The Brazen Laver (Basin) of Cleansing

Last time, we wrote about the brazen altar. After touching a little more on the subject, we will present the brazen Laver or basin.

Brazen Altar Continued

God wanted to dwell among His people. How does a holy God dwell among sinful people? First God required the people to offer a sacrifice for their sins.

God allowed the blood of an animal to atone or take away sin, making it possible for the worshipers to enter into God’s presence.

Only the finest animal—a perfect one—was good enough.

God asked them for a perfect, flawless sacrifice because:

  1. The animal represented an undeserving recipient of a deserved punishment.
  2. God wanted people to trust in His provision, so He asked that the sacrifice be valuable.
  3. The perfect animal foreshadowed Jesus, the perfect sacrifice who atones for sin once and for all.

Because these sacrifices only temporarily covered the sins of the people, they needed to be offered on a regular basis.

Offerings at the Altar:

  1. Burnt offering of bulls, sheep, goats, doves, or pigeons.
  2. Grain offering of cakes or wafers of fine flour.
  3. Peace offering of a goat or lamb.
  4. Sin offering of a bull or lamb.
  5. Trespass offering of a female from the flock:
    1. A lamb,
    2. A goat kid,
    3. A dove,
    4. A pigeon, or
    5. Grain.

(Leviticus 1–6; Leviticus 7:11; Hebrews 8:3; 9:11–14, 18–20; 10:1–4)

In a previous post, “More About Offering”, we learned the first three are called sweet aroma offering, which means they were voluntary. The last two offering were compulsory. God demanded a sin offering and a trespass offering.

Jesus the Messiah performed all five offerings. He was the aroma offering and the compulsory offering.

The Place of Cleaning

After making atonement for sin, the priest took steps beyond the brazen altar to the bronze laver. At this point only the priest could approach the brazen laver for washing/cleaning. Only then, the priest could enter the holy place. The Hebrews could walk in the courtyard around the holy place but could not enter it.

The rest of the steps were performed by the priests on behalf of the people. After making the sacrifice, the priest washed himself at the brazen laver. This washing purified the priest and prepared him to enter the holy place. The LORD said that the priest must wash so that he would not die.

The laver was filled with water for cleansing the priests’ hands and feet. In Exodus 30:19–20 describes an act of cleansing the priests had to perform on an ongoing basis before entering the holy place.

Psalms 24:3–4 (BBE)
3Who may go up into the hill of the Lord?
and who may come into his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a true heart; whose desire has not gone out to foolish things,
who has not taken a false oath.

His hands splattered with blood and his feet soiled from the dust of the Tabernacle court, the priest moved reverently to the brazen for cleansing (Exodus 30:17–21).

The brazen laver was made from bronze mirrors donated by the women. They were shiny mirrored surface which would help the priest wash thoroughly. It was to remind them that the LORD sees past the outward appearance, straight into the heart.

Nugget: This same principle of daily washing and cleansing still applies to the church and God’s redeemed ones (Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:22).

These mirrors were flattened pieces of highly polished bronze. Mirrors could represent vanity. The mirrored laver could also provide a reflection of the priest as he stood before the laver for cleansing. The purpose is clear: before we can truly come before God for cleansing, we must examine ourselves to discover how we have erred.

Bronze Mirrors

Exodus 38:8 (CJB)
He made the basin of bronze with its base of bronze from the mirrors of the women serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Let’s dig a little deeper into verse 8. Most commentaries state that the “women serving at the entrance” were serving in a religious sense. This may have been their “official” purpose. However, these women were mostly not Levites. Back in the Egypt it was common practice for women to guard or watch doorways for their employer.

Exodus 38:8 states that the mirrors came from the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. These mirrors were made of highly polished bronze. Again, back in Egypt, these mirrors were worn by women as an ornament and were considered extremely valuable. It was also common practice for the women to wear the mirror, strategically placed, in the middle of their chest with the mirrored surface facing outward.

You may be getting the idea where we are going with this. Well, let’s stop beating around the bush. 1 Samuel 2:22 indicates these women were prostitutes. Deuteronomy 23:17–18 and 1 Kings 14:24 stated that no Israelite man or woman was to become a shrine or temple prostitute. So, it is very logical say that it was common for the women in Exodus were prostitutes. God called this a detestable practices and He detested the practice.

But, out of this detestable practice, God chose to use the mirrors of these women to make the brazen laver (basin) for washing and cleansing with the reflective surfaces facing up. This shows that there is no sin too large or too small for forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. Again amazing grace and wondrous love. Stop to think on this! Now give thanks to our Father! He longs to walk with us.

An Imperfect Reflection

1 Corinthians 13:12 (AMP)
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].

Mirrored glass as we have today was unknown in ancient times. But highly polished bronze gave adequate, imperfect reflection. This is similar to how a spiritual mirror is. We see but a poor reflection as in these bronze mirrors (See also James 1:23–25). But when we see the LORD directly and clearly in the new creation, everything will become crystal clear. When the righteous are judged, we will be clearly shown what our lives could have been.

