• Look up Exodus 30:18-20
Q. What was this laver made from?
Q. What purpose did the laver serve?
Q. Where was the laver located?
Q. When did the priests need to wash? What if they did not?
• Look up Exodus 38:8. Where did the brass for the laver come from?
The laver was a brass basin used by the priests for daily and continual cleansing. No one can be sure exactly what the laver looked like because unlike the rest of the tabernacle, God did not give specific dimensions for the laver. The picture above imagines a laver which contained clean water in the top which would be drawn out by a ladle and used to cleanse the hands and feet, dirtying only the water in the lower portion.
God placed the laver in the midst of the tabernacle, between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar of burnt offering and demanded that the priests cleanse themselves before performing service in either area. The laver became central to the daily routine of the priests, they returned to it many times throughout the day in order to cleanse and make themselves suitable for God’s service.
As we have already learned, each and every piece of furniture within the tabernacle had both an immediate function and a prophetic function. The laver was literally used for daily cleansing by the priests, but it was also a symbol (or shadow) of things that would come. In the case of the laver, I think we will see that it was a tremendous picture of the cleansing power of God’s word, and of His desire to have his servants clean from the daily defilement caused by walking in this world.
Ever since Jesus Christ came to earth, died on the cross and rose again, God has done away with the priesthood of the Old Testament. These priests were appointed by God to offer sacrifice for the people, and only the High Priest could enter into God’s holy presence one a year, on behalf of all of Israel.
• Mark 15:37,38. Q What happened immediately after Christ died on the cross?
_ What purpose did the veil originally serve? What do you think it’s tearing in half symbolized?
When Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sin once and for all, the need for the earthly tabernacle or temple had ceased. God, in essence, has opened the most holy place to all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. No longer is this special privilege of approaching God directly reserved for the High Priest only. The veil is rent, it is gone, and now everyone who believes on Jesus Christ, the son of God, can enter into God’s presence, in His name.
• Heb 6:19, 20 Q. Where has our hope entered?
Q. Who entered in before us? _____________________.
When Jesus died on the cross, the shedding of his perfect blood fulfilled all the requirements of Old Testament sacrificial system. He entered the most holy place once and for all, eliminating any future need for sacrifice. With the elimination of sacrificial system, came also the elimination of the Old Testament priesthood. Yet, we still read about a priesthood in the New Testament!
• 1 Pet 2:9-10, 1 Pet 2:5 Q. Who is the new priesthood spoken of here?
Each and every one of us who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, now has the title and privilege of a priest!
• Heb 4:16. Q. Now that the veil has been rent, what can we do?
Considering all of this, we can better understand how the Old Testament priests and their service can apply to us today. Now, let’s look closer at the laver, recognizing that the service of the priests was also a figure and forshadowing of the service that we as God’s royal priesthood would perform!
Now let’s consider how the laver of cleansing applies to us today.
• Eph 5:25-27. Q. What does Jesus want to do with the church?
Q. How does He accomplish this?
• John 15:3 Now ye are ______________ through the ____________ which I have spoken unto you.
• Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man _______________ his way? by taking heed thereto according to ______________________.
_ Considering these verses, what do you think the laver may picture? How are their functions similar?
The Laver and the Word – Their Revealing Nature
• Exodus 38:8. Q. Where did the brass for the laver come from?
The lookingglasses were mirrors made from highly polished brass. When Israel left Egypt they spoiled the Egyptians by borrowing many beautiful and costly items. These mirrors were likely part of that spoil.
Generally when we find brass in the Bible is represents some type of judgment. For instance, when God judged Israel for murmuring in the wilderness, he set up a brazen or brass serpent for them to look upon. The altar of burnt offering where sin was judged was also overlaid with brass. The laver of cleansing is no different, it’s highly reflective brass body spoke very clearly of the judgment of God.
Likewise, the word of God for the priesthood of believers stands as our daily judge!
• James 1:22-25. Q. What does James compare “hearing the word” to?
_ How should “looking into the perfect law of liberty” (reading God’s Word) affect our actions?
When the Priest would approach the laver he would see himself both in the reflective brass body and in the water which it contained. He looked into the glass and was reminded each day that he was in need of cleansing. Likewise, God has given believers today his Word, which he has compared to both water and a mirror, to be our judge. As we go about our daily life, endeavouring to please God, His word serves as a continual reminder of who He is, and who
we are. When we spend time in God’s word each day, He uses it to reveal our sinful character and to encourage us on to holiness. The Christian who reads the word of God but does not allow it to change him is like the priest who would look into the laver of cleansing and walk away dirty. He has ignored his need for cleansing and has made himself unfit for the service of God!
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul reminds us of God’s promise that he would be our Father, and we, His children, and then in chapter 7 he tells us what our response to these promises ought to be.
• 2 Cor 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us ___________________ ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting ____________________ in the fear of God.
As we walk daily in this world we become defiled by its sinful influences. And like the Priest in the tabernacle, God desires that we cleanse ourselves for His service.
_ • Alternate Reading John 17:14-19
Q. What has Jesus given us?_________________________.
Q. We are n_______ o______ the world.
Q. Jesus did not pray that we would be taken out of the world but that we would be ______________________________.
Q. How did Jesus say we could be sanctified in the midst of this world? v17.
The priest in the tabernacle had the brazen laver to remind of his sinfulness and to cleanse him for God’s service. Today we have God’s word. A daily reading of the Bible will give us the right perspective of our sinfulness and God’s holiness. As we read his word, meditate on it, and apply it to our lives we will be sanctified and cleansed for his service! When we neglect His word we lose a right perspective of this world. The filthiness of this world loses his offense, we begin to tolerate it and eventually to embrace it. A continual cleansing in God’s word is absolutely necessary for the Christian who seeks to please God and to stay separate from this world!
A Christian’s daily cleansing by the word consists of both reading and confessing. As we read the Bible and see where we have fallen short we ought to confess our sins. God has promised that he will cleanse us!
• 1 John 1:9 If we _______________ our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to ________________ us from all unrighteousness.