Exodus Message #45 Ed Miller Nov. 3, 2021 The Laver Intro

Listen to audio above while reading transcript below (available for download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

“We welcome all of you in the name of the Lord.  Before we go to prayer, I have a few verses from Proverbs 9 & 10 and I sort of connected the three verses that I have.  Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  So, to know the Lord is understanding.  If you don’t begin with the fear of the Lord, the more logical you get the further from God you go.  You’ve got to begin with the fear of the Lord.  The next verse is Proverbs 9:12, “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself.”  In other words, knowing Jesus is wisdom, and if you’re wise then you are the one that gains by it.  Proverbs 10:23, “Wisdom is a sport to a man of understanding.”  So, knowing Christ is wisdom, and that’s a sport.  Knowing the Lord is not some burden of academics.  It’s your favorite sport to know the Lord.  It’s healthy, it’s invigorating and it’s where we want to be.  So, lets play together.  Knowing Christ is fun.  It’s a sport.  So, let’s bow before the Lord and commit our time to Him.

Our Father, we thank You so much that by Your grace You’ve enabled us to begin with fear, the fear of the Lord, the worship, the honor, the knowledge that you are holy and just.  We thank You, Lord, that You’ve called us to this great sport of knowing Jesus, and we pray that once again by Your indwelling Holy Spirit open Your Word to our hearts, our hearts to Your Word.  We thank You in advance that You will over answer this request, because we offer it in the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

Welcome to our meditation on the Lord Jesus.  Exodus is our God’s provision to put the spotlight on His Son.  We study Exodus to know the Lord.  We study every book in the Bible to know the Lord.  In our discussion we’ve come to the last third, one third of the entire book of Exodus, and one third of the entire book is the tabernacle.  It takes up a whole third of the book.  God’s great summary of the message of Exodus is redemption by power and by blood.  That’s the message, and it’s all summarized in the tabernacle.  Because that’s a picture, the tabernacle, it’s a symbol, it’s a picture of two things.  Listen to Exodus 25:8, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me that I may dwell among them.”  It’s His dwelling place.  He’s always looked for a house, a tabernacle, a tent made out of skin that He can fill with His glory, establish His throne, find a resting place and manifest Himself through that tabernacle.  You know this and I need to remind you about this with inspired words.  1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God.  You are not your own.  You’ve been bought with a price.  Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

As we come to this great picture, here is the principle that is burning on my heart that I’ve asked the Lord to help me communicate.  You know that Christ is the Redeemer.  The Lord Jesus is the Redeemer, and He lives in you.  There is no more precious truth than the indwelling of the life of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  Colossians 1:19, “It was the Father’s good pleasure that all fullness dwell in Him.”  All fullness, concerning everything, even the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form, all fullness is in Christ.  He’s the Redeemer and that means that all the fullness of redemption is in Jesus, and all the fullness of redemptive truth.  I, by His grace, and you, we are called to see Jesus, and He’s the Redeemer.  I may not comprehend all the truths of redemption.  The fact is that I don’t comprehend even a tithe of what are the truths of redemption, but since every truth is in Him, and I have Him, ergo, I have every truth of redemption, even if I don’t know what it is, even if I haven’t appropriated it yet.  Every Christian has Christ, and every Christian has every truth that’s in Christ Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we will be heaven for eternity, if you were to measure it in time, millions of millions of years, and you’ll still not come to the end of John 3:16.  You aren’t going to come to the end of any redemptive truth because He’s infinite, and all infinite fullness dwells in Him.  At a glance, the overwhelming fullness of redemption is pictured in the tabernacle.  You can go through your Bible, and I don’t care if you’re in Isaiah or Daniel or Malachi or any book in the New Testament, you will not find any truth about redemption that is not somewhere in the tabernacle.  That tabernacle pictures the fullness of our redemption.  That’s why we read over and over again the truth like it’s stated in Exodus 25:9, “According to all that I’m going to show you as the pattern of the tabernacle, the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”  God was earnest saying, “Don’t depart; don’t add, don’t subtract every detail.”  As we’ve begun to look, our heads spin when we see some of the intricate details that He put in that blueprint to construct the tabernacle.

