Part three in a loose, non-chronological series, this episode of The Spirit of the Law focuses on the Laver, or Sea that was used by the Levitical priests to cleanse themselves before entering the temple. But how does it figure in prophecy and what does it represent today?
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In the book of Exodus, chapter 30 verses 17 – 19, Yah commands that a bronze laver, or basin, be made, so that priests who are already in service to him may wash only their hands and feet before performing their duties in the Tabernacle or at the altar.
17 Yah said to Moses, 18 “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, 19 with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet.
—Exodus 30:17 – 19
But newly minted priests, those just beginning their service, had to be washed entirely. In other words, that initial washing at the laver was their immersion.
1 This is the ceremony you must follow when you consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests:
Jumping down to verse 4 we read:
4 Present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water.
Of course, this necessary washing, or full immersion for new priests, was made easier when Solomon, under Yah’s direction, built an official temple with a much larger bronze laver dubbed the “Sea” in 1 Kings:
23 Then Hiram cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1/2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference.
—1 Kings 7:23
This requirement in the law, this necessary washing, or full immersion, is the reason for a very important exchange between John the Immerser and Yeshua:
13 Then Yeshua came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be immersed by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be immersed by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Yeshua answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
—Matthew 3:13 – 15
In this case, John stood in the place of Moses while Yeshua represented the office of Aaron:
4 So Moses followed Yah’s instructions, and the whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. 5 Moses announced to them, “This is what Yah has commanded us to do!” 6 Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.
—Leviticus 8:4 – 6
This is the very thing John and Yeshua accomplished in the Jordan River. The root word used in all the verses that speak of immersion is word G907, baptizó, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines in the second sense as: to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water. And this in fulfillment of the very law laid down in Exodus 29 and similar passages. In other words, immersion is a priestly ceremony. One has to first understand that little fact before being able to grasp the importance and true representation of this ceremonial act, particularly in its highest spiritual sense.
Reaching down to verse 12 of Leviticus 8 we also see that Moses anointed the priests with oil, as instructed in Exodus 29:7:
12 Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him pure for his work.
This is why we see the Spirit of Yah, which is represented by anointing oil, descending like a dove to anoint Yeshua following his immersion.
Now, if you study Yeshua’s life, you’ll note that he entered his priestly service in a specific order, based on the instructions of the priestly ordination itself. First the priest is to be washed and set apart for service by someone raised up by Yah to do so, such as Moses; this involves the laver (or bronze basin), which Yeshua fulfilled by being immersed in the Jordan River by the Prophet John, whom Yah raised up, according to John 1:6:
6 There was a man sent from Elohim, whose name was John.
After being washed in the laver, the equivalent of immersion, the new priest was commanded to remain at the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days and nights, as recorded in Leviticus 8:35. After completing that test, he could then perform sacrifices on the altar, as we see in Leviticus 9. In the same way, Yeshua was first immersed, tested, and then he later sacrificed himself on the spiritual altar, in keeping with the order of ordination for the priestly service. When work at the courtyard altar is done, the priest then moves to the first apartment of the Tabernacle, or Pure Place, where the lampstand and Bread of the Presence reside.
22 After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. 23 Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle. . . .
—Leviticus 9:22 – 23
After Yeshua resurrected and ascended, the emissary John, as recorded in the book of Revelation, sees Yeshua in vision standing among the lampstands in the first apartment of the true temple in heaven.
12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.
—Revelation 1:12 – 13
Finally, any newly minted high priest must eventually enter the Most Pure Place, where the ark of the covenant resides, and he must officiate there. In the same way, in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, John, in vision, gives us a view of the Most Pure Place in heaven, where we see the Most High seated on his throne being worshipped, while a Lamb, who is Yeshua, steps before his throne. So Yeshua, in life, death, resurrection, and ascension, goes through all the temple stages of the priesthood ordination, from the laver experience in the Jordan River all the way to the Most Pure Place of the temple as High Priest.
