FIRSTBORN SONSHIP OF CHRIST
THE NEW BIRTH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Everything associated with the tabernacle is still very important, and is still bearing a major prophetic testimony of the whole redemption cycle. The ministry of the laver began with the whole body washing of Aaron and his sons in their ordination to the priesthood – see below. The laver was constantly used for the washing of the priest's hands and feet every time they ministered at the altar of burnt offerings, and every time they entered the tabernacle for whatever purpose. Not to do so meant immediate physical death (Exo 30:21), similar to what happened to Aaron's oldest sons immediately after they had been ordained to the priesthood, Lev 10:1-3.
LAVER OF BRONZE
18 "You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it," Exo 30:18.
The laver was made of bronze, translated "brass" in the KJV. This metal was used in the pillars and pegs of the court fence, and in the altar of burnt offerings. It addresses the fiery judgments and trials used by the Lord in transforming His faithful testament people from their sinful state of existence into God's divine image and likeness. We are a sin-enslaved people (Jer 17:9), and God is demonstrating to and through us the unsearchable riches of His love, compassion, mercy, goodness, justice, power, wrath, and other divine attributes to qualify us for the firstborn sonship.
9 "For My name's sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off.
10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.
12 "Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last," Isa 48:9-12.
The judgments of the Lord in the laver were specifically geared toward symbolically cleansing the faithful covenant people from the defilements of their sinful nature. There was, however, an immediate cleansing of the conscience by "grace through faith," which is always the work of the Holy Spirit, Mt 10:19-20; 1Co 15:10; Phi 2:11-12; Heb 12:28.
16 "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need," Heb 4:16.
WHOLE BODY WASHING
1 "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
2 "'Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, the anointing oil, a bull as the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3 "'And gather all the congregation together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.'
4 "So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. And the congregation was gathered together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
5 "And Moses said to the congregation, ‘This is what the LORD commanded to be done.'
6 "Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water," Lev 8:1-6.
Moses was commanded to gather the whole congregation to the door of the tabernacle and ordain Aaron and his sons into the priesthood before all the people. This was a momentous occasion, and this unique ordination began by Aaron and his sons putting off their ordinary clothes, bathing their whole bodies with water, and putting on the priestly garments. This was obviously done at the laver, as is evident in the ordination of the New Covenant priesthood – see later in this article.
CLEANSING A LEPER
9 "But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows - all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and he shall be clean," Lev 14:9.
Leprosy is a disease included in the curse God placed on the earth as a result of Adam's sin (Gen 3:17-19), which curse will be removed when Christ returns, Isa 11:6-9; Rom 8:18-22. In the Bible, leprosy symbolically witnesses of our sinful state of being. And the cleansing ceremony of Leviticus 14 gives prophetic testimony of the redemption cycle into the divine image and likeness of God, according to God's eternal purpose before creation, 1Pe 1:19-20.
For the cleansing ceremony, two doves or pigeons were taken, one was killed and its blood drained into a vessel. The living bird, along with cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop (all items used to portray redemption), were each dipped in the blood of the slain bird and sprinkled on the person healed of leprosy. This was after the person was healed from leprosy, but it appropriately symbolized Christ's death, burial, and resurrection into divine glory. The living bird was then turned loose in the open field, symbolizing that the man was cleansed of leprosy, and right on course within the redemption cycle.
We must ever keep in keen memory that God's purpose in redemption has always been, and still is, that the redemption cycle is not complete until the firstborn sons are born again into God's divine image and likeness, when Christ returns, Gen 1:26-27. This new birth is symbolically portrayed in many ways throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, but will not actually take place until Christ returns, 1Co 15:44-58.
A RUNNING ISSUE
2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean," Lev 15:2.
The next ten verses describe a maze of ways a state of uncleanness can be spread to other people. Twelve times in this chapter (Lev 15), this symbolic washing is commanded. Every person who contracts uncleanness in any of the described ways, was commanded to "wash his clothes and bathe himself in water."
The symbolic meaning of this is "putting off the old man" and "putting on the new man." In the New Testament we do this in water baptism: we symbolically bury the old man and are raised to walk in newness of life, Rom 6:2-6. We are to continue doing the same thing throughout every day thereafter, by putting off the old man and putting on the new man in our minds and thereby in our conduct, Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:1-10; Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:9-12.
