up to the side of it, where the bread and wine were covered, he bowed seven times. Then, after reading many prayers, he came near the bread, and, gently lifting up the corner of the napkin, beheld it; and immediately letting fall the napkin, he retreated hastily a step or two, and made three low obeisances: his lordship then advanced, and, having uncovered the bread, bowed three times as before. Then he laid his hand on the cup, which was full of wine, with a cover upon it; which having let go, he stepped back, and bowed three times towards it; then he came near again, and lifting up the cover of the cup, looked in it; and seeing the wine, let fall the cover again, retired back, and bowed as before. Then the elements were consecrated; and the bishop, having first received, gave it to some principal men in their surplices, hoods, and tippets; after which, many prayers being said, the solemnity of the consecration ended."

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

Consecration means setting apart people or things from the common affairs of life and dedicating them to God. In the religion of Old Testament Israel, these ‘set apart’ people or things were called ‘holy’, and the act of declaring, acknowledging or making them holy was called sanctification, consecration, or dedication ( Exodus 13:2;  Exodus 29:1;  Exodus 29:27;  Exodus 29:36). (For details of this basic meaning of consecration see Holiness ; Sanctification .)

The idea of consecration is common also in the New Testament. Though the word itself is not always used, the meaning is consistent with that of the Old Testament. Priests and the sacrifices they offered were consecrated to God ( Exodus 28:38;  Exodus 28:40-41), and Jesus seems to have been referring to priestly service when he spoke of himself as being consecrated to God ( John 17:19). He set himself apart to do his Father’s will, and this meant dying for sin ( John 12:27;  John 17:4). Being the believer’s great high priest, he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice ( Hebrews 10:11-14; see Priest ).

Jesus’ priestly work not only brings forgiveness to believers, but it also sets them apart for God ( John 17:19). This involves more than the salvation of believers; it involves the practical offering of themselves to God as living sacrifices ( Acts 20:24;  Romans 12:1).

Although selected people may be consecrated in the particular sense of being set apart for certain tasks ( Jeremiah 1:5;  Galatians 1:15-16), all Christians should be consecrated in the sense of being fully devoted to God. Christ has bought them at the price of his blood and they belong to him. They are disciples of their Lord and servants of their Master, and their commitment to him must be total ( Matthew 10:37-39;  1 Corinthians 7:23;  2 Corinthians 10:5;  Colossians 3:23-24; see Disciple ; Servant ).

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

kadosh hagiazo Holy

Old Testament God is said to be kadosh or “holy.” The Hebrew word originally meant “to be separate.” The holy One of Israel is separate because He is God. “I am God, and not man; the Holy One in your midst” (  Hosea 11:9 ). Hosea pointed to both the otherness or separateness of God and His nearness. The holiness of God came to mean all that God is. With the prophets God's holiness was understood to include justice, righteousness, and many ethical concerns. “God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness” ( Isaiah 5:16 ). When persons or things were “consecrated,” they were separated to or belonged to God. “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy” ( Leviticus 19:2 ). “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” ( Exodus 19:6 ). When persons were “consecrated,” they were set apart to live according to God's demands and in His service.

New Testament This ethical understanding of God's holiness is found throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 23:16-24Jesus criticized the scribes and Pharisees on the basis of their neglect of justice, mercy, and faith. He said it is “the altar that sanctifieth the gift” ( Matthew 23:19 ). The cause to which persons give themselves determines the nature of the sacrifice. When the cause is God's, the gift is consecrated. Jesus' mission was to sanctify persons. Paul said that Christians are called to be “saints,” and their sanctification comes through Christ.

In the Old Testament the ordination of persons to the service of God is indicated by the phrase “to fill the hand.” This phrase is usually translated “consecrate” or “ordain.”

 Numbers 6:1-21 sets forth the vow of the Nazirite. Nazar from which Nazirite is derived, means “to separate” and is translated “consecrate” in   Numbers 6:7 ,  Numbers 6:9 ,  Numbers 6:12 .

