3.3.1 Hyssop: Humility
Volume 3: Living Symbols—Chapter 3.1
“God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men… and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.” (I Kings 4:29-34) It has been my experience that knowledge, in and of itself, is overrated. What is needful is what Yahweh gave Solomon: “wisdom and understanding,” the ability to utilize knowledge for good. While pursuing knowledge and factual data, Solomon considered not only the big, self-important things (characterized by the cedar tree). He also took into account what may seem insignificant by comparison, like the humble hyssop, for it too is part of God’s creation: it’s there for a reason. Without looking at both ends of the spectrum, our perception of the world around us will be skewed. Remember: whales can’t live without plankton.
It is instructive to note how often in scripture hyssop is seen contrasted or in combination with cedar. They are, as we saw above, used to represent the least and the greatest, presented side by side to make a point. So since “the last shall be first,” let us begin our examination of the symbolic meanings of individual trees and plants with hyssop. The Hebrew word for this shrub is ’ezob. It’s likely from the mint family, possibly related to marjoram, probably from the genus Origanum. As plants go, it’s known for its insignificance, as revealed by Yahshua’s usage of the concept: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23) The idea is, “You guys attend to the little stuff, the religious minutiae, but you’re missing the big picture altogether. The ‘Law’ you claim to be following has symbolic significance that points toward Me. Yes, you should tithe, but it will do you no good to calculate out the correct amount to the last little cumin seed or sprig of mint if you ignore or forget the fundamentals: you are to show your love for Yahweh by loving your neighbor.”
Hyssop is one of three elements symbolically grouped together time after time in the Torah. It represents (as we saw in Solomon’s usage) the small, seemingly insignificant facets of life. Cedar, by contrast, was the most magnificent tree to be found in the region—thus symbolic of strength, splendor, and longevity: the other end of our experiential spectrum. The third element is scarlet, an expensive red dye derived from the eggs of the female kermes or cochineal scale insect (found on kermes oak trees. The color is the clue: it represents blood, and specifically, the blood of the Messiah—or, what that blood was designed to cover: our sin. The point is the same as that Yahshua made to the religious hypocrites: the small details of the Torah (the hyssop) and the big picture (the cedar) of Yahweh’s plan are both to be perceived within the context of the means of salvation (the scarlet). In the end, you cannot separate these three things.
Helping us get our bearings is this statement, wrapping up a lengthy passage on “leprous disease” where the ritual use of hyssop and its two companions are specified: “This is the law for any case of leprous disease: for an itch, for leprous disease in a garment or in a house, and for a swelling or an eruption or a spot, to show when it is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law for leprous disease.” (Leviticus 14:54-57) “Leprous disease” here (Hebrew: tsara’ath) isn’t restricted to classic clinical leprosy, a.k.a. Hansen’s disease (Elephantaisis graecorum), but encompasses a broad range of skin infections and environmental infestations such as mildew, mold, and fungus in clothing or houses. “Leprosy” is a thinly veiled euphemism for sin: it is something that separates us from the community of faith, and it will ultimately, if left untreated, kill us.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing.” “Cleansing” is a rather misleading translation. The Torah never tells us (directly, anyway) how we may be cured of the disease. These instructions, rather, point out what to do in response to our cleansing. What’s in view here is the official declaration or pronouncement that the leper has already been healed. “He shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall look….” As long as he is “officially” a leper (having at some point previously been declared unclean) the patient may not enter “the camp,” that is, the congregation of the saints. This is, if we’re honest with ourselves, the state into which we have all been born—“condemned already,” as Yahshua put it in John 3:18.
Since “leprosy” is analogous to sin, however, it follows that the death, burial, and resurrection of Yahshua have provided a cure—to everyone. Each of us, from Mother Teresa to Adolph Hitler, has been provided with the means to be made free of our disease. But it us up to us to receive the cure, to choose to implement Yahweh’s treatment. Therefore, until we do (symbolically) what is indicated here in the Torah, we will remain separated from God, cure or no cure. That is the situation being described: “Then, if the case of leprous disease is healed in the leprous person [potentially true of every person on the planet], the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two live clean birds and cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop. And the priest shall command them to kill one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over fresh water. He shall take the live bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease.” (Leviticus 14:1-7) This, of course, is usually where our eyes glaze over and our train of thought gets shunted onto a siding. What in the world is he talking about?
