Month 1:3, Week 1:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5939:3 AM|
2Exodus 1/40, Messianic Countdown 72/27
Gregorian Calendar Sunday 22 March 2015
The Great 2015 Dedication III
Cleansing the Temple of
Tresspasses III & the Brazen Laver
Continued from Part 2
Shalom kol beit Yisra'el and welcome to the third day of assembly for the cleansing and dedication of the Remnant of Messianic Israel.
Why We Follow the Pattern of the Tabernacle
We are doing this by following the spiritual tavnith (pattern) of the Tabernacle of Moses which is a reflection of the Heavenly Tabernacle. We could well have followed the tavnith (pattern) the Tabernacle of David or of Solomon's Temple, the latter of which was much larger than the Tabernacle of Moses and duplicated a number of items like the menorah (seven-armed candlearbre); and whilst this certainly was the structure Hezekiah cleansed and restored it is still the same fundamental layout. We are interested therefore in the basic elements that constitute salvation, sanctification and the processes thereof.
Journey Through the Courtyard
In accordance with Hezekiah's mandate, we are working our way through the Courtyard, have understood the nature of the doors, gates or curtain hangings and seen the centrality of the Brazen (Bronze) Altar to which is connected the sacrifice for sin. Our invisible, spiritual movement through the Court is individual and we are all very likely at different places in this process. Yahweh already knows who will be called and chosen into the Sanctuary on the 9th day, those who have offered up their whole souls by sacrifice on the brazen altar, not seeking their own will in anything but only the Father's; and He also knows who will be washed clean at the Brazen (Bronze) Laver of which I must now speak.
Importance of the Brazen Laver
Lying between the brazen altar and the entrance to the Sanctuary was another qadosh (sacred, set-apart, holy) object balled the Brazen Laver. The precise details for its construction (Ex.30:17-21) indicate how important what it respresents is to the cleansing of our souls and the setting aside of our soul-natures for the establishment and maintenance of a proper relationship with Yahweh. Having crawled in humility and contrition under the curtain separating the world from the Tabernacle compound, and having got access to the blood of our beloved Master at the Altar of Bronze with its perpetually burning flame, whose purpose is to violently burn out all the dross in us, we come to the large two-tiered brass basin which was provided only for the cohenim (priests) so that by application of its function could thereby gain access to the Sanctuary. Israel, in every dispensation, was, and is, called to be a "qadosh (holy, set-apart, sanctified) nation" and a "kingdom of cohenim (priests)" Ex.19:6). It failed to become that and even its cohenim (priests), selected from amongst one of the twelve tribes only under the Old Covenant - the Tribe of Levi - failed to maintain spiritual standards.
The Importance of the Messianic Israelite Nation
Once again, this time under the New or Messianic Covenant of Israel with Yah'shua (Jesus) as its Eternal Cohen Gadol (High Priest), we are called to be a qadosh (holy, set-apart) nation - the Nation of Messianic Israel under one King (Yah'shua/Jesus) and one Torah (the betrothal covenant of Messianic Israel) - and are described by the apostle Peter accordingly, that is to say, as "a royal priesthood, a qadosh (holy, set-apart) nation" (1 Pet.2:9). This Priesthood is no longer restricted to one tribe (Levi) as it was under the Mosaic, Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood of the former (old) covenant but has been extended to the purified souls of all the Twelve Tribes, who are named throughout the New Testament in this connection. It is not a Gentile Priesthood even if gentiles are called to salvation and to the Royal Priesthood. Their calling is conditional on their being adopted or grafted into the Qadosh (Set-Apart, Holy) Nation of Israel (Rom.11) and therefore being adopted into one of the 12 Tribes, who are named throughout the New Testament in this connection. It is not a gentile (non-Israelite) priesthood even if gentiles are called to salvation and the Royal Priesthood. Their calling is conditional upon their being adopted or grafted in to the vine Qodesh (Holy, Set-Apart) Nation of Israel and therefore being adopted into one of the 12 tribes. To be a part of that Nation, which is a fully functioning theocracy on the earth, in the Millennium and throughout the Eternities, you must be subject to the absolute Ruler of that Nation, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and to His Laws (Torot). The Kingdom of Elohim (God) and of Heaven is not simply an inner state or condition but also has a qodesh (holy, set-apart) lifestyle consisting of rhythms of worship, ceasing from work, receiving instruction, and behaviour of its citizens one to another.