H. Page Lee

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

a devoting or setting apart any thing to the worship or service of God. The Mosaical law ordained that all the first-born, both of man and beast, should be sanctified or consecrated to God. The whole race of Abraham was in a peculiar manner consecrated to his worship; and the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron were more immediately consecrated to the service of God,  Exodus 13:2;  Exodus 13:12;  Exodus 13:15;  Numbers 3:12;  1 Peter 2:9 . Beside the consecrations ordained by the sovereign authority of God, there were others which depended on the will of men, and were either to continue for ever or for a time only. David and Solomon devoted the Nethinims to the service of the temple for ever,  Ezra 8:20;  Ezra 2:58 . Hannah, the mother of Samuel, offered her son to the Lord, to serve all his life-time in the tabernacle,  1 Samuel 1:11;  Luke 1:15 . The Hebrews sometimes devoted their fields and cattle to the Lord, and the spoils taken in war,  Leviticus 27:28-29;  1 Chronicles 18:11 . The New Testament furnishes us with instances of consecration. Christians in general are consecrated to the Lord, and are a holy race, a chosen people,  1 Peter 2:9 . Ministers of the Gospel are in a peculiar manner set apart for his service; and so are places of worship; the forms of dedication varying according to the views of different bodies of Christians; and by some a series of ceremonies has been introduced, savouring of superstition, or at best of Judaism.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

This principally refers to the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priestly office, which is given in detail in  Exodus 29 , and  Leviticus 8 . They were washed, clothed, and anointed with oil. One bullock was offered for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering; another ram was offered, and this ram is called 'the ram of consecration:' its blood was put upon the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot. Aaron and his sons were sprinkled with blood and anointed with oil. Parts of the ram were placed in the hands of Aaron and his sons, these were waved before the Lord, and then burnt on the altar upon the burnt offering. The breast of the ram was also waved before the Lord and was for Moses. Aaron and his sons ate of the flesh and other consecrations at the door of the Tabernacle.

The words mostly used for 'to consecrate' are mala yad, which signify 'to fill the hand' (as often rendered in the margin ), doubtless alluding to their taking portions of the ram into their hands and waving them before Jehovah. Their hands being filled with offerings was suited to their character as priests to God. All was typical of believers being cleansed by water, sprinkled with blood, and anointed with oil: entirely consecrated to God, and constituted a priestly company for worship in the holiest.

Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection [6]

Travelers have said that they have discovered gardens of Solomon, which were of old enclosed as private places wherein the king walked in solitude; and they have also found wells of a most deliciously cold water, dexterously covered, so that no person unacquainted with the stone in the wall, which either revolved or slid away with a touch, could have found the entrance to the spring. At the foot of some lofty range of mountains a reservoir received the cooling streams which flowed from melted snows; this reservoir was carefully guarded and shut out from all common entrance, in order that the king alone might enter there, and might refresh himself' during the scorching heats. Such is the Christian's heart. It is a spring shut up, a fountain sealed, a garden reserved for Jesus only. O come, Great King, and enjoy thy possessions!

King James Dictionary [7]


1. The act or ceremony of separating form a common to a sacred use, or of devoting and dedicating a person or thing to the service and worship of God, by certain rites or solemnities. Consecration does not make a person or thing really holy, but declares it to be sacred, that is, devoted to God or to divine service as the consecration of the priests among the Israelites the consecration of the vessels used in the temple the consecration of a bishop. 2. Canonization the act of translating into heaven, and enrolling or numbering among the saints or gods the ceremony of the apotheosis of an emperor. 3. The benediction of the elements in the eucharist the act of setting apart and blessing the elements in the communion.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Exodus 13:2,12,15 Numbers 3:12 Leviticus 27:28,29

In the New Testament, Christians are regarded as consecrated to the Lord ( 1 Peter 2:9 ).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Consecration. See Priest .

