The Laver and its Foot.
Verses 17, 18. "And
Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a layer of
brass, and his foot [base] also of brass, to wash withal: and thou
shalt put IT between the tabernacle [tent] of the congregation and
between the altar, and thou shalt put water therein."
are "the Word of God ;" this I gives them their importance and
authority. They are also "the testimony of Jesus Christ ;" this gives
them their interest to us as redeemed sinners, and their value to our
souls, as containing God's testimony concerning His Son.
about Christ are embodied in type, and given us in the Scriptures, that
we might have fellowship with the Father in His own estimate of His
Son, through the Spirit.
layer and his foot, we have the divinely given figure or shadow of
CHRIST as our SANCTIFICATION. "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1.30).
In this chapter in
Exodus, typically the believer is regarded, first, REDEEMED BY THE
BLOOD (verses 11-16); secondly, SANCTIFIED with the washing of WATER
(verses 17-21); thirdly, ANOINTED with the OIL (verses 22-33);
fourthly, ACCEPTED in the PERFUME (verses 34- 38). "The Spirit, the
water, and the blood" (1 John 5.6-8).
In Solomon's Temple there were TEN LAVERS, standing on their TEN BASES, and ONE MOLTEN SEA,
standing on twelve oxen (1 Kings 7.23-26).
Ezekiel's Temple there will be no laver nor sea, but a RIVER, whose
waters will issue out from under the threshold of the house eastward,
deepening and widening as it flows.
Revelation 4.6, we read of a SEA OF GLASS like unto crystal before the
throne, emblematical of the fixed purity which becomes the presence of
In Revelation 15.2, of a
SEA OF GLASS mingled with FIRE, indicative of the fiery trial through
which those who come out of the great tribulation, will have passed.
Revelation 22.1, of a PURE RIVER OF WATER OF LIFE, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. All these are
figures of Christ, and of the cleansing, sanctifying, life-giving,
life-sustaining power of the Spirit of God. The word "laver," in the
Hebrew, signifies "like a river." The laver consisted of two parts,
"the laver and his foot." The upper part or layer, being a large
reservoir of water, from which, when required, the water poured down
"like a river" into the foot or basin at its base. The lower part being
alone used for bathing or washing, so that the water in the laver
remained always pure and undefiled, reminding us of Titus 3.
5, 6, "The washing
[literally layer] of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour." Also
of "the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ," given for the ministry
of the Word through the evangelist, pastor, and teacher, at the present
The laver presents
Christ in two aspects; the FOOT, Christ in HUMILIATION on earth; and
the upper part, the laver proper, Christ in His exaltation in heaven.
In His life on earth, Christ left us an example that we should follow
in His steps.
On the Cross, from His pierced side came forth the water and the blood.
it is from Christ crucified, risen, and exalted, that the Holy Ghost,
the Comforter, the Spirit of purity and life, is now given. "In the
last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying,
If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on
Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of
living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe
on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because
that Jesus was not yet glorified"
(John 7.37-39). We
read in Ephesians 5.25,26, "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself
for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water
by the Word." This is His present action, "that He might (ultimately)
present it to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle,
or any such thing" (Eph. 5.27).
"A laver of brass, and his foot [base] also of brass."
is the emblem of strength, and Christ, as our sanctification, is the
Strong One, mighty to sanctify as well as "mighty to save." Many trust
in Christ for their salvation, but have recourse to their own efforts,
or to the law, for sanctification. Justification by faith of Christ is
the doctrine of the Reformation; but sanctification by the faith of
Christ, how little apprehended!
There is POWER in
the example of His life; constraining power in His dying and redeeming
love; power in looking unto Jesus glorified at God's right hand above.
Stephen found it so (Acts 7). Power in the Spirit sent down from this
ascended One. The secret of power in the Christian experience is having
Christ "all" as our object, "and in all" as our life.
In Exodus 38.8, we
read, "And he made the laver of brass and the foot [base] of it of
brass, of the looking-glasses [brazen mirrors], of the women
assembling, which assembled at the door of the tent of the
congregation." This is significant, and intimates a connection between
self-examination and sanctification. The Apostle James wrote, "But be
ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a
man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself,
and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he
was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful bearer, but a doer of the Word, this
man shall be blessed, in his deed" (James 1. 22-25). The foot of the
laver was made of burnished brass.
the believer is especially and effectually connected with the
contemplation of Christ, once crucified, but now risen and glorified,
as exhibited in the mirror of the Word, through the power of the Holy
Ghost sent down from heaven. This is real and divine photography. "Now
the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
But we all, with open
[unvailed] face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the
Spirit of the Lord."
