The Mirror Laver. After giving ourselves in complete consecration to Christ at the altar, we next go to the laver for cleansing. The laver was located between the altar and the door of the holy place, in the first square of the court. Because here was typified Christ's life of humiliation and suffering for our salvation, both the laver and his foot, like everything else in the court, were made of brass. But unlike the rest, these were made of the polished brass mirrors - "the looking glasses of the women . . . which
assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." Ex. 38:8. "These women, like Anna, Luke 2:36,37, were women of pious character and influence, who frequented the court of the sacred building, and whose parting with their mirrors was a symbol of their renouncing the world - renouncing the instrument of personal vanity for the sake of a higher beauty of holiness." JFB Com. A mirror reveals imperfections or
uncleanness. God's law is likened to a mirror. âWhoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty. . . is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass.â James 1:25,23.
The Laver for Cleansing. The laver was not only a mirror to reveal uncleanness, but a hath for the removal of all defilement. The laver held the water, which was supplied from "the rock." Ex, 17:3,6. Here the priests washed their hands and their feet preparatory to any service at the altar or
in the sanctuary. This was very important, a matter of life or death. The penalty for indifference, or failure to obey this divine requirement is twice stated; it was absolute and unconditional - "that they die not." Ex. 3D:20,21. David referred to this cleansing when he said, "I will wash mine hands in innocency; so will 1 compass thine altar 0 Lord." Ps, 26:6. No less important is God's command to us: "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." Isa. 52:11.
The Two Parts of the Laver. Wherever the laver is mentioned, it is always the laver "and his foot also," Ex. 30:18, indicating two distinct parts. No specific description is given as to size or shape of either the laver or his foot, but in Solomon's temple the laver was round, II Chron. 4:2. it seems evident that the aver was a bowl of considerable size. Perhaps large enough to hold a day's supply of water. The washing was not in the laver, but at the laver, âAaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat,â 1 Ex. 30:19, or more literally there from. This indicates that the water for washing was drawn from the laver by some sort of faucet, and evidently the priests washed in this flowing water.
The foot, in which the laver itself rested, received the water actually used in washing. Some pictures represent one priest washing another's feet using a small basin containing water as if dipped
from the laver. This, however, cannot be, for the Bible nowhere mentions any vessels for the laver.
It was the duty of the Levites to keep the Laver filled, and to dispose of the water in its foot. Their faithful service kept the laver always full, always ready for immediate use. This unfailing supply of water represented the free and unlimited supply of the cleansing power of Christ's salvation, which was purchased at the altar at such infinite cost.
Justification Begun at the Altar. When the sinner responds to the pleadings and the wooing of the Holy Spirit, he enters the court. Here he sees on the altar a sacrifice, a lamb, this lamb represents Christ, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." 1John 1:9.
When we confess our sins and accept the sacrifice, Christ takes the sin upon Himself and suffers their penalty while the sinner goes free. "If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36; Gal. 5:1. He is reconciled (to God) by the death of His Son." Rom. 5:10. 'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (a reconciliation) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of Cod." Rom. 3:25. This is the first step in justification, symbolized in the court of the earthly sanctuary.
Justification Continued at the Laver. Christ is faithful and just not only to forgive our sins but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The only place where cleansing was done was at the laver. Immediately after the death of Christ (symbolized at the altar) were His burial and resurrection of which baptism is a memorial. Our burial in the water corresponds to the burial of Christ; our rising out of the water corresponds to His resurrection. âTherefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man (the man of sin) is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." Rom. 6:6; see Eph. 4:22-24. We are born again of water and of the Spirit, "begotten . . . unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." I Pet. 1:3.
At the altar our past sins are forgiven; at baptism they are washed sway Acts 22:16, and we are cleansed. When we are cleansed - washed, or loved â the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us - declared to be ours. We are then accounted just. Rom 5:24.
Exceptions to the Normal Plan. The forgiveness of sins symbolized at the altar, and the washing away of sins symbolized at the laver, is the normal procedure. But as the result of sin there are exceptions to God's normal plan. For example, the thief on the cross was not baptized, yet he was accepted by Christ. Luke 23:43. There are others who because of illness or lack of proper instruction, have lacked opportunity and have not been baptized, but will be saved.
Imputed Righteousness and the Second Birth. Imputed righteousness comes to us not because of any good thing that we have done, for "by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Rom. 3:20. It is a free gift, a gift of grace or divine favor, which we accept by faith through Jesus Christ. Rom.5:15. "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith." Rom. 3:27. âAccording to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.â Titus 3:5. According to Webster, regeneration is re-creation, revival, reformation, the entering into a new and spiritual life.
This act of entering into a new and spiritual life is the second birth. This new life, which reflects His righteousness as from a mirror, is a life dedicated to His service. To live this life we will study His Word prayerfully and obey all its requirements cheerfully. To experience true regeneration marks another milestone on The Path to the Throne of God.
