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Sanctuary lesson 06

Lesson 06 - The Bronze Laver

Hello again!  Previously, we have discussed the altar of sacrifice and the various sacrificial offerings.  Now, let's turn our attention to the second object in the courtyard - the bronze laver.  What is a laver?  In the Old Testament, the laver was a large basin with a foot (or pedestal).


Let's turn to Exodus 40:7.

- According to this verse, where was the laver placed?

  • Answer (highlight to read): The laver was placed between the bronze altar and the tabernacle.

- According to this verse, what was placed in the laver?

  • Answer: Water

Let's turn to Exodus 30:17-21 and Exodus 40:30-32.  

- According to these verses, what did the priests do at the laver?

  • Answer :  The priests washed their hands and feet before entering the sanctuary or offering a sacrifice.

- According to these verses, what happened if the priests did not properly wash before going into the sanctuary?

  • Answer: They would die.

The laver was placed exactly between the sacrificial altar and the veil to the Holy Place.  Note that near the laver was the place where the sacrifices were slaughtered (Leviticus 1:11).  We can see the symbols of water and blood in the courtyard, which would symbolize various cleansings.

Let's turn to Exodus 38:8. 

- According to this verse, what was the laver made from?

Answer: The laver was made from bronze mirrors donated by the woman assembling at the door to the tabernacle. 

Though we cannot say for sure, it is likely that the laver had a very polished surface and that the priest could see himself while washing.  It is very interesting that bronze mirrors, items which would be used for self-grooming, were used to make the laver. 

What do mirrors represent in Scripture?  Let's turn to James 1:23-25 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

- According to these verses, what does God's law do for us?

  • Answer: God's law reveals the glory of God and also reveals sin to us.

Let's turn to 1 Samuel 16:7.

- According to this verse, while man looks at outward appearance, what does God look at?

  • Answer: God looks at the heart.

Perhaps the women's donation of the mirrors was a symbolic act to show that they have turned away from self-love and search for fulfillment in external appearance, desiring to see the glory that would be fulfilled in Jesus.  And perhaps, when the priest washed at the laver and saw his reflection, he was reminded that God sees past the outward appearance and straight into one's own heart.

The priests had to wash daily at the laver before entering the sanctuary.  What application does this have for Christians today?  Let's turn to Ephesians 5:26 and Hebrews 10:22.

- According to these verses, what do we need to be washed with?

Answer: We need to be washed with the Word of God.

Just as taking one bath would not be sufficient for us to remain clean in our entire lifetime, we need to be washed daily in the Word of God.  1 Peter 2:5 states that you and I are called to be holy priests before God.  We cannot be cleansed on our own merits or acts of righteousness - it is only through the blood of Jesus can this be accomplished.  Once we have that initial cleansing, then we must seek renewal and regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).  Will you strive to live your life as a priest for Jesus?