Wednesday, August 8, 2012

EMMDEV 2012-08-08 [Forty Days of Resurrection] 39.A Beautiful OT Picture

6 He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. 7 Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the infectious disease and pronounce him clean. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields. Leviticus14:6-7

This passage is part of a set of rubrics (liturgies and guidelines) for priests to use for the cleansing and healing of infectious skin diseases (which probably included leprosy and similar diseases.) These diseases were regarded as incurable.

Normally I am careful about taking symbolism too far. One has to be careful about extrapolating imagery beyond what is reasonable. But in this passage there are incredible parallels:

The priest needed two birds, a clay jar with water in it, a piece of cedar wood (to act as a handle), a bunch of hyssop twigs, and some scarlet yarn. (Hyssop is a thin river reed.) He would kill one of the birds, draining the blood into the clay pot. The hyssop was bunched together and tied to the cedar handle with the yarn to form a brush of sorts. The live bird and the "brush" were dipped into the blood-stained water and the sick person was "sprinkled" (brush-spattered) and the live bird was released.

Now let's look at the cross:
-He came to heal us of the incurable disease of sin.
-Cleansing required sacrifice - blood was shed
-In Ezekiel 17:22-23 God talks about a cedar-sprig (a symbol of the Messiah)
-They lifted the wine-vinegar sponge to Jesus on a stalk of hyssop.
-They pierced His side, and blood and water flowed.

But the most significant is the TWO birds.
The priest needed two birds, one to die and one to speak of release, forgiveness, healing and freedom.

The cross only needed ONE Saviour: Jesus died - BUT HE ROSE AGAIN!

Theo Groeneveld
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