Webster's Dictionary [10]

(n.) The act or ceremony of consecrating; the state of being consecrated; dedication.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [11]

CONSECRATION . See Clean and Unclean, Nazirite.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(properly some form of the verb קָדִשׁ , Kadash' , to be Holy , often rendered "sanctify;" Ἐγκαινίζω , to Dedicate ; Τελείοω , to Complete ), the act of devoting or setting apart anything to the worship or service of God. (See Dedication). The Mosaic law ordained that all the first-born, both of man and beast, should be sanctified or consecrated to God. (See First- Born). The whole race of Abraham was in a peculiar manner consecrated to his worship, and the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron were more immediately consecrated to the service of God ( Exodus 13:2;  Exodus 12:15;  Numbers 3:12;  1 Peter 2:9). (See Sacerdotal Order). Besides these consecrations ordained by God, there were others which depended on the will of men, and were either to continue forever or for a time only. See Vow. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, offered her son to the Lord to serve all his lifetime in the tabernacle ( 1 Samuel 1:11; comp.  Luke 1:15). David and Solomon devoted the Nethinim to the service of the Temple forever ( Ezra 8:20). The Hebrews sometimes devoted their fields and cattle to the Lord, and sometimes the spoils taken in war ( Leviticus 27:28-29). In like manner, vessels ( Joshua 6:19), profits ( Micah 4:13), individuals ( Numbers 6:9-13;  1 Samuel 1:11;  Luke 1:15), and nations ( Exodus 19:6), were often dedicated. (See Anathema).

The New Testament also furnishes us with examples of consecration. Christians in general are esteemed as consecrated to the Lord, and are a holy race, a chosen people ( 1 Peter 2:9). Ministers are in a peculiar manner consecrated or set apart, and so are places of worship, the forms of dedication varying according to the views of different bodies of Christians. (See Ordination). It does not appear that we have any particular accounts of the formal consecration of churches earlier than the fourth century, a fact which may be easily accounted for by considering the circumstances of the times before Constantine. See the articles following; also (See Bells).

CONSECRATION-OFFERING. At the inauguration of the Israelitish priesthood, in connection with the oblation, certain parts of the victim (a ram), besides bread and cakes, were laid in the hand of the person to be consecrated, before he came to the altar ( Exodus 29:22 sq.;  Leviticus 8:25 sq.), as a manipulation expressive of the representative power thus conferred (Bahr, Symbol . 2:426). This depositing in the hand is called by the technical term filling their hand (A. V. "consecrate,"  Exodus 28:41;  Exodus 29:9;  Leviticus 21:10;  Numbers 3:3; comp.  Exodus 32:29;  1 Chronicles 29:5), and thus the sacerdotal consecration-offering itself was styled a Filling ( מַלֻּאַים , sc. of the hand, Sept. Τελείωσις ,  Leviticus 7:37), and the sacrificed ram was designated by the corresponding term ( אֵיל מַלֻּאַים ,  Exodus 29:26) (See Offering).

CONSECRATION, in the Christian Church, a ceremony of dedicating persons or things to the service of God. It is especially applied to the setting apart of bishops for their office, and to the dedication of Church edifices to the worship of God.

I. Consecration Of Bishops . The forms for the consecration of bishops in the Greek, Roman, Anglican, and Methodist Episcopal churches are given under BISHOP (See Bishop) (1. 822, 823). In the preface to the form used in the Church of England, it is stated that no one shall be accounted or taken to be a bishop, or suffered to execute the same function, unless he be called, tried, and admitted thereunto according to that form, or Hath Formerly Had Episcopal Consecration . The concluding portion of this sentence recognizes the validity of consecrations given in foreign churches by any other form adopted by those churches. Thus a Greek or Roman bishop, conforming to the rules of the Church of England, requires no fresh consecration, but is at liberty to officiate in that Church (Hook, s.v.). The Greek and Roman churches, on the contrary, do not recognize the validity of Anglican consecrations.

According to a canon of the first Nicene Council, there must be four, or at least three bishops present at the consecration of a bishop. (See College), 2.

