Skip to comments.The Molten Sea
Posted on 05/26/2018 12:04:31 PM PDT by pcottraux
The Molten Sea
By Philip Cottraux
Exodus 30:17-18: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. The laver was a brass tub outside the tabernacle between the altar and entrance. Like a perfect procession, a ram was sacrificed at the outer altar, then the priests would enter the outer court to the brazen altar to make the burnt offerings. But they had to wash the blood off first, dipping their hands in the water before going in. This was so serious that God warned death could strike any priest who entered His presence without being completely spotless (verses 19-20).
Pentecostals are unique in describing the three acts of grace: being saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. We consider Calvary the first step in the Christian walk. We place great importance on the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. However, we tend to overlook the process of sanctification, the step between Calvary and Pentecost. Some speak in tongues for the first time shortly after giving their hearts to Jesus, and thats wonderful. But being sanctified has to happen at some point. Its more than just the experience of water baptism, which was clearly foreshadowed by the hand washing. God will not allow any uncleanness in His presence.
Sanctification represents getting rid of everything from which the Lord delivered us. For example, if youre delivered from alcoholism, pour out every bottle when you get home, destroying any chance of being tempted to go back into it. A girl once testified at our church once told of being freed from years of drug addiction. After getting saved at a revival, she came home and flushed every drug down the toilet. When her former friends came around, she would turn out the lights and lock the doors and pray for God to give her strength. All ties had to be cut off. Eventually, they gave up and left her alone for good. She never did another drug again because of this sanctification process.
We all have to do this once weve come to Jesus, no matter how painful it is. It may require removing things that will hurt so bad, itll seem like chopping off ones own limbs. In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus said And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. This doesnt mean God expects us to literally cut off our own hands or gouge out our own eyes, but that we must take whatever extreme measures necessary to remove sin from our lives. Hell just simply isnt worth it.
When King Solomon built the tabernacle, he created what was called a molten sea to replace the laver. And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about (1 Kings 7:23). This tub was much larger and more magnificent, with 12 brass oxen holding it up, three facing each direction. The ornate base was engraved with palm trees, angels, and animals. For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about (verse 36).
One of the most annoying atheist criticisms is that we pray to an invisible man in the sky. This straw man argument is an attempt to paint us as superstitious and refusing to embrace scientific discoveries of the size of the universe; but not only is it a caricature (and if misrepresenting someone elses beliefs is the only way you can win an argument, your ideas are worthless), its also inaccurate. Ive pressed atheists to give me an example of where the Bible or any other ancient Judeo-Christian text describes God this way, only to have them change the subject into how religion is all false (an interesting response from people who claim they require evidence to believe something).
Naturalism (also sometimes called materialism) is a 19th century philosophy at the heart of neo-atheism that claims physical matter is all there is to the universe. One of my many problems with naturalism is that astrophysicists now know that there are probably more advanced planes of reality beyond what the human senses can detect. We dont just live in three dimensions, or even four (which include space and time), but many more beyond what the human mind can comprehend. For example, our eyes can only detect a small number of the actual colors on the color spectrum, making the rest of it a more advanced reality. There may be other parallel universes that collide with and interact with our own. All supernatural means is something beyond the natural realm, and belief in the supernatural (God, angels, heaven, etc.) is often mischaracterized as superstition (which actually means something else entirely). But Im a skeptic of naturalism the same way atheists are skeptics of Christianity, as its clear to me that naturalism is scientifically unlikely, and we can never definitively rule out the possibility of something out there beyond physical matter and the laws of nature.
If youre wondering where Im going with this, its the fact that if God exists, He isnt an invisible man in the sky, but a being from beyond space and time and outside of the realm of the physical universe. If the Big Bang Theory is correct, then a first cause expanded all matter into existence. So instead of asking where in outer space God is, we should be asking where in Gods presence the universe is. And not only is this more scientifically plausible, its also Biblical.
1 Kings 8:27: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.
2 Chronicles 2:6: But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him?
Psalm 113:4: The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
Habbakuk 3:3: His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
In II Corinthians 12, Paul describes a vision of what he calls the Third Heaven. While he seems to be explaining that he knew someone this had happened to, verse 1 indicates hes actually referring to himself. Verses 2-4: I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell): How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. He saw heaven and heard unspeakable words, which could not be repeated to anyone. John would have the same experience years later: And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not (Revelation 10:4).
The First Heaven is the limits of the earths atmosphere, just past the sky and clouds. The Word tells us that God uses this to control the weather. Deuteronomy 28:12: The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. The Second Heaven is outer space, where He has control over the sun, moon and stars. Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
The Third Heaven is the holy place where God actually dwells. Here is where the souls of the righteous go after death. And sin cannot enter. Imagine a giant glass barrier between the physical universe and the entrance to heaven. Revelation 15:2: And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. This sea of glass separates the second and third heavens. All impurities must be removed before one can enter the holiness of God. When the devil appeared before God to accuse Job, I doubt very much that he was allowed beyond the sea of glass.
The tabernacle, then, is a reflection of the construct of heaven. The outer court represented the first heaven, the sky. The inner court symbolized the second heaven, outer space. The third heaven is represented by the holiest of holies. A glass barrier stands between the second and third heavens, and we can see it in the Old Testament in the laver in the tabernacle and the molten sea in the temple, where the priests had to wash off all impurities before crossing over into the holy place.
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There is a decided lack of preaching and teaching about the need for confession and repentance in the church today.
We all need that feet washing kind of cleansing.
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