Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century


The number Seven occurs in the Scriptures in direct connection with some type of purification some seventy times.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."


Cowden International © 2013 John Cowden

Sevenfold Purification Requires Blood

John CowdenEvery word of God is Pure. Verse 140 of the One hundred nineteenth Psalm reads, Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. If the Bible states anything clearly regarding Adam's descendants, it's that everything they touch gets contaminated. And anyone who doesn't believe it just like the Bible says it is a self-deluded ignoramus who can't read a daily newspaper. Adam and Eve's original sin required bloodshed (Gen 3:21), and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22 states that almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and in the same passage (vs 19) Paul made reference to Moses' symbolic purification of the Book.

Exodus 24 describes how Moses sprinkled sacrificial animal blood on the Tabernacle, on the worshipers, and on the Testimony, the Book. All through the book of Leviticus these symbolic sprinklings of blood were carried out on a sevenfold basis. In fact the number seven occurs so frequently in connection with purification that the significance is impossible to overlook. The number of days for the purification of a woman following childbirth was prescribed in multiples of seven. The cleansing of leprosy, a type of sin, included both seven-day intervals and sevenfold ablutions. As a matter of fact, when Naaman, the captain of the host of Syria, was cleansed of leprosy by Elisha the prophet, he was instructed to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.

The number Seven occurs in the Scriptures in direct connection with some type of purification some seventy times. This could hardly be considered coincidental. The symbolism regarding completeness as it applies to the number Seven stems from the fact that the purification was never perfected until the required seven transactions had been fulfilled. For example, had Naaman given up after his sixth plunge in the Jordan, he would have returned to Syria as leprous as he arrived. The Lord required that the sevenfold condition be completely met for the purification process to be efficacious at all.

So when we read in Psalm 12:6 that the words of the Lord have passed through a sevenfold purification, we can't help but acknowledge the obvious symbolism regarding completeness. However, to merely ascribe a figurative significance to the text leaves untouched a far deeper literal connotation. When God spelled out punishments to Israel for disobedience in Leviticus 26 he described the history of that nation as literally as any historian. And in so doing he repeatedly issued the warning that he would recompense their obstinacy by compounding the chastisement seven times more. Although the chronological record of Jewish history has borne out the literal fulfillment of these prophetic words in detail, it should be remembered that Israel’s final purification, and the ultimate realization of Leviticus 26 is reserved for a seven year period called the Tribulation. The fact that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego endured an experience described in Daniel 3 which has the most profound symbolic significance (with respect to Israel’s purification at the cruel hands of the gentile nations) in no way dismisses their having literally passed through a fiery furnace heated one seven times hotter than normal. So when Psalm 12 states that the words of the LORD have been refined like silver in a furnace, the process is said to be carried out seven times. The literal nature of the analogy – at least with respect to the King James Bible – is demonstrable.

It was obviously not the Lord's design that man should be presented with a completed written revelation in an instant of time. Development of the entire text of the Holy Bible in its original tongues required more than a millennium and a half. And though so-called scholarship may treat that sacred text as if its very existence were dependent upon the caprice of human ingenuity, a conspiracy of forty-odd anthropoids could no more produce the Bible unassisted in sixteen centuries than forty orangutans could collaborate to give birth to an unabridged Mandarin dictionary in a similar time span. What convoluted reasoning could imagine that human intellect alone might fabricate such a Book without a single faux pas among its hundreds of prophetic utterances, nor a single proven contradiction throughout its sixty-six volumes? These facts point irrefutably to verbal inspiration and the unwavering protection afforded by its divine author.

It should not escape our attention that the English Bible was produced, purified and preserved noless painstakingly than was its Hebrew and Greek precursor. In a very real sense it can be said that if over fifteen centuries were required to finish writing the Book, over fifteen more were needed to purify and perfect a translation in English, the language destined to become the universal medium of verbal communication during the final century of gentile world dominion.

As the second century AD dawned, the canon of the New Testament was added to that of the Old as the Holy Spirit guided the various churches in proliferating copies of the inspired writings of the apostles. It is clear from the writings of Christian leaders from that period that the books which were recognized as inspired are those now included in the New Testament, even though ecclesiastical religious councils did not officially adopt them until a couple of centuries later. Hopefully it need not be pointed out that God's Spirit has confirmed his words through the hearts of humble saints during this Church Age, while avoiding sacerdotal religious councils like the plague (Matt 12:14). By the end of the fourth century AD the Roman curia had usurped the authority of God's true priesthood, and established an official canon of scripture which included previously rejected Gnostic corruptions, and apocryphal writings never intended by the Holy Ghost, nor accepted by the Jews, to be associated with the inspired Text.

Although it was a thousand years before the Council of Trent actually anathematized anyone who failed to accept the canon prescribed by papal decree, the dross was already mingled with the silver of God's words like tares among the wheat. The Latin translation of this admixture of truth with error is exemplified by Jerome's Vulgate. The Vulgate, along with the scurrilously perverted Greek tradition which underlies it, remains the basis of Romish versions to this day.

During the centuries when the ancient Anglo-Saxon tongue was still spoken in the British isles, Jerome’s Vulgate was the only bible allowed by the Roman Catholic missionaries and monks who came to "christianize" the pagans. As early as the seventh century AD, attempts were made to translate portions of Latin scripture into what linguistic scholars refer to as Old English. Fragmentary poetic paraphrases and prose translations resulted from the efforts of Caedmon, Bede, King Alfred and others . Actually it was more than 200 years after the Norman conquest when a true translation of the entire Bible into so-called Middle English was accomplished. In about 1382 the first copies of this translation, largely the work of the learned John Wycliffe, was completed. During the next several years Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate was hand published by sincere Christians such as John Purvey and Nicolas of Hereford. The wide acceptance of this text by God-fearing saints marks it as the real foundation of the Scriptures in English. It was circulated freely in manuscript form for the next 150 years; and the opposition of Satan through Roman Catholic interdict from 1408 to 1534 gave evidence to the blessing of God on this pre-reformation beginning of the protestant English Bible.

If church interdict attested to the resistance of the powers of darkness to the English Bible in the form of Wycliffe's translation; the Lord's intent to purge it from the Alexandrian influence of the Vulgate was confirmed by the sprinkling of Lollard blood which accompanied its publication. After Henry IV, an ardent papist, ascended the throne in 1399, severe persecution broke out against Wycliffe's followers. Many Lollards won martyr's crowns at the stake, and their churches were suppressed. The Word of God had been rendered in English, the modem Anglo-Saxon language, and the blood required for its seven purifications had already begun to be spilt.

The seven steps required to purify the English text are relatively easy to follow through history; partly because the path is stained red by the blood of the reformers who hazarded their lives to place in the hands of their countrymen a Bible purged from the telltale taint of Rome. What follows is a brief synopsis of each of the milestones which clearly mark that path from Wycliffe's translation of the Vulgate, to the pure silver of God's English Bible. Since this sermon covers a pretty broad subject, we might have easily given it a more imaginative title. How about something like ...

1. Where Were God's Words In The Past?
2. Heaven and Earth Shall Pass Away . . .
3. Unto the Pure All Things Are Pure
4. The Word Is Nigh Thee
5. Sevenfold Purification Requires Blood
6. Seven Times Through A Furnace of Earth
7. Pure Silver

Next: 6. Seven Times Through A Furnace of Earth

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