BRAZEN BELIEVERS – Heaven Meets Earth – Part 2 (Selfless Love)

Snow

First Corinthians 10:11 tells us: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” What things? Passing through the Red Sea, eating manna, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Egypt, which is spoken of throughout the Old Testament, especially the first five books of the Bible. Yeshua (i.e. Jesus) and His disciples taught from the Old Testament and so did Paul. If it’s good enough for Yeshua, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul, it’s good enough for the followers of Yeshua too.

BRAZEN LAVER

The priests washed their hands and feet in the Temple Laver before they entered the tent where they met God. “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.” (Exodus 30:18 NASB). Many Christian Bibles call the Temple Laver the Bronze Laver. This is a misnomer, for it was actually made of copper.

Laver - BrentKington

The copper laver was an open circular basin that was set upon a copper base. The Hebrew Sage Rashi[1] said it had two spouts at the bottom through which the water would flow[2] keeping it from becoming stagnant. In the Hebrew language the term “for washing” carries the idea that the laver was “for sanctification;”[3] therefore the actual purpose for the priests washing their hands and feet was for holiness and sanctity rather than cleanliness (Exod. 30:17-21).

The hands and feet represent the upper and lower extremities of the human body. By sanctifying their appendages, it was symbolic of the servants of the Lord’s total devotion to the service they were engaged in. It set apart their acts as righteous.

Hands & Feet

A most literal picture of this is presented to us in Exodus 30:19. The Hebrew Sage Or HaChaim said that the conjunction in the phrase “their hands together with their feet” (Exod. 30:19) indicated that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time.[4] Consequently, the right hand was placed on the priest’s right foot and washed together at the same time, followed by his left hand together with his left foot. Concentration and balance were key to accomplishing this hand-foot sanctification feat. Try it some time in your bathtub.  I had the kids in my Children’s Church class try to do this by simply standing next to their chairs. It was a lot more difficult than they thought and funny too. It’s quite the image of proper service to God requires all of a body’s faculties, and those faculties must be directed toward the same goal.[5]

The laver was not made of copper from the regular contributions. The laver was made exclusively from the brightly polished sheets of copper that women used as mirrors in Egypt (Exod. 38:8).[6] When the call went out for freewill contributions, devout women, who used to come to Moses’ tent to sit at his feet like Mary did with Jesus,[7] came with their copper mirrors and piled them up at Moses’ dwelling, which was the God’s dwelling place prior to the tent of meeting being built (Exod. 33:7). Moses was said to be reluctant to accept such gifts for the tabernacle due to his initial thinking that the mirrors had been used to incite lust.

Copper Mirror

The story goes that God told Moses that he was wrong, because these very mirrors had been instrumental in saving the nation. In Egypt, when the men came home exhausted every night from heavy labors, their wives used these mirrors to get all dolled up to entice their husbands to continue normal martial relations. Thanks to these brightly, polished copper mirrors, legions of Jewish children were born. God not only told Moses to accept these precious mirrors, but they were to be used exclusively to fabricate the laver. The Bible doesn’t give the specific size of the laver due to that fact that every single mirror had to go into fashioning it, no matter how big it would become – so sacred were those mirrors. [8], [9] Of note, these devout women could no longer gaze upon themselves with any vanity, because they had to fix their eyes upon the laver to see themselves. The laver represents bridal lovers fixing their eyes upon the Author and Perfecter of their faith (Heb. 12:2).

The extreme reach of the body of Christ should be set apart for a sacred purpose. The farthest boundary of the One New Man in Christ should be free from sin due to our special tie (i.e. connected relationship) with Yeshua. The word “tie” is from a Greek verb, which means “to bind.” It has many nuances. We can think of the concept of being restrained by authority, influence, agreement, or obligation. We can also think of a special tie that binds people together romantically. A marital tie binds two people together physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Ring - bride-groom-through-ring-2

If our lives yield to the Lord of Love and His sacred purposes, then we will not be tied hand and foot to be thrown out of the wedding feast (Matt. 22:1-13). I sought My Love about what it means that one of his friends would be cast outside for not having the proper clothing, and I believe that He told me: Once the friend saw the glory of the wedding feast, “outside” the feast would appear as darkness for he or she would weep at glimpsing, yet not being able to partake of the marriage feast. It is noteworthy that this place outside the wedding feast is also assigned to hypocrites – where people’s actions don’t line up with their words (Matt. 24:51).

