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The Brasen Altar & The Laver


Exodus 27:1-8; 30:17-21

The brasen altar and the laver are the 1st of 7 pieces of furniture in the Tabernacle. These 2 pieces are found in the court area whereas the other 5 are in the Tabernacle proper (the holy place and the holy of holies).

The 7 pieces of furniture show the 7 steps of victory in the Christian’ life through Jesus Christ:

1). The Brasen Altar- a picture of the cross (salvation)

2). The Laver- cleansing of sin, confession & forgiveness (separation)

3). The Table of Shewbread- a place of fellowship & feeding (Bible reading)

4). The Candlestick- testimony of believer and illumination of the Holy Spirit (Testimony)

5). The Altar of Incense- prayer and worship

6). The Ark- full surrender of the believer (covenant)

7). The Mercy Seat- complete victory, rest and peace from God.

I). The Brasen Altar: The shadow of the cross. (Ex. 27:1-8)

"…and without shedding of blood is no remission." Heb. 9:22

"No blood, no altar now,
The sacrifice is o’er;
No flame, no smoke, ascends on high;
The Lamb is slain no more!
But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt, and cleanse the reddest stains."

(Poem and picture by Geo C. Needham, 1879)

*Altar means to raise or lift up or a place of sacrifice. The cross was a "lifted up altar" (Jn 3:14; 12:32). It was also a place of sacrifice (Heb 9:26; 10:4-12).
 

A). The Materials:


1). Shittim wood overlain with brass.

Shittim wood represents the incorruptible humanity of Jesus Christ.

Brass represents the strength of Christ and his deity that could withstand the judgment of God on sin.

B). The Size and Design:


1). 5 by 5 by 3 cubits (7˝’x7˝’x4˝’). It was the largest piece in the tabernacle. All of the other items could be placed in this altar representing the fact that all future blessings of the believer are within the fold of Calvary.

2). It was 5 cubits square. 5 being the number of death

          *It was foursquare. It was equal on all sides. The salvation of God is equal on all sides for all people!
          *It was 3 cubits high. God raised Jesus after 3 days.

3). It had 4 horns on the 4 corners.

          *Salvation is open to the 4 corners of the earth (to the Jew first and also to the Greek… Rom 1:16).
          *The sacrifices were bound to the horns (Ps. 118:27) but Jesus was only bound by His own will (Jn10:18). However we must daily bind our flesh (Rom 12:1-2).
 

C). The 5’s of the Altar: Exodus 27:3


5 Utensils:

1). Pans: used to carry the ashes away (Lev. 6:10-11)
2). Shovels: used to remove the ashes or coals.
3). Basins: used to hold the blood, sometimes taken into the holy place (atonement) other times poured at the foot of the altar.
4). Fleshhooks: used to arrange the sacrifice on the altar
5). Firepans: (censers) used to carry the coals or fire.

5 Animals for sacrifice:

Lamb, Bullock, Goat, Heifer, Turtledove.

5 Offerings:

Burnt, Meat (or meal), Peace (or wave), Sin, Trespass
 
 

D). Other Details:


1). The ashes were taken to a clean place (Lev. 6:10-11)

This depositing of the ashes speaks of the body of Christ which was sacrificed for our sin and carried to a new tomb (Mt 27:60)

2). The Altar had rings and two staves with which it was to be carried as they moved. The altar representing Calvary must be carried (the gospel) by two staves which are :Jesus’ death and resurrection. Without both it cannot be carried!

3). The fire on this altar was "ever burning" (Lev. 6:12-13). The salvation made possible at Calvary is ever standing ready and waiting for those who would come to it’s fire for forgiveness and atonement.

4). The fire was kindled by God! (Lev. 9:24). Salvation is kindled by God and nothing can be added to it. Remember Nadab and Abihu who offered "strange fire" (Lev 10:1-2).

5). The grate on which the sacrifices were burned was half way down in the altar at the same height as the mercy seat in the holy of holies. This speaks of the equality of Jesus’ sacrifice and the mercy of God.

II). The Laver: Sanctification of the Believer. Ex 30:17-21

"The Laver stands. If earth-defiled,
Go, wash thy hands, thy feet;
And simply as a pardoned child,
Approach the mercy-seat;
Within the veil thy censer bring,
And burn sweet incense to the King."

 

A). Material:


1) The Laver was solid brass. It was made from the "looking glasses" (mirrors) of the women who gave (Ex 38:8). These mirrors suggest pride or vain glory which was set aside for the sake of cleanliness before God! (That’s true sanctification).

2). It held water for washing. Scripture teaches that the Word of God is our looking glass (James 1:23-25).

*It was this water that was used to wash off the dirt and dust of the floor in the tabernacle. We need the water of the Word to wash us from the defilement of our world. (John 15:3; 17:17; Eph. 5:26; Ps 119:9).
 

B). Size and Design:


1). Interestingly enough, these are not specified. At specific as God was about all the other items of the tabernacle the Laver is not specified as to the size or shape. This alone suggests the Word of God in our own life. It is there for us to use as much as we will. It is limitless as to it’s application and the form it can take in our life if we will only use it!
 

C). The Position of the Laver:


1). It stood between the Altar and the Tabernacle (holy place).

2) This position suggests that cleansing follows the cross and not before. Holy/Holiness is found 84 times in the book of Leviticus. (Rom 12;1-2)

"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:" 1 Peter 3:21

3). At the Altar man was justified from sin’s penalty, at the Laver man found cleansing from the daily walk on the earth (the tabernacle had no floor). The priests had to constantly wash as we must constantly wash with the water of the Word to keep from being defiled by the world that we must walk in.

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." Psalm 119:9


 
 

John Wycliffe 1320-1384

John Wycliffe 1320-1384

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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