Moses paced back and forth, rehearsing the offerings and sacrifices. “Yahweh,” he prayed. “You are so generous with your forgiveness and mercy. There is no other God like You. May the people put all of this into practice. May they come to know You and love You from their hearts.”
Suddenly, the courtyard of the Tabernacle appeared before him in an open vision. He watched as people came in the gate with their animals and offerings. He saw them confess their sins, slit the throat of their animal and drain the blood into a bowl. The priests took the blood and splashed it against the bottom of the altar and prepared the animal for sacrifice. It was a messy, smelly job. “What provision do You have for the priests?” he asked. “They cannot come into Your presence covered with blood and dung.” Moses sat down on the ground and waited.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 “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, 19 for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. 20 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. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.” Exodus 30:17-21
“Lest they die.” Those are strong words. Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, entered the Holy Place defiled. They offered strange fire at the incense altar and you can be sure they did not stop at the laver to wash. The fire of God killed them on the spot. Leviticus 10:1-2
The laver was solid brass, no wood. Mirrors were used. Bronze mirrors were melted and crafted into this holy laver. The women who were door-keepers for the Holy Place donated them.
Exodus 38:8 The laver of bronze and its base of bronze, was made from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
The priests washed their hands and feet before entering the Holy Place. If you are familiar with Muslim practices, you know that the men wash their hands and feet before going into the mosque to pray.
Before entering the holy place, priests washed so they could approach God clean. After leaving the holy place, they also washed because they were returning to serve the people.
As believers in Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus Messiah, we are all priests. While we don’t have physical lavers, the Holy Spirit and the Word are what wash us. Yeshua told His disciples in John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
And Paul wrote in Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edgedsword, piercing 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.
Ephesians 6:17 says that the sword–our only weapon in the armor of God–is the sword of the Spirit.
In Ephesians 5:25-27 God counsels husbands–Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
It is important that we spend daily time in God’s word and in counsel with Holy Spirit. If we do, we will go into our day ready to re-present the Lord in word and deed wherever we go.
For the priests, going to wash at the laver was a physical confession of defilement. Whether the priests participated in the sacrifices or not, they still had to stop at the laver for washing. They were leaving the atmosphere of the world and preparing to enter the holy house of God.
Paul and James both wrote about this process.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
James 1:22-24 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 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; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
In the time of the Tabernacle, if the priest went to the laver and saw unconfessed sin in his life, he returned to the brazen altar to make a sacrifice. As believers, when Holy Spirit convicts us or God’s Word pierces our heart, we need to confess it, turn away from the sin, and thank God for the blood of Yeshua HaMashiach that washes away our sin. Then follow Him and do what He tells us.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9
We are not to judge ourselves on a human scale, focused on outward appearance. We must let Holy Spirit measure us through God’s Word. He measures us on God’s scale. He looks at our hearts. Let’s not use God’s word to beat ourselves up. Nor use it to compare ourselves with others and puff ourselves up. God’s Word is our mirror. His Word is a love letter full of truth about who we are in Him and how best to live in His kingdom.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God
As we leave the laver and enter the Holy Place, may our hearts and minds be full of thanksgiving and praise for all He has done. May we enter knowing we are washed clean by His blood and by His Word. We stand blameless before Him and are loved beyond words to describe.