1 Kings 7:23-24 “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and its height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. And under the brim of it round about there were knobs compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knobs were cast in two rows, when it was cast.”
Forty-nine years ago on Sunday January 15, 1967 and the Green Bay Packers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in what was to become an unofficial American holiday known as…Super Bowl Sunday. Today in Super Bowl 49, it’s the Patriots and the Seahawks and 150 million plus people are looking forward to watching the game and yes, the even commercials too.
Now, most of you probably aren’t even aware that over 3000 years ago there was another “Super Bowl”…a Super Bowl in Israel which was also seen by millions of people, but this Super Bowl definitely had no pigskin; had no commercials and no half time show…this Super Bowl was God’s “Super Bowl”.
And God’s Super Bowl can be found here in 1 Kings 7 where we’re given a detailed account of the construction of the first Jewish Temple known as Solomon’s Temple. In 1 Kings 7:14-15 we’re told that Solomon had two intricately designed brass pillars that guarded the entrance of the Temple and each one was 27ft high and 18ft in diameter and he named them Jachin & Boaz (vs. 21).
Try and picture in your mind what you would’ve seen if you lived at this time as you entered into the Temple Courtyard. The first thing you would’ve seen was the Temple itself. The Bible describes Solomon’s Temple as being 180 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 50 feet high with its highest point at about 20 stories high. In the center of the courtyard you would’ve seen the great Brass Altar where sacrifices were made to God. This altar was 30ft long by 30ft wide and 15ft high and it had a staircase for the priests to go up and down the altar.
You would also have seen the 10 brass lavers which surrounded the outside of the Temple; there were 5 on the north side, and 5 on the south side (vs. 38). Each one of these lavers was about 6ft high and each one was filled with over 200 gallons of water which was used to wash the Temple utensils and the sacrificial animals before offering them to God.
Each one of these lavers rested on a brass base that had wheels which made them portable, probably so that they could be filled from what was called the Molten Sea which stood at the south-eastern corner of the courtyard. And there was no way you could have missed the Molten Sea!
The Molten Sea was a gigantic basin, made of brass. It held 12,000 gallons of water; it was in effect, a “Super Bowl”, which was 15ft in diameter, 45ft in circumference, over 7ft high and 3 inches thick, weighing over 30 tons! This “Super Bowl”, rested on a base 10ft high made out of 12 solid brass oxen, which held up the tremendous weight of the Molten Sea. The oxen were divided into 4 groups of 3, all facing in 4 different directions, east, west, north and south. And just as the brass altar spoke of sacrifice, these oxen spoke of service.
The Molten Sea, God’s “Super Bowl”, was used by the priests to wash their hands and feet before they began in their service to God. This was done in keeping with the Law of Moses (Exodus 29; 30:19) so that the priests could be purified and clean prior to approaching God.
God had Solomon make the Molten Sea because the priests needed to be washed and this washing had to be repeated over and over and over…every day. Before they could do anything, God said that they had to be cleansed and sanctified.
Just as the brass altar spoke of Christ’s sacrifice for all believers, the Molten Sea spoke of Christ’s sanctification of all believers; sanctification means separating something or someone apart for a holy purpose. The Molten Sea sanctified the priests day by day as they served God. And this really is a wonderful picture for us to see.
You see, just as the sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament had to be made over and over and over, the priests also needed to be cleansed from their sin over and over and over. The Bible teaches us that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was the final sacrifice made once for all, but in order for us to progress in sanctification, grow in holiness, we must come to Christ over and over and over to be cleansed from our sin. Why? Because we still sin, don’t we?
God had made it very clear that there was no way that anyone, no matter who they were, not even the High Priest himself, could approach a Holy God and handle Holy things while at the same time being defiled by their sin. The priests needed to be washed clean before handling the Holy things in the Temple.
A man named Uzzah learned this lesson the hard way in 2 Samuel 6. Remember, David was transporting the Holy Ark of the Covenant on an ox cart when it started to teeter and fall off, but…“Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it” and the Bible says that “the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah; and God struck him there for his irreverence; and there he died by the ark of God.”
Now we might think that God’s treatment of Uzzah was too harsh, but Uzzah made a terrible mistake. While his intentions were good, he made an assumption that cost him his life. Uzzah put forth his hand to prevent the Holy Ark of God from falling over to stop it from being defiled by the uncleanness of the ground, but made Uzzah assumption that the ground was dirty and his hands were clean. Again, if a priest didn’t wash his hands and feet before handling Holy things God said he would die! And Uzzah forgot that and he forgot that his hands were unclean.
