Bring Two Live Clean Birds

Then the priest shall command that two live clean birds and cedar wood and scarlet fabric and hyssop be brought for him who is to be cleansed.

Leviticus 14:4 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Remember, this is not a ritual to perform that cleanses leprosy. It is one performed to show that one who had leprosy is now clean.

As in the previous post, there are important typologies presented. In this case, there is a similarity that will be echoed later in Leviticus involving Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement.) Two offerings are presented there, one died for the presence of God, and the other to carry away sins. We have a likeness with two clean birds.

Accompanying the birds were cedar, scarlet cloth, and hyssop. Perhaps this was used as an applicator for sprinkling. It could have had some medicinal properties, but I think that is precluded by the purpose of the rite. It could even be to foreshadow Jesus… As much as this does… Particularly the events at Calvary.

The priest shall command that one of the birds be slaughtered in a clay vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.

Leviticus 14:5–6 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Just as on the Day of Atonement, one animal was sacrificed by killing it. The other by letting it go. This ritual introduces the idea. One dove was killed, representing the death of Jesus. The other let go, demonstrating His resurrection.

For the previously leprous person, the priest had these things brought out of the camp. These had to be brought to the individual. Just as Jesus would leave heaven to die on Earth and rise again.

That clay vessel is a typification of us. The running water typifies the life that the Spirit gives. It is a perfect representation of the condition of humanity, made of clay with the breath of life.

One bird is slaughtered in this vessel. Its blood would mingle with the water. We talk of putting things under the blood, but I don’t think many of us take this literal picture to mind. It is ourselves we put under the blood, too.

The living bird is then plunged into the vessel with the other three items. This is to unify them, to identify all of them with the blood offered.

Then he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from leprosy, and he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

Leviticus 14:7 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

I think the sequence is important. The cedar, a symbol of incorruptibility is used as a handle, too which scarlet cloth is used to tie a just branch to it. The scarlet cloth represents faith and the hyssop purging. This is used to sprinkle the bloody water onto the already cleansed person. This unified the person to this law of the leper in his cleansing.

The live bird is then set free!

This elaborate rite is for the already clean person.

That clay vessel is forever altered by that blood and water. Parts of that would mingle with the earthenware and always remain with it. The bird that is set free is no longer hindered. The entire rite shows how a saved person is forever altered by the blood of Jesus. And just as Jesus rose again, is forever freed by His life.

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