The Berean Expositor
Volume 15 - Page 148 of 160
Index | Zoom
"He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days; he shall
purify himself with it on the third day . . . . . Whosoever . . . . . purifieth not himself,
defileth the tabernacle of the Lord . . . . . he shall be unclean" (Num. 19: 11-13).
The word "unclean" is not in dispute; the word "purify" is. Heb. 9: 13, 14 refers to
this passage, and we give the translation as found in the Concordant Version.
The Oracle of God.
"For if the blood of he-goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the
contaminated, is hallowing to the cleanness of the flesh, how much rather shall the blood
of Christ, Who through the eonian spirit offers Himself flawless to God, be cleansing
your conscience from dead works" (Heb. 9: 13, 14).
The notes at the side of the translation in the Concordant Version read:--
"13. This refers to the two great sin-offerings of Lev. 16 and Num. 19. The victim
was burned, the ashes preserved, and water that flowed over them availed to purify. This
ordinance fills an important place in Israel's future as well as its past" (Ezek. 36:25).
According to this comment, the ashes of the heifer did "avail to PURIFY", and
according to Ezek. 36: 25 avails to "cleanse". So far this but confirms the A.V. But
the notes in this version, like all other human products, may be challenged. Not so the
actual passage from Heb. 9: quoted above. The effect of the sprinkling of the unclean:--
"Sanctities or hallows to the purifying of the flesh" (Heb. 9: 13).
The Septuagint of Num. 19: uses the verb hagnizo "to purify", to translate chata
which is very parallel with Heb. 9: 13, 14.
Hagiazo = "to hollow" or "to sanctify", occurs in Hebrews six times, viz., 2: 11,
9: 13, 10: 10, 14, 29, 13: 12. Other derived words translated "holy", "holiness", &100:,
occur many more times. This is the word which God uses in Heb. 9: 13 to translate the
Hebrew word chata in Num. 19: We maintain that "sanctify" is the opposite of "sin".
Here we have something more solid than deductions from man-made laws of language;
we have the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.
The only question open to us now is concerning our attitude of heart towards the Word
of God. The inspired writer of Hebrews sets his seal upon the A.V. rendering of chata.
To say that the rendering "purify" is a sin of translation is to say that to "sanctify" is even
more a sin. Until it can be proved that Heb. 9: 13, 14 is not dealing with Num. 19:, or
that hagiazo means an intensive form of sin, or that hagiazo is not God's own translation
of the Hebrew Piel form of chata=sin, or that "to sanctify" is not the extreme "opposite"
of "to sin" (which is our contention), the argument is closed. To debate the subject
further would be but to magnify human "deductions" and "laws" against the Word of
God, a debate we decline.