II. Consecration Of Churches .

1. Ancient Church . The practice of solemnly dedicating to God those edifices which had been built for his worship is very ancient. The precise manner in which it was done for the first three ages of Christianity is unknown; but Eusebius gives an account of the ceremony by which the church of Jerusalem, built by Constantine, was consecrated, A.D. 335. On such occasions it was usual for a whole synod of the neighboring or provincial bishops to assemble. "The solemnity ordinarily began with a panegyrical oration or sermon in commemoration of the founder, which was followed by prayers, among which there seems to have been one in particular for the church which was then to be dedicated. The act of consecrating churches was so peculiarly reserved to the office of bishops that presbyters were not allowed to perform it. Anciently churches were always dedicated to God, and not to saints, though they were sometimes distinguished by their names as a memorial of them. Consecration was performed, indifferently, on any day; but, whatever the day was, it was usually kept and observed among their annual festivals. To this pope Gregory, surnamed the Great, added a new custom in England, which was, that on the anniversary of the dedication of churches, and particularly of those which had been heathen temples, the people might build themselves booths round the church, and there feast themselves, in lieu of their ancient sacrifices while they were heathens. The wakes, which are still observed in some English counties, are the remains of these feasts of dedication."

2. Church Of Rome . "The consecration of a church is performed with much ceremony in the Church of Rome, by whose members this rite is usually termed a dedication. As a preliminary step, the relics which are to be deposited in the altar of the new church are put into a clean vessel, together with three grains of incense, to which a piece of parchment is added, containing the day of the month and year, and the name of the officiating bishop. Three crosses are painted on each of the church walls, and over each cross a candle is placed. On the morning appointed for the ceremony, the bishop, arrayed in his pontifical vestments, and attended by the clergy, goes to the door of the church, where they recite the seven penitential psalms; after which he makes a tour of the church walls, sprinkling them in the name of the Holy Trinity. This rite being performed, he knocks at the church door with his pastoral staff, repeating from Psalms 23 [24], " Levate Portae, Et Introibit Rex Gloriae ." A deacon, shut up in the church, demands, " Quis Est Iste Rex Gloriae ?" To which the bishop answers, " Dominus Fortis Et Potens: Dominus Potens In Proelio ?" At the same time the bishop crosses the door, repeating the following verse:

Ecce Crucis eignum, fugiant phantasmata cuncta:'

On the admission of the bishop and clergy into the church, the Veni Creator is sung. Then one of the subdeacons takes ashes, and sprinkles them on the pavement in the form of a cross; next follow the litanies and other parts of divine service. After which the bishop, with his pastoral staff, describes, as with a pen, two alphabets in the ashes sprinkled by the deacon, and proceeds to consecrate the altar by sprinkling it with a mixture of water, wine, salt, and ashes, in the name of Jesus Christ. The consecration of the altar is followed by a solemn procession of the relics, which are deposited under it with great ceremony. During the whole of this imposing solemnity the church is finely adorned, and tapers are lighted upon the altar. Mass is afterwards performed by the bishop, or by Some other person" (Eadie, Ecclesiastical Dictionary, b. v.).

3. Protestant Churches . The Church of England retains the usage of consecration both for Church edifices and cemeteries. What is called the consecration of a church at present is purely a Legal (not a religious) act, duly setting aside a certain building from secular uses. There is no form of prayer for consecration of churches prepared by competent authority; it is left to every bishop to use any which he thinks fit, though the form which was prepared by the bishops in 1712 is that most generally used. But all existing unauthorized forms are illegal, and contrary to the Act of Uniformity (Eden, s.v.). The form of 1712 was adopted, with slight modifications, by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States: it is given in the Prayer-book. The form used in the Methodist Episcopal Church (for Dedication) is taken partly from a form of consecration prepared by bishop Andrewes, and partly from the above-mentioned form of 1712. It may be found in the Discipline (pt. 4, ch. 8). The new "Liturgy of the German Reformed Church" in America contains an excellent form for the consecration of a church, as does also the "Liturgy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church" ( § 13).