Bible Study with Jairus – Leviticus 12
Leviticus 12 is a short but intriguing chapter. In this discussion, we will focus on the specific laws, which may seem strange to us today. This chapter describes how when a woman gives birth to a son, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days and must stay at home for 33 days, but when she gives birth to a daughter, she will be ceremonially unclean for two weeks and she must stay at home for 66 days. This discussion will focus on that law and the reason for the differences. (Leviticus 12:1-5). Why does it take twice as long for the woman to be unclean when giving birth to a daughter?
Does the Bible discriminate against women? It may sound this way to the modern ear, but when we take a closer look and understand the culture of the time, we realize that this is not a discrimination against women. When a woman gives birth to a boy, she will be ceremonially unclean for 7 days, but on the 8th day the boy is to be circumcised (NIV, Leviticus 12:3). This represents that the flesh is being dealt with. But the girl will not be circumcised, so it took twice as long being unclean, which means that it would take longer to experience spiritual cleansing and become spiritually mature. Boys also represent a strong part of the people of God; they are willing to accept being circumcised by God, which represents dealing of the cross and becoming a strong people of God. Girls represent a weak part of the people of God. They may not have experienced circumcision and the cross, so they need double grace and additional time to being perfected by God before they could become clean and mature.
This does not mean that girls are inferior to boys. David established a principle that those who went out to the battle and those who stayed with the supplies would both share the spoils. It is not only those who go to battle who benefit from their victory. Those who stayed home also benefited. This reveals that God will raise men, God’s strong people to achieve victory in battles. But with regards to God’s weaker people, He will also look after them. This is what the Bible means when it says that He will treat the parts that are unpresentable with abundant and complementary love and grace.
Spiritually, each of us is like a woman. We are all Mary. Our spirits are all spiritual wombs, in which the seeds of God’s immortal words are sown, and the life of Christ is born in us. But not every pregnant woman’s child can be born easily. There are abortions and premature death. The same is true spiritually. Although some people may hear the gospel, they are not always reborn. There are also others that have been reborn and saved, but are not free from sin and weakness, and have not lived a victorious life; while still others are free from sin, but have not achieved spiritual maturity. Every Christian can achieve spiritual maturity, which is what the man child represents. But many people have not reached spiritual maturity by the end of their journey on earth, so they still need to continue learning in heaven.
On the individual side, the man child represents the maturity of our spiritual life as Christians. But this maturity does not come automatically. It comes at a price. Here, circumcision represents the price we have to pay. Only when we die to ourselves and the world can we reach spiritual maturity. Circumcision is a physical way to give a part of yourself. It symbolizes sacrifice.
The woman can also represent the church. As a woman, the church collectively is predestined to bear a man child. There is a woman in Revelation 12 that may be a representation of the church. The man child born later may be a representation of God’s strong people, because this man child will rule all the nations with an iron scepter, and was snatched up to God and to his throne (NIV, Revelation 12:5). The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days (NIV, Revelation 12:6).
I don’t know if you agree with the statement of the woman representing the church and the man child representing the victor, but that was the teaching I received in the Local Church Movement. I remember when I was attending meetings at a church in Baltimore, I was often tended in love by a brother and his wife. When my wife and I were infertile and seeking medical treatment, he often helped us through acupuncture, hoping to help us. While doing acupuncture, he also shared some spiritual provisions in order to comfort us. He told us that the first time he heard the explanation of Witness Lee, the leader of the Local Church Movement, about the woman and the man child, he was very encouraged.
This brother described Witness Lee’s teaching as follows: Most churches are like women, and the few victors are each a man child. Without a woman, there would not be a man child. Therefore, among the churches, even families and couples, there are people who seem to be the women, nurturing and perfecting man childs; while others are man childs who accept perfection and who reach maturity in the end. Even in a family, unbelievers persecute those who believe, and those who turn away persecute those who love the Lord more. God often arranges an environment in churches and houses to allow us to experience the lessons of the cross. Some people, like Joseph’s brothers, were used by God to perfect Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were like the women here. They played the role of nurturing and perfecting Joseph. Some people are like Joseph. They are in a position of being persecuted, but in the end they are perfected and have become victorious. Most people in the church are like women, but the few victors are the man childs. Most people, God will use to perfect and mold others. Some, however, God will bring to perfection.
This brother told me that when he heard this teaching, he sighed, and said that he was determined not to just be a person whom God used to perfect others, someone who will learn how to bear the cross and become a spiritually mature person. He said that he hoped to experience the death on the cross to let the life of Christ be fully mature in him.
