Jesus is the Outer Courtyard

In this posting we will continue with our presentation of scripture taken from Exodus in an effort to learn more about the Tabernacle and how it foretold the coming of Jesus. 

Then you shall set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. And you shall set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. You shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen at the court gate. And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy. You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar. The altar shall be most holy. And you shall anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics. You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.

This scripture presents the objects found in the Tabernacle Courtyard, which is also referred to as simply the courtyard.  One must pass through the gate that is named “the way” when entering into the courtyard. The name of the gate is a direct correlation to the “I am the Way” proclamation of Jesus. The Altar of Burnt Offerings, which is also called the Brazen Altar, is the place that animal sacrifices were burned for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. The priests would first slaughter the animals and then place their carcass on the altar.  He would then sprinkle their blood on the objects of the Tabernacle to make them holy.

The Laver is also called the Brazen Laver and it is used as a holding place for water that is used in the priests cleansing, prior to their entering into ministry. The laver also had a mirror like quality to it that enabled the priest to see their reflection as they washed. They viewed this reflection as seeing themselves as God did. This was critical as they were preparing for ministry in the Holy Place where their readiness to move into a deeper relationship with God was critical.

Jesus is our Brazen Altar because His crucifixion was the sacrifice that achieved the forgiveness of our sins. It is through the shedding of His blood on the cross that He bore the punishment we rightly deserve. It is because of this sacrifice that we are able to regain our relationship with the Father.

Jesus is our Brazen Laver because we are cleansed in the waters of His words and deeds found in scripture. It is in comparing our words and actions to those of Jesus that we can clearly see our own faults and shortcomings. We therefore see ourselves as God does. In recognizing our faults we are empowered to change the nature of our hearts and therefore the nature of the person that we are. We become ready for ministry and a deeper relationship with God.