If this isn’t purely symbolic, then it would seem that Yahweh has a truly twisted sense of humor. It seems obvious to me that each element of the ritual (of which I’m only discussing the portion involving hyssop—there’s quite a bit more to it) is prophetic of some facet of God’s plan for our redemption. (1) The “Priest” who directs the whole affair is Christ. It is He who ventured “out of the camp” on our behalf when we were yet sinners, putting Himself in harm’s way for our benefit. (2) The “two live clean birds” are analogous to the two goats used on the Day of Atonement: one will be sacrificed, while the other one, “baptized” in the blood of the first, will be set free—it’s a picture of grace. On another level, both birds represent Christ: one slain, the other “risen from the dead,” a state we will emulate if we are in Him. Remember that “birds” represent the consequences of choice—whether ours or Yahweh’s. (3) The “earthenware vessel” reminds us that we are made of dust. It represents our mortality. The first bird, you’ll notice, is killed “in” this bowl. That is, Christ’s death is intimately associated with the mortality of mankind: although He was God, He became a man in order to save men. Moreover, we in our mortal state are what “holds” His shed blood. It’s a sobering picture, if you think about it. (4) The “fresh water” is more than just “not salty.” The phrase actually denotes running or flowing water, but the literal translation of the Hebrew is “living” water. The slaying of the first clean bird in the earthenware vessel is to take place “over” this living water. It’s pretty clear to me that this juxtaposition indicates the work of the Holy Spirit, flowing beneath—underpinning, upholding, and supporting—the whole crucifixion scenario. And since water represents both cleansing and restoration, we can begin to perceive how the death of the Messiah—followed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26, 16:7)—ultimately achieves these objectives in our lives.
That leaves only the three symbolic elements that were to be placed into the blood. (5) The scarlet (or a bit of yarn dyed scarlet) represents the blood of Christ, pointing out (albeit subtly) that the literal blood of the clean bird was only a symbol, a temporary expedient, a harbinger of the ultimate expression of God’s love. Isaiah points out the connection between scarlet, our sin, and the atoning blood of Christ: “Come now, let us reason together, says Yahweh: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." (Isaiah 1:18) (6) The cedar wood (as we shall see in the next section) is symbolic of strength. Strength can be a good thing or not, depending upon how it’s used. Like beauty or intelligence or wealth, it is a gift from Yahweh, to be used (if you have it) for His honor. But all too often, it becomes an occasion for pride instead. And (7) hyssop indicates the other end of the scale—insignificance, weakness, or humility: what we are in our natural state apart from God, whether we know it or not. Together, these three substances represent the irony of the human condition—its irrational pride, its irrelevance apart from Yahweh, and the seemingly indelible stain of sin’s defilement—which may be made white only in the blood of the Messiah’s sacrifice. And in the context of declaring people to be free from their “leprosy” (read: sin), these three things also speak of what it took to cure our malady: the blood of atonement, the strength of Yahshua’s character, and the incredible humility it took for Yahshua to lay aside the trappings of deity for a time in order to become our “Cure.”
This procedure was used for declaring someone clean who had formerly been diagnosed with a disqualifying blemish on his or her skin. But the rite for cleansing (i.e. pronouncing clean) infected houses (presumably with mold or mildew issues) was virtually identical. “But if the priest comes and looks, and if the disease has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, for the disease is healed. And for the cleansing of the house he shall take two small birds, with cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop, and shall kill one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over fresh water and shall take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet yarn, along with the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed and in the fresh water and sprinkle the house seven times. Thus he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and with the fresh water and with the live bird and with the cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn. And he shall let the live bird go out of the city into the open country. So he shall make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean.” (Leviticus 14:48-53)
Why was the whole thing process repeated, almost verbatim? It has to do with the distinction between people and “where they live”—their homes, nations, cultures, and societies. I believe what we’re being told here is that the same sort of “cleansing” that an individual may enjoy (at his discretion, as a matter of personal choice) is also available, in a way, to the whole community or country. It’s healing on a national scale, the kind of thing Yahweh promised to Solomon: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14) Such national restoration must begin with the “cleansing” of its individual citizens, of course. How many of them is a matter left unsaid, but finding “seven thousand who haven’t bowed the knee to Ba’al” in a nation of seven million (the condition of Israel at the time of Elijah) probably isn’t going to cut it.
We are reminded that the “blessings and cursings” passages (notably Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28) are primarily national in character and scope. Yahweh was very specific about what it would take for Israel to restore her fortunes. What is being described here, then, is the rough equivalent of declaring “the leprous house” to be clean: “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where Yahweh your God has driven you, and return to Yahweh your God, you and your children, and obey His voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then Yahweh your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and He will gather you again from all the peoples where Yahweh your God has scattered you….” Remarkably, Yahweh has begun this compassionate repatriation process in Israel without waiting for them to return with a whole heart to Him. Perhaps He’s figuring that if He shows them sufficient evidence of His miraculous provision and protection, they’ll eventually get the hint. “And you shall again obey the voice of Yahweh and keep all His commandments that I command you today. Yahweh your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For Yahweh will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of Yahweh your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-3, 8-10)
I have observed that literal compliance with ninety percent of the Torah is virtually impossible to do as a single individual: it can only be done as a community, as a comprehensive cultural system. (For instance, leaving the edges of your field unharvested is pointless if the poor don’t know that you’ve done it so that they can come in and gather something for themselves to live on.) Note that Israel’s national willingness to observe God’s Instructions will be met with the ability to do so—something neither they nor anybody else can do today, if for no other reason than that they have no temple or priesthood. Notice too that Moses said “when,” not “if.” Israel would (as we now know from history) experience the cursings. But just as surely, they will one day know the blessings as well. When? During the Millennial reign of the Messiah, the One whom the whole Torah was designed to reveal. As I’ve said before, establishing a real relationship with Yahshua the Messiah is tantamount to “keeping God’s Law.” In the end, it is the only way to really “obey the voice of Yahweh and keep all His commandments and His statutes that are written in this Book of the Law.”