His words had a great influence on me. God had used my marriage and the difficulties of my wife’s ten years of infertility to give me a lot of trials and training. Many times, I have to die to myself again and again, but I am not willing to die. Sometimes, I asked the Lord, “Why do I have to give in, admit my mistakes and change every time? Why don’t you change my wife?” I prayed to the Lord many times. The inspiration that the Lord gave me is like when Peter was asking the Lord Jesus about John. “What about him?” And the Lord’s answer to him was “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (NIV, John 21:21-22).
The Lord told me that He wants me to learn the lesson of obedience through this environment. I was unable to obey in the beginning. I could only kneel down and pray before the Lord, asking Him to help me. At that time, Satan often spoke to me, provoking me to quarrel with my wife through the flesh. I experienced a deep internal battle. God overwhelmed me through the situation of marriage and infertility. Deep inside, I refused to be obedient, so I was in a lot of pain. During our ten years of infertility, in addition to being used by God to build my faith in Him, He also used it to deal with my flesh, allowing me to experience death on the cross.
After a long process, with countless prayers and tears, I finally gradually moved towards being obedient to God. I am also grateful for the marriage God had arranged for me. I sincerely realized that all the difficulties I experienced were tailored to me by God, and my wife was just a tool in God’s hands. After I had fully obeyed God from my heart through all the situations that He arranged for me, I sincerely thanked my wife and everyone around me. I then experienced a breakthrough in my spiritual life. I am not saying that I have won all my spiritual battles. However, I did experience a great breakthrough.
In 2016, after ten years of marriage, I experienced a miraculous healing from God – He gave us a miraculous baby. Before and after this, the Lord appeared to me many times. Once, he appeared to me in a dream as an eagle with multicolored wings covering almost the entire sky. He told me how the great eagle is perfecting the little eagle. He will also train me personally. On the last day of 2017, I was even taken up to heaven in a dream. The Lord Jesus personally said to me that if I would be obedient, He would greatly use me. There are still many problems in me that God needs to continue to deal with, but I did experience a spiritual breakthrough.
Looking back at this difficult process, I know that it is very difficult for us to give birth to a child whether physically or spiritually. Many people long for spiritual maturity, but not everyone is willing to pay the price. I rarely talk about this experience. I remember that Watchman Nee had said that an apple tree does not need to tell how deep its roots are, as long as it bears a lot of fruit, others will know how deep its roots are. Similarly, a spiritual person does not need to talk about how he experienced the cross. As long as he lives the abundance of life and bears rich fruits, others will know how deep he has been dealt with by the cross.
It is also okay if I choose not to obey. I have my own free will. But then, God’s calling for me will be hindered. I remember hearing the testimony of Kathryn Kuhlman, a healing evangelist. She said that when God gave her the healing anointing, He told her that she was not His first choice. Before that, God tried to give this anointing to another man, but that person refused to obey, so God did not give him this anointing. Therefore, as an individual Christian, many people may not be able to give birth to this child. This child may be salvation, or spiritual maturity, or it may be a ministry entrusted to us by God, or obedience to God so that God can use us. Many times, obeying the Lord is a difficult task. I know when I obeyed, I was able to receive from God and grow and mature.
Genesis 3 records that the descendants of the woman would crush the serpent’s head, and that women have to suffer through the pain of childbearing. Paul said, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” (NIV, 1Timothy 2:14-15). Christians have many different views with regards to the meaning of “women will be saved through childbearing”. My personal view is that not only can women be saved because they have suffered, but that they can always have children through childbearing, and they may become the woman who bears the “descendant of the woman”. For example, God only promised that Eve’s descendants would crush the serpent’s head, but did not promise when this will happen. The descendants of the woman may refer to Christ, because He crushed the serpent’s head on the cross. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, every time a man child was born, it may have been Christ. Although Christ was destined to be born in Bethlehem as a Lion of the tribe of Judah, this was revealed later. So perhaps when Eve gave birth to Cain, she might have thought that he was a descendant of that woman. Cain means “get”. After giving birth to Cain, Eve said “Jehovah, I have brought forth a man.” (NIV, Genesis 4:1). From the meaning of the name and Eve’s words, we can guess that Eve might have thought that Cain was the “descendant of the women” that Jehovah promised. Unfortunately, this was not the case. But this does not mean that the hope brought by each birth of a boy is not true. This hope is true. Christ has already come in the flesh.
