Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleChrist in the Molten Sea
Bible Text2 Chronicles 4:2-6, 10
Series Types of Christ
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: Christ in the Molten Sea (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: Christ in the Molten Sea (128 kbps)
Length 43 min.

Series: Types of Christ
Title: Christ in the Molten Sea
Text: 2 Chronicles 4: 2-6, 10
Date: October 9, 2014
Place: SGBC, New Jersey


For you who do not have a heart to rejoice in Christ, you think the gospel does not relate to you.  But everything about the gospel relates to you.  You will either be a vessel of mercy to glorify Christ or a vessel of wrath to glorify Christ.  Every smallest detail of your life is being worked together by God—in mercy or wrath—for the glorification of his Son and the good of his people.


One of the ways we see that God uses every detail to bring glory to his Son is in the way God used even every piece of furniture in the temple to glorify Christ.  In our text, we will see that thousands of years before Christ came, God used one piece of furniture in Solomon’s temple, to declare the glory of Christ and the work he accomplishes for his people on the cross and in his people through the preaching of the gospel.


This ought to make us see how God is working in every small detail in history and in our own lives to glorify his Son.  It ought to make you pay attention to my gospel and to seek Christ while he may be found. Our subject is Christ in the Molten Sea


2 Chronicles 4: 2: Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.


The molten sea was an immense round, semicircular pool. Every part was cast of one solid piece of molten brass.  It is called a “sea” because it held a vast amount of water.  Here are its measurements: seventeen and a half feet in diameter from brim to brim and eight and three-fourths feet deep with a circumference of fifty two and half feet.


2 Chronicles 4: 3: And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.


Just beneath the brim—all the way round, on the outside—were carved oxen.  These oxen are described as “knops”—egg-shaped gourds—with the head of an oxen. (1 Ki 7: 24)  There were ten oxen in a cubit at 30 cubits around so that equals three hundred oxen around it. But there were two rows so there were 600 hundred oxen total. They were united, cast, when the rest was cast.


2 Chronicles 4: 4: It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.


The molten laver stood connected in one solid piece on a pedestal of twelve oxen. These oxen must have been huge to support so great a laver. The sea was set above upon them.  There were three oxen in a set. Each set looked in four directions: north, south, east and west. Their hinder parts were inward—so from the molten sea they pointed out in all directions


2 Chronicles 4: 5: And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, V5: and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.


The molten sea was four fingers thick. The brim was like a cup we drink from. All around the brim were engraved flowers, lilies. It held five hundred barrels of water or 27,500 gallons of water.


2 Chronicles 4: 6: He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.


These ten lavers were separate from the molten sea—they were for washing the sacrifices.  But the purpose of this molten sea was only for the priests, and that so they could wash in.


2 Chronicles 4: 10: And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south.


It was at the entrance into the court of the priests on the east side of the temple. Remember Adam was cast out east of Eden.  The entrance back into God’s presence is represented as being on the east side. So this molten sea was the first thing you saw. It was open for all to see


Now lets’ see how God declared the gospel of Christ his Son in this piece of furniture.  And by this, let’s see that no detail of this word, no detail of our lives, is useless filler—all is used of God to bring glory to his Son and to save his people from our sins.




First, we see Christ in the builder of the molten sea.  The builder is King Solomon.  Solomon is a type of Christ. For instance, Solomon is the Son of David, Christ is the son of David according to the flesh; Solomon was king over Israel, Christ is King over his spiritual Israel; Solomon built God’s earthly temple, Christ builds God’s spiritual temple, his church


Also, Solomon used a man to build this sea, named Hiram or Huram who was of Tyre. Solomon who was of God, united with a man from a different place, like as Christ is God and Man in one person.   Christ is eternal God so he gives eternal effect to his work and man so that he can do the work in the place of his people who are men. Hiram’s name means counselor or master and that is Christ’s name. Scripture says, “he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass”; Christ is filled with all wisdom and understanding and cunning to work all the works of God.


So we see a picture of Christ in the builder of this molten sea. Christ is the Gospel. He is Redemption. He is Life and Peace. By his work, there is a molten sea made for his people.




Secondly, we see Christ in the molten sea.  What does this vast sea of water typify? What is meant by this sea open before all, where only the priests of God were to wash? It typifies the blood of Christ preached to us in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by which Christ cleanses all his priests, that is, his people.


