The Tabernacle, The Brazen Laver, Exodus 30:17-21, Part 1 - Lesson 43
After studying the Brazen Altar we now will examine the second piece of furniture in the Court of the Tabernacle.
This piece, the Brazen Laver, is inseparable from the Brazen Altar.
The ministry of the Priests could only be accomplished by the use of both the Altar and the Laver.
The lesson that is clearly presented is that sacrifice and cleansing are inseparable.
Now we have been given a sacrifice and we have been given a laver.
Our sacrifice is our Lord, and our laver is His spirit.
His blood opens the door to the kingdom, and we go into the kingdom cleansed by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit of God.
The message of the altar and the laver of the Tabernacle is that salvation can never be separated from cleansing.
There can be no deliverance from the guilt of sin, apart from the purity of heart and holiness of life.
What is the first act that a newborn experiences at birth.
It is the cleansing of the body.
The baby is not presented to the mother before it is cleaned.
Jesus used the simile of physical birth to describe spiritual birth when He said "Ye must be born again."
And with that new birth cleansing at the laver, Godís Spirit, takes place.
So today we examine the laver which introduces us to Godís Spirit, our eternal laver.
Let us read of this first laver from Exodus 30:17-21, And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
So after the work of the priest at the Brazen Altar, he then proceeded quickly to the brazen Laver for cleansing.
You can easily imagine that his hands were splattered with blood and his feet soiled from the dust of the Tabernacle court.
The warning from God was clear "they shall wash with water, that they die not."
The laver was never used by the congregation but was provided exclusively for the priests' purification.
During their consecration to the priesthood, they had been washed thoroughly at the laver according to the command of Moses:
Exodus 29:4, And Aaron and his sons thou shall bring unto the door
of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
Leviticus 16:24, And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
But on every other day of the year, the priests only had to wash the defilement from their hands and feet before entering the Tabernacle to serve.
The position of the laver, between the altar and the Holy Place revealed to the priests Godís order in approaching Him.
Their sins being atoned for at the brazen altar made it possible to approach the Tabernacle in worship.
But they could not go directly, but had to stop at the brazen laver to wash the defilement of the dusty Tabernacle court and the blood of the sacrifice from their bodies.
They had to be both spiritually and physically clean before they could enter into the presence of a holy God in communion and fellowship.
The Word of God was clearly expressed in:
Leviticus 11:44a, For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:
The brazen laver stood in the outer court between the brazen altar and the Tabernacle.
It had two parts: the circular brass bowl made from the polished brass mirrors the women brought with them from Egypt and the brass foot or pedestal.
Exodus 38:8, And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the looking glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Although the size of the laver is not given, it had to be big enough to hold the large amount of water used exclusively by the priests for purification.
Fresh spring water, perhaps from a smitten rock, was poured continually into the laver for daily purification.
The laver had no given measurements, perhaps this being symbolic of the limitless cleansing power of God.
Only the priests used the laver for purification.
We who trust in Jesus Christ, we who have been born again, are called believer-priests, we are called a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.
As Aaron and his sons were born into the priesthood, so each of us enters the priesthood by means of the new birth through the washing of regeneration" in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We who have been washed from our sins in the blood of Jesus have been made a "kingdom of priests" according to:
Revelation 1:5-6, And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful
witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the
earth. 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; to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
In the brazen altar we see our justification.
But in the brazen laver we see our sanctification.
The water in the laver typified our cleansing through the Word of God.
When Jesus left the upper room and headed toward the Garden of Gethsemane just before His betrayal, He stopped in the vineyard in the Kidron Valley and gave the parable of the vine and the branches.
He said every branch that bears fruit must be purged so that it might bring forth more fruit.
Then He told His disciples what He is telling us today: "you are clean through the word which I have spoken."
The Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses us, preparing us for service in Christ.
Jesus said His words were "spirit" and "life."
Preachers cannot "preach" people into changing but the only power on earth that will change a natural heart is the living word of God from the living Christ.
Ye must be born of the Spirit!
The word sanctified means to be set apart.
First, we are set apart from sin, both spiritually and physically.
Secondly, we are set apart for divine service through Christ our high priest.
This process of sanctification was so clearly illustrated when the Priests
were to physically sanctify themselves and the house of the Lord in, 2
Chronicles 29:5,15,16, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves,
and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the
filthiness out of the holy place. ÖÖÖÖÖ.And they gathered their brethren, and
sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by
the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. And the priests went
into the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all
the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the
house of the Lord.
That which is taught concerning the physical life in the Old Testament is fully expressed in the spiritual life in the New Testament.
For today we are the temple.