The descendants of this woman can also be a victorious man child, as shown in in Revelation 12 because they represent God’s judgment of fallen angels. Revelation 12 recorded that after the man child was brought to God, war had broken out in heaven as recorded in verses 7-9. In the end, the devil and his angels were hurled to the earth. In addition to our hope of the return of the Lord Jesus, the birth of this man child is also the hope of the church.
The most important thing for each of us as Christians is to be spiritually mature on earth and give birth to the man child in ourselves. Unfortunately, many people did not give birth to this spiritual maturity. I often listen to Rick Joyner’s preaching, a prophet in the United States. He often mentioned in his message that the prevalence of abortion in the United States is a natural manifestation of spiritual abortion in the church. Many Christians have buried the calls and gifts that God has given them, and have aborted all the “spiritual children or dreams” that God has given them. When he was thinking about how to deal with the prevalence of abortion in the United States, he heard God say to him, “Your church is also like that”. In his preaching, he reminded Christians not to bury God’s inspiration, dreams, leading and gifts for them so that they could give birth to this spiritual life or spiritual ministry.
A Christian attending the meeting was encouraged by this light. She said: “I feel very hopeful that each of us is Mary spiritually, but the key is whether we can give birth to children and push them out.” Many Christians have experienced a spiritual miscarriage as Christ who is the head, did not mature and grow in them. They didn’t grow into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. This does not mean that God has abandoned them. They will experience God’s double grace and mercy. It is like what Paul said that God would treat the parts that are unpresentable with special modesty (1 Corinthians 12:23-24). They are like those who went up with David to chase after the enemies and those who stayed with the supplies. Although they could divide the spoils, David still had to rely on a small number of warriors to chase after the enemy, win, rescue the captives and recover the plunder. For God to fulfill His purpose on earth, He requires a small number of victors to cooperate with Him to reach spiritual maturity.
My testimony sharing ends here. I hope that my testimony and experience can help you better understand the spiritual significance of the story that I was talking about here. Let’s look back at Numbers 12:1-8 again. We have already talked about verses 1-5, which is about the difference in days of purification of the woman after giving birth to a boy and a girl. The third verse specifically mentions that the boy is to be circumcised on the eighth day. Verse 6 (NIV) says when the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. The priest shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. (NIV, Leviticus 12:7). If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean (NIV, Leviticus 12:8). The whole chapter ends here.
The same is true when Paul says “women will be saved through childbearing” in 1 Timothy 2. The church, as represented by the woman, must bear a certain number of victors (man child), in order to meet the conditions of the second coming of Jesus. But when the man child is born and when a part of God’s plan has been completed, God will continue to perfect this woman so that she may mature.
Therefore, the circumcision makes the male baby clean, and childbearing makes the woman clean. This is why a woman stays unclean for a longer period of time when she gives birth to a female child.
Xiulan Laiwang of Taiwan mentioned her testimony of heaven in her book “Jehovah Jirah”. She said that in the valley outside the paradise, there are some Christians who are being disciplined and studying the Bible and spiritual truths, and some mature people are specifically keeping watch over them and help them (pages 160 -161). She saw her mother-in-law and dad studying the Bible in paradise. In paradise, there is an angel in each family who is teaching them the Bible (page 45). Xiulan Laiwang said that her father and mother-in-law had received salvation when they were already old. They had no chance to study the Bible on earth, so they still have to study the Bible in paradise. She reminded Christians on earth that if they did not study the Bible well on earth, they would still have to make up missed lessons in the future so they need to seize the opportunity on earth. I was also taken to a place where my father-in-law was in a dream (I am not sure if it was paradise or a valley outside the paradise that Xiulan Laiwang mentioned). I saw many people there. An old, Chinese lady sitting at the door even showed me the Large Print Bible she was reading. I believe that my father-in-law did not believe in the Lord during his lifetime, but I believe he did not perish nor was he in the lake of fire. Thank God, they still have the opportunity to continue to study the Bible in after life. I don’t know how to explain this theologically but it was one my spiritual experiences. Perhaps God judged him by his conscience, as Roman 1 suggests.
Heaven is just the beginning, not the end. If some people reach spiritual maturity on earth, they will be used by God in the afterlife to help train many other people who are not spiritually mature. What’s more, if we reach spiritual maturity on earth, we can be used by God today to bless many people. Why not? May we all be able to nurture, give birth, push out the “man child” – God’s calling, gifts, entrustment, and ministry to us, and more importantly, spiritual maturity.