The Brazen Laver is second of two objects located in the Tabernacle’s Outer Court.
Then you shall set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. And you shall set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. (Exodus 40:6-7)
The Laver’s function was to provide a place for the priests to purify themselves prior to serving in ministry or entering the Tabernacle’s Holy Place. As the following passage suggests, purification is a required precursor to priestly ministry.
You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. (Exodus 30:18-20)
The Brazen Laver therefore is a wash basin made of polished bronze (which is derived from the word, brazen). The bronze surface is polished to such a highly reflective state that it obtains mirror like qualities. In fact, the Laver was made from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting (Exodus 38:8). Because of this reflective characteristic, the priests were able to see their reflection in the Laver as they bent over it to wash.
So, with these facts in mind, let’s look deeper into the scriptures relating to the Brazen Laver. As we progress from this point, we will attempt to correlate what the scriptures have to say in support of the proposition that Jesus is our Brazen Laver and therefore the Christ. In this regard we will be looking to answer four basic questions; first, what did Jesus (and others) claim in this regard? Second, what were the actions of Jesus that support these claims? Third, what did the Father do in support of the words and actions of Jesus? Finally, what are the common attributes shared by our Lord Jesus and the Brazen Laver, and how can we integrate them into our lives?
We will now proceed to looking at Jesus as the Brazen Laver from these perspectives.
The ministry of John the Baptist was to make straight the path of the Lord who was to come. He preached repentance of sin and baptism in water for the remission of sin. John’s ministry led the people toward purity in preparation for their entering into a closer, more spiritual relationship with God.
Baptism was soon to take an entirely new form when Jesus came to John to be baptized. Although He was without sin, Jesus was baptized by John in water to fulfill the model of the Brazen Laver that required purity through washing prior to entering ministry. The new form of baptism was introduced as Jesus came up from the water and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, thus signifying the ultimate form of purity. From that point forward Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and therefore ready for ministry.
In addition, He was then able to baptize others with the Holy Spirit, therein empowering them from on high. This enabled His disciples to minister with power and to have a deeper spiritual relationship with God. Let’s look at the scriptures that support these statements:
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’“ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:1-5)
Like the priest washing at the Brazen Laver, John was preparing the people for entering into a closer relationship with God. The Father had sent His son, the living Tabernacle, to earth and now the Father was empowering Jesus to accomplish His mission on earth:
And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:7-13)
So, the purification of the priests in water of the Laver is prophetic of the baptism of Christ Jesus, our high priest, in the Holy Spirit. We can conclude from this that repentance and baptism are very important components prior to ministry. Water baptism is so important that our Lord Jesus came to be baptized by John. In doing so He gave us a model that to emulate. A model that when emulated by those who truly repent and seek to do God’s will, results in the baptism in the Holy Sprit. The point in all of this is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings us to a closer relationship with God. It brings fellowship with the Father, enlightenment to God’s truth, and empowerment for the battle of ministry. All three of these blessings of relationship are also prophesied by the objects found in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, which can only be entered by a purified priest. We cover all of this in our next major section, but we introduce it here to draw the connection between the baptism of Jesus and the purification of the priest at the Laver. Both were done prior to ministry. Both were prerequisites to a closer relationship with the Father and His blessings necessary for ministry. But we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit here, so let’s once again focus on the correlation between the Laver and Christ Jesus. This is where we will begin in our next posting.
May God bless all of you. I look forward to hearing any comments that you may have.
John 1:22 – 23 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,” ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.