Salvation, redemption, is far more than Jesus is my Savior and I’m not going to hell when I die.  It’s that, and praise God forever that it is that.  But what else is included?  Christ died for me.  What is involved in that?  What is included?  So, our hearts are saying, “Lord, pour out some of that fullness.  Let’s see in the tabernacle, not everything, we can’t, especially with me here as your teacher.  You’ll see a little bit, but not a lot.  There’s so much about redemption, and God has done this in His tabernacle, and He’s put every truth of redemption in the tabernacle, every truth of redemption in Christ; Christ lives in His tabernacle.  Every truth is in me and is in you.  May He open our eyes to behold a little bit of what’s included in that.

In our look at the tabernacle, we approached it two ways; first a flyover where we looked generally at the Lord Himself, the Redeemer, and then we landed the plane and we did a walk through where we stopped at each piece of furniture, and ask, “What’s illustrated here?”  Very briefly, in our flyover we saw two things; God is holy and God is love.  Those two things are not inconsistent.  So, when we started, we saw the great high wall, 7 ½ to 9 feet high, pure white linen, and we said, “God is holy; stay out.”  But then we saw the big gate; it was almost a third of the whole wall, a beautiful gate with many different royal colors.  The door said, “Come in; God is love.”  And then we flew over and we stopped at the altar, and the altar said, “God is holy.  Without the shedding of blood there is no remission. 

Then we looked at the horns of the altar, like hands lifted up to God sprinkled with the blood of the victim’s sacrifice, holding the blood of the lamb ever before the gaze of a holy God.  God is love.  Then we took our plane and we continued to fly and we flew over the laver, and we saw that God is holy.  You know He has consecrated the priests, but He said to the priests, “If there is one spot of dirt on you, you’ll die.”  But God is holy, so He said to the priest, “I chose you.  Carrying the ark is just a picture of carrying forward the kingdom of God,” and they were the privileged one to carry that forward.  They were the ones who were chosen to minister to the Lord and receive ministry from Him.  They were the ones who were chosen to represent every Christian.  Every Christian is a priest.  So, God is love.

Then we flew one final time and we saw the veil, the beautiful veil, separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, and that veil, like the wall around the outer court, said, “Stay out, you’re not allowed in,” and then we took you to the New Testament when our Lord Jesus died, in that moment that veil was rent and God said, “Come on in, come into the throne.”  So, that was our flyover.

Last session we landed the plane and began our walk through, and in our imagination a priest came up to us and we named him Ezekiel, because he’s a heart priest.  This priest said, “Allow me to guide you in your walk through.”  So, as we go through now he will answer our questions and it’s a teaching device to communicate the truth.

Last time we stopped at the brazen altar.  We saw how very much of our redemption was accomplished, illustrated by that altar.  When Ezekiel blew us a away with all the facts, and we asked him, “Can you simplify it?” and he gave us this simplification.  He used the five offerings that took place on that altar of sacrifice, and he pointed out that from God’s viewpoint, when he gave the five offerings, he gave them in the order in which Messiah would fulfill them.  He said, “If you want to experience what happened at the altar you have to take it in reverse.”  Let me just summarize that. 

From God’s order the first offering is the whole burnt offering with nothing held back.  Messiah when he came, he said, “I’m giving everything.”  The next offering was the meal offering or the thank offering.  When we discover that Messiah came to give His all, He was happy to do it.  He was thankful, and He thanked the Lord for the privilege.  That was followed by the peace offering, which means reconciling sinners with a holy God.  So, He said, “I will give My all, and I will happily give My all to reconcile sinful man with a holy God.  The next was the sin offering, not sins with an “s”, what you do, but sin, who you are.  He said, “I will not only die for what they have done, but for who they are.  That was the sin offering.  And finally, the trespass offering was for individual sins, what you’ve done, what you’ve left undone, sins that were willful and sins that happened in ignorance.  We just see the altar, but that also shows that God gave His all, that He chose and was thankful to give His all, and He wanted to reconcile man to God, He wanted to deal with who you are, and He wanted to deal with every sin.

