In our last posting we introduced the Brazen Laver and compared its attributes and purpose to those of the life of Jesus. Based on the material presented, we claimed that the Laver was prophetic of Christ. From this point forward we will attempt to develop a deeper understanding of how Jesus fulfills the promise of this component of the Tabernacle.
In one of His teachings Jesus raises the subject of being born again, which is being born of water and spirit. Jesus introduces this subject in the following passage:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-7)
Notice that being born again is necessary to see or enter into the kingdom of God. Therefor, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (previously covered) was a necessary foundation of what we must do to enter the kingdom of God.
Everlasting life is achieved by reaching out for the living waters that Jesus provides in the form of the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus is the source of these living waters in the same way that the Laver is the container for the water used by the priests for purification prior to ministry. In the following passage, Jesus uses water (living water) in a symbolic way of the Holy Spirit:
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (John 4:10-15)
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus visited the disciples several times prior to His ascension into heaven. On one such occasion, He gave His disciples what many call the grand commission. What we are about to uncover is that baptism is a very significant part of the grand commission.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:16-20)
As stated previously, the purpose of the Laver was to provide a place of cleansing prior to any priest entering into ministry. For example, cleansing was required prior to entering into the Holy Place of God for ministry.
In addition, the shape of the Laver required the priest to bend over it and look into the water while washing. Since the inside surface of the Laver consisted of a highly polished brass, the priest was able to see his own reflection as he washed. Many believe that he would see himself as God saw him. If this is the case, then the prist would have to contemplate their readyness to enter into ministry in the Holy Place of God. He would have to examine his worthiness to enter into a closer relationship with the almighty God. Finally, this reflection would have been the motivation necessary to initiate the permenent change necessary for a Godly ministry.
Jesus is our Laver because it is in reading the scriptures, and especially in the words of Jesus, that we come to examine how our heart and compassion for people compare to those of our Lord. The words of Jesus are the vehicle through which we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to see ourselves as we truly are. His words convict us in our heart to change our nature. By reading about His life and His words, we become purified and empowered by the Holy Spirit and are changed. We are changed in body, mind, heart and spirit into a new creation[i]. We seek a deeper relationship with God and the desire for evil is removed from our nature.
Comparing the Brazen Laver to Jesus
For us who live today, the process of moving into a closer relationship with God is much the same as it was for the priests who served at the Tabernacle. It starts with a genuine yearning for a closer relationship with God and is often accompanied with the remorse for our sins and the wonderment of how God could have been so loving as to set us free from the errors of our ways. So, while the Tabernacle priest saw his reflection in the clear waters of the Laver, we see ourselves by looking into the pure words and actions of Jesus as presented in scripture. It is in this self realization that the Holy Spirit pulls on our heart to reach out for God with an honest and open heart to beg for forgiveness and to seek to change.
One reason that Jesus was sent by the Father was to reveal God’s truth. His life has served as an example for the disciples who lived over 2000 years ago, as it does for us also today. The pathway to ministry is clearly seen through the life and words of Jesus as presented in the scriptures of the Bible. In effect, we require the reflection of God’s perfect mirror in order to see ourselves for what we really are. This is because we are often blinded to our own shortcomings until we look into His perfect deeds, words, and compassionate heart, and contrast them to our own. This can only happen when we are drawn by God into a relationship with Him that fills our hearts with a desire to go deeper. When we do our hearts will yearn for purity out of a desire to love and please God.
When we look at the life of Jesus, we find how far we fall short of the mark. We see how radically different the actions of Jesus are from our own. We see that Jesus conveyed perfect love in His actions, and we are humbled as our short comings are revealed.
We repent as we reflect about our life, heart, mind, and the quality of our walk with Him. We repent as we reflect upon what we are and seek to become what God wants us to be. We repent as we examine ourselves — what we say and do. We repent as we prepare ourselves to move into a spiritual relationship with God. We change through the conforming[ii] of our mind[iii] to be like Him.
This repenting is the same as our purification at the Brazen Laver. It is empowered by the Holy Spirit who leads us into these self-discoveries and in a direction of becoming a changed person. Our hearts burn to become what God wants us to become — sons of the living God. We keep coming back for reflection and cleansing in an effort to achieve spiritual purity. This purity enables us to become spiritual priests that can enter into Gods presence in the Holy Place.
One critical component associated with the purity achieved through baptism in the Holy Spirit is that it necessary for haveing victory over the devil, which is the primary purpose of ministry. This is reinforced by the scripture about Jesus being led into the wilderness by the spirit and immediately entered into spiritual warfare with the devil. The devil tempted Jesus with everything he had in this world but Jesus had no desire for the things of this world. He was spiritually pure, which means that He had no evil desire for the things of this world in Him. There is a lesson here for everyone who contemplates entering into ministry. Any little flaw can cause us to stumble and fail to be effective against the devil, and as a consequence, in our ministry. Jesus’ ministry started with physical depravity and testing. Know that you will be thoroughly tested as well. Jesus’ victory over the temptations of Satan preceded the message and acts of His ministry. Know that you must be victorious over Satan prior to being successful in ministry as well.
In summary, Jesus is the fulfilled prophesy of the Brazen Laver for several reasons. First of all, only by looking directly into Him are we able to see ourselves with clarity. Secondly, as we repent for falling short of the mark, He cleanses us in His own blood and, therein, forgives us of our sin. Thirdly, as we seek purity and thereby change to become like Him, we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit that empowers our change and supports our ministry.
In our next posting we will look at the specific instances in Jesus’ life that support this message.
[i] 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.[ii] 1 Pet 1:14 – 16 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”[iii] Ephesians 4:22 – 24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.