Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
W. W. RUGH, "Christ In The Tabernacle"
2nd Printing of 1912 Devotional Guide
Part 7 - Typical Teaching of the Tabernacle
"The Laver"

W. W. Rugh, Bible Institute of Philadelphia
40 Page Printed Devotional Guide
1st Edition 1912

The Laver.

Exodus 30:17-21; 38:8. The Laver was a polished brass vessel made of the looklngglasses, or mirrors, of the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, a tent erected by Moses for a place of worship until the Tabernacle proper was built.

The form and measurements of the Laver are not given, but it was so constructed that it was convenient for the priests to wash their hands and their feet thereat.

Its position in the Court of the Tabernacle was between the Brazen Altar and the Tabernacle. Exodus 40:7.

Its use was to reveal uncleanness, as a mirror, and to hold water for cleansing. Here the high priest and priests were bathed before they were enrobed and set apart for priestly service. Exodus 29:4. Here also they washed their hands and feet often every day, that their ministry at the Altar and in the Holy Place might be acceptable to the Lord. Any omission of this washing at the Laver meant death. Exodus 30:20, 21.

For us, the typical meaning of the Laver is not hard to find. In Ephesians 5:25, 26, we read that "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of the water by the word." Roth.

"Washing" is the translation of the Greek word for Laver, so that here we learn that the Laver is a type of the word of God whereby believers are sanctified, or cleansed.

The same word "washing" is used in Titus 3:5, and refers to regeneration by the word.

What a help these two verses are to us. From them we learn that believers are regenerated and sanctified by the "water of the word." The "water" of John 3:5 is the word of God, the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Romans 1:16; I John 5:6-8.

But the Laver, as a vessel made without measure, is also a figure of the Holy Spirit, given to Christ and to His Church "without measure." John 3:34, R. V.

The Holy Spirit regenerates and sanctifies believers by the word of God. 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 17:17.

When we believe with our hearts the blessed gospel, the Holy Spirit imparts to us a new life, even the life of the risen Christ in whom We believe. Romans 10:10; Colossians 3:4; John 3:36; 6:47.

The ceremonial bathing of the priests at the Laver seems clearly to suggest the work of regeneration wrought in every true believer by the word and the Spirit, once and forever. Exodus 29:4; Titus 3:5.

But the daily washing of the hands and the feet of the priests foreshadows the sanctification, or cleansing of believers, as to our service and walk, by His word and Spirit. Psalms 24:3, 4; 119:9; John 13:10; 15:3; 17:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2.

The hands suggest the thought of service. Ecclesiastes 9:10; Palms 90:17; Colossians 3:17, 23; 1 Corinthians 10:31.

The feet suggest to us the thought of our walk, our dally life, as believers. Ephesians 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7.

As His children, who are saved by grace through faith, if we grieve our Father by thought, word, or deed, in our daily walk or service, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. This is the daily sanctification or cleansing by His word and Spirit, which God has provided for every one of His children, in order that we may live in abiding fellowship with our Father and with His Son in the most holy place. The least thing which grieves Him and brings condemnation to our hearts can Instantly be forgiven and cleansed if confessed to God. Thus and thus only may abiding fellowship be enjoyed. I John 1:7; 2:28; 3:21, 22.

As priests unto God, it is our wonderful and blessed privilege to come boldly into the presence of our Father, there to live for others a life of service.

All the people of Israel might come under the Gate to the Brazen Altar, but only the high priest and priests could enter into the presence of Jehovah within the Tabernacle, and this they did only as those who were separated from among the people to minister before God in behalf of the people. Exodus 28:1; Hebrews 5:1.

Oh how blessed, to find from His word that every blood washed believer, though but a new born babe in Christ, is a holy and a royal priest unto God. I Peter 2:1-5, 9; Revelation 1:5, 6; 5:9, 10.

Every sinner who will may come to the Cross, may believe in the finished work of Christ, and thus be saved. Then, as saved ones, God has a service for every one. Ephesians 2:8-10. Indeed this is God's blessed purpose in redemption, to have a people who delight to live in His blessed presence a life of service for others. We are saved to serve. Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

This service is to witness of our risen Lord, and a part of this ministry, and the principal part is the prayer life in the presence of our Father, where, as priests, we have fellowship with our faithful High Priest in a life of intercession. Hebrews 7:25; Ephesians 6:18.

At the Laver, the priests were bathed all over (Exodus 29:4), an act which ceremonially separated them unto God, and in part prepared them for priestly service. While this act foreshadows regeneration by the word and Spirit (Titus 3:5), it seems clearly to typify much more than that. The Laver and the water both being types of the Holy Spirit, the bathing of the priests prefigures the sanctification or separation of the Holy Spirit, the thing so absolutely necessary as the preparation for our service as witnesses of Christ. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5, 8.

Only believers who yield themselves wholly to the Lord, like the whole burnt-offering, to be wholly consumed in doing His will, may know what it is to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and thus empowered for priestly service. Leviticus 8:9; Romans 12:1; 8:26, 27. More than that, only believers whose life and service are continually sanctified by God's word and Spirit may enjoy a life of fellowship with our High Priest in intercession for others. Psalms 24:3, 4; I John 3:21, 22.

Oh that all of His own might enjoy the fullness of God's thought for us, as those who are saved to serve.

By W. W. RUGH, Associate Dean, Bible Institute of Pennsylvania
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2011-11-20