Then Ezekiel explained, “Your experience is the other way around.  You don’t start with a whole burnt offering.  That’s how Messiah started.  You don’t start with Romans 12:1, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living, holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, your spiritual service of worship.”  We begin with the mercies of God that leads to the burnt offering.  So, he said that we begin at the other end.  We begin with the offering of the trespass offering.  In other words, we have sinned, and we’ve done things and we are guilty, and we come before God and say, “I’ve sinned.”  But then as we think about it we say, “I can’t stop sinning.  I need redemption from who I am.”  So, we come back to the altar, and we offer the sin offering.  And then we say, “Sin broke my fellowship with God, and now God has brought me back,” so then we come and say, “Lord, I want to offer the peace offering.”  And as we think about these mercies that He dealt with my sin, that He dealt with my nature, that He restored me to God, my heart is filled with praise, so I’ve got to bring a meal offering.  I’ve got to say, “Thank You.”  And the more I meditate on it, the more I say, “There’s nothing I can do except give myself totally to Him, the burnt offering.  That’s where we were last week.

The priest says, “Before we leave the brazen altar of sacrifice, there’s one additional thing I want you to see, and then we’ll go to the next piece of furniture, the brazen laver of cleansing.  The priest explains that there is a lot that takes place before someone enters the outer court, before one comes to the altar. “Before the animal is brought,” Ezekiel said, “God has given commands that the animal needs to be examined thoroughly.”  We’re not going into the scriptures, but it’s spelled out in the book of Leviticus.  All the facts I’m about to give come from Leviticus.

Whether the animal was from the herd or from the flock, it was required that the animal be symbolically perfect.  I say symbolically because only God is perfect.  There is nothing else absolutely perfect, only the Lord.  So, they had to examine the entire body of the sacrifice, for bruises or for cuts.  They had to examine the animal’s eyes to see if there was any glaze over it or if they were not focused or if the animal were blind.  If there was any kind of a growth on the animal, like a pimple or some kind of a tumor, that animal was rejected.  If there scars from previous injuries, that animal could not be offered.  It was rejected.  If the male organs were in any way damaged, so that it could not produce life, it had to be rejected.  It there was any infection or any running sore, it would disqualify that animal as an acceptable offering.  If there was any rash on the skin, it could not be offered.

Ezekiel said, “All that had to be done at home, before they got to the outer court, before they got to the altar.”  The priest continued, “Then the worshipper was required to put one hand, not two, and I’ll tell you why in a moment, on the head of that victim.  Symbolically, as he laid his hand on the head of that innocent animal, that victim, the worshipper was saying, ‘I am transferring my corruption, my sin, and I am putting it on this animal, and I’m charging this animal with the punishment that my sin deserves.’  So, through the arm and through the hand and on the head and into that animal all of the sin and all of the corruption symbolically was being transferred.  I’m saying, ‘I’ve chosen him, I’ve examined him, he’s symbolically perfect, and that’s my substitute.  He’s taken my place.  I deserve what he’s about to get.’”

I say the purpose was two-fold because there’s not only the transfer of the corruption and the deserved punishment to the lamb, but it went the other way, through the hand and into the worshipper was the symbolic righteousness, the purity of that animal sacrifice.  In other words, there was a transfer.  The sin, the guilt, the punishment of the sinner was poured into the animal sacrifice, and the righteousness came the other way.  Leviticus 1:2, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd of the flock.  If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male, without defect.  He shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord.  He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him, to make atonement on his behalf.’”  Then the priest continued, “Then comes the most humbling part of this ceremony.  The sinner, not the priest, the worshipper, not the priest, the one who raised and examined this sacrificial animal, not the priest, and one hand on the head.  Why not two?  The answer is that there is something else in the hand of the worshipper, and it was a knife.  It was the worshipper, not the priest, with his hand on the head of the sacrifice, the worshipper had to take the knife and cut the throat of that animal sacrifice.”  That’s a very solemn thing.

I think that would be like killing a pet, for some Hebrew who had raised this lamb and had taken care of it, very difficult, but necessary, because they were the cause of the death of that animal.  There were a couple of occasions when the priest, representing the people, would lay his hand, like on the Day of Atonement, the priest representing the people, but for the individual it was the individual that had to do it.  Leviticus 1:5, “He shall slay the young bull.”  The he in the context is the worshipper, “And then Aaron’s sons, the priests shall offer up the blood, and sprinkle the blood around the altar.”  Don’t read that la, la, la. 