The Marriage Contract
When a woman agrees to marry a man, she leaves her former life behind and agrees to subject herself to the person of her husband and to the rules of his house. She puts her name to a betrothal contract known as a ketubah. It is the contact of her marriage. In it are stated the rules of the house which her husband abides himself and enforces for his bhousehold, including children, servants and dependants. Though there are rules unique to his house and his calling, the substance of the rules is Yahweh's Torah or Law to which he is bound.
How It All Connects
The Bride of Messiah likewise 'signs' a ketubah or betrothal contract. She is not, however, admitted to Full Marriage and to the consummation thereof until she has proven herself faithful and worthy, which is why we have two annual festivals - Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') and Sukkot (Tabernacles) separated by a space of time. These two moedim (appointments) are represented, respectively, by the first of the rooms in the Sanctuary known as the Holy Place, in which we find a golden Altar of Incense, a golden Menorah and a golden Table of Showbread, and the Holy of Holies, in which is a golden Ark of the Covenants, respectively, and these two rooms are separated by a thick curtain under which the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) of the former covenants had to crawl, together with the Blood of Atonement, once a year at Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement) to make atonement by the blood of animals for kol beit Yisr'ael - the corporate House of Israel. That curtain was torn at Calvary (Mt.27:51; Mk.15:38; Lk.23:45) and every cohen (priest) from every tribe can now enter that sacred place. And to be a cohen (priest) you have to be a member of one of the Tribes of Israel, and to be a member of one of the tribes of Israel you have to be a citizen of Messianic Israel, and to be a citizen of Messianic Israel you have to enter the Courtyard by the gate (curtain), accept the blood of atonement of Messiah on the Brazen Altar, have your sins burned away, you have to go to the Brazen Laver to be washed (in manner which we shall see in a moment), and then you have to crawl under the curtain into the Holy Place (which is the Domain of the Son) and then, because of the Blood of Messiah which now grants you access where before only the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) could enter, you can pass into the Holy of Holies (which is the Domain of the Father).
Importance of the Courtyard
You see, there is cleansing to be done in our court by blood, fire and water (which I shall be speaking more about presently), and then there is worship in the Holy Place of the Son, and then there is worship in the Holy of Holies or Place of the Father. It isn't all 'one thing' as we were taught by orthodox Christianity, there is a three-stage tavnith or pattern which the Devil has obscured making Christians believe they are in the Holy of Holies when they are yet in the Courtyard! Because they encounter Elohim (God), because through their praises and partial obedience they experience the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) - which many absolutely do - they assume they are in the full Presence of the Father! They are yet in that Courtyard, where there is Divine Presence, but not the fullness, and then they cry bitter tears when that courtyard is overwhelmed by 'gentiles' and they lack the covering they thought they had.
The Courtyard is Open
Remember, the courtard is in open space, surrounded by a wall or curtain, but lacking a roof. There is a reason for it. It is so dangerous, so naïve, so arrogant, so presumptuous, to assume we are in the fullness of the Father's presence because we are having a psychic high through singing songs of praise or reading Scripture, only to find that after a while that 'spirit' wears off. Why does it do that? Because it is not in the Sanctuary where the Ruach (Spirit) never 'wears off'. And even then, there are two different degrees of the Divine Presence in the two rooms. Why are there two rooms and not one? Though they do not know it, most Christians believe in a Tabernacle where the courtyard, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies are all one 'room' into which everyone can pour willy-nilly upon a confession of faith, worshipping on Sundays and attending a Bible Class every Wednesday. They believe Heaven is a single, undifferentiated space even though Scipture plainly says it is not. All of this comes from the mindset that oversimplies in the name of piety.
The Mindset of the Remnant
Such a mindset is not of the Remnant. Such a mindset is of the lawless believers who assemble in the Courtyard and go no further. They think humbling once is enough, but there are three humblings, three spaces of worship where different, though complimentary, offerings of body, mind and heart are made. Indeed, most don't even get beyond the Brass Laver because they don't even realise it is there, let alone what it is for. And so now we must devote the rest of our time to this most essential piece of templeware.
For Priesthood Servants Only
As I said, the Brass Laver is only for the Cohen (Priest). It is for the Deacons and Deaconesses, the Elders and Eldresses, and the Apostles, male and female - for every calling. Every single believer is supposed to be a Deacon or Deaconess at the very minimum because the Shammash is the office of a Servant in the Kingdom. That is why you have to crawl into the courtyard on your hands and knees, obtaining a proper spirit of contrition to qualify you for citizenship in the Kingdom. For what does citizenship exist? For pampering? For personal glory? No, for Service. Yah'shua (Jesus) taught this principle when He washed the feet of His talmidin (disciples) and you will understand why He employed this ritual in a moment, because it wasn't something He just made up (Jn.13:5-17). In fact, there was nothing new about it at all. It was always a part of the Temple Service, only He took it to a new level of meaning.