Gibbs_sepia by colleenhoggcom

SELFLESS LOVE

The priests of old washing their hands and feet in the laver before entering the tent of meeting represents purity of what they did and where they went — obedience. Obedience in our actions is a symptom of the condition of our hearts. God cleans our hearts through confession of sin. “If we confess our sins, then He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It is interesting to note that the Brazen Laver in Exodus was put between the tent of meeting and the bronze altar. We must first accept that Yeshua died for our sins before we can request to be cleaned up (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11).

In fact, our cleanliness, our right standing before God, is that Father God sees Yeshua not us. Yeshua basically runs interference for us. He is our covering before Father to the dismay of the Accuser. Believers have their own part to play.  Remember there needs to be relationship, or some say agreement, between heaven and earth, God and man.  Looking at 2 Chronicles 7:14 we see that God’s people have requirements for cleansing (i.e. healing). “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Ear - Sound

First, believers are to admit the truth, which immediately leads to humble position. “I fall short. I’ve sinned. I can’t do it on my own.” C. S. Lewis is quoted to have said: Pride is the national religion of hell. Spirit inspired prayer will follow as a natural reaction to godly humility. Second, our spirit-led prayer results in greater intimacy with God. God says in Matthew 7:7 that if you continually seek Me, you will find Me. Third, believers are not just supposed to confess their sin; they are called to turn from their sin in repentance. This is not just an outward turning from sin, but a conscious shift from self to God.  Once these three conditions are met, God then hears the people’s prayer request(s) and cleanses the land from sin. Land can either be the physical ground or people.

Please stick with me as I re-iterate probably the most significant concept connected to the Brazen Laver. In the Old Testament, God gives us a picture in how the Mosaic purification vessel (i.e., laver) was made. “Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (Exo 38:8).  These women served at the point of entry into the tabernacle where there was a screen separating those who could come into the tabernacle from those who could not. The screen’s material was hung upon five pillars.  Five has the spiritual meaning of grace. We can only come into God’s tabernacle by grace (Eph 2:8-9).

GraceAmazing

I believe the mirrors of the serving women represent earthly vanity. They could no longer look at themselves in their own mirrors. These women could no longer look at the temporal, material things when their copper mirrors were melted. They had to look at the laver to see themselves. These women had to look into the mirror of truth, Yeshua, which is a picture of Him purifying them through His shed blood. Their ability to look at self was taken away. They died to self, which is true humility.

All believers are called to die daily to self through the work of the Holy Spirit to be instruments of God. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20).

tabernacle-full-6

One other thing I’d like to zero in on is that these were serving women. These women serving at the doorway of the tent of meeting helped people to enter in and meet God.  We enter in and meet God through Yeshua — the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are all called to serve God by loving our fellow man and by pointing them to the cross. Christian service is always initiated by divine love, which overflows from our hearts when we commune with the Lord.  In fact, the only distinguishing characteristic Yeshua gave His disciples which set them apart is “all men shall know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

I believe the first New Testament saints to personify servanthood through love were the women who followed and ministered to Yeshua. Service based on divine love was the hallmark of these godly women. They waited on Yeshua, and I believe, his disciples at every turn during His three years of ministry.  These women had seen and experienced Yeshua’s deliverance from evil spirits and sicknesses. Yeshua knew/knows love is an action as well as a wonderful feeling.  In fact, the Hebrew Word picture for love ahav tells us that love is what the Father’s heart revealed.[10]

Help Heroes

We, as Christians, are bondservants of Christ called to serve God and His people. I have yet to find in Scripture where Jesus asked these women for anything.  Do you think they intuitively knew Jesus’ needs and desires?  I do.  Do you think they studied his likes and dislikes?  I do.  I stumbled upon Gene Edward’s book The Divine Romance after I got this picture of service based upon divine love.  Listen to the heart of our Father through Edward’s eloquent words:

four-women-walking-in-a-line-holding-hands

“About twenty men and four women accompanied wherever he traveled. From the day of her deliverance, she did not ask, she simply became part of that little band of followers.  Wherever he went, she went, and poured out her whole love and her whole life on him. In the earliest hours of the morning she could be found preparing his breakfast.  When he sat down to teach, she was there, at his feet.  When he departed, she departed with him. When those twenty men asked too much of him, she quietly, firmly, protested. She washed his feet, served his meals, cared for his clothes, placed fruit beside his bed in the evening.  He who said of himself, “I am the living water,” always had cool water to drink – brought by her hands. When nights were cold, she made sure the house where he was guested would be warm.  In the hot, blistering sun of summer, she walked with the little band of followers, village to village, city to city – always following him.

Why such devotion?

