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The Tabernacle and the Court, Part 2:
The Partly-Enclosed Court and the Laver
In Part 1 of this series, it was shown that the first, lowest area of the Tabernacle-Court complex held the Altar of Burnt Offering. It symbolizes the first stage of the Gospel: the sacrifice of all of a discipleʼs fleshly appetites that are contrary to Godʼs Commandments. Only after such a commitment is made may the disciple proceed to the next level of the Way of Salvation, represented by –
2) The Partly-Enclosed Court and the Laver
Exodus 30:17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “You shall also make a Laver [Basin] of bronze…for washing. You shall put it between the Tabernacle of Meeting and the Altar [of Burnt Offering]. And you shall put water in it.”
1 Kings 6:3 The portico in front of the Temple-House was twenty cubits long across the breadth of the house and…ten cubits [wide] from the front of the House.
The portico that fronted Solomonʼs Temple-Sanctuary had no counterpart in the Mosaic Tabernacle. Such an open overhang would not have been practical in the latter structure, covered only with fabrics and skins, because such materials would have been too vulnerable to wind damage. Whereas the portico in Solomonʼs Temple was built of stone and lumber, and was buttressed by two massive pillars.
The Laver and the portico were both situated between the lower part of the Court (with its entrance and Altar) and the Sanctuary. In the body of Man, the area of the Laver and portico corresponds to the upper abdominal cavity, which is partly enclosed and protected by the lower ribs of the rib cage. Above the upper abdomen is the diaphragm, a strong, upwardly-vaulted muscle, which completely partitions the abdomen from the fully-enclosed chest cavity.
The upper abdomen contains organs that regulate the bodyʼs fluids, both the water (lymph) and the blood: kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen. These organs sit above, but are not partitioned from, the food-consuming intestines and the body-generating sex. Therefore, both sets of organs, upper and lower, reside in the same abdominal ʻcourt.ʼ
The function of the Laver was “for washing:”
30:18 “You shall also make a Laver…for washing. … 29:1 And this is what you shall do to [the priests] to hallow them… 4 Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting, and you shall wash them with water. 30:20 When they go into the Tabernacle of Meeting, or when they come near to the Altar to minister, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 …And it shall be a stature forever for them…”
Every priest of God had to be washed in water before being allowed into the Sanctuary, and before ministering in the Court at the Altar. This law was a representation of the second principle of the Gospel: water baptism. It is to immediately follow the commitment of a disciple to abandon (sacrifice) carnal ways.
The lower abdomen is concerned with matters of the flesh: food and drink and sex. The upper abdomen is concerned with water and blood. Bodily waters carry the emotions; blood carries the personʼs soul-lineage, that is, tribal descent:
Leviticus 17:11 The soul of the flesh [Heb. nephesh; Gr. psuchē] is in the blood.
Both the waters and the blood in Man are concerned with human relationships of all types. Relationships are therefore the realm and focus of the soul. In the broadest sense, this realm is “the world” – Greek kosmos: the orderly arrangement of affairs, i.e. of relationships. The problem is,
1 John 5:19 The whole kosmos/world lies in [under] the Evil One. 2:16 For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this kosmos/world, against the spiritual hosts of the wickedness in the heavenlies.
Our only solution to this problem is to
1 John 5:2 …love God and keep His Commandments. … 4 For all having been begotten of God overcome the world [i.e., the present order of affairs].
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The function of the organs of the Laver area of the body is to keep its waters and blood purified and wholesome. The kosmos/world is utterly polluted with sin and corruption. By keeping Godʼs Commandments, we can “escape the pollutions of the world.” 2 Peter 2:20
The Feast of Unleavened bread symbolizes these principles. This feast immediately follows the Passover sacrifice.
Exodus 12:19 “Seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel… 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all of your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.”
Jesus tells us what leaven signifies:
Matthew 16:5 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” … 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Leaven = doctrine. Most doctrine has been corrupted by worldliness. Therefore, the message of the second principle of the Gospel is this: those who come to Christ must be purged/washed/purified from all of their worldly beliefs and worldly soul-ties (relationships).
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
John 12:25 “The one loving* his soul will lose it, and the one hating his soul in this kosmos/world will keep it unto eternal life.” * Gr. phileō: ego-based affection.
For many people, this separation from impure worldly soul-ties is more difficult to accomplish than the sacrifice of fleshly lusts. (“Remember Lotʼs wife!”)
Summary of the Principles of the Court
Godʼs deliverance of Israel out of Egypt spiritually represented their deliverance from:
1) bondage to all evil desires of the flesh, and
2) worldly doctrine and worldly relationships.
Both of these are sins of the natural man. The Mosaic/Israelite Covenant, entered into at Mount Sinai, was limited to
1) the sacrifice of repentance,
2) external washing, and
3) a physical Tabernacle.
Greater spiritual gifts, such as the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the internal understanding of the Word, cannot be received by the natural man. Such gifts were reserved until Christʼs Covenant with His Church. They were granted in the third stage of the Gospel, and are represented by access to the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. No commoner/natural man was ever allowed to enter into the Tabernacle.
The next two blogs will describe some of the things represented by the two-part Sanctuary.