The Bronze Laver and Baptism

Exodus 30:17–21, A laver of brass. The large bronze basin that was located in the courtyard of the Tabernacle of Moses just in front of the door of the tent of meeting was fabricated from the mirrors the Israelite women donated (Exod 38:8). Perhaps James the apostle had this tradition in view when he speaks of being a doer of the Word of Elohim, not just a hearer, for a hearer and not a doer is like one who sees himself in the spiritual mirror of Elohim’s Word and forgetting what he looks like does not allow the Word to transform him (Jas 1:22–25). We know that water is a poetic metaphor for YHVH’s Word (Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 10:22; Deut 32:2). 

In the laver, the Levites were to wash their hands and feet before going into the tabernacle, so that they would not die. The hands and feet represent the entire body since they are the highest and lowest parts of the body. They also represent our direction and our action—everywhere we go and all that we do—must be pure before ministering before YHVH.

The Bronze Laver in More Detail.

Constructed of the mirrors of the Israelite women, the bronze laver represents a believer looking into the Torah (YHVH’s instructions in righteousness) as a mirror, seeing himself for who he really is (an unrighteous sinner) in light of the high standards of righteousness presented to us by the Word of Elohim. When we see the differential between the two, this should challenge us to conform our life to who the Word says he should be (Jas 1:22–25). 

The laver was the font where the priests washed themselves before performing the service of the tabernacle. The laver represents immersion or baptism for the remission of sins (Rom 6:3–6), and the washing of the water of the Word of Elohim (Eph 5:26), which are the next steps a believer must take after being “washed” in the blood of Yeshua and having one’s past sins atoned for after having been first saved. The second high Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a picture of this ritual washing or immersion. It was most likely on this day that the children of Israel crossed through the Red Sea and were “baptized” by Moses (1 Cor 10:12).

YHVH instructed the priests to wash their hands and feet before ministering in the tabernacle or else they would die (Exod 30:19–21). Hands and feet represent our actions and our ways. Similarly, Yeshua washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper (John 13:4–11), thus ritually cleansing them for spiritual ministry. In the believer’s life, one must be immersed (baptized) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; cp. John 13:8–10 and 1 Cor 6:11), thereby identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua resulting in the newness of spiritual life that comes to the believer as a result thereof (Rom 6:3–14). As already noted, immersion speaks of the washing of the water of the Word of Elohim (Ps 119:9; Eph 5:26). Water in Scripture represents the Torah instructions and teachings of YHVH (Deut 32:1–2). Through Yeshua living in us our actions (hands) and our ways (feet) will be righteous.

This altar was constructed of the bronze mirrors of the women of Israel. When we look into the water of YHVH’s Word and see our reflection against YHVH’s standards of righteousness (the Torah), we will always come up short. But when the priests washed their bloody hands in the water of the laver the blood and water mingled. When this happens we do not come up short. Through the blood of Yeshua we measure up in the eyes of the ­Father. When we look at the Word through the blood, that is who we are. From Yeshua’s side came forth blood and water. This points to the bronze laver where blood and water mixed to redeem us from judgment (represented by bronze) against our pride and rebellion (pride is a reference to the mirrors used to make the laver ). Blood represents atonement and water represents both the Torah-Word and Spirit of Elohim. The Word, Spirit of YHVH and the blood of Yeshua unite to effect salvation or redemption in one’s life. In 1 John 5:8 it says, “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water and the blood, and these three are one.” Torah says that every legal matter is to be determined in the mouth of two or three witnesses. John views these three as distinct and separate witnesses. Each plays a role in and testifies to man’s redemption by YHVH. The blood points to remission of past sins, water points to the Torah-Word of Elohim washing, renewing and cleansing us in the inner man to conform us into the image of Yeshua, the Word made flesh, and all this through the transforming work of the Spirit in our lives. At the bronze laver, these three elements came together.


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