I have always been fascinated by Hebrew numerology. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a number. Each number is assigned a meaning. Today's scripture emphasizes two numbers dealing with days and time: 7 and 8.
The formula for ceremonial cleansing and entrance into worship of God is 7 days, then another 7 days, and then on the eighth day, entrance into the Tent of Meeting occurs.
Seven is the number for wholeness and is associated with creation. Six always points to the creation, seven to perfection. One and three are both numbers for God. Thus 6-6-6 (3 sixes, the symbol of the anti christ) points to the creation trying to be God; whereas 7-7-7 points to God.
Note that there are two rounds of seven.
In the first round, the diseased person comes to the priest and the priest examines him outside the camp.
If the person has been healed, he is cleansed by the priest with dove's blood. The number two represents "witness." Doves represent the Holy Spirit of God. Remember it took the witness of 2 doves for Noah to enter back onto the land after the destruction of the flood. Remember, the second dove was set free, representing the devastation was over and new life had begun. One dove was sacrificed for the cleansing and one was set free. Doves were also used when "cutting a deal" or making a covenant...remember the covenant God made with Abram? Doves were also the sacrifice offering of purification. When Mary came at the time of purification, she offered up two doves. These are two witnesses of the Holy Spirit that healing and cleansing is real. Later in the New Testament, we learn that the pairing of two disciples/witness is necessary as they go to proclaim the gospel and work miracles of healing and restoration on behalf of God.
Clean water was called "living water." It was not stale or stagnant water of the cistern. It was "running water," fresh water. Remember how Jesus tells the Woman at the well he will give her living water. Remember, she was outside the camp, so to speak. She comes to the priest, Jesus, and he brings her into the camp with spiritual healing.
Cedar wood, a known deterrent for moths and other insects, not only stood for physical healing but also spiritual healing and cleansing. The cedar wood was used for palaces and holy places because of this property. Solomon imported cedar wood as it was considered the most expensive. The Psalmist speaks of the Cedars of Lebanon to point to prosperity and the blessing of God.
The scarlet yarn was made from the casing of worms that helped in decomposition of decaying material. The the color scarlet always points to sacrificial blood, salvation and cleansing of death. We will see more of the scarlet thread as we move toward the promised land and hear of a woman named Rahab.
Hyssop is a loofah like plant that when immersed in water becomes soapy. Don't forget Psalm 51: "cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Even today at baptisms in the Roman Catholic churches, the priests shake the hyssop branch 7 times and declare, "Remember your baptism."
And then there is the oil of anointing and joy...Joy of returning to the house of the LORD. "I was glad when they said unto me, let US go up to the house of the LORD!" Can we even imagine the joy of returning to worship and community after being banned and isolated because of disease or dis-ease with our LORD?
So, all this symbolism takes place outside the camp for the first 7 days (representing the first creation.) Hair is cut (anyone dealing recently with lice understands this; also hair being shorn represents true repentance.)
After the first round, the healed person comes into the camp but is still outside the tent. Perhaps originally this was an extension of the quarantine. But it also speaks of the 2nd period of creation...the time of sanctification. The cleansed one, the one under the blood of the Lamb, having been cleansed in the water, goes through yet another seven days. The outside has been cleansed. Now there is a cleansing of the inside as the creation of the Holy Spirit takes place.
After worshipping God, now, in Spirit and in truth, on the eighth day, the day of circumcision and the day of resurrection into new life, the cleansed and healed one can finally come into the house of the LORD. This is the time of glorification.
Jesus is our high priest. He is the one who created us, saved us, sanctifies us and one day, we will be glorified by him in eternity.
"In this way, the priest will make atonement before the LORD on behalf of the one to be cleansed."Leviticus 14:30b
Whether you are one who has not yet been healed by the good news of the gospel, or one who is in the 7 days of salvation and purification, or the 7 days of sanctification and testing, hope in the LORD! He will bring you to the eighth day of glorification.
"I will wait for the LORD. I will wait for my salvation.
I was glad when they said unto me, let us go up to the house of the LORD!"