This is of major emphasis, and God has predestined that those who do not persevere in doing this will fail to make their calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:3-10; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21 thru 5:4. God has predestined that those who do not have John's baptism, have thereby "rejected the counsel of God against themselves", Lk 7:29-30. Those who do not have John's baptism do not have the "louo" (whole body) washing (Jn 13:10; 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26; Ti 3:5; Heb 10:22), nor the "nipto" (hand and foot) washing (Jn 13:8-10), nor the "pluno" (garment) washing, (Rev 7:14; 19:6-7), and therefore will not be born again in the resurrection.
3 "Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 "He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he bathe his flesh in water, and so put them on," Lev 16:3-4.
The linen garments represent the righteousness of God, Rev 19:7-8; Phi 3:9, This was the day of atonement with its special offerings and ceremonies, though we are here concerned only with the washing part of the activities. Aaron, of course, began these special ceremonies by the required bathing of the whole body.
24"And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people," Lev 16:24.
This was the only day in the year that the high priest (and he only) entered the most holy place. When he had finished this part of the activities, he again had to bathe his whole body and change back to his other priestly garments. The whole body washing is the point of emphasis in this study.
26 "And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp," Lev 16:26.
Of two goats, one was sacrificed as a sin offering, bearing the sins of the testament people. The other goat, also bearing the sins of the people, was lead out into an uninhabited wilderness area and released. The person who led the scapegoat out had to return and immediately wash the clothes he wore and bathe his whole body in water.
28 "Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp," Lev 16:28.
Here a third person, responsible for burning the bullock and the first goat, had also to wash his clothes and bathe his body. The washings were related to putting away the sins of the whole nation, as we will demonstrate below. The washing of the garments pointed to cleansing the conduct or deeds of the person, while washing the body addressed the cleansing of the body from the sin nature. This redemption cycle symbolism is ceremonially required in both Old and New Testaments, with precise accuracy.
DEAD IN SINS, BUT THERE IS HOPE
7 "Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening.
8 "And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening," Num 19:7-8.
"Until the evening" may refer to the life span of the individual, whereas being unclean for seven days appears to indicate the whole age until the Lord returns. This is the red heifer offering again, emphasizing that both the priest and the person who burned the sacrifice had to wash their garments and bathe their bodies. This repeated emphasis is not lost in the Old Testament, but follows with per-haps great clarity in the New Testament.
HE WHO IS BATHED
6 "Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, are You washing my feet?'
7 "Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.'
8 "Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet!' Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.'
9 Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!'
10 "Jesus said to him, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you,'" Jn 13:10.
Here is the occasion when, after the last Passover before His crucifixion, Jesus washed the disciples' feet, When Jesus came to Peter, Peter abruptly declined, and Jesus said, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." This gave Peter a shocking answer that changed his mind immediately.
Peter's attitude was, in that case, wash me all over. It appears obvious that Peter and the other disciples did not yet understand the symbolic and prophetic significance of the laver and the washings that took place there. The ordination of the Levitical priesthood required the bathing of the whole body: a "louo" washing or bathing. "Jesus said to him, he who is bathed needs only to wash his feet," Jn 13:10.
After Aaron and his sons received the whole body washing in their ordination (Lev 8:6), they needed only to be washing their feet many times each day. Under the New Covenant, water baptism is the "louo" washing that we must have, as we will now demonstrate.
The ordination of Jesus as the New Covenant High Priest, required the "louo" whole body washing before He received the anointing of the Holy Spirit for His New Covenant ministry, Mt 3:13-17. Likewise, all who received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had to have John's "louo" baptism, Act 1:22; 2:38. Please read editor's book entitled "Christ In You."
NO PART WITH ME
8 "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me," Jn 13:8.
Jesus here spoke of washing the hands and feet, symbolized by the very often repeated washing of the hands and feet at the laver every day throughout the period of the Law Covenant. The symbolism is first of constant cleansing from the Lord as we serve Him. Aaron and his descendants, as priests, also symbolized their service on behalf of (in the stead of) all the covenant people. We must maintain a holy and humble ministry of serving one another. This was a major reason why Jesus washed the disciples' feet.
BUT YOU ARE WASHED
11 "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God," 1Co 6:11.
Being washed, sanctified, and justified takes place, not before baptism, but at the time of scriptural water baptism. These are all covenant provisions for the covenant people only. The word "washed" is "louo," and again means the washing of baptism in the New Covenant. No one is born again in baptism, nor when sanctified, nor when justified. They all point to the resurrection new birth of the faithful testament people when Christ returns.
However, baptism is efficacious in the sense that it is the instrument God appointed to bring us into His covenant or last will and testament standing. The covenant or testament standing is where, by God's provision, we are trained and qualified to obtain the new birth when Christ returns. The new birth is a divine resurrection birth, as Christ became the firstborn from the dead, in His resurrection, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-58.
