WHAT A DIFFERENCE A VERSION MAKES

God’s Word amazes me! It is wonderful and perfect!

As I was reading from the Tree of Life Version (TLV), by the Messianic Jewish Bible Society, during my morning reading plan, something in Leviticus 14:5 caught my eye. The book of Leviticus focuses mostly on God’s Holiness and His Presence among His people. God is Holy, so in order for the priest and the people to be among His Presence, sin had be covered. Leviticus describes, in detail, the process of sacrifices to cover the sins of the People. Chapter 14 is about the purification of someone healed from Tza’arat (Skin Diseases).

Most versions will state v.5 as “Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot” (emphasis mine). But the TLV says it like this: “The kohen (priest) shall command them to kill one of the birds in a clay pot over living water.”

Living water just stood out like a blinking light to me. That is one of the reasons that reading from different versions is so important in effective Bible study. The various versions all use the original text. However, each of the panels of experts may decide and focus on one meaning of a word over another, such as the use of “fresh” over “living”. The context is the same, the original word is the same but, wow, does seeing it differently make you sit back and praise God.

From previous Bible study and former teachings, I knew that the sacrifices in Leviticus were fulfilled once and for all by the work that Jesus did on the cross. I also knew from John 7:37-39 and Revelation 21:6-8 that Jesus is the source of Living Water.

So, I underlined the words in my Bible and proceeded to go about my day, pondering on the thought that the purification for the healing was accomplished over “living water”. When I got home that evening, I looked up the lemma (root) of the original Hebrew words used in this passage. What I found was truly amazing.

The Hebrew root for the word “living” is hăy : living, alive; life; flowing running; maintenance; to live, to be alive.

God did not desire stale, dead, useless water. He desired fresh, running, living water; water that was alive and active; water that represented His Son. Only living water could wash away the uncleanness! The water for the sacrifice had to come from a fresh source such as a stream. In Revelation 21:6-8, Jesus says that He will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life (NIV).

An amazing thing that I found in Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible is the significance of the priest mixing the fresh water with the blood of the bird. In John 19:34 when we see that Jesus was pierced for our transgression (cf. Is 53:5), out flowed water and blood. We also see in I John 5:6 that Jesus did not come by water only but by water and blood.  He also states that the significance of the birds (like other sacrifices with a scapegoat) reveal that one dies for our sins (Christ’s death on the cross) and one is released (Christ’s Resurrection) to remove them and to bring justification. My favorite Bible teacher of all time, Derek Prince, defines justification as: “Just as if they had never been!” (Can we say AMEN to that!)

The more I read the Bible, even the hard places like the Book of Leviticus, the more I love the Bible! Jesus is everywhere within. Once you begin to open your spiritual eyes, God reveals the way the Scarlet Threads of Christ intertwine in every book. Ask God to show you the wonders of His Word. He will honor your heart’s request.

Open my eyes that I may see

wonderful things in your law.

Psalm 119:18 (NIV)

Open my eyes, so I may behold wonders from your Torah.

Psalm 119:18 (TLV)

Thank you, Father for opening my eyes!

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