These are the stages we as believers must follow also, in the truest spiritual sense, as a kingdom of priests to Yah and his Son. First, we are to be immersed. However, there are two kinds of immersion to consider: a spiritual one, and a physical one. Many will argue for and against a physical water immersion, whether it is necessary in this present day. Yet, there are many, many examples of water immersion prior to, during, and following Yeshua’s own immersion, which are all examples for us. Of course, water immersion in and of itself will not guarantee entrance into the Kingdom. For water immersion, like many ceremonial acts found in Scripture, is merely a shadow that points to a true spiritual representation, or substance, in this case the true immersion that comes from Yeshua, as promised in the following passage:
32 Then John testified, “I saw the Ruach descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when Elohim sent me to immerse with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will immerse with the Ruach.’ ”
—John 1:32 – 33
So, Yeshua immerses with the Ruach, not water, and the realization of that event is prophesied in Isaiah 44.
1 “But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. 2 Yah who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one. 3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.
—Isaiah 44:1 – 3
Ezekiel 39 is a second witness to this event, and it even provides a timeframe for its final fulfilment:
25 “Therefore thus says Yah Elohim: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my pure name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my purity in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am Yah their Elohim, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares Yah Elohim.”
—Ezekiel 39:25 – 29
So, we see that this major spiritual immersion, this outpouring of the Ruach on Israelites, will take place when they are gathered from among their enemies. This is yet future. However, just as we commemorate shadow forms of feast days, the Sabbath, and other laws, water immersion is a shadow representation of the true spiritual substance we still await. Yeshua himself, when in the flesh, was immersed as an example to us, which means that being immersed in water—I mean the physical, flowing kind, like any river near you (as nothing else will do)—this will mark you as a follower of Yeshua himself, and a priest in his service in this life. Because, the moment you decide to serve and follow Yeshua, you in fact enlist yourself as a priest under him. This is the true purpose of the 12 Tribes of Israel: priesthood. However, when the time comes in your present walk, prior to being immersed by anyone, you have to ask a similar question to the one Yeshua asked in this little exchange with the chief priests and elders:
1 One day, as Yeshua was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the Good News, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up 2 and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”
3 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, 4 was the immersion of John from heaven or from man?”
5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8 And Yeshua said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
—Luke 20:1 – 8
As the first chapter of John clearly shows, John the Immerser was indeed given the authority to do what he did by Yah. It is incumbent on you, therefore, to know whether the person who is immersing you is doing so by the authority of Yah, or by their own authority. All the emissaries of Yeshua immersed by the authority of Yeshua, and John immersed by the authority of Yah, but many individuals today are performing immersions outside of the authority granted by the Father and his Son, which renders a physical immersion meaningless. And these men aren’t even true servants of Yah, as they neglect to live a Torah-centered life, much like the Pharisees and chief priests of old. Therefore, be circumspect and pray that Yah guides you in this matter.
That said, since this scripture study series focuses on the spiritual aspects and fulfillments of Torah, we will continue to cover the greater, spiritual immersion that comes from Yeshua. Now, immersing the remnant in the highest spiritual sense is the first thing Yah will do following the regathering of his chosen people. And this he will do through his Son, to whom he has given all authority (see Matthew 28:18). Yeshua will pour out the Ruach, or Spirit, on the remnant of Israel, just as he breathed the Ruach on his disciples in John 20:22, and poured out that same Spirit in Acts 2 and other like chapters, for it is in his power to do so. That is the first order of business. At the very end of this age, the remnant of Israel has to be immersed by the Ruach in order to be cleansed for their future work in the royal priesthood during the millennium reign, just as the Levitical priests had to be washed in the laver prior to beginning service as priests to Yah, as we explained earlier.
The process of priestly ordination, in other words, has not changed. According to Numbers 18, anyone who was not a priest had no right to enter the temple:
7 And you and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death.
Again, according to Torah, anyone who was not a priest would die upon entering the temple. But, as we’ve shown, the nation of Israel, that is, all 12 tribes, was to function as a kingdom of priests. This is explained in detail in our scripture study video titled A Kingdom of Priests. Yah’s original intent for Israel was to make them priests in his service, and that plan will ultimately see a grand fulfillment in the nation of Israel in the near future. Yah has spoken his purpose, and his word cannot come back void. The algorithm for this event is already in motion. In Exodus 19 we read:
3 Then Moses went up to Elohim, and Yah called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel. . . .”
That is, all 12 tribes:
4 “ ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
5 “ ‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a pure nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.’ ”
—Exodus 19:4 – 6
So, it was never intended for the tribe of Levi alone to serve as priests to Yah. Nor is that the intent now. All 12 tribes, once they begin to obey the voice of Yah and keep the covenant, will serve as priests, and all 12 tribes must go through the priestly ordination. That is part of the plan of redemption worked out in Yeshua’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension some 2,000 years ago. He came to correct and realign everything. The 12 tribes of Israel will in fact function as a kingdom of priests, and this is made evident by the 144,000, who are physical descendants of Jacob drawn from all 12 tribes, on whom the Spirit of Yah will be outpoured, as promised in Ezekiel 39:29.
