“Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.“
3 Nephi 27:20
The laver is a symbol of the ordinance of baptism. The ordinances, commandments, and restrictions surrounding this vessel are symbolic of the Lord’s commandment unto all His children, to make a covenant with Him through baptism. Jesus Christ was baptized by immersion in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. This page discusses the symbolism of the laver, please visit this link for a discussion of the physical characteristics.
The tabernacle is a visual representation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses governed the daily operations of the tabernacle and the purpose of this law was to bring us unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, every detail of this structure was designed to illustrate how a child of God can return to the presence of the Father.
“Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance prepare us for the ordinances of baptism and confirmation. An ordinance is a sacred ceremony or rite that shows that we have entered into a covenant with God.
God has always required His children to make covenants. A covenant is a binding and solemn agreement between God and man. God promises to bless us, and we promise to obey Him. God sets the terms of gospel covenants, which we either accept or reject. Keeping covenants brings blessings in this life and exaltation in the life to come.
Covenants place us under a strong obligation to honor our commitments to God. To keep our covenants, we must give up activities or interests that prevent us from honoring those covenants… By keeping the commandments and serving others we receive and retain a remission of our sins.
Jesus taught that we must be baptized by immersion for the remission, or forgiveness, of our sins. Baptism is an essential ordinance of salvation. No person can enter the kingdom of God without being baptized. Christ set the example for us by being baptized.” [Source]
To illustrate the universal requirement of baptism, I will equate the inner sanctuary (the Holy Place, and Most Holy Place) with the Kingdom of God. The Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, offer three witnesses of God’s commandment to be baptized as an essential requirement.
Before the High Priest and the Priests could enter the inner sanctuary (i.e. the Kingdom of God), they were required to wash with water in the laver. The penaltly for failure to observe this commandment was physical death.
“When they go into the [inner sanctuary], they shall wash with water, that they die not.” ~ Exodus 30:20
The physical death penalty is symbolic of the spiritual death penalty that will come upon anyone who believes they can approach the Father without first having been baptized. The penalty of spiritual death means being separated from God, his presence, kingdom and his righteousness. In other words, if you reject baptism, you will be damned or prevented from drawing closer to the Lord, as you are choosing to not follow the commandments of the Lord so as to draw closer to him.
In John chapter 3, we read an account of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching Nicodemus about baptism. The principle found in Ex. 30:20 is expounded upon through these teachings.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ~ John 3:1-6
The following video is a portrayal of this encounter:
Baptism by immersion is a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior. In a similar way, it represents the end of our old life of sin and a commitment to live a new life as a disciple of Christ. The Savior taught that baptism is a rebirth. When we are baptized we begin the process of being born again and become spiritual sons and daughters of Christ (see Mosiah 5:7-8; Romans 8:14-17). [Source]
Just as a person could not enter the inner sanctuary without first washing in the Laver, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God without first having been baptized. We cannot presume to enter the house of the Father on our terms, we can only enter on His terms.
Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
The Book of Mormon confirms the witness of the Bible that baptism is not optional if one desires the fullness of salvation. Why was Jesus Christ baptized? What did he mean when he said unto John that by being baptized they would fulfill all righteousness? The prophet Nephi gave the following instruction:
“And now, 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! And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that according to the flesh he humbleth himself unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.” ~ 2 Nephi 31:5-9
This video is a portrayal of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the authority given by God to perform the ordinance of baptism which enables all individuals to make a covenant with God. No other organization has the authority to administer this ordinance. If you have not been baptized by an authorized agent of the Lord, or if you have never been baptized, I invite you to follow the example of the Son of the Living God by being baptized.
“And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?” ~ 2 Nephi 31:10
You can make a covenant with God through baptism by going to this link, which will place you in contact with missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am willing to talk to you over the phone or in person about this as well if you desire. Contact me for more information.
Age of Accountability
Every individual must be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This requirement does not apply to children under the age of accountability, which is eight years old (see D&C 68:27). All children that have died before the age of accountability will automatically inherit eternal life thanks to Jesus Christ.
“And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!” ~ Moroni 8:11-12