Grace and Truth

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Jesus and the Brazen Laver

bronze-laver-priestFollowing on from Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar, we will now look at the Brazen Laver. As we have been discovering in this series, every item of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses was a type or a shadow of the reality that is now available to us in Jesus Christ.

The Brazen Laver is a wonderful picture of two things:

  • the Word of God; and
  • sanctification, (or separation)

 

The Laver was Made From Bronze Mirrors

“He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” Exodus 38:8

Mirrors in those days were made from highly polished bronze, not glass. Bronze is always a picture of judgment in the Tabernacle. And wow – what a picture it is. Imagine moving forward from the Brazen Altar, where the blood of an innocent animal has been shed for your sins, to the Brazen Laver where you now wash your feet and hands. As you do so, you are confronted with your reflection in both the water of the Laver and the bronze mirrors holding the water.

…. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 (emphasis mine).

 

The Word of God ExposesthVT2OSNBU

Once you are at the Laver you cannot escape the confrontation of your own reflection.

You are exposed.

This is exactly what the Word of God does. As we read, study and meditate on it we behold ourselves as in a mirror. We are exposed for who we truly are and we cannot hide from it because it is “alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12)

We see where we fall short of the standard of God’s Word and we are convicted and pierced by it “even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12)

This work of the Sword of the Spirit is so close, so intimate, even to the division of joints and marrow. The marrow is inside the bone-joint. How sharp is that Sword and how dextrously is it handled by the Spirit that it exposes those hidden, secrets places in our souls that contain even our innermost intents of the heart!

The priest in the Tabernacle would cut up the sacrifice for the offering with a sharp knife. This is God’s intention for us. That He would be able to work in us in order to conform us to the image of His Son through the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). He wants to expose and cut away all that is soulish and instead fill us with the life of the Spirit.

 

Justification Vs Sanctification

Once we have been to the Brazen Altar, a type of the cross of Jesus Christ, we are justified before God.

“We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10).

rickeyminor.orgWe are saved by blood and delivered from condemnation at the Altar.

Whilst the Brazen Altar is a picture of our justification, the Brazen Laver is a picture of our sanctification. This is the second aspect of salvation and it is to do with separation.

The penalty for sin is dealt with at the Altar, the cleansing from sin at the Laver.

 

The Word of God Cleanses

Just as “Aaron and his sons…wash(ed) their hands and their feet in water from (the Brazen Laver)” (Exodus 30:19), so too the Word of God cleanses us.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” Ephesians 5:26

As the priests came into the Tabernacle their feet would have been dusty. Their hands would have needed cleansing after their work. The Brazen Laver had two washing basins, one for the hands and one for the feet.

  • Hands speak to us of our service for God.
  • Feet of our walk with God.

Daily we need to be washed by the water of the Word of God. Even though we are saved, as we go about life in this sinful world we pick up dust and dirt along the way. In order to fellowship with the Lord and come into His presence we need to be separated unto Him daily by the cleansing of the Word. The Laver shows us that whilst sin has been dealt with once for all at the cross, we need to come daily confessing our sins so that we may be cleansed from any defilement of the world.

 

The Word of God Brings us to Maturity

The Laver also speaks to us of going on to maturity in Christ. At the Altar we have been born again, but at the Laver we grow as we look into the mirror of the Word of God. Those heart-motives and intentions that were exposed by the mirror of the Word are also cleansed away by the water of the Word.

We must remember that the priests regularly came to the Laver to wash. We are now “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and we too must come regularly to the Word of God to be convicted, cleansed and sanctified.

The Word of God is integral to maintaining our life in Christ. The Brazen Laver could not be avoided in the Tabernacle on the way into the Holy Place.  The priests were required to stop there and take the time in order to be convicted, cleansed and set apart. So too must we take the time to spend with our wonderful Saviour in feeding on His Word.

God bless! 🙂

 

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Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar – Part 2

When God instituted the Mosaic Covenant it was strictly with the nation of Israel. Why then do we, the people of the New Covenant, have an interest in studying it? The answer is varied, but one part of it is this:

  • through the Mosaic Covenant God showed forth some wonderful eternal truths pointing to His Son and the Church.

It is worth looking into these things because it adds layers and depth to our faith as God reveals these truths to us by His Spirit.

In the last post we saw the significance and typology of the materials used in constructing the Brazen

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

(or bronze) altar of the Tabernacle of Moses and we saw that the altar was a picture of the cross of Jesus Christ. In this post we will look at the significance of the blood of the altar and how this points to Christ’s atonement for us.

The Altar of Blood

Having just been confronted with the 7.5 feet high linen walls of the Tabernacle, signifying God’s holy righteousness, the sinner enters through the one and only entrance of the Tabernacle – the Gate.

Now the first piece of furniture he encounters is the Brazen Altar. Imagine standing in front of this piece of furniture.  This is where where many, many innocent animals had been slain for the sins of the people. It was not a pretty picture. It was most likely intimidating. The altar was the place of death and blood. The place where the full penalty of sin became gruesomely obvious. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

source. kenraggio.com

source. kenraggio.com

It represented sacrifice, death and blood atonement. For the sinner to proceed any further into the Tabernacle, innocent blood would need to be shed upon this altar on his behalf. Any attempt to bypass this step and approach God without blood would have resulted in death.

“….without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness of sins)” Hebrews 9:22

No one, not even the High Priest, could approach the Lord except on the basis of innocent shed blood.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

The altar demonstrates that the only way a person can meet with God is on the basis of substitutionary atonement. On the basis of BLOOD.