What is a Priest? What is a Sacrifice?
What is a cohen (priest)? A cohen (priest) is a person who has access to Elohim (God). I don't care how many Scriptures you quote at me that say you are a propositionally a cohen (priest) because if you don't have living, revelatory access to Yahweh in your life, you are not a cohen (priest) - you're simply playing at the rôle. To be under a priestly anointing is to have direct access to the Father through the Son. They come of genuine sacrifice at the Altars of Elohim (God) for Yahweh speaks through our sacrifices. Can we identify such a sacrifice? We can, most certainly:
Sacrifices of Praise
"The sacrifices of Elohim (God) are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart --
These, O Elohim (God), You will not despise" (Ps.51:17, NKJV).
There are other sacrifices too, naturally:
Priests as Intermediaries
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to Elohim (God), that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name (Yahweh)" (Heb.13:15, NKJV).
Under the Old Covenant the family of Aaron was chosen to minister before Yahweh and to approach Him ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE as INTERMEDIARIES or go-betweens, because this is what the people had demanded at Sinai, refusing the responsibility of having a personal relationship with Him because of fear. The Brass Laver tells us how to be cohenim (priests), what we have to do to be in right relationship, how it is we have access. Like it or not - even though they have all been called to be - there are still believers (sadly, the vast majority) who don't have access to Elohim (God) and who still need cohenim (priests) to be intermediaries for them. It is not Yahweh's will that way in the New Covenant but it's the reality. Our job is to make sure everyone is a cohen (priest) through active discipling and their personal service. In the meantime, there will be believers in the Courtyard who, for one reason or another, won't put themselves on the Brazen Altar of Sacrifice and who won't thereafter go up the the Brazen Laver.
Now the construction material of the Brazen Laver was rather unusual - it was made from the ladies' mirrors which at that time were highly polished plates of brass, not like our glass mirrors. The women sacrificed these (Ex.28:8). Mirrors symbolise self-examination or -scrutiny, brass symbolise judgment. When we come to the Living Davar (Word = Yah'shua/Jesus) whether viâ the Scriptures or - more potently - directly through the Ruach (Spirit), it is like standing before a mirror that reveals every spot and blemish of the inner man:
Ministry Through the Word
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the davar (word) and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect Torah (Law) of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:22-25, NKJV).
So the Brazen Laver represents the ministry of Yah'shua (Jesus) through the Davar Elohim (Word of God) that reveals the inner man to ourselves as we come to Him. One fault of many talmidim (disciples) is to spend an inordinate amount of time self-scrutinising. The main thing about the Laver is not the Laver itself but what it contains - WATER - because the Laver cannot cleanse any more than self-scrutiny can.
Life and Power to Cleanse
It is the living mayim (water) that cleanses the cohen (priest) of Yahweh. Yah'shua (Jesus) the Living Davar (Word) and as the Living Torah (Law) reveals our sin, and Yah'shua (Jesus) through the mayim (water) of the Davar (Word) cleanses. The Davar Elohim (Word of God) contains chayim (life) and power to reveal our needs, yes, but just as importantly it provides chayim (life) and power to cleanse us from the filthiness of the flesh and the carnal mind, thereby taking care of the fleshy nature.
Origin of the Waters
There is mayim (water) in the Laver but where did it come from? Was it any old mayim (water)? It was not ordinary water, not regular drinking water, though it was water. It did not come from a storage tank. It was, like all temple mayim (water), supplied from a running sourse, because heavenly mayim (water) must be in motion, to depict chayim (life) and cleansing (oxygenation of the water). The source of this running water was the Spring of Gihon which Hezekiah channelled into the Pool of Siloam.