While we are in the outer court with the brazen altar and the brazen laver, lets explore generation sins/curses (Exodus 34:6–7; Leviticus 26:39–42).

Generational Sin

One of the sneakiest scheme of satan is how he can conceal your sin from your own spiritual perception. He knows that if you are unaware of sin, then you cannot repent and cease from your wrong behavior. The consequence of sin is death and destruction (Romans 6:23).

Satan is able to mask sin through heritage, and sin is a disease that can be passed through the family line. We are affected by the acts of our forefathers, our ancestors before us–like it or not, whether we think it is fair or not. Now that we are aware of this, we can choose to plant a new family tree. Or we can choose to live with the old one. More on this topic next time.

Does any of your family members have recurring patterns such as divorce, numerous setbacks, financial ruin, unexplained health issues, phobias, addictions to alcohol and tobacco, criminal behavior, and many other repeated mishaps?

One of the problems is spiritual dryness. Sin can be like a diseases. The only way you can treat and cure the problem.

The treatment plan:

  1. Identify the particular sin,
  2. Repent, and
  3. Resolve to cease committing the sin (1 John 1:9).

Example: If it is alcohol, stay away from drinking friends, bars, and all alcoholic drinks. It will not be easy. When watching TV there will be beer commercials. Satan will keep putting stumbling blocks in your way. If you mess up, don’t get depressed and feel like a failure. God will forgive you. The main thing is to keep trying and don’t give up.

There are outside Christian based counseling and Christian based refuges. Medication may be needed. The first answer is seek God and accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior.

The key to understand generational sin is this: Sinful behavior can be learned from parents and grandparents. But, we can by wrong choices follow these patterns. It becomes an individual choice to ignore the patterns and choose to follow in the same sinful path. The only person to take the blame is ourselves. It will lead to suffering, bad consequences, early death, and, ultimately, eternal death. We need to reverse the curse. Beth Moore has a Bible study and even a book on Breaking Free.

The sins/curses has been going on for generations. So, it will not be an overnight process. Remember, satan does not like to lose and will try to discourage you every step of the way. Read our blog that has the Romans Road to Salvation. Stay in the Holy Word…Be Strong…Strive for Holiness.

Have you noticed the outer court is bronze? Bronze suggest strength and judgment. It takes strength to admit you are separated from God. Plus strength to admit your errors and shortcoming. So many people think of Christians as weaklings and that we use God as crutch. Instead, it takes a lot of strength to go against our fleshly desires. We can be strong against these desires through the strength God gives us. It is so much harder to go against the crowd than to simply go with the flow of the crowd.

God’s Order Versus Man’s Order

Let’s follow a pattern. When Moses created the holy furniture, the Ark of the Covenant was the first piece God instructed him to make. God began in the Holy of Holies and worked His way out. All spiritual blessings first begin in our spirit! God begins working in us. Then soon, His blessing can be seen outwardly!

When we approach God, we begin at the brazen altar, then work our way into His Presence. God begins within our spirit and works His way out.

Still following a pattern. We begin at the brazen altar for atonement for our sins then move to the brazen laver (basin) for washing and cleansing. Now, we are in the family of God. In holiness through Jesus, we approach a holy God.

In Exodus 25:17, the cover of the Ark of the Testimony (or Covenant) was called the atonement cover. On top of the cover were two golden cherubim (mighty angels). Here, the Presence of God dwelt as a cloud (shekinah glory) above the outstretched wings. The atonement cover was where the highest and most perfect act of atonement would be made when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement to atone for the sins of all the people (Exodus 30:10).

God is a God of order. Inside the Most Holy of Holy is the central focus of the entire Tabernacle. It is the Ark of the Covenant/Testimony (Exodus 25:10–13) where God spoke to the high priest above the Mercy Seat–the area where the winged cherubim face each other. Our Holy God dwelling place.

In the Holy Place is the Table of Showbread/Shewbread (Exodus 25:30).

John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Also, the Golden Lampstand (Exodus 25:31) represented Jesus.

John 8:12 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ”I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

It is not by accident that God instructed the three pieces of holy furniture be built before the construction of the Tabernacle.

In these above holy places, the radiance of the Shekinah glory shines like spiritual candlelight. It shins on mankind thus leading him to the brazen laver. After looking at his sins/curses, he realize he needs forgiveness from the True Brazen Altar, Jesus the Messiah…the Bread of Life…and the True Light.

God’s order of importance is inside to the outside. Man order of important is outside to the inside. God comes to our level to bring us up to His level. Thank you, LORD!

Next time, we will present the veil (door) to the Holy of Holies.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)