I don’t know how you are.  I am squeamish.  I don’t think I could cut the throat of any animal.  Maybe I could but the throat of a snake if it has a throat.  I’ve cut the heads off of snakes and stuff like that.  I only fired a gun once in my life, and I don’t expect to ever fire another one.  I was twelve years old, a paper boy.  I went to one of my customers and he was very unhappy and called me in and handed me a pistol, and he said, “Will you shoot my dog.”  I said, “Shoot your dog?”  Twelve years old and I never shot a gun, and he hands me the gun, and he brought me out in the back and there was a doghouse, and this dog was rabid.  He was tied to the doghouse, and he was drooling and lunging.  He said, “I can’t do it.  It’s my pet.  Will you do it?”  Well, I didn’t know what to do.  I took the gun, and I turned my head, and I broke the poor dog’s leg.  The dog said, “I’ve got enough problems…”  Of course, the man got angry, and he pulled the gun and shot his own dog.  The point is that it must have been so difficult for these worshippers to offer that sacrifice.

I’m going to leave the walk through for a moment and remind you of what you know so well.  Hebrews 7:26, our Lord Jesus, “It was fitting for us to have a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.”  1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.  While being reviled He did not revile in return.  While suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judge righteously.  He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By His wounds you are healed.”  He was our perfect Lamb.  He was our sacrifice. 

The laying on of one hand on the animal is pictured by us laying, like the woman touched the hem of the garment, our hand on the Lord Jesus by faith.  Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  When the gospel was presented to us, and we said, “Yes, He took my place.  I deserved this.”  We laid our hand by faith on Christ and accepted Him as our substitute, and in that moment, though at that time we didn’t know it, a double transaction took place.  2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  It went both ways, my sin on Him, and His righteousness on me.

Finally, to complete that picture, I want you to remember and always know, He not only died for you; He died by you.  Your sin was the knife that cut His throat.  “For sin that made my Savior bleed, I hang my head in shame.  Yet, for the cleansing that I need, that precious blood I claim.”  John 1:29, speaking of John the Baptizer, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  Remember that John the Baptist was brought up in a priestly home.  Zacharias, his father, was a priest, so he heard all these Bible stories.  He had walked through in the flyover. He already knew those things.  He saw the sacrificial lamb as a picture, but God allowed him to see the reality.  When he saw the Lord Jesus, all his teaching came back, and he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

Having said that, now let’s return to Ezekiel.  Turning from the altar, the guiding priest pointed to the brazen laver of cleansing, and he began to explain to us this next piece of furniture.  Just for interest, there is no description given of the laver beyond the fact that it held water and was based on a foundation of brass.  That’s all we know from the Bible.  We don’t know the shape of it.  Some people think it was probably a circle and filled with water.  I don’t know, because when I read of the laver in Solomon’s temple it was rectangle.  So, I don’t know what it was.  There are no dimensions given to this piece of furniture.  When you read the blueprint, there are dimensions to all these pieces of furniture, so we don’t know how large it was.  We’re left to assume how it was carried, because there is nothing about rings and nothing about poles and we don’t know how it was carried.  If we get some information from Solomon when he built his temple, he had quite a few lavers, and if you picture a bicycle tire, he had them on wheels, the lavers, with spokes.  I don’t know the shape.  There’s not a lot given about this, but He was quick to point out the purpose. 

Let me read these verses.  Exodus 30:17, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘You shall make a laver of bronze with it’s base of bronze for washing, and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar.  You shall put water in it.  Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die.  Or when they approach the altar the minister by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord, so they shall wash their hands and their feet, so they will not die, and it shall be a perpetual statute for that, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”

“The laver,” Ezekiel said, “was for the priest to wash his hands and feet before he could enter the Holy Place and minister, washing hands and feet and ministry are closely connected.  Priestly hands busy in ministry need to be clean.  Feet that are in constant contact with this earth need to be clean, and so He said, ‘Wash your hands and wash your feet.’  If they neglected that and they tried to enter to minister, they were killed on the spot.  They were disqualified from all ministry.  Ezekiel reminded us, as I told you when we contemplated the altar, that we had two needs.  Our first need was not forgiveness.  When we’re in the outer court, our first need is the altar, and the altar is not dealing primarily with forgiveness; it is judicial forgiveness.  It’s dealing with punishment.  My first need is to get rid of the debt that I owe.  Then my second need is cleansing.  The altar dealt with the debt, and now the laver is going to deal with cleansing.

“It’s very possible,” the priest explained, “that one could be redeemed, could have gone through the altar of sacrifice, and yet be disqualified from ministry, disqualified for service, because that has to do with cleanliness.  Many times a day the priest had to wash his hands and his feet at the laver of cleansing.”  Where did the water come from for that laver?  The answer is that was the water from the smitten rock; that was the water used for cleansing.  For certain every morning at nine o’clock he had to wash his hands and feet.  For certain every afternoon at three o’clock at the evening sacrifice he had to wash his feet, and many times through the day he had to wash his feet.