In Exodus 29 Moses was commanded by God to wash the Levites before consecrating them into the priesthood. This was a onetime washing typified the washing of regeneration and of salvation that only happens once in the life of a believer. Titus 3:5 says: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
In John 13 Jesus washed His disciple’s feet. The Bible says that when He got to Peter, Peter said "You'll never wash my feet". And Jesus said, "If you don't let me wash your feet then you can have nothing to do with me”.
So, what did Peter say? “Not my feet only, but also my hands & my head too!” In other words, “wash all of me!” And then Jesus said something that ought to cause us to think about Moses and his onetime washing of the Levites. Jesus said it wasn't necessary for Him to wash all of Peter because he was already clean. What did He mean by that? Well, later on Jesus told His disciples “you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
Basically Jesus was saying “Peter, you’ve been washed unto regeneration and have been baptized, that kind of washing only happens once, but you do still need to be sanctified.”
Ephesians 5 tells us that Jesus wants to sanctify and cleanse His Church. How? With the washing of water by the word. Why? So, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The Molten Sea, God’s “Super bowl”, sent an unmistakable message to all those who saw it and used it. It shouted out a message of sanctification and its importance in our service to God. You see, God never intended that the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament would wash away sin; they were a picture of what Christ would do. They were a picture of Jesus; the Lamb of God Who takes away sin.
And God never intended that the outward daily washing of the priests would ever sanctify them inwardly. These washings were meant to be a picture of the sanctification that would happen in Christ. That’s why Jesus told the Pharisees they were like white washed tombs, which are outwardly clean but inside they were full of dead men's bones and filth.
You see, the Pharisees weren’t washed with the washing of regeneration and they weren’t being sanctified inwardly in their souls. The Molten Sea in the Old Testament ought to speak volumes to us as New Testament believers because the New Testament calls us “a royal priesthood and a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).
Just as the Book of Hebrews teaches us that Jesus Christ is an infinitely better High Priest than the Old Testament high priest, Peter says that we are as the royal priesthood infinitely better than the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament.
Hebrews 8 teaches us that the Tabernacle, the temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the washings, that they were all just “a shadow of heavenly things” to come. These were pictures of what would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ under the New Covenant.
You need to know that nothing has changed in principle from the Old to the New Testament. God still requires that His priests be washed clean before approaching Him. God still requires His priests to be Holy. Why? Because the New Testament says “as he who has called you is holy, so be holy in all manner of conduct; because it is written, You will be holy; for I am holy.” (Peter 1:15-16).
The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was a picture of the New Testament priesthood of all believers in Jesus Christ and the Bible declares that when you repent of your sin and cry out to God for forgiveness and when you place your trust in Christ and His sacrifice as a payment for your sin, then you will be washed clean in by the shed blood of Jesus Christ! “Though your sins be as scarlet they will be made white as snow!”
The Bible declares that at that very moment you’re washed by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost onetime only, but after that you need to wash the parts of you that come into contact with this sinful world, your mind, your mouth…we still get soiled and dirty because we still sin and we still need to be cleansed constantly.
We may be able to hide our sin from each other but we can’t hide it from God. You know, I’m sure to everyone else around him, Uzzah’s hands looked clean but they weren’t. Are you washed? Are you washed today? Are your hands and hearts washed? The Book of James says “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” and he was talking to Christians!
1 John 1:8 says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Solomon’s Temple is gone and so is God’s “Super Bowl”, the Molten Sea so the question looming over all of us right now is: How is it that God’s Royal Priesthood is able be washed today if we don’t have the Molten Sea?
We’re told in 1 John 1:9 which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Everything in the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Old Testament spoke of Christ. The tabernacle, the Temple, its furnishings and all of the sacrifices and ceremonies were pictures of Jesus Christ and His saving work for unclean sinners.
Get this today! Jesus Christ IS the Molten Sea and He has an endless supply of clean, fresh water; enough for everyone to be washed clean over and over and over.
Have you been washed? Have you been washed with the washing of regeneration? Are you being washed day by day and receiving the cleansing of Christ? Are you being conformed more and more into His image? Are you walking in sanctification in as you approach your Holy God?
In the Book of Revelation there is a picture of God sitting on His throne and the Sea of Brass is nowhere to be seen, but there is a Sea of Glass before the throne which allows us to boldly walks across and approach His throne and join in the heavenly chorus singing: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
We join in singing this because as Christians we can and we will stand before His throne having been washed clean by the Blood of Christ having our conscience purged and having gotten right with God and cleansed from all of our sin.
Jesus is God’s “Super Bowl” make sure He’s yours too!
GO BLESS, BRATS & GO PATS!