Exodus 30:17-21; 38:8
The next element we come to as we journey towards the Most Holy Place is the Bronze Laver.  We don’t actually have any description in the Bible of its size or shape, but appears to have been composed of two separate pieces – the basin and its stand.  We also know that it was crafted of bronze and mirrors.  While the image that may come to mind is that like a mirror we might have in our bathroom, the mirrors of ancient Israel were most likely highly polished pieces of metal – bronze in this case.

Bronze laver map

Bronze Laver

Beyond this, we don’t know much more about what it looked like, but we do know how it was to be used.God commanded that the laver be placed between the altar and the tabernacle and that Aaron and his sons, (the priests) were to wash both their hands and their feet before entering the tabernacle.  This cleansing was so important that God also commanded that if the priests did not follow His words, they would die (Exodus 30:17-21).  The Bible is not clear on how a priest might wash both his hands and feet from the laver and so there are a lot of artist’s conceptions as to what the laver may have looked like.

Tabernacle bronze laver, tb n030301_t

The picture on the left has a basin, a stand, and a separate bowl that might be used to help wash the priest’s feet.  Another concept is like that pictured below. There is a basin on the top, but there is also a basin as part of the stand.  This would certainly make it easier to wash the feet, but the Bible makes no mention of a second basin that must be filled with water.  While I like the design o8_3_laverf the second one, the first one probably fits a little more closely with the description in the Bible.

Christ and the Bronze Laver
As we journey through the tabernacle, we will see how the movement of a High Priest through the outer courtyard and into the Most Holy Place will be similar to our own walk with Christ.

As I picture standing at the entrance into the outer courtyard, I am reminded of Christ’s words:  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7).  All we need to do is ask, seek and knock and we are free to enter in.

The bronze altar is then symbolic of Christ’s sacrifice, our repentance and God’s forgiveness.  Christ was the sacrifice made by God on our behalf.  We just need to be willing to receive this gift of new life from Him.

The bronze laver is a symbol of cleansing and new life.  Just as the priests are washed of the blood on their hands and considered cleansed, we too were cleansed at the moment that we repented and were forgiven.

Something that intrigues me about the laver is that it was made out of mirrors.  Why do you think the Bible specifically mentions that it was made out of mirrors?  Perhaps it was a visual reminder to the priests of the necessity of washing away the dirt and grime of their lives to enter into God’s presence?  How often do we pause and reflect on our own lives and seek to wash away the dirt and grime before we enter into worship?  God laid out some very specific directions to the priests and as part of His New Testament royal priesthood, I wonder if we shouldn’t be more thoughtful about our own approach to God.

Digging Deeper:  How do you prepare to come into worship?  Are there some 
intentional actions that you think about or that you do?  If not, what might you consider doing?  

Water is another symbol here that often refers to baptism in the Bible.  For example, look at 1 Peter 3:20-22:

 “…who (the spirits who were imprisoned) disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” 

I think as we consider the laver, we too can consider that “this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.”  Had you ever thought about your baptism being symbolically portrayed over 3,000 years ago?  Isn’t it awesome how God wove in so many layers of symbolism in the tabernacle that we can trace forward in history to today?!  I find the deeper I dig and look at these things, another layer or dimension seems to be uncovered!

We have the privilege as New Testament believers to see how the bronze altar came to correspond to the work Christ did on the cross.  We have the opportunity to understand how the offering of sacrifices is now our repentance and forgiveness.  We are blessed to understand how we no longer have the blood of Christ’s death on our hands; that we are washed clean and our new lives in Christ are represented in the bronze laver and its function.

You may have heard that if you find something that is repeated in the Bible three times, that it is a very important passage or verse to pay attention to.  I think our understanding of the tabernacle and it’s ministry is incredibly important; so much so that there are over 50 chapters in the Bible that address the Tabernacle and its worship!  It is no wonder that the author of Hebrews was able to speak to the Jews making this comparison between tabernacle/temple worship and Christ!  Hebrews was written to the Jews, after all, and they would have understood this tabernacle pattern of worship.  Much of the Pentatuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy) goes into great detail on the pattern of worship God required of them beginning in the wilderness.

Digging Deeper:  Spend some time with God simply thanking Him for His cleansing.  It is not something we do ourselves, but that is done for us so that we have the opportunity to spend time with the God of the universe!  All praise to Him alone!

God’s grace and peace to you until next time!

Take My Life
By: Chris Tomlin
© 2003 worshiptogether.com songs | sixsteps Music

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use every power as You choose.

Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Healing Rain
By: Michael W. Smith

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor, weak and strong
It’s bringing mercy, it won’t be long

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy, and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus’ name

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I’m not afraid
To be washed in Heaven’s rain

Lift your heads, let us return
To the mercy seat where time began
And in your eyes, I see the pain
Come soak this dry heart with healing rain

And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands, they can be held
By someone greater, the great I Am

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I’m not afraid
To be washed in Heaven’s rain

To be washed in Heaven’s rain…

Healing rain is falling down
Healing rain is falling down
I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid…