12:1. "And the
Lord spake unto Moses, saying,"
unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and
born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the
days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean."
This chapter deals with
the uncleanness connected with natural birth, with man in his natural state,
born with Adam's fallen corrupt nature, and therefore unclean and condemned
by God's holy law.
As it was by the woman
that sin came in, so is it that all born of woman are born unclean, for as
Job asks rhetorically, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not
one," Job 14:4, and since a clean thing can't be brought out of an unclean,
that which is born of the woman, by natural birth, is also unclean, tainted
with Adam's fallen nature, as Grant aptly comments, "Human increase is human
defilement. Every child born into the world, but adds to the evil in it."
But as it was by the woman
that sin came into the world, so has God graciously ordained that through
the woman the Redeemer should also come into the world, as He declared to
Satan, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel,"
Genesis 3:15. The man child spoken of in the verse we are now examining, is
a double type: (1) he represents man as he is by natural birth, but (2) he
also represents the second man, the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, “made
of a woman,” Galatians 4:4.
It is easy to see why the
woman should be ceremonially unclean when she has brought a man child into
the world. She has, as Grant has said, simply added to the world's evil.
But how do we reconcile
her being unclean when the man child brought into the world is a type of the
Lord Jesus Christ? Very simply. In this context the woman is a type of
Israel, and with the coming of Christ, their unclean spiritual state was
brought into sharper focus than ever before, because until His birth, they
could measure themselves by a human standard relative to God's law, and
thereby make themselves appear righteous. He however, by the
spotless holiness of His human life, condemned the unholiness of theirs, as
He said Himself, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin .... If I had not done among
them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have
they both seen and hated both me and my Father," John 15 :22-24. His
righteous life was the catalyst that exposed their sin in the blinding light
The woman's being unclean
for seven days is the typological declaration of Christ's exposure of
Israel's sin during His life here on earth. But seven is the scriptural
number of completeness or satisfaction, and the cleansing of the woman after
seven days points to the truth that God desires to see men cleansed from
sin, and fitted for heaven.
12:3. "And in
the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."
That circumcision of the
man child portrays the "cutting off" of Christ at Calvary, see, for example
Colossians 2:10-11 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all
principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised (cut off) with the
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the
flesh by the circumcision (death) of Christ."
The need to circumcise the
man child declares the truth that the only remedy for man's sinful state is
the cutting off of the flesh, and that "cutting off" occurs when I see
myself worthy only of death, I dying that death vicariously through Christ's
death for me, God graciously imputing His death to me, so that by Divine
reckoning I have died.
But Christ's resurrection
is also imputed to me as a believer, so that I, raised up out of spiritual
death, stand before God as a new creature in Christ, possessing His life and
nature, and being clothed in His righteousness. The circumcision that was
literal for the Israelite, is spiritual for believers of this age of grace,
being accomplished for us through the cutting off of Christ at Calvary, our
responsibility being to give practical expression to the spiritual
"circumcision" by our cutting off the deeds of the flesh. We are to make
good in practice what is imputed to us by grace. We are to live as those
who have become dead to the world (cut off from it) by the cross of Christ.
The things of the world are to have no more attraction for us than they
would have for a corpse.
Since eight is the number
of a new beginning, the lesson of the man child’s being circumcised on the
eighth day is that at the moment of conversion the spiritual equivalent of
circumcision occurs: God first imputes Christ’s death, the cutting off of
the flesh, to the believer, and then also His resurrection, so that in
Christ the sinner has died to his former state of condemnation, and then has
been raised up out of death as a new creature in Christ, possessed of His
life and nature.
12:4. "And she
shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she
shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days
of her purifying be fulfilled."