God expects filthiness to be carried out that the house of the Spirit will be clean.
We read of this in 1 Corinthians 6:11, And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Sanctification is described in three ways.
First, we are POSITIONALLY sanctified.
We are eternally sanctified to God the moment we accept the atoning work of God for our justification.
Hebrews 10:10,14, By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Instantaneously we are separated from sin unto salvation.
It is called positional sanctification because it signifies a position or standing before God that does not depend on our daily walk for its maintenance, although this position should lead us to holy living.
Secondly, we are PROGRESSIVELY being sanctified, a process whereby we are daily sanctified as we walk in obedience before God, separating ourselves from sin and allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse us through the truth of the Word of God.
Arenít we careful every day to wash the outside.
We spend much time taking care of our appearance.
But God expects us to submit ourselves to a daily wash in the word so as to provide a clean dwelling for His Spirit.
Believers progress in sanctification as they appropriate and apply the Word of God to their lives.
2 Timothy 2:19-21, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure,
having this seal, The Lord knoweth 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.
Believers are promised an ultimate sanctification.
We will be perfected when we receive our resurrected bodies at the Second Coming of the Lord.
Ephesians 5:27, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
At that time, we will be fully conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, for we shall be like HIM.
1 John 3:2, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet
appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Hebrews 13:12, Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the
people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
The Father chastens us for sin.
Hebrews 12:10, For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
And the Holy Spirit applies the truth of Godís Word to our lives.
2 Thessalonians 2:13, But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
And lastly God gives us a will to voluntarily separate ourselves from sin.
God has given us a beautiful illustration of the need for purification in our
Rising from the Passover table, Jesus took a towel and a basin of water and began to wash the disciples' feet.
John 13:4-10, He rises from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do you do not know now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter said unto him, Thou shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
Every time I read this passage my memory goes back to my youth.
The older I get the more that memory dims but certain events seem to stay very clear in my memory.
My mother was of the Seventh Day Adventist persuasion and I of course was taken to Sabbath school and church when I was a little boy up until my teen age years when I drifted away from her church which never became my church.
One of the distinctives of her church was the sacrament of foot washing following the pattern of Christ when He washed the discipleís feet.
I remember those days when this sacrament was carried out, being taken down into the church basement and witnessing ladies bending down in front of a seated lady with a towel and a basin filled with water.
It was not really a washing of feet but instead a symbolic act of pouring water over the feet and then wiping them dry with the towel.
Little did I know what was going on but I just accepted it as a normal thing for children do not have much of a frame of reference to discern or compare.
It was just something that ladies did on a regular basis.
I donít know what the motive of the foot washing was for I was too small to understand deep things but Jesus was teaching several things here, the main lesson was that we need to be cleansed on a daily basis.
Not wholly cleansed for that took place at salvation but a cleansing from this worldís filthiness that anyone who lives in the world will gather.
So when Peter blurted out that Jesus would never wash his feet, Jesus' reply was that Peter could not have intimacy and communion with Him unless he washed Peter's feet.
The words "washed" and "wash" in verse 10 have different meanings.
The word "washed" (Gr. louo) means to "bathe one's body completely."
It speaks of the complete cleansing that takes place when we are declared justified at the moment of salvation.
The word wash (Gr. nipto) is used of those who wash their hands and feet, symbolizing sanctification.
The picture is of people returning home from a public bathhouse.
Their bodies being completely bathed, they need only wash the dust from their feet to be clean when they enter into houses.
By washing the disciples' feet, the Lord taught that we who have been thoroughly cleansed through His blood must still be cleansed in our daily walk with Him.
Daily sins must be confessed to God in order to maintain unbroken communion and fellowship with Him.
John reiterated this in his first epistle:
1 John 1:8-9, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We have already seen that brass typified Christ in His ministry of judgment.
The mirrors spoke of the Word of God, which reveals and reflects our sinful purposes and intentions.
The writer of the book of Hebrews put it well when he wrote:
Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart.
John 12:48, He that rejects me, and receives not my words, hath one
that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the
Paul said, "For if we would judge OURSELVES, we should not be judged."
1 Corinthians 11:32, If we refuse to judge our own sins, the Lord will chasten us back to communion and fellowship so we "will not be condemned with the world.
The chastening process is not enjoyable; in fact, it can very grievous, but it produces righteousness and holiness.
If Christians persist in their sins after being chastened by the Lord, He may bring further judgment on them in the form of weakness, sickness or even premature death (1 Cor. 11:30).
The Word of God, appropriated and properly applied, prevents us from falling into sin, keeps us in our walk with the Lord, and makes our fellowship sweet in Him.
1 Corinthians 11:30-32, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.