At the Altar, God becomes “El-Mekaodishkem”, the one who sets apart, cleanses our sins, and redeems us by blood.
After the “Way of Reconciliation”, the Brazen Altar, the next step was the “way of separation” the Brazen “Laver” made out of brass or copper shine to sheen served as a mirror reflecting upon your past and revealing your present.
The Brazen Altar was for the penalty of sin which was death – a total separation from the Living God. At this stage you were still considered “un-clean” in that you needed to be washed (Baptized, Cleansed) by the “washing” of the Word). “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean everywhere.” (John 13:10)
At Calvary’s Cross, the two events first being the Altar, and second the Laver, merged into one main event as the Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side, both blood and water emerged from Emmanuel’s body to “pay the price of judgment” (death), washing and cleaning us all from sin.
John 15:3, “Now you are clean through the Word…”
These three steps were for the preparation that would allow man to enter into the presence of the Holy one.
1. Straight Gate
2. The Brazen Altar
3. The Brazen Laver
The Laver Altar was symbolic of God’s spirit of “peace” – “El-Shalom”, the place where God brings inner peace and harmony and a place where God “makes peace” with man. Now that our sin has been properly dealt, washed away, separated and sanctified, all in the past looking into The Brass/Copper Laver (serves as a mirror) you see who you are in Christ. Now you can position yourself into the “Holy Place” with God. After you experience the revelation of who you are in Christ, you are now entering the place of witness leaving the sanctity of the outer court. You are now entering a place or the way of illumination, the first of stages for entering the sanctuaries or Holy places of God. These are just the beginnings of intimacies, a secure place with God. The “Golden Candlesticks” represent that God is light and no darkness resides in Him. John 8:12 “I am the light of the World; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness….”
Light is one of the Bibles most complex symbols, without light one could not find his way. More importantly God is the “source” of light and without His illumination all would be “lost”. He and He alone is the “giver-author” of “revelation and information”. Without Him, we could never see or know or find our “way” to His salvation. The seven candlesticks reveal the seven spirits (ways) of God. Here, God reveals himself as: “El-Nissi” (Light against Darkness).
The Priest at this point precedes “The Table of Shrew Bread” the “way” of provision. John 6:35 “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger…” Thus revealing one of the many characters of God, “Jehovah Jireh”, The God who provides; the one who sustains His people with natural and spiritual provisions.
The way of intercession is at the “Altar of Incense” Heb. 13:15 “….let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” This is the place where we have the intimacy to speak with God to actually commune with Him on a personal basis (prayer). At this place, the “Altar of Incense”, was a crucial point in the step towards reconciliation and intimacy.
On the Day of Atonement the horns on the Incense Altar were sprinkled with the blood of the sin offering. The Lord required the special incense be burned “constantly” on the altar. The mixture of the spices was to be used precisely for this occasion only. Any deviation of this recipe was to prove deadly! Lev 10:1-2, It was called “strange fire”.
This action demonstrates the precision of God.
Any procedure to worship God outside of His border may prove to be contemptuous. One can not come to God on his own terms. To worship God any other way would be “Idolatry”. Intimacy with God is “sacred”, He does not take this issue lightly. We should be very careful in our approach to Him. God does not receive just “anything” or “anyway”, God is exclusive! Here, God expresses Himself as “El-Tsidkenu” (The Lord of Righteousness).
If the Priest was able to make it through the “gauntlet” (the steps and procedures) unscaved, he could now “pass” through the “veil” entering the other side where the Almighty Himself resides. The Veil represented a barrier between God and man.
If you want to view this barrier in a purely theological manner, man was the one who built the veil that separated man from God……..Another discussion for another time…
Later on, the “veil” was tore from top to bottom when Jesus died, allowing every man the privilege to enter into the very presence of God. Man may have constructed the “veil” but God rent it in two. In this action, God exposed Himself as “El-Shammah”. God’s presence is not limited or contained in the Tabernacle or Temple. I Chor. 3:16 “…we are the temple of God.”
The entire focus of the Tabernacle was the “Ark”. This is what it is all about, to find the “Ark of Safety”, the covenant that God made with man. The place where the “final” sprinkling of blood on the “Mercy Seat” atoned for all sin’s of the world. This was the place and these were the events where God reached out to man and made it “possible” for humanity to “know” Him.
Finally, He has been revealed as “YHWH”. “I am who I am.”