And remember, only priests are allowed in the temple, especially in the second apartment, the Most Pure Place, where Yah himself dwells.
Now let’s consider Revelation 15:2, where the redeemed are standing on a sea of glass, victorious and bursting out in songs of praise.
2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of Elohim in their hands.
Where does this place the redeemed? What exactly is this setting? Well, Revelation 4:6 tells you.
6 . . . and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
Before the Father’s throne is a sea of glass. This means the redeemed were standing near the Father’s throne, in the Most Pure Place of the temple in heaven. So, the redeemed will be taken to the real temple for a short time at some point in the future, as they must be presented as a wave sheaf from their particular harvest of souls. But appearing before the throne will complete their journey through all the stages of the priestly ordination of the temple priests, from the laver experience, being outpoured with the Ruach at the end of this age, going through the altar experience of sacrificing their old selves and being born renewed in spirit and mind as perfect beings who keep Yah’s law in accordance with Ezekiel 36:24 – 28, and, finally, entering the physical temple to appear before Yah in the Most Pure Place, just as Yeshua did.
Now, while this priesthood begins with a remnant of the actual, bloodline descendants of Jacob from all 12 tribes, it doesn’t end there. We have shown what Yah intends to do for this world in several videos, including The Economy of Yah and Bring on the New World Order! Revelation chapter 7 gives us quite a clear picture in fact. Verses 1 – 8 are an introduction to the last days remnant who will form the Kingdom: the 144,000. But beginning at verse 9 we get a different company; a much larger one.
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and people and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our Elohim who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
—Revelation 7:9 – 10
By definition, seeing they hail “from every nation, from all the tribes and people and languages,” these are in fact redeemed Gentiles. But something very interesting is said of them.
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “Therefore they are before the throne of Elohim, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.”
—Revelation 7:13 – 15
We are told that they too will eventually stand before the throne of Yah, serving him day and night in his temple. What does this mean? Well, it could only mean one thing. Redeemed Gentiles will also become priests as part of the world empire of Israel. This is unmistakable. Scripture actually confirms this. Describing in detail the future layout of the Promised Land, the book of Ezekiel records the following:
21 “Divide the land within these boundaries among the tribes of Israel. 22 Distribute the land as an allotment for yourselves and for the foreigners who have joined you and are raising their families among you. They will be like native-born Israelites to you and will receive an allotment among the tribes. 23 These foreigners are to be given land within the territory of the tribe with whom they now live. I, the Sovereign Yah, have spoken!
—Ezekiel 47:21 – 23
In short, redeemed Gentiles will eventually be folded into the nation of Israel as well, being counted among all 12 tribes as priests themselves. But, that will only happen after the nation of true Israel is truly established again, which occurs after Yah gathers the scattered Hebrews from the four corners of the earth. This is in fact what the millennial work will be about: training Gentile nations to become priests to Yah as well, which is necessary in order for them to join a kingdom of priests. So, the cycle of priestly ordination will equally apply to them, and that cycle begins at the laver. With hope, we look forward to completing this important cycle, for only the true and faithful servants of Yah, both Hebrew and Gentile, will be considered for this special priesthood. Being born a Hebrew alone does not automatically qualify you, nor does being born a Gentile automatically exclude you. It’s all about fully obeying Yah and keeping his covenant. And with that, I say, shalom.
Keywords: spirit of the law, letter of the law, Levitical priesthood, Melchizedek priesthood, covenant law, baptize, baptism, immersion, John the Baptist, John the Immerser, like a dove, laver, bronze basin, bronze sea, Gentiles, great multitude, 144000, redeemed, kingdom of priests, kings and priests