Leviticus
Introduction 1-5 Unclean by Giving Birth 6-8 Cleansing After Giving Birth
Introduction

Leviticus 11 is about defilement by something that man takes from the outside. In Leviticus 12 it is about the problem that man is impure in himself. Here we have the impurity of human nature or the impurity of the indwelling sin. Man is unclean by birth and unclean because he can only bring unclean children into the world. In Leviticus 13 we also see this impurity break out in the different forms of leprosy.


Unclean by Giving Birth

1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying: ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male [child], then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean. 3On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4Then she shall remain in the blood of [her] purification for thirty-three days; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed. 5But if she bears a female [child], then she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall remain in the blood of [her] purification for sixty-six days.

In Leviticus 11 one who touches something unclean is unclean until the evening. Here, in Leviticus 12, when a child is given birth, the period of uncleanness and cleansing is the longest we find in Scripture. For the mother, this period when given birth of a boy forty days and when given birth of a girl eighty days. This indicates the seriousness of the problem.

This is not about the uncleanness and cleansing of the child, but of the mother. This is also expressed by David in Psalm 51 (cf. Psa 51:77Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
; Job 14:44“Who can make the clean out of the unclean?
No one!
; 25:44“How then can a man be just with God?
Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
). The children are unclean because they are born from sinful parents. The source is not good. Everything that comes forth from man is unclean (Mt 15:1818But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.). The only exception is the Lord Jesus. He is the clean One Who is born of an unclean one.

The time that the woman is unclean is seven days for a boy and fourteen days for a girl. After those days follows a time of cleansing: in the case of a boy thirty-three days and in the case of a girl sixty-six days. After the days of her cleansing, she has to bring an offering.

In the circumcision of the boy, it is acknowledged – spiritually seen – that the child is unclean. Circumcision speaks of the death of Christ (Col 2:1111and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;). The child is brought on the basis of the death of Christ.

As long as the days of the mother’s cleansing last, she should not go to the holy place. When those days are over, she must make the sacrifices at the entrance of the tent of meeting. This we can apply to receiving at the Lord’s table. A person can only be received when the days of his cleansing are over, in which he has learned to know himself and has also accepted for himself the value of the work of the Lord Jesus.

The fact that the period of uncleanness and cleansing in the case of a girl lasts twice as long can perhaps be explained as follows. It is a reminder of the fact that sin came into the world through the woman (Gen 3:66When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make [one] wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.; 1Tim 2:1414And [it was] not Adam [who] was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.).

A spiritual application is this one. The female speaks of the emotions, the feelings, the subjective. Here there is no talk of being circumcised. With those who rely on their feelings it often takes longer to accept what Christ has done. This can be seen in many Christians who feel too bad or not bad enough to be accepted by God. Sometimes such Christians find peace with God only on their deathbed and then they see something of the meaning of the burnt offering and sin offering.


Cleansing After Giving Birth

6‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. 7Then he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears [a child, whether] a male or a female. 8But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”

After the forty or eighty days, the mother must also place herself on the basis of the offering, in the picture the offering of Christ. She must bring a burnt offering and a sin offering. When Mary has given birth to the Lord Jesus, she also offers this offering, because she too is unclean of herself (Lk 2:21-2421And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was [then] called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.22And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY [firstborn] MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”),24and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.”). That she does not bring the ordinary offering, a lamb and a dove (verse 66‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.), but two pigeons, thus the offering of the poor (verse 88But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”), indicates the poverty of the parents of the Lord Jesus. Mary is the only exception as regards the Child she gave birth to. The Child Jesus was the perfectly clean One. He indeed is not conceived by a sinful man – and therefore has not original sin – but by God the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:3535The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.).

In the woman we also can see a picture of Israel, a people who are impure, and from whom the Messiah was born, the clean One. In Revelation 12 we see that picture too (Rev 12:1-61A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;2and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads [were] seven diadems.4And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.5And she gave birth to a son, a male [child], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.6Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.). The woman there represents Israel; the male Son is the Lord Jesus.

The days of the cleansing of the people begin after ‘circumcision’, that is, after what happened to the Lord Jesus on the cross. Only now, in the period after the cross, can those who come to repentance see what they have all done and been and are still naturally. It often takes quite a while to see that. This applies both to Israel and to the individual believer of the church. The more I get to know myself, the more I abhor myself.

The result of this cleaning period is that we really place ourselves on the basis of the burnt offering and the sin offering. Only then are we also able to understand something of the value of the Lord Jesus’ work for God and that God looks at us in Him (burnt offering). The burnt offering comes first and therefore has the emphasis. It is only then that we are able to understand something of the meaning of the sin offering, that we are a little more aware of it.


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