It is no accident that the Hebrew for 'heaven' contains the word 'water' - mayim (literally 'waters'). What is the word for 'heaven'? Shammayim or 'heavenly water(s)'. All temple mayim (water) is shammayim (heavenly water) and must be prepared in a special way. Pilgrims arriving in Jerusalem to make their Pesach (Passover) offerings needed to be sprinkled by the purifying mayim (waters) of the ashes of the red heifer, in order to be able to enter the Qadosh (Holy) Temple courtyards with their lambs. The preparation of the ashes of the red heifer was done according to the details described in Torah:
The Red Heifer
"This is a requirement of the Torah (Law) that Yahweh has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the cohen (priest); it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the cohen (priest) is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned -- its hide, flesh, blood and offal. The cohen (priest) is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the cohen (priest) must wash his clothes and bathe himself with mayim (water). He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with mayim (water), and he too will be unclean till evening.
"A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin" (Num.19:2-9, NIV).
The red heifer had to be brought to the Mount of Olives (Olivet), known in Herodian Temple times as the Mount of Anointment, viâ a special bridge connecting it to the Temple Mount. The preparation was attended by a large gathering, including the Zaqenim (Elders) of Israel. A massive pile of wood was prepared, upon which the heifer was slaughtered and consumed by fire. As the heifer was consumed, the cohen (priest) added cedar-wood and hyssop-wood which were tied together by a band dyed in crimson, derived from the shani insect.
Seeing Inside the Sanctuary
This picture depicts the scene I have just described. The cohen (priest) can be seen holding up the cedar- and hyssop-wood held together by a band of shani-dyed wool. In the background can be seen the Qadosh (Holy, Set-Apart) Temple (Sanctuary). It was essential that the cohen (priest) was able to clearly see all the way into the open entrance of the Qadosh (Holy, Set-Apart) Temple Sanctuary.
For Purification From Sin
The Torah says that this specially prepared mayim (water) is for "the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin". It must therefore also have been used in the Brazen Laver, of which we are speaking. The Red Heifer, sacrificed on the Mount of Olives, is Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah and you will recall the work of atonement began there as He sweated drops of His blood whilst in prayers and continued on the cross a short distance away. Therefore the Messiah is mixed in with this mayim (water) in the Laver through the symbolism of the Red Heifer.
Dimensions Not Given
Now to the dimensions of the Laver. We don't know what they are just as we don't know the dimensions of the Menorah. That is not an accidental omission. And the reason we do not know the size of either is because there is no limit with Yahweh on His cleansing power, nor in the amount of Light that he is willing to bestow on His children who walk in Him. There is no limit to the number of times we can come to Him to the cleansing heavenly mayim (water) in the Brass Laver. That, of course, is not a licence for us to sin or to exploit grace - it is a provision for our succumbings to the weakness of the flesh so that by coming to see our shortcomings and failures we can run to the Laver knowing that it will never run dry. The red heifer was a finite creature but the Heavenly Red Heifer is an infinite Being, therefore His supply cannot be exhausted except that we chose disrespectfully, casually and indifferently to His suffering, to exploit grace. For then at some point, the Law of Justice must take over and close down access, for Elohim (God) will not be mocked.
We do not know the size of the Laver but we do know its shape. Unfortunately, most of the diagrams offered in Bibles and text books (or online) of it are inaccurate and typically are of a singular basin on a supporting pedistal. There are, in fact, two basins, one very large one up top and one down at the bottom into which the mayim (water) ran after being used which the cohenim (priests) used to wash their feet.
Purity of Hand
Immediately we see, knowing now what its true structure looked like, that there are two Laver cleansings - for the hands and feet, respectively. Hands represent our service as shammashim (deacons and deaconesses) with the only kind of service acceptable to Yahweh being clean and pure - broken hearted and contrite - service, a service in which every act of service is a psalm of parise. The cohenim (priests) were not allowed to minister at Yahweh's Altar of Brass, or to enter the Sanctuary, without first washing at the Laver. No washing, no service accepted. With the hands we labour but with the hands we also show the touch of affection. With our hands we reach out for Elohim (God) in worship. How quickly, though, we can defile with our hands, particularly when we start worshipping the gifts received instead of the Giver of the gifts.
To know what our condition is we have to stand before the Brazen Laver and see our own reflection. If we stand with spiritual eyes closed, we will see nothing; open, we will see our smallness and His greatness. In any revelation of our incompleteness, our imperfection, caused by looking at the Laver, the desire wells up to plunge into those mayim (waters) for cleansing by His Davar (Word).
Purity of Foot
The Laver reflection of our feet reveals what 'orach (well-trodden way) we are in. David prayed:
Yah'shua Fulfills the Laver Ministry
"How can a young man cleanse his 'orach (well-trodden way)?