The "new man" (the born again man) existed in the Old Testament only in prophecy and symbolic ordinances (and there is plenty of that). The new man (new birth) exists now only in the personal body of Christ: literally born again out of the grave. Christ received a sinless human body in His virgin birth, and that mere human body was made sin and died on the cross, but was born again into a divine body in His resurrection.
Since the church is metaphorically counted as being the body of Christ, we, as members of the church, are counted as being born again members of the born again body of Christ. Baptism symbolizes that birth, and testifies that the faithful testament people will be born again in the resurrection.
However, true believers, having been properly baptized into Christ, will be cut off from Christ, and He will profit them nothing in the firstborn covenant standing, if they become unfaithful, Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; 1Co 10:1-12; Gal 4:21 thru 5:4; Heb 3; 4; 12.
WASH AWAY YOUR SINS
16 "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord," Act 22:16.
Does baptism literally have anything to do with washing away the sins of the person being baptized? Not literally, for we were all the same sinner after baptism as before baptism. However, in the metaphor, we were joined to Christ as though we literally became members of his divinely born again body. In this way, we can put off the old sinful man, and put on the new born again man, by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:1-10), and thereby qualify for the new birth when Christ returns.
We did not literally wash away any sins in baptism, but metaphorically we did. Therefore we are spoken of as having been born again. In the metaphor, we are addressed as having been buried by baptism into Christ's death and burial, and into His divine new birth resurrection as we were raised out of the water, Rom 6:2-6.
WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD
26 "That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word," Eph 5:26.
29 "And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
30 "But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him." Lk 7:29-30.
Can we read these verses and think for a moment that one can reject the baptism of John and live a life holy and acceptable before God? Without scriptural water baptism, there can be no cleansing of one's daily life acceptable to God's covenant requirements. Without John's baptism one has clearly rejected the counsel of God against himself, leaving no possibility for acceptable service to God.
9 "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word," Ps 119:9.
Baptism is nothing apart from the Word of God. Aaron and his sons had one whole body washing at the laver. After that it was the washing of the hands and feet. This is supported by the words of Jesus in John 13:10. Man will not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, Mt 4:4. There is only one whole body washing in the New Covenant, and that is by John's baptism.
The Levitical priests washing their hands and feet before ministering at the altar and before entering the tabernacle represented a constant cleansing by faith-obedience to the Word of God. The Levitical priests also represented the whole nation as a kingdom of priests living in constant faith-obedience to the Word of God, Ex 19:4-6.
THE WASHING OF REGENERATION
5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit," Ti 3:5.
"Regeneration" means "rebirth" or "new birth." "The washing of regeneration" refers to the new birth being portrayed in water baptism, and in all the many whole body washings in the Old Testament. In scriptural baptism, we put on Christ: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ," Gal 3:27.
In the metaphor, we were baptized into the death, into the burial, and into the resurrection of Christ. Therefore, in the metaphor, we were baptized into His new born divine body, Rom 6:2-5. We were thus metaphorically joined to and became members of the deified body of Christ, Rom 6:2-6; 1Co 12:12-13; Gal 3:17. The church is not literally the body of Christ, but God has used this figure of speech (a metaphor) to speak of "things which be not as though they were," Rom 4:17.
In His resurrection, Christ's human body was reborn into a new kind of divine human body, 2Co 5:16-17,21. Symbolically, in baptism, we were born again. God is speaking of things which be not as though they were, Rom 4:17. Scriptural baptism, therefore, is a baptism or washing of regeneration, of rebirth, therefore of the new birth.
IN THE REGENERATION
28 "So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Mt 19:28.
19 "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 "Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now," Rom 8:19-22.
The whole creation is groaning and laboring with birth pangs in view of the return of Christ, when it will undergo a regeneration, or new birth. This is also the time of the new birth of the faithful covenant people. All who have qualified by grace through faith, through the fiery wilderness-like covenant testing of this earthy life (Isa 48:9-12; 2Pe 1:4), will be indeed born again into the divine image and likeness of God, as God said in the beginning, Gen 1:26-27.
BODIES WASHED WITH PURE WATER
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people," Heb 9:13-14,19.
22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water," Heb 10:22.
Both water and blood were used in sprinkling the covenant people to represent cleansing of the consci-ence and cleansing of the body from defilement. And defilement, of whatever nature, always springs from sin.