Because she adored him.  Fervently, single-mindedly, she loved him. She was totally enamored, completely enraptured, and utterly in love with her Lord and Master. She was embarrassingly, unembarrassed about the matter.

Hands

The others eventually grew used to the sight of her single-minded adoration and her uninhibited out-pouring of affection, which continued unceasingly from dawn to the last  light of night.

They even learned from her. Oh, they all professed a love for him that was equal to hers.  But they spoke of overthrowing Rome, of abolishing the present Hebrew state, of setting up a spectacular throne, of avenging the vicious rumors that seemed always to be spread about concerning the Lord.  They dreamed of wielding both political and spiritual power, of casting out demons, of throwing Caesar into a dungeon and Satan into a burning pit.  They professed love, but talked power and fame.  Little by little they changed. As months turned to years, they spoke less of conquest and got down to the business of loving their God.

Bride - Groom ConfettiThe most amazing thing of all was this: He responded. He poured out love in return.  It seemed a little odd, the Son of God, caring, affectionate, loving, and returning love … so profoundly, so totally.  That God might love, with such ardor, was simply something that had never occurred to them.  Nor could they quite understand why they found it so difficult to express love toward him.  Her mother before her had failed at this same simple matter for centuries, but now, before all eyes, this simple girl was unfolding the highest order of the universe.  To love her God.

Watching her, they learned. For though she expressed her love in service and care, she expressed her love more in eyes, in heart, in soul, and in the fervor and passion of her whole being.  No abstraction, this love.  An unnerving thing this.  Unwavering, day after day, with total abandon loving him.  You saw it in her eyes, in her kneeling, in moments of praise and rejoicing, and when she looked into his face – which was almost always.[11]

MaryMagdaleneTombstoneRolledAway

This incredible woman deeply moved Yeshua to weep right before He rose her brother Lazarus from the dead (John 11: 32-35). Her name was Mary Magdalene. Her place was at Jesus’ feet. It is written that she chose the better part by sitting at Yeshua’s feet and listening attentively to every word that proceeded from His mouth (Luke 10:38-42).  There is some controversy over who Mary Magdalene actually was. I believe that she was the woman with a past where Scripture testifies that Jesus cast out seven demons from her (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9), but I am open to correction, if proven otherwise. The Pharisees recognized her as an immoral woman (a brazen hussy), but Jesus saw her as a Brazen Believer after he had saved, healed and delivered her out of darkness into God’s glorious light.

Remember that I discussed the redemptive qualities of “brazen,” which includes contemptuous boldness — a state of being despised but being bold anyway. Can you imagine being publicly known as a harlot and being so bold as to enter a man’s house that had the authority to stone you to death? Why would she risk it? Only one thing could make her throw caution to the wind. Her beloved Savior and Deliverer, Yeshua, was in that Pharisee’s house. But, so were a houseful of legalistic men, who were probably among those who used and abused her. Now kick it up a notch due to the self-righteous, disapproving accusations over her “wasting” a year’s wages that could have gone to the poor when she poured out the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. She was definitely despised by this company of Pharisees, after all, they were the ones “worthy” of Jesus’ time and attention. If wetting Jesus’ feet with tears, wiping them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with expensive perfume isn’t bold in the face of a bunch of the eyes full of daggers, I don’t know what is!

MaryMagdaleneDaVinci

The quintessential example of a Brazen Believer is Mary Magdalene. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that she would be known forever as the one who anointed Him for His burial (John 12:7) as well as being the one who loved much because she had been forgiven much (Luke 7:40-43).

Mary Magdalene’s unwavering devotion led her to closely follow Jesus through His life, death, burial and resurrection. Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother and the Apostle John were the first to typify “the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev 14:4). For example: [1] Mary Magdalene was among the small group to personally experience the agony, and thus, share in Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt 27:56). [2] Having moved Jesus to tears, it was Mary Magdalene turn to be deeply moved to weep as she watch Jesus’ dead body be placed in Joseph of Arimathen’s tomb (Matt 27:57-61). [3] Her and “the other Mary” were the first to return after Yeshua’s burial with the purpose of taking care of His body (Matt 28:1-10) to only witness the glorious appearance of an angel who rolled away the stone. While the guards shook with fear and became like dead men, the two Marys received an angelic message: “Do not be afraid; for I know you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matt 28:56). All of this is amazing, but take another gigantic leap because this devoted heart — Brazen Believer — was the first person to see Jesus alive after His resurrection (Mark 16:9). Scripture tells us that she clung to Jesus when she saw Him (John 20:17). Can you imagine?!