Let me share a bit of my testimony in this connection.  Before God dawned on me, He didn’t use the laver, but laver truth, the importance of being clean and holy in order to be His instrument of ministry my prayer used to be, and I was one of these zealous evangelicals who witnessed to everybody, I think I drove more people away than I brought to the Lord, but I was just very, very zealous.  Every day I prayed, “Lord, use me, please use me in somebody’s life today.”  I don’t pray that anymore.  I wanted to be sharp like a surgeon’s scalpel so I could go into the conscience and heart of my neighbor and dig inside.  A surgeon has this big bag of tools that he uses, and when he goes in there, he wants whatever instrument he needs to do the job he needs to do, but the surgeon is not going to use a knife, no matter how sharp it is if it’s dirty.  If he dropped that knife on the ground, he’s not going to use that.  That’s going to cause problems and infection.  So, I don’t pray, “Use me,” anymore.  I’ll tell you what I pray now. “Lord, make me useable.  I want to be clean.  If you want to dip into that bag of tools at any time and want to use me, I want to be available.”  But I don’t pray to use me.  That’s up to Him.  Now I just pray, “Lord, make me useable.  I want to be clean in order that I might minister.”  I sharp Christian is useless if he’s a dirty sharp Christian. So, we want to be sharp, but we also want to be holy.

So, I asked the priest/guide, “Cleansing and washing is that the main purpose of this laver?”  He said, “That’s one purpose, but there’s another.”  Then he invited me to go close to the laver and just stare at it, “What do you see?”  Is said, “I see myself reflected in that highly polished bronze, and here’s why.”  Exodus 38:8, “Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent.”  The laver was made from the looking glasses, the mirrors of the women.  If that was a surrender of some female pride, I don’t know, or it might have been something very precious to the women, and they just gave it to the Lord.  Part of the purpose of the laver, a big part, is cleansing, but a big part is the revelation of the need for cleansing.  It’s not only that I’m cleansed, but I need to see what I look like in order to be clean.  The Lord designed the laver, not only to cleanse sin but to reveal sin.

I want to suspend our little talk with Ezekiel and show you what the reality is.  Once again, we turn to the New Testament.  The reality of the Laver; the laver was a picture of what?  You’ve all seen it, and you all have it.  Some of you might have it today with you.  You can hold it in your hand.  The Bible says, “This is your laver, the Word of God.”  That’s your laver.  One illustration of this is Titus 3:5, in the American Standard translation of 1901, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we’ve done in righteousness, but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”  In the margin of the American Standard Bible in the expression, “washing of regeneration,” literally it is, “the laver of regeneration.”  Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her,” now listen to this expression, “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”  

When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, remember John 13:8-10, “Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’  Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.”  The bath, head to toe cleansing, took place at the altar; hands and feet takes place at the laver.  John 15:3 Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

Rachel: “I’m thinking about 2 Corinthians and just wanted to say that if the water in the laver represents the water that came from the rock, then it’s Jesus, seeing, that 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.  What a blessing.  Sorry to interrupt.”  No, you didn’t interrupt.  You did steal my thunder.  We’re heading there.

Over and over, washing and the connection with the Bible, with the Scriptures, with the Word of God is related.  Psalm 119:11, “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your Word.” 

There are some Christians that believe that we have the brazen altar of sacrifice, and because all of the offerings were offered there, there’s no need for the laver, because everything was done on the cross.  I have one close friend.  When I shared this with Lillian I said, “I used to have a friend,” because he’s in heaven, and she said, “He’s not still your friend?”  I have this close friend who used to say that it was unscriptural for a Christian to ask God for forgiveness, and the reason was that it undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross.  On the cross He said, “It is finished,” and people say, “How many sins did He die for?”  And we say, “All of my sins.  It was future at the time.  He died for sins past, sins present, sins future, and they’ve all been atoned for.  He said, “Then, you should be thanking Him and not asking Him for forgiveness.  If you ask Him for forgiveness, that’s unbelief, and you are undermining the finished work.” 

