The Tabernacle - 20
by Brad Scott
Shemot (Exodus) 30:17-21And YHVH spoke unto Mosheh, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of bronze, and its foot also of bronze, with which to wash. And thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein; For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat. When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto YHVH. so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not; and it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
The laver is the last part of the tabernacle in this lesson. I am personally delighted that it is the last piece of furniture mentioned and separated, as is the altar of incense, by a teaching on the holiness of those who are priests unto YHVH. The laver is made of bronze, or brass in some versions. I have talked about the meaning of bronze earlier. It speaks of judgment. This will be appropriate for the nature of the laver. It is to be placed between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar. The covered Holy and Most Holy Places are known as the tabernacle of the congregation. The altar is referring to the brazen altar of sacrifice. After entering into the only gate at the east end of the court, and after sacrificing at the brazen altar, the priest then proceeds to the Holy Place. However, after the sacrifice has been made but before he can minister or approach YHVH, he must wash his hands in the laver, lest he die. What in the world is YHVH teaching us here?
Let's begin by defining the word laver. In the Hebrew, this word is kiyowr (כיור). This word means to purify. It is also the word for furnace. In Proverbs 17 we read,
Mishlei (Proverbs) 17:3The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but YHVH tests the heart.
How does YHVH test or cleanse our hearts?
Ephesians 5:25-26Husbands love your wives, even as Messiah also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
One of the fundamental principles of scripture that we have covered so many times in the past is that you cannot separate the words of ’Elohiym from ’Elohiym. To reject the words of ’Elohiym is to reject Him. I go into much more detail on this in the first ten lessons in the teaching section. The God of Israel is to be approached only by those who are clean (1 Yochanan (John) 1:9). What is clean and unclean is only revealed and taught in His word. The laver is a picture of being cleansed by the word. His gift of salvation, or redemption, is found at the brazen altar. We would now ask if this laver is a picture of baptism. The answer to this is found in the insertion of the consecration of the priests placed between chapter 27 and 30.
Shemot 29:4-7And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the beautifully woven girdle of the ephod. And thou shalt put the miter upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the miter. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
Aaron and his sons are washed from head to toe (taval) in preparation for their ministry. When this process takes place we are not told. This appears to be a one time event. I would assume that it occurs sometime after the altar of sacrifice and before they can minister in their priestly office. Based upon this, you can come to your own conclusions as to when immersion (baptism, water or otherwise) takes place after sacrifice. The laver, however, is for the daily washing of feet and hands only. The difference between a taval, a full immersion, and a rachatz, or a daily washing, is pictured beautifully in Yochanan 13:
Yochanan 13:4-10He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself (i.e., he made himself of no reputation and took upon the form of a servant). After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. Then cometh he to Kefa; and Kefa said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Yeshua‘ answered, and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Kefa said unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Yeshua‘ answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Kefa said unto him, Lord not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Yeshua‘ said to him, He that is washed (taval), needs not except to wash his feet [rachatz], but is entirely clean; and ye are clean, but not all of you.
All of Yeshua‘’s disciples were ministers of the kingdom except for Judas, who had never been immersed (taval) and clothed with priestly garments, so to speak. However, Yeshua‘ makes it clear that a disciple has no part with him if he or she is not willing to be cleansed daily. So how do we wash in this laver? By immersing ourselves in His word that we may do the works of the Father! Remember that this laver is placed just outside of the Holy Place. In order for a follower of Messiah to minister in this world, he must be cleansed by the word first. In other words, HOW would I know how or what to do if I were not instructed by His word first? If I attempt to do what I think is right and essentially do my own works, then I am eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and performing works of iniquity. The ultimate result of this is death. A kal v'chomer can be used here. How could YHVH entrust his priests to minister in the vital things of the Holy Place, if they will not obey the simple commands given in the court? "How can I trust you with greater things if you will not do the lesser things?"(kal v'chomer). This is true of many of the ordinances of YHVH. The weekly Sabbath is a picture of an eternal rest we have with Yeshua‘. The eternal rest is far more important than the weekly Sabbath. But if we will not obey the lesser Sabbath, how can we be trusted to grasp the greater Sabbath? Will YHVH allow me to eat of the showbread and trim the lights of the Menorah if I refuse to wash my hands first?
It is not just the desire to enter the Holy Place that is to be our motivation for cleansing. It is, in fact, the process of washing that is in our best interest. If, for example, YHVH wanted me to meet him on top of a mountain, I could easily pay for a short helicopter ride. But it is the experience of the climb to the top that YHVH is looking for. In Shemot 38:8 we are told that the laver was to be constructed from looking glasses or mirrors. So when you would wash your hands and feet in the laver you could see two things YHVH wants you to see. Looking glasses at that time were used much for the same reason we have them today. Checking out how beautiful I look, or scouting out my defects. YHVH wants us to know who we are, and that we are His children, seated in heavenly places with Him. There is nothing wrong with searching the Scriptures to remind ourselves that we are not like the world and that we are the apple of His eye. However, we are to search our hearts as well, to root out the ugliness and sin. The mirrored laver was designed to reveal both of these aspects.
I believe it is the desire of everyone who calls themselves a child of YHVH to be Yeshua‘’s bride. Perhaps you have been taught that everyone who confesses that He is YHVH, will be the bride. Keep in mind, however, that the bride is veiled. The Scriptures do tell us the characteristics of the bride. She will be the one who is a chaste virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2). She is washed in the water of the word, not having spot nor wrinkle, holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27). Virtually all of the prophetic utterances concerning the end times, speak clearly of the difference between those who are His and those who are not His. Those who are not, did not wash themselves. They profaned His sabbaths and polluted His feasts. They despised His ordinances and rejected His statutes and commandments. They ate swine's flesh and adopted the ways of the nations. They may have stopped between the brazen altar and the laver or perhaps they never made it to the altar at all. This, I am not the judge of. The clothes of righteousness are only put on those who have washed themselves. In the end, many will come to the wedding supper with no wedding garment, and many will have defiled their garments.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 3:5-6He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