Ephesians 5: 25:…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27: 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.


Christ gave himself for the church—the elect of God, those he makes priests unto God.  This laver was made of molten brass, that is, brass heated to the point that it melted into liquid.  As Christ bore the wrath of God for his people on the cross, he said, “my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” (Ps 22: 14) Christ accomplished that work that he might sanctify and cleanse the church—that he might set us apart and wash us.

We were all defiled, polluted, corrupt and undone: with original sin in Adam and by our own actual transgressions.  So we come into this world under the guilt of the law, as well as in the pollution of sin in our nature, our conscience being defiled.  This washing is what is pictured in the priests needing to wash before they could enter the temple to serve God. We cannot serve God until we are washed in the blood of Christ before the law.  And we cannot understand and believe God until we are washed inwardly in our conscience.


First, Christ’s work of sanctifying and cleansing his priests was by his work on the cross before the law of God. Christ gave himself to deliver us from our state of guilt. On the cross, Christ expiated the sins of his people, made atonement and satisfaction for us. His blood cleansed his people, justifying us before the law, making us righteous in his righteousness.


Then this sanctifying and cleansing refers to Christ’s work in us—“the washing of water by the word.” Christ’s work in us is the sure and certain fruit and effect of his work for us. This washing of water is not baptism. Baptism does not purify or cleanse us from sin; baptism is not the means of sanctification and regeneration. But here “water” means the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ is the fountain which cleanses us from all sin.


“By the word”—refers to the means God is pleased to us to bring us to wash in Christ’s blood through faith, that is the preaching of gospel, the preaching of the word.  By the preaching of the word, Christ brings the good news of his finished work: of peace, pardon, atonement, and justification by Christ. By the word, the Holy Spirit gives life and faith in Christ—purging our conscience by the blood of Christ. Through faith in Christ, we receive the sentence of free justification pronounced upon the conscience by God.  


Our text says, “the sea was for the priests to wash in.” (2 Ch 4: 6)  Every chosen child of God, redeemed and sanctified in Christ’s blood and washed by the word, is made a king and a priest unto God—a “royal priesthood.”


Revelation 1: 5: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6: And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


Sinner, there is no coming to God in his holy temple in heaven above, no serving God, until we have been washed in the blood of Christ. But for every priest who has been washed, God says to us:


Hebrews 10: 19: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20: By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21: And having an high priest over the house of God; 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. 23: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)


So we understand the type set forth in the molten sea.




Thirdly, we see Christ in the oxen in that it is Christ who sends forth his preachers by whom Christ accomplishes this work of washing his priests—his people—by his word.  This entire molten sea “stood upon twelve oxen. (2 Ch 4: 4) The oxen picture Christ’s twelve apostles. In 1 Corinthians 9, the Holy Spirit used the apostle Paul to show us that God uses the oxen as a metaphor for his gospel preachers.

1 Corinthians 9: 9:  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10: Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.


Just as this brass molten sea sat upon the foundation of twelve oxen, every believer has the Lord Jesus and his twelve apostles for our foundation because the gospel of Christ’s sin-cleansing blood went forth through into all the world beginning with the twelve oxen.


Ephesians 2: 20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;


The twelve oxen looked in all directions—north, south, east and west—signifying Christ sending forth the gospel of his cleansing blood into all nations.  When the ark, which carried the tables of the broken law, was taken by the Philistines, they desired to see it go to “its place.” They were told to take two kine—two cows or buffalo—and attach them to the ark to see where they would take the ark.


1 Samuel 6: 12  And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, [house of the sun] and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left;…14  And the cart came into the field of Joshua, [Savior and stood still…]


It showed that all the law, all the sacrifices and ceremonies and furniture led straight to Christ, the true Joshua, who dwells in Bethshemash, the house of the sun. There they stood still, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe.” (Rom 10: 4)


But in the twelve oxen pointed in all directions, we see Christ, having now fulfilled the law for his people, began sending forth the gospel of his sin-cleansing blood into all nations, to all his people scattered throughout the world. His oxen did not cease lowing as the other kine, but these oxen lowed louder and louder as they went.  So that now, as Paul said, "their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words to the end of the world." And in them hath God set Bethshemesh, that is, a house or tabernacle for the sun. (That is what we saw in Ps 19.)