I disagree with that now, and I’ll tell you why.  The altar has to do with judicial forgiveness, past, present and future; nothing is going to send me to hell.  I am absolutely free from that.  The laver doesn’t deal with punishment.  The laver deals with fellowship.  It deals with communion with the Lord.  Even a Christian out of fellowship in the worst case you can think of, is not out of fellowship in the same way that someone who doesn’t know Jesus, is out of fellowship.  There’s a great difference.  This is wonderfully illustrated in Exodus 30:19, “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and feet.”  Exodus 30:21, “Wash their hands and feet, so that they will not die, a perpetual ceremony to the end of time.”  So, the laver wasn’t for head to toe cleansing.  You got head to toe cleansing; you got your bath when you received Jesus.  This is for hands and feet.  Hands are for what I do and feet is ministry, contact with this world.  I need to be cleaned.

I love to connect this to the Lord’s pray in Matthew 6;11, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.”  Daily bread, forgive us our debts.  I need forgiveness for my sins as often as I need daily bread, and you need forgiveness as often as you need daily bread.   I know 1John 9 can be abused, and the reason I know it is because I was one of the abusers.  I just took it as a rule, that if we confess our sins..  I wouldn’t go to bed at night unless I thought up some sins I did during the day, and then I sort of recited it to the Lord, and then I could go to sleep.  I was trusting confession more than Jesus.  I know that was sort of an idolatry.  It’s a great comfort for those who have turned from the Lord and fallen into sin and temptation and left the light, to know that God, 1 John 1:9, “Is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

When I read that I thought, “Why faithful and just?  Great day, I would have said, “You are going forgive me?  God is loving and kind and merciful and compassionate.”  I would have said faithful and just, but He’s not talking about me.  He said, “Why can God forgive your sins?”  It’s because He’s faithful to His Son.  He’s just to the work He did on the cross, and that’s why when I come confessing my sin, He can forgive me. 

At this point I want to return to the observation that our priest/guide made.  Exodus 38:8, “Moreover, He made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway at the tent of meeting.” 

Now I’d like to develop what Rachel introduced to us.  A great part of the ministry of the laver was revelation that was made from the mirrors.  That’s highly instructive.  Now let’s requote 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all with an 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 from the Lord, the Spirit.”  When we move from the laver as a picture to the reality, the laver as reality, there’s a great advance.  Here’s what I see when I look at the laver as a picture.  I see me, with these eyes.  It’s like standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror.  I see me.  I see my pimples.  I see my wrinkles.  I see my bushy eyebrows.  I don’t need the mirror for that.  Lillian reminds me of that.  I see the age on my face, the grey hair, and some weird thing coming out of my nose.  I see me, but when you look in the mirror, what do you see?  Now you see yourself, but not as you see you.  You see yourself as God sees you.

Once again, 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all with an unveiled face behold in a mirror,” not ourselves, “the glory of the Lord,” and we’re being transformed into the same image.  We look into the Bible, and we see Christ and ourself in Christ.  That’s how God sees us.  Mirrors don’t lie.  Mirrors tell the truth.  I’ll tell you, we need the laver these days.  Thank God for the altar and the finished work, but also thank God for the laver.  He’s provided for my punishment, but He’s also provided for my cleansing.  He’s revealed my sin, that I might confess it, and become qualified to be His minister, to be used by Him.  When I stand in front of this Book, this mirror, I behold myself by seeing Jesus and what I look like in Christ Jesus.

Somebody might ask, “How does that Book reveal your sin?”  Let me go back to Ezekiel, “Ezekiel, tell me, how does that reveal my sin?”  He said, “Remember when I told you when the worshipper had to examine the victim?  That was all external.  I didn’t go from there to the altar.  The priest, then, had to take a knife, slice the victim open, and examine the kidneys and examine the organs, not only externally, but internally, looking for imperfection and infections and growths on the inside.  With that in mind, that the priest would take the animal that was now dead, his throat was slit, thrown on his back, take the knife and cut him open and examine everything on the inside, listen now to Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  There is no creature hidden from His sight.  All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  That’s what He does when we see Christ in the Bible.  He lays us down and cuts us open and examines the innards to see if there is any hurtful way in us’ hurtful, hurting Him, any hurtful way in us. 