By taking heed according to Your davar (word)" (Ps.119:9, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) taught the same lesson to His talmidim (disciples) when He washed their feet (John 13:2-17). Peter did not understand that once he had been washed with the mayim (waters) of regeneration then it was only necessary to have his 'orach or well-trodden derech (way) washed (represented by his feet) - it speaks of the direction of our life. When Yah'shua (Jesus) washed the feet of the talmidim (disciples) He fulfilled the ministy of the Laver, since it was a type of how He would wash their way, their walk, as the Living Davar Elohim (Word of God) as symbolised by their journey into the Sanctuary afterwards. First the man must come to the Laver to discern his own way and then be cleansed that he might walk in the Derech (Way) of the Master.
Where is the Way of Yahweh?
Like David, we need to cry out to know Yahweh's Derech (Way) more perfectly, and we can only do this by being cleansed in the mayim (water) of the Davar (Word). So where is the Derech Elohim (Way of God)? Is it out in the Courtyard? David revealed:
The Way is Not in the Courtyard
"Your way, O Elohim (God), is in the Sanctuary;
Who is so great an Elohim (God) as our Elohim (God)?
You are the Elohim (God) who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples" (Ps.77:13-14, NKJV).
We cannot find or know the Derech Elohim (Way of God) in the Courtyard! For one thing, as Brother Ljungstrand has reminded us, the courtyard is for self unlike the Qadosh (Holy, Set-Apart) Place of the Sanctuary which is for others. A totally different altar to the Brazen Altar of the Court is found there, the Golden Altar of Incense, which is where we pray for others when Yahweh places them as a burden to carry in our hearts until the prayer is heard by Yahweh and the burden is lifted! This is a much smaller altar than the Brazen one. It's wood is also accacia (shittim) but covered in beaten gold rather than brass. Whereas the brass of the Brazen Altar is the burden of our sin carried by Yah'shua (Jesus), the Golden Altar is the burden of sin of others which we carry in prayer to the Throne in their behalf, with or without them knowing. It is this kind of prayer that transforms our character in quite a different way to the work of the Brazen Altar because by it that selfless Character of Messiah, represented by the gold, is beaten into us by our works of selfless ahavah- or agapé-love and emunah (faith)! It is this work of the prayer-intercessor that transforms us from the lesser resurrection light of the distant twinkling stars into the brigher resurrection light of the moon.
Between Brass and Gold
Here we demonstrate our ahavah (love) for Yah'shua (Jesus) by serving our fellow man as intercessors and ministers - it is the work of the Eldership, male and female. We will understand this better when we later study the golden Menorah and the golden Table of Showbread which we have to pass between in order to reach the golden Altar of Incense. This is, on one level, the 'orach or well-trodden derech (way) of the Zaqenim or Elder (and Eldress) cohenim (priests) and cohenet (priestesses) after the Order of Melchizedek - between what is represented by the Candlearbre and the Showbread Table! Here the leaders of Messianic Israel are tested and proven in terms of their motivation, use of time, quality of service, and character.
Do You Choose to Remain in the Court?
If we choose to remain in the Court, we will not find the Derech (Way) of Messiah. Therefore if we are to discover and experience the true Derech (Way) of El Elyon (God Most High) we have to understand how the Holy Place and Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place) are constructed and know what the various items are types of - the Menorah, the Altar of Incense, the Table of Showbread, and (in the Holy of Holies) the Ark of the Covenant where self finally dies and, at the Mercy Seat, we are in the perfect will of Abba (Father) Yahweh. Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Derech (Way) and we will only discover what He means in that famous passage of Scripture by moving into the Sanctuary and dedicating our lives to service in it. That we shall begin to do on the 9th day. And we may very well be surprised to learn who, of the brethren in the Body of Messiah, is actually there.
May Yahweh our Elohim (God) bless you and keep you, shine His light of emet (truth) on you this night, and kindle within you the fire of tikveh (hope), passion for the Kingdom and this work to which we have been called, and bring you to a better place, in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. Amen.
Continued in Part 4
 B.R.Hicks, Precious Gem in the Tabernacle (Mexian Inland Missionary Society: 1961)
 Kevin J. Conner, The Tabernacle of Moses (City Christian Publishing, Fremont, Portland, Oregon: 1976
Comments from Readers
 "Your sermons seem to be following the pattern of our lives the last 7 years. The further into the cleansing and rededication, the more I can feel His strength building up inside. I used to be very given to intercessory prayer and that was taken from me, now it is starting to come back...except now on a true solid foundation" (SP, Ireland, 27 March 2015)