The following thirty-three
days would then represent the early Apostolic age when Israel was still
being offered the kingdom. Had they accepted the Gospel of salvation
through faith in a crucified and resurrected Messiah, their days of
uncleanness would have ended, and they would have entered into the enjoyment
of millennial blessings, to be followed by eternal blessing in the new
heaven and new earth. All they had to do was to come in faith and present
Christ, first as their Lamb for a burnt offering, and then as their
turtledove or pigeon for a sin offering. But they would not, with the
result that they have continued in their "uncleanness" for over two thousand
years, cut off from touching any hallowed thing, and from coming into the
sanctuary, i.e., into God’s presence.
12:5. "And if
she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her
separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore
and six days."
The female child may be a
figure of the Church. It is from Israel that the Church has come: the first
believers were Jews, Cornelius appearing to be the first Gentile convert,
many Bible scholars believing that his conversion may not have occurred
until eight years after Pentecost. The double period of uncleanness would
then point to the truth that Israel has incurred a double condemnation. She
rejected Christ during His life on earth, as she did also when He was
presented from the day of Pentecost until AD 70, as her resurrected
Savior/Messiah, Peter assuring the Jews that God viewed their crucifixion of
His Son as having been done in ignorance, "And now, brethren, I know that
through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers," Acts 3:17. Their
martyrdom of Stephen however, declared that their rejection of the
resurrected Christ was as adamant as had been their rejection of Him while
bodily in their midst. As noted already, that rejection has resulted in
their remaining spiritually unclean for two thousand years, during which
time He is calling out from amongst the nations those who as a corporate
body constitute spiritual Israel, the Church.
when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter,
she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young
pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle
of the congregation, unto the priest:
shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall
be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath
born a male or a female."
The lamb of the first year
is Christ in all the vigor of manhood, but the offering priest is also a
figure of Christ, the two combining to present us with the truth declared in
Hebrews 9:14, "Christ ... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without
spot to God." And we do well to note that the Burnt offering preceded the
Sin offering. That sacrifice at Calvary was first for God and His glory;
then for the expiation of men’s sins and the redemption of their souls. And
it teaches the further truth that a man’s sin must be put away before he can
offer acceptable worship.
The turtledove or pigeon
for the Sin offering portrays Him as the heavenly One dying in the stead of
earthy, guilty man.
12:8. “And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she
shall bring two turtles (turtledoves), or two young pigeons; the one for the
burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make
an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
The literal poverty of an
Israelite is symbolic of the spiritual poverty of a believer of this present
age of grace, that poverty deriving from several causes: first, the believer
may be a new convert, a babe in Christ, who hasn’t yet had time to acquire
knowledge through his own study of Scripture, or the teaching of mature
believers. Second, it may be due to limited ability to absorb knowledge:
all men, including believers, are not endued with the same intellectual
competence. Third, it may be due to carnality. Whatever the cause, the
fact remains that the ability to worship varies from believer to believer.
The mature spiritual believer can offer in worship the equivalent of the
Israelite’s costly bullock; another, less mature or less spiritual, can
offer only the equivalent of a sheep or goat; another, what is analogus to a
pigeon or turtledove; and yet another, only the equivalent of a handful of
It is to be noted however,
that the poor woman’s turtle doves or pigeons were just as precious in God’s
sight as was the costlier offering of her wealthier neighbor, as it is
written, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to
that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not,” 2 Corinthians
8:12. We should remember also the Lord’s commendation of the poor widow’s
two mites, “And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow
hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast
in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the
living that she had,” Luke 21:3-4.
This ritual for the
cleansing of the woman who had brought forth a man child however, ought to
remind us that the type has also a wider and very different application.
Israel was the woman who brought forth the man child, Christ, two thousand
years ago. The time of her cleansing is near. The long awaited rapture of
the Church is imminent, and the ensuing seven years of the Tribulation will
produce the believing remnant which will constitute the new converted Israel
that will enter the Millennium, their presentation of Christ as their Burnt
and Sin offering securing their cleansing, and enabling them to touch what
is hallowed, and to come again into the sanctuary, i.e., into God’s