23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Rom 3:23.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned," Rom 5:12.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23)– come short of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4), or divine life, promised first in the tree of life, Gen 2:9,16-17; Rev 2:7. The divine nature is still one of the covenant promises (2Pe 1:4), and is the sum of all the last will and testament inheritance, Heb 9:11-17. There will be nations of saved people on the new earth (Rev 21:23-26), who did not qualify for the new birth and the birthright of the firstborn sonship. They will be the servant sons who will not inherit the promises (Gal 4:21-31) of the last will and testaments, Heb 9:11-17. They will be in sinless flesh bodies (Rom 3:23), subject to the elementary laws of the universe, from which laws the firstborn sons will be redeemed, Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20.
SAVED BY WATER
20 "Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
21 "There is also an antitype which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," 1Pe 3:20-21.
The ark that Noah built was the vehicle God used to preserve life through the flood. John's baptism is the vehicle God uses to put proper believers into the body of Christ in the language of a metaphor. That baptism has been passed down through the centuries by true local churches, which churches are eventually destroyed by persecution or carried away by the traditions of the elders.
God has preserved the existence of true churches by passing the Gospel baton on to new local churches where the true Gospel is ferreted out of the traditions of men. Just as God raised up prophets and godly kings to turn Israel back to obedient service according to the Law Covenant.
On the one hand, scriptural baptism is an antitype of Noah's ark, by which God saved eight souls through the flood. Likewise, Christ is the real ark of redemption by whom all the firstborn sons (from Adam on) are being saved through a wilderness world of sin into the image and likeness of God. All the covenants or last will and testaments were geared to bring us into this immeasurably glorious state of being.
Of course, baptism does not wash away our sins, but without the washing of baptism, as with the "pluno," "louo," and "nipto" washings of the Law Covenant, the Holy Spirit could not perform His regeneration ministry. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have required these washing ordinances, along with a covenant full of related ordinances. Jesus said:
63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life," Jn 6:63.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. We must obey the leading of the Spirit, by grace through faith, or the Spirit will not use the Word to cleanse us from daily sins, and then from the sin nature in the new birth. We were created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph 2:10; Ti 3:8), but it is the working of the Holy Spirit in us that produces the good works, Phi 2:12-13.
WASHED US IN HIS OWN BLOOD
5"And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood," Rev 1:5, KJV.
he KJV has "louo," "washed" while other translations have "luo," loosed, released, freed, etc. Water is a universal cleansing agent for washing our clothes, our bodies, and many other things. Therefore it serves well symbolically for cleansing the inward parts, Lev 1:9.
13 "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Heb 9:13-14.
22 "And according to the Law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission," Heb 9:22.
12 "Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate." Heb 13;12.
ORDINATION OF THE NEW COVENANT PRIESTHOOD
1 "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 "And saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
3 "‘For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'
4 "And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5 "Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him,
6 "And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins," Mt 3:1-6.
The ordination of the New Covenant priesthood began with the body washing of the baptism of John the Baptist. This is what Jesus had reference to when He said, "...He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean...," Jn 13:10. There is only one whole body ("louo") washing in the New Covenant, and that is John's baptism.
Observe that John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the Lord (Messiah), and the way he did it was to preach repentance and baptize those who repented. The Messiah was prophesied to be the Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15) (Jehovah in human flesh, Isa 9:6-7), who would fulfill each step of the redemption cycle, which is fully required in Gen 3:15.
The Messiah would be ordained as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4), would establish the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34), and graft in a great host of Gentiles into the firstborn sonship a great host of Gentile believers, Rom 9:24-33; 10:16-21; 11:11-36. The Levitical priesthood was initiated with a whole body washing, the same is true with the New Covenant priesthood.
Let us enumerate the steps of the redemption cycle, as seen and required by the whole body washings:
1. The Seed of the woman must be God, because otherwise all of mankind have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rom 3:9-23; 5:12.
2. The Seed of the woman must be born of a virgin, in order to be without sin and live a perfect life without blemish, Ex 12:5; Ps 45:6-7.
3. The seed of the woman must be ordained as high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Ps 110:4.
4. The Seed of the woman must perform a personal ministry and establish a New Covenant: a new last will and testament, Jer 31:31-34.
5. The Seed of the woman must die for the sins of the human race (Isa 53; Ps 22), as portrayed in all the animal sacrifices.
6. The seed of the woman must be buried and rise from the dead the third day, so that His body should see no corruption, Ps 16:7-11.
7. The Seed of the woman must have a divine new birth resurrection in order to possess the image and likeness of God, Gen 1:26-27; Ps 2:7; 17:15; 110:1-4; Dan 7:13-14.