Leviticus is hard to read. Not only does it concern Jewish ritual law, but all of the sacrifices it details are not even able to be performed today, even if a Jewish person wanted to do them, because there is no Tabernacle or Temple any longer. And yet, there is truth to be had for us even today in it. Take, for instance, this verse:
On the eighth day she will take two turtledoves or two pigeons and bring them to the priest at the meeting tent’s entrance.
This is not the first time a sacrifice was called to be performed on the eighth day to completely restore the person. There are many conditions that make a person ritualistically unclean. These require a period of seven days of waiting and then the sacrifice on the eighth day. This is a foreshadowing of something wonderful.
All the while people are unclean they can have no interaction with others around them. They are excluded from the camp. They are even unable to present themselves before God in the Tabernacle for prayer or for sacrifice. They are cut off from everything. They are, in essence, dead. Then, on the eighth day, they receive new life. They are brought before the presence of the Lord and reconciled to God. They are reintegrated into the life of the community. They are brought back to life.
Very early in the life of the Church people called Easter Sunday the eighth day. It is the first day of a new week. In John wrote his Gospel in such a way that this first day of the week, this day beyond the previous seven, was the inauguration of a brand new creation. The old seven days were done; we are now in the eighth day–the day of new life, the day of resurrection.
As we approach Easter this Sunday, remember the eighth day and the new life, the restoration it brings for us all. God planted this idea in the covenant people long ago so that when the time was right, they would understand.
May we, too, celebrate our new life on the eighth day.