THE POSITION OF THE LAVER.
thou shalt put IT between the tabernacle [tent] of the congregation and
between the altar."
The progress of the soul in drawing near to God is that set forth.
The soul first realising PARDON at the sin-offering - without the camp.
Secondly, ACCEPTANCE at the brazen altar within the court.
Thirdly, SANCTIFICATION at the brazen layer.
Fourthly, NEARNESS IN WORSHIP at the golden altar.
ENTRANCE INTO THE HOLIEST through the value of the blood, and of the
sweet incense from the golden censer, carried by the High Priest within
Verse 18. "And thou shalt put water therein."
Christ loved the
Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the Word" (Eph. 5. 26). "Sanctify them
through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth," is His prayer to the Father
(John 17.17). "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are
life" (John 6.63). Not the Word apart from the Spirit, nor the Spirit
apart from the Word. It is the truth that sanctifies, and the Spirit is
truth. But it is the truth of Christ, "as the truth is in Jesus."
The water which
filled the laver in the wilderness came first from the smitten rock
(Ex. 17.); the type of Christ crucified, from whose pierced side flowed
forth the water and the blood. For "that rock was Christ" (1 Cor.
Secondly, it came
from the rock which was to have been spoken to, at the end of the
wilderness wanderings, in connection with the blooming, blossoming, and
fruit-bearing rod (Numbers 20.). Typical of Christ glorified, and
sending down the Spirit in answer to prayer (Acts 2; John 7).
THE USE OF THE LAVER.
19. "For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet
The laver sets
forth Christ, made of God Unto the believer SANCTIFICATION, practically
(1 Cor. 1.30).
It is the action of
the Lord Jesus in John 13. embodied in type. The washing of the laver
First, of the
entire person, as at the consecration of the priests (Ex. 29.4), where
it should be translated, "bathe them in water." This washing, or
bathing in water, at their consecration was not repeated. To this the
Lord refers John 13.10, "He that is washed [bathed] needeth not save to
wash his feet, but is clean every whit." The signification of this
bathing is given in Romans vi., Colossians 2. etc. It sets forth the
death, burial, and resurrection of the believer with Christ, and
faith's apprehension of it.
washing was partial, the washing of the hands and feet; and it is this
which is here specially mentioned - its constant use. "Aaron and his
sons" typify Christ and the Church in their priestly character (Heb.
3.6). The sanctification is one: "For their sakes I sanctify Myself,
that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17.19). He
is our sanctification. The HANDS and FEET express the whole character
of the believer's ACTION and CONDUCT. In John 13. the feet only are
mentioned, as including the whole course of the believer's walk.
"Thereat," literally, therefrom. It was not sufficient to wash
elsewhere. It is the practical, conscious cleansing which flows from
faith's apprehension of Christ, which fits for God's tent, and God's
altar, and not that which comes from mere moral considerations or
Verse 20. "When
they go into the Tabernacle [tent] of the congregation, they shall wash
with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to
minister, to burn offering made by fire unto Jehovah."
This cleansing by
the faith of Jesus, is essential to living fellowship with the Father
and the Son in the Spirit, and to true fellowship with the saints.
"Holiness becometh God's house for ever." "If I wash thee not, thou
hast no part with Me." Holiness becomes God's service, as well as God's
house. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." "I will wash
mine hands in innocency; so will I compass Thine altar, O Lord."
"That they die
not," is repeated in verse 21. It may be taken as a warning. "If ye
live after the flesh ye shall die." Spiritual deadness is the
inevitable consequence of the foot defiled, and sanctification through
personal intercourse with Christ neglected. Verse 21. "So they shall
wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a
statute for ever for them, even to him and to his seed throughout their
"It shall be a
statute for ever;" a principle from which God never departs. "Without
holiness no man shall see the Lord." Christ ever lives, the source of
life, holiness, and power, to all who draw nigh to God by Him. Thus
full provision is made in Christ, that the blood-bought heirs of glory,
and the royal priests of our God, might ever worship Him in the
beauties of holiness, as well as in the confidence of faith and love.