Then He says, “We gaze in the mirror.”  What happens when we gaze?  We’re transformed from glory to glory.  What happens when we don’t gaze?  The answer is that the sanctification process comes to a halt.  It stops.  It completely stops.  Growth is impossible without gazing.  No gazing, there’s no glory.  We gaze to see Jesus in order that we might become like Him.  James called attention to what happens if we look away from the mirror.  James 1:24-25, “If anyone is a hearer of the word, not a doer, he’s like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, and once he’s looked at himself and gone away, he immediately has forgotten what kind of person he was.  But the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an affectual doer, this man will be blessed.” If I see myself as Christ sees me, and then I look away, I forget how Christ sees me, and then I start seeing me as I see me.  I’ll tell you, that can lead to suicide.  You don’t want to know what you really look like.  “Search me, oh God,” not, “Search me, oh me.”  You are not to search yourself.  All this morbid introspection to go inside and look; I don’t want to know how rotten I am.  God will not reveal more than grace can bear, and faith can bear.  He’ll show you incrementally what needs to be dealt with.

Rachel has another great point.  Rachel, “The exchanged life.”  Oh, you’re good.  Do you want to come on up here?  Exactly right; the exchanged life.  So, we need to keep looking at the Lord Jesus.  So, the priest summarizes the ministry of the laver.  It’s God’s provision after the altar, after judicial forgiveness, for the daily cleansing of hands to minister, feet to keep me pure, in a world where I don’t belong.  It’s the means of revelation and cleansing.  The words our Lord Jesus said to Peter when he refused to have his feet washed, how powerful, John 13:8, “Peter said, ‘Never shall you wash my feet.’  Jesus said, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.’”  When He said, “No part,” He wasn’t threatening hell or saying, “Peter, if you don’t let me wash you, you are going to die and go to hell.”  He wasn’t saying.  No part, no intimacy, no communion, no relationship, no fellowship, no ministry. 

Later on in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.  I’ve prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and once you’ve turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  Once you’re clean, then you have ministry.  Psalm 51, after David’s terrible sin with Bathsheba, he prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.  Sustain me with a willing spirit, then I’ll teach transgressors Your way, and sinners will be converted.”  But first I need the joy of the Lord.  I need to be restored to fellowship with Him.  First cleansing, and then ministry.  All ministry is done in and from this holy place.  We’re indwelt by the life of God.

The priest then says, “Alright, lets move on.  We’re about to enter the sanctuary.  We’re going to leave the outer court, and we’re going to go through that beautiful door, and once we pass this veil, I want you to know a couple of things that are absolutely true.”  Next time we’ll look a great contrast between the outer court and the holy place, but he said, “These two things you need to know.  Number one, there is 100% no possibility of entering this room if you have not been through the altar and the laver.  It’s closed to you.  You are not allowed in.  This room is a room which is picturing ministry.  It’s the holy place, and you must be holy to enter.  The veil served like that door, the gate, come in if you come in God’s appointed way; come through the altar and come through the laver.  This room, I want you to know, is special.  It’s not for everyone.  Only the priests could enter into this room.  No one else could or they would be killed.  Hebrews 9:6, “When these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing divine worship.” 

When I say priests, I want to remind you that the priests are representatives of all of the people.  God is not a respecter of persons.  Man might talk about clergy and laity.  God will have nothing to do with it.  There is no clergy and there are no laity.  There are no Christians up here, and others down here, the common people.  Listen to what God told Moses before He gave the rules for the tabernacle.   Exodus 19:4, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagle’s wings, brought you to Myself.  Now, then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My own possession among all the people, for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priest, a holy nation.  These are the words you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”  God saw every redeemed person as a priest, but not all came through the altar and through the laver, and so He had a representative group, representing everybody, not just for priests.  It is just for priests, but we’re all priests, but this little group of Levites are going to illustrate this.  Priests as we’re looking at it in the Holy Place is more a statement of maturity.  It’s, “I’ve been through the altar, I’ve been through the laver, and I’m clean, and I’ve given myself to the Lord, and I want to be His minister.”  These are the priests, and these are the ones that are going to be ministering here.

I want to say one more thing Ezekiel told me.  Ezekiel told me, “The difference between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the main difference, is that both of them picture union with Christ, but here’s the difference.  The furniture in the Holy Place pictures my relationship with Him.  The furniture in the Holy of Holies pictures His relationship to us.”  We see that in detail as we look at each piece of furniture.

Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think we know or understand, but as You inspired it, and everything that You’ve inspired, whether it was spoken or not, we pray that You would write that in our hearts.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”