The Laver as Baptistry?

July 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Q&A | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Question: Does the washing and purification of the priests in the laver of the Old Testament Tabernacle have any significance for the New Testament ordinance of baptism?

Answer: The Tabernacle laver (made of bronze) is first mentioned in Exodus 30:18. The priests were required to use it to wash both their hands and feet every time they went from the courtyard into the Most Holy Place – upon penalty of death. Its primary function was practical: sanitary hygiene. Many of the priests handled raw meat and bloody flesh. Although “germs” weren’t common knowledge in those days, God certainly knew about their relation to disease, and many of His laws protected the people from things like Hepatitis A (which is easily spread by the failure to wash hands when dealing with shared food preparation) without their knowledge. However, the laver also had a symbolic function. Most people know the expression “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” While this expression is not precisely from the Bible, it does express the idea that holiness is associated with purity. The idea that people would approach the presence of the holy God with dirty hands and feet would be offensive as a reminder of how wrong it would be for sinful people to approach a pure and righteous God. When gentiles would convert to Judaism in the Old Testament, they would be baptized as a symbol of washing away their sin and “uncleanliness.” New Testament baptism is different, though. For Christians, our sin was borne and expiated by Jesus on the Cross, and our baptism, which should be subsequent to conversion, symbolizes our identification with Christ in His death (going down into the water), burial (being under the water), and Resurrection (coming up out of the water).

How Many Sermons about Purity Do Boys Need to Hear?

July 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve been in or around much church “youth group” type ministry, you’ve probably heard these types of sniveling complaints once or twice from junior high or high school age boys:
I’m tired of hearing about ‘purity’ all the time.
I’m tired of being told that I’m a monster that only thinks about sex.
Why don’t they preach to the girls instead? It’s their fault for being immodest.

So, do they have a point? Is there overkill going on when it comes to preaching about purity? Where would we look in the Bible to find out the right emphasis to place on the issue of avoiding sexual immorality for boys? I think Proverbs Chapters 5 – 7 would be a good place to start. Proverbs 5 starts off with a father imparting wisdom to his son. And what is the very first thing he addresses? The temptation and danger of sexual immorality. In Chapter 6 the father admonishes the son about the trap of laziness (vv.6-11), and stresses the importance of remaining focused on God’s Word (vv.20-23). But focused on God’s Word as a remedy against what? Sexual immorality (vv.24-35)! What about this kid’s self-esteem? What about his pride and honor and dignity? Why does his dad have to keep harping on the danger of sexual lust and temptation? Surely that’s enough! Not quite. Chapter 7 is a detailed and provocative account of the jeopardy that lurks for “youths” and “young men” who are “void of understanding.”

Now, that’s three whole chapters of God’s Word specifically aimed at boys, forcefully and repeatedly telling them what the Bible frequently makes clear:

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

II Timothy 2:22

Now, someone might object and say that the chapters in Proverbs are a father’s instructions to a son, not a youth pastor’s or conference speaker’s sermons to other men’s sons. In response, I would say, if you are a father who Biblically teaches his son in the way outlined in Proverbs, good for you. I’m no huge fan of youth group ministry. Take your boy out of there and take the full responsibility for this type of teaching on yourself. But if you decide you want him in there, he needs to keep his mouth shut when the youth teacher or pastor is instructing the other boys whose fathers aren’t doing such a stellar job.

If you are a youth group aged boy, and you have been taught that immodesty on the part of women and girls is the real source of your sin, you need to go back to the Bible and think again. Nobody in his or right right mind would deny that one of the reasons for modesty among females is to assist men in avoiding temptation, but that is by no means an excuse for your own lust. And if you don’t like being told that – in your flesh, apart from Christ – you are a monster and a sexual deviant at heart, too bad. That’s what the Bible says you are.

I recently saw a post by a boy who complained that he had grown up in church and youth group and had heard untold numbers of sermons about purity. He said there was “one good one” out all those, and that was all he needed. Such a statement highlights the self-centeredness which lurks in the human heart. For how are preachers and Bible teachers, who preach countless messages to countless boys over the years, supposed to discern which one is the “right one” that does the trick? The Bible is where we learn what is to be preached, re-preached, and emphasized. Until you come up with a Bible reason as to why boys should not be told the truth about lust, temptation, and sexual immorality, keep your ears open, your mouth shut, your eyes guarded, and your pants on.


Entries and comments feeds.