Hands Blue Glowing

The women following Jesus were so in love with their Lord and Savior that their acts of service were second nature.  Yeshua walked with the anointing of the Spirit on earth.  I feel that these women through their love and devotion to Christ tapped into that same Spirit to meet every need and desire prompted of God.  It seemed that the only other group besides the disciples, which were consistently closest to Jesus on earth, was the women who followed Him. These women were consistently meeting the needs and desires for all who Yeshua put on their hearts.  Their hearts overflowed with so much love for Jesus that they wanted and yearned to do anything and everything He asked or simply desired.

Before we move on, let’s re-emphasize that the Brazen Altar and Laver speaks of those made in God’s image keeping the priority of divine intimacy over and above anything else. Yes. We are called to do good works. In fact, if we do what Jesus did, we glorify the Father on earth by accomplishing the work that He gives us to do (John 17:4). This being said, please remember that Jesus did nothing unless He was given orders from His heavenly headquarters first (John 5:19). Even Jesus sequestered Himself away from the crowds and His friends to spend one-on-one time with His heavenly Father to see what He was doing.

jesus-praying1

We must take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23-25) to die to our own self-will in order that we can operate in heaven’s flawless will. There is a place where we will perfectly align with the flow of His extravagant Spirit as well as His faithful Word to such a degree that we will completely abide in Christ where the love of God is truly perfected within God’s Kingdom that’s within you and I. This is how Yeshua made His Father’s name known to men (John 17:6), and it’s something we need to emulate.

The Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver were Old Testament pictures of the New Testament fulfillment of Jesus.  While here on earth, Yeshua was 100% God and 100% man. Yeshua walking the earth in bodily form is the perfect picture of heaven and earth agreeing to accomplish all that the Father had sent him to do. The earthly body needs to line up with its head — the Messiah. The Greek word for head is kephale meaning that from which everything proceeds.

Laver_Brazen


[1] Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, c. 1040-1105).

[2] Scherman, The Chumash, 486.

[3] Harris, Harris, Archer, and Waltke; Theological Word book of the Old Testament: “2150 רָחַץ (rāḥaṣwash. With Times New Roman the transliteration might be more like: rachats. Derivatives 2150a רַחַץ (raḥaṣwashing (Ps 60:10; 108:10). 2150b רַחצָה (raḥṣâwashing (Song 4:2; 6:6). The initial occurrence is Gen 18:4, with over forty-eight occurrences in the Pentateuch, twenty-six in Lev. Among the parts of the body ritually rinsed were: the face (Gen 43:31); the hands (Ex 30:19, 21); the body (Lev 17:16); the feet (Gen 18:4ff). In the Levitical rituals the flesh of sacrificial animals was washed (Lev 1:9 et al.). This washing would normally take a great deal of water and perhaps suggests that Solomon’s great brazen sea was used as a reservoir for such water as well as for other rituals. Several interesting uses of the term appear in Song of Solomon giving details on Israelite cosmetology. The root rāḥaṣ describes the ritual foot washing (5:3) and an eye washing with milk (5:12). A similar usage of washing for romantic appeal appears in Ruth 3:3. But the much more serious use of the root is reserved for the notion of its representing the cleansing from sin (Isa 1:16; 4:4). It is this meaning which is carried throughout Ezek. (16:4, 9; 23:40) and on into the nt in the baptism of John and of Jesus. The nt has a number of references to the ot practices (Jon 2:6; Mt 15:2; Heb 9:10 etc.)”

[4] Scherman, The Chumash, 487: “Together with their feet. The conjunction ta, indicates that the hands and feet must be washed at the same time (Or HaChaim). Consequently, the Kohen places his right hand on his right foot and washes them, and then follows the same procedure with his left hand and foot (Rashi from Zevachim 19b). ”

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 527

[7] They prayed there and listened to the teachings of God.

[8] Scherman, The Chumash, From the mirrors of legions. 527.

[9] Exodus 38:30-31 lists the items made from copper from the regular freewill contribution: sockets of the entrance to the tent of meeting, the altar, the sockets of the courtyard all around, the sockets of the gate of the courtyard, all the pegs of the tabernacle, and all the pegs of the courtyard, all around. The laver is NOT included in this list; therefore it was not made with copper from the regular contributions but “from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting” (Exod. 38:8).

[10] Hebrew Word Pictures How does the Hebrew Alphabet Reveal Prophetic Truths  by Frank T. Seekins, p. 14

[11] Excerpt from The Divine Romance  by Gene Edwards

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