Notice, the oxen were set in threes.  This signifies communion with the holy trinity—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—who accompanies God’s preachers in the world and makes the gospel effectual in the hearts of his people.


Matthew 28: 18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


Brethren, as we see Christ’s ambassadors represented by these oxen, be are reminded that Christ shall make his preachers, as well as all his witnesses, like oxen, strong to labor in the word—not because we have strength—but because we have Christ our Strength.  Our assurance that this word shall accomplish God’s purpose is that the triune God in Christ is with us always, even unto the end of the world. His word never returns to him void.  The oxen with hinder parts toward the sea, pictures Christ sending his preacher. His word accomplishes that for which he sends it.


There is something else about Christ’ preachers set forth in this piece of furniture in 2 Chronicles 4: 3:,  “And under it [under the brim, near the top] was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.” In these 600 oxen, shaped like “knops”—like fertile eggs—we see that Christ continues to provide preachers, lesser than his apostles, but fellow laborers with them.


1 Corinthians 3:6: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.


These egg-shaped knops, with heads like oxen, remind us that the word we preach is the incorruptible seed. We are reminded of the fertility of the word, which is effectual by Christ our Life and Light formed in us.


Then in the great number of these oxen—600—we are reminded Christ shall continue providing preachers “till we all come in THE unity of THE faith”—that is until the last elect child is called to faith in Christ, till his body is full.


John 6: 37, 39: All the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” [it is the Father’s will] “that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing but raise it up again at the last day.”


Sinner, this ought to make you heed this gospel—to hang on every word.  This is how Christ gives eternal life.


Notice in verse3, “Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.”  These oxen were all one with the laver and with each other. Christ and his preachers are one—they were cast when the laver was cast—when God foreordained his people to receive the Spirit of adoption, God also foreordained who the preacher would be. So brethren, as we see false prophets abound, rest assured, Christ shall provide faithful preachers. 




Fourthly, and lastly, we see the importance of heeding the gospel now, of washing in the blood of Christ through faith.  We see it here, “And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.” (2 Chr 4; 5)


The thickness was as a handbreadth.  When something is four fingers thick, made of brass, it means it was mighty stable. Likewise, Christ’s blood is the stability of all his people before God.  Unless we are washed in his blood we are unstable as water.  But washed in his blood—we are as stable as molten brass, four-fingers thick! But this word “handbreadth” also reminds us of the brevity of our life which is as a handbreadth. We have short space of time we have to avail ourselves of Christ’s blood—sinner redeem the time!


Isaiah 55: 6: Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.


Also, notice, the brim of this laver was “as a cup”—a cup for drinking. Immediately, we ought to think of the Savior’s words, “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (Jn 6: 53) We drink his blood by believing on Christ. By faith, we have eternal life. Sinner, believe on Christ today and you shall live for eternity.


Notice, all around the brim were flowers of lilies—Christ is the Lily of the Valley. Everything about Christ is lovely, fragrant, beautiful—he is the gospel and beauty of it.


Also, “it received and held three thousand baths.” In the abundance of this water, we see the abounding sufficiency of Christ’s blood to cleanse all Christ’s people from all our sins. In this laver being larger than any other laver within the temple, we see Christ’s blood cleanses where the law never can.


Acts 13:39…by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.


Three thousand baths—is over 27,000 gallons. This molten sea—picturing redemption in Chirst’s blood—weighed around twenty-five to thirty tons. The weight of redemption is heavy—heavy upon our Savior, heavy upon his preachers and people to declare it and if found outside of Christ this fountain you refused shall weigh heavy upon your soul for all eternity.


But I love the way it is worded “it received and held three thousand baths”—on the day of Pentecost Christ received and held three thousand washed in his blood.  Sinner, he is still receiving all who come to him and he shall hold us and never let us go.


In the second temple, there were no molten sea—not until Christ himself entered it.  Even now, there is no fountain for cleansing except Christ seated yonder in the tabernacle not made with hands.  Sinner come wash away all your sins by believing on Christ.


There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains


One piece of furniture thousands of years ago, declared the whole gospel of Christ and his glorious work.  Every detail matters.  Every detail shall glorify Christ.  Sinner, may you be one who glorifies his grace and mercy, rather than his judgment and his wrath.


Isaiah 1:18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.