The Blood Covenant

In fact, the Mosaic Covenant became known as the “Blood Covenant” (Hebrews 9:19, 20) due to the huge number of animals that were sacrificed.

“This elaborate sacrificial system with its multiplied continual sacrifices was given for two major reasons.

  • First, it was to illustrate that no amount of continued animal sacrifices could effectively take away man’s sinfulness.
  • Second, it was to point to Christ’s perfect, sinless, and once-for-all sacrifice that could take away man’s sinfulness (Hebrews 9,10).” source (1)

God instructed the Israelites to bring offerings to Him on the Brazen Altar:

Sacrifice Verses Elements Purpose
Burnt Offering Lev 1; Lev 6; Lev 8; Lev 16:24 Bull, ram or male dove. Must be a male without blemish Atonement for unintentional sin; act of worship
Grain Offering Lev 2; Lev 6:14-23 Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread, salt. Always accompanied burnt and fellowship offerings (with drink offerings Act of worship, recognition of God’s goodness and provision; devotion to God
Fellowship/Peace Offering Lev 3; Lev 7:11-34 Any animal without defect or blemish from herd of flock; breads Act of worship, thanksgiving and fellowship (it incl a communal meal)
Sin Offering Lev 4; Lev; Lev 8; Lev 16 1.     Young bull for high priest and congregation

2.     Male goat for leader

3.     Female goat/lamb for common person

4.     Dove/pigeon for the poor

5.     10th of an ephah of fine flour: for the very poor

Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin, cleansing from defilement.
Guilt/Trespass Offering Lev 5:14-6:7

Lev 7:1-6

Ram Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine

Table adapted from NIV Study Bible

 

The Altar & the Blood Point to Christ

“…he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He is to present the bull at the entrance to the tent of meeting before the LORD. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it there before the LORD.” Leviticus 4:3, 4

Just as the innocent animal became an offering for the sin of the Israelites, so too Jesus became an offering for the sins of the whole world. The New Testament says:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Corinthians 5:21

So we see the Altar is a type of Christ because He is:

source:wordlive.org

source:wordlive.org

  • A substitutionary atonement for us,
  • Blemishless because He never sinned,
  • The innocent substitution on our behalf

At the cross Jesus’ blood was poured out and He took the judgment for our sins upon Himself.  All of the animal sacrifices upon the altar pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s perfect, blemishless Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus death upon the cross fulfilled all of the Old Testament sacrifices and did away with them once and for all.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14

Next post….

  • Outside the Camp
  • How the altar points to the cross

Sources: 1 The Mosaic Covenant, Kevin J Conner & Ken Malmin


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The Tabernacle of Moses and Jesus

source: templestudy.com

source: templestudy.com

God gave Moses a divine plan in building the Tabernacle :

“According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so shall you make it.” Exodus 25:9

Moses was required to build the tabernacle exactly to the plan which God gave Him.

“They served in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”” Hebrews 8:5

It was divided into three different areas within it.

source: tabernacleofmoses.org

source: tabernacleofmoses.org

There was the Holy of Holies, the Holy Place and the Outer court.

Each area had its own pieces of furniture. The furniture was also to be made exactly to the pattern that God gave Moses.

 

The Purpose of the Tabernacle

When Moses was on the mountain with God, God said to him:

“…let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8

The purpose of the Tabernacle was for God to dwell among His people, in order to guide them and to bless and provide for them.

God has always desired fellowship with man. We see this with God’s dealings with Adam and Eve, with Israel and with the followers of Christ – His Church. In fact the Tabernacle of Moses points ultimately to Jesus Christ as it is a picture of God dwelling amongst man.

In John 1:14 we read:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The word “dwelt” here literally means to “pitch a tent”. It is from the Greek word skenoo

“…This word skene (tent) is the very word used in the New Testament to refer to the tabernacle of God used by Israel in their early worship of God. If you remember, the tabernacle was a wooden structure with a tent pitched over the top. In the Greek New Testament therefore, the word translated “tabernacle” is skene — “the tent” (Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:2, 5, and chapter 9). Hence, when the glory of God descended to the earth to take up residence in the midst of Israel as described in Exodus 40:34-38, it could be said that God “pitched His tent” among men. The writer of the book of Hebrews calls it “the true tent [skene] that the Lord set up” (Hebrews 8:2). The glory of God went camping with Israel as Israel wandered in the wilderness.” (source: http://www.awordfromtheword.org/dwelt)

When Jesus became a Man and dwelt among us, it was the ultimate fulfillment of the Tabernacle of Moses. Here was God not only dwelling amongst human beings, but God dwelling in human flesh Himself. How merciful that God would take on human flesh to bring about fellowship with man again!

And now, as believers in Christ, God Himself dwells (tabernacles) in us. By His Holy Spirit God now dwells not only with man, but inside of man. The incredible kindness and mercy of God!

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? ” 1 Corinthians 6:19 

The Tabernacle of Moses shows us many things:

  • That God desires fellowship with His people;
  • That God always is the one to initiate fellowship between Him and man;
  • That God has a plan to bring that fellowship about;
  • That God clearly shows man how to have fellowship with Him
  • That man must approach God in the way in which God appoints;
  • That the tabernacle points to Christ dwelling with and in man and
  • That Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of the tabernacle

 

Blessings in Christ! 

 

Next…The Tabernacle of Moses and the Cross