Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the laver of bronze described in 30:17-21. We may not realize how important the laver is. But it is crucial that we discover the significance of this item.
According to the record in Exodus, the laver comes immediately after the propitiation silver, and the propitiation silver comes after the incense altar. It is interesting to see that the incense altar is overlaid with gold, that the half-shekel of the propitiation money was silver, and that the laver is of bronze. Here we have three metals: gold, silver, and bronze. The silver and the bronze are for the gold. We go from bronze to silver and from silver to gold.
Here in Exodus 30 there is no mention of iron. But in the description of the great image in Daniel 2, we have gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay. The image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream had a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay (Dan. 2:32-33). With God’s building, with His testimony, there are gold, silver and bronze; however, there is neither iron nor clay. The lowest of the metals in the building is bronze.
We need to be impressed with the gold, the silver, and the bronze in Exodus 30. Surely these metals go together. In Exodus 30 first we have the incense altar overlaid with gold, then a heap of silver pieces, and then a laver made of bronze.
It is easy to study the typology in chapter thirty of Exodus, but a great deal of experience is required in order to understand it and apply it. First, we need to touch the spirit of the writer. In matters of typology this is not easy to do. Second, we need sufficient experience in order to interpret the types. Certainly the types of the bronze, silver, and gold in Exodus 30 are related to one another.
The incense altar is for intercession, and intercession is for God’s move, God’s operation. What makes it possible for God’s testimony, the ark, and also for the entire tabernacle, God’s dwelling place, to move on earth? How can Christ as God’s testimony and the church as God’s dwelling place move on earth? The ark and the tabernacle, Christ and the church, move by means of the army.
The tabernacle is God’s dwelling place. Viewed from the standpoint of a dwelling place, the tabernacle is God’s dwelling. But viewed from another perspective, the tabernacle is a camp related to an army. In the books of Exodus and Numbers we see the camps of God’s army. These camps are for fighting. The tabernacle is the central camp, and around the tabernacle the twelve tribes of Israel were formed as camps. Therefore, the twelve tribes camped around the camp of Jehovah, the tabernacle. When the children of Israel traveled, six camps went ahead of the camp of Jehovah, and six camps followed it.
The incense altar is for God’s move, and God moves by the army. But how can the army be formed? The army is formed by drafting the eligible ones. Today in different countries there is a military draft. When young men reach a certain age, they are drafted into an army. Hence, to be eligible for the draft into the army depends on growth. A little child cannot be drafted to serve in the army. Rather, a child needs to be fed, nourished, and cared for. If someone is to be drafted into the army, he must first reach the minimum age. As we have seen, the minimum age in Exodus 30 was twenty. All the males twenty years of age and upward were numbered and had to pay the half-shekel of the propitiation silver. This census and payment of the propitiation silver were for God’s move.
The propitiation silver was also for God’s building. The one hundred sockets for the pillars of the tabernacle were made of the propitiation silver. The crowns of the pillars, the hooks, and the fillets were also made of this silver. This indicates that the propitiation silver was for the building of God’s dwelling place. The males aged twenty and upward paid the propitiation silver and were drafted to form the army to fight for God’s move. But the half-shekel paid was for God’s building. Whoever was qualified and paid the half-shekel could be in the army to fight for the move of God’s testimony on earth. Therefore, both the incense altar and the propitiation silver were for God’s move.
The laver is for the tabernacle’s operation. In the outer court there were the altar and the laver; in the Holy Place, the table, the lampstand, and the incense altar; and in the Holy of Holies, the ark. Without the army, the tabernacle could not move. But without the laver, nothing in the tabernacle or in the outer court could operate. For the operation of the tabernacle it was necessary for sacrifices to be offered at the altar. These sacrifices included the burnt offering, meal offering, peace offering, sin offering, and trespass offering. Unless these offerings were offered to God, there would be no way for the tabernacle to operate. It was also necessary for the priests to come into the Holy Place to arrange the bread on the table and trim the lamps. It was also necessary for them to intercede at the incense altar. All this is involved in the operation of the tabernacle. Whenever the priests were to come to the altar to offer something to God or were to come into the tabernacle to serve, they first had to go to the laver to wash their hands. Unless the priests washed in the laver, there was no way for the tabernacle to operate. Without the army, the tabernacle and everything related to it would be at a standstill; it would have no way to move. But without the laver, the tabernacle would not be in operation. If the laver were removed from the outer court, everything else in the tabernacle and outer court would still be complete. However, there would not be any way for those things to operate.
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