“When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not.”
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
“If the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!”
2 Ne. 31:5
This page discusses the physical characteristics of the laver, please visit this link for a discussion of the symbolism.
The Laver is a vessel which contained water for the Priests to wash their hands and feet before ministering within the holy place or the altar of burnt offerings (Ex. 30:18-20). The location for this vessel is specified in Ex. 30:18. The entire vessel was made of brass, which came from the looking-glasses (i.e. mirrors) of the women of Israel, which they voluntarily gave when asked (see Ex. 38:8). There are no known dimensions for this vessel. My drawings and depictions of it are pure speculation, the meaning and symbolism of the laver however, can be found in the scriptures.
An ordinance can be defined as a permanent rule of action given by the Lord. There are several rules the Lord commanded which governed the use of this vessel.
- The laver had to be anointed with pure olive oil before it could be used (i.e. the anointing set it apart and made it holy)(Ex. 40:11, Lev. 8:11-12).
- The High Priest and priest had to wash their hands and feet in this vessel before they were permitted to minister at the altar of burnt offerings or before they could enter the holy place (Ex. 30:19-21, Ex. 40: 12, 31-32).
- The water from the laver was most likely used in association with the laws of the Sotah (see Num. 5:11-31).
- The laver could NOT be physically touched by anyone who was not a Priest or a High Priest (i.e. a direct male descendant of Aaron)(Num. 4:15).
- Before moving the laver (along with the rest of the vessels of the tabernacle) it had to be covered with a blue then a scarlet cloth by a Priest or the High Priest (Num. 4:15).
- Only the sons of Kohath, of the tribe of Levi could physically move the laver after it had been properly covered (Num. 4:15)
- The penalty for unauthorized contact with the table was physical death (Num. 1:51, Num. 4:15).