The Sons of God. Since baptism is the washing away of sin, why then was Christ baptized, for He had no sin from which to be cleansed? Christ was baptized as our example, that He might "fulfill all righteousness." As He rose from the water, a dove (symbol of peace) lighted upon Him, and a voice from Heaven was heard saying, 'This is my beloved Son." Matt, 3:15-17. When we are truly baptized, a great peace fills our souls, and we become the sons of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." 1 John 3:1. When we are truly baptized, we are baptized "in the name (character) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matt. 28:19. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him." I John 3:2.
Adoption into the Family of God. The second birth is the requisite for adoption into the family or household of God, and baptism is the adoption ceremony. Then Jesus the Son of God becomes our Elder Brother. Then we are "the sons of God," 1 John 3:2; John 1:12,13, "the offspring of God" Acts 17: 29, and the Father loves us as He loves His only-begotten-Son - incomprehensible but absolutely true. John 17:23. We are children of the King, and our names are registered by our Father's own hand in His family record book, the Book of Life. Ex. 32:32. On our part we are to live worthy of royal blood.
âWhat love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God and adopted into His family. We may address Him by the endearing name, "Our Father," which is an expression of our affection for Him, and a pledge of His tender regard for and relationship to us. And the Son of God, beholding the heirs of grace, 'is not ashamed to call them brethren.'" IS 739-740.
The Laver and Feet Washing. Washing at the laver in the Mosaic dispensation corresponds in the Christian dispensation not only to the ordinance of baptism, but to the ordinance of feet washing, as instituted by Christ. John 13:12-17. This Christian service is as sacred as was that of olden time.
As failure of a priest to wash before entering upon any service for the Lord meant death, Ex. 30:21,20, so to Peter's refusal to let Christ wash his feet, Jesus said, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." John 13:8. 'The service that Peter refused was the type of a higher cleansing. Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. In refusing to allow Christ to wash his feet, Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower." DA 646. The failure of a priest to wash was as really rejecting the Lord as was Peter's refusal, and the penalty in both cases was the same.. With what reverence and humility should we participate in the sacred ordinances that point back to the sacrifice made for us on Calvary, and symbolized at the altar and at the laver!
This Christian ordinance of feet washing provides for continual cleansing, Jesus said to Peter, "He that is washed - laved or baptized - needeth not save to wash his feet." John 13:10. When defilement is contracted in our daily walk, we come again and again in this sacred ordinance, where we renew our baptismal vows and receive renewed forgiveness. Then the righteousness of Christ is once more imputed to us, and by faith in Him we are justified.
'This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood." I John 5:6. Blood refers to the altar of sacrifice, water to the laver of cleansing. John, who was an eye witness of the death of Christ, declares that when one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, "forthwith came there out blood and water. John 19:34.
"Let the water and the blood From Thy riven side that flowed, Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power."
This Christian ordinance of feet washing provides for continual cleansing. When defilement is contracted in our daily walk, we come again and again to the laver in this sacred ordinance, where
we renew our baptismal vows, and go forth for more efficient service. Jesus said, "He that is washed (loved or baptized) needeth not save to wash his feet." John 13:10.
As in the court of the earthly sanctuary, all the washing and cleansing were done before the sacrifices were slain and the blood was taken into the sanctuary, so all our cleansing must be done here and now, because in heaven there will be no cleansing symbolized by baptism and feet washing. If we are not thus cleansed, we are not prepared to enter the holy place for sanctification.
âWe have an altar of sacrifice where Jesus died for all, and by it He became a living laver, 'a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness,'â Zech, 13:1, so that we may be cleansed and prepared to pass into the very presence of God. Thus Jesus is the antitype both . . . of the altar of burnt offering and the laver for cleansing." R.S. Owen in R&H, March 26, 1925.
Justification Follows Reconciliation. Repentance with confession and baptism are prerequisites to the remission of sins. Acts 2:3S. The former precedes reconciliation and the latter precedes justification. "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, (illustrated at the altar) much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life, " (illustrated at the laver.) Rom. 5;10. The laver is the complement of the altar; that is, reconciliation, the ark begun at the altar, is completed in justification symbolized at the laver.
As Christ "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification," Rom. 4:25, so in type at the laver we are buried with Christ in baptism, and raised by Him to a new life. By this act we are justified, or accounted just. All our past sins are forgiven, and we are pronounced entirely free from guilt, because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us - declared to be ours.
Ambassadors for Christ. Being reconciled and fully justified we are "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Eph. 2:19. With this new relationship we accept new responsibility. God now commits unto us "the ministry of reconciliation," and we become "ambassadors for Christ," beseeching others "in Christ's stead" to be reconciled to God. II Cor. 5.18-20. Thus from the very beginning of our Christian experience we are to become "laborers together with God." I Cor. 3:9.