In case you’ve lost your bearings, we were talking about the humble hyssop shrub and its role as one of Yahweh’s symbols of how to deal with the human condition (on both individual and corporate levels). Hyssop indicates our intrinsic insignificance, weakness, and helplessness before God, and it prophetically hints at the Messiah’s subsequent self abasement on our behalf.
Precisely the same three-ingredient combination (hyssop, cedar, and scarlet) is specified in the goofy sounding but incredibly symbol-rich ordinance of the “red heifer.” This is the prescribed rite for cleansing someone who has come into contact with a dead body—something that, in a nation the size of Israel, would have happened quite often. Like the law of leprosy, this one is quite complicated, so once again let us merely concentrate on how hyssop is to be employed. First, Yahweh told Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come….” As the religious elite of Israel would later define it, this is an extremely rare animal. They insisted that no more than three hairs on its body may be any color other than red. Only nine such animals have ever been used for this purpose in the whole history of Israel—none of them within the last two thousand years. Of course, Yahweh didn’t say any such thing. Judging by the casual way He talks about them, it would appear that by His definition, they might have been unusual but they were common enough for the task at hand. (As I’ve said, Yahweh never asks us to contribute something He hasn’t already provided.)
Being a heifer (by definition, a young cow that had never borne a calf), the animal would have contributed nothing to mankind—no offspring, no milk, and no labor—except through her death. This, of course, makes her a “type” of Christ, but with a twist: it’s a subtle rebuke to those who find no value in the cross, but esteem Him (or say they do) only for his teachings and example. But what Yahweh is saying here is that outside the context of Yahshua’s true mission—atoning for our sins on Calvary’s tree and then raising Himself from the dead—His miracles, teachings, parables, and prophecies are of no more significance than the heifer’s cow patties strewn across the back forty. The red heifer’s whole job (not to mention Christ’s) was to die so folks could be indemnified from the curse of death.
“And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him.” The parallels continue: Yahshua was slain outside the city walls of Jerusalem—outside the “camp.” “And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.” Aaron was still alive when this precept was given, so it’s significant that his son Eleazar is tasked for this service. He is symbolic not only of those who follow Aaron (i.e., his sons in perpetuity, all of them priests of Israel, by definition) but also of us who follow Yahshua (He of whom Aaron himself is symbolic)—believers in Yahweh, both Jewish and gentile, throughout the ages. We are to take a “hands-on” approach in making the blood of Christ’s sacrifice efficacious for the salvation of mankind. How? By spreading the good news that we have been cleansed from the curse of death. What was Eleazar supposed to do with the blood? Use it to point toward the tabernacle—itself a complex metaphor for Yahweh’s plan for our redemption. “And the heifer shall be burned in his sight. Its skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, shall be burned….”
This is where hyssop reenters the picture: “And the priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and throw them into the fire burning the heifer.” (Numbers 19:2-6) Just as in the leprosy ritual, our pride, insignificance, and sin are identified with the sacrifice—this time through fire, indicating judgment through separation. And as before, these elements also point toward the strength, humility, and shed blood of the One undergoing God’s judgment in our stead: Yahshua.
So what was to be done once the carcass of the young cow, with the hyssop, cedar, and scarlet, had been reduced to ashes? The ashes, mixed with water, were to be sprinkled upon the one who had encountered death. It should be pretty obvious that the procedure had no intrinsic value in warding off disease or corruption: its efficacy was entirely symbolic. “Whoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh water shall be added in a vessel.” This phase of the ritual also involved hyssop, this time as an implement of application: “Then a clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave….” It wasn’t that hyssop made such a fine “sprinkling brush.” The symbolic point of using it is that only through humbling ourselves before Yahweh in receiving His gift of life—rather than arrogantly presuming we must (or even can) perform well enough to impress God—can we be indemnified from the death our sins have brought upon us.
“And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.” (Numbers 19:16-19) Since the whole point of the ordinance of the red heifer was to cleanse someone who had “touched death,” the timing—the “third day” and the “seventh day”—is noteworthy. These (I believe) are references to the third and seventh “feasts” or “holy convocations” that Yahweh commanded the Israelites to observe. As a group, these seven holidays prophetically commemorate the seven most significant milestones in the unfolding history of Yahweh’s redemption of mankind: (1) the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God; (2) the removal of our sins; (3) the restoration of life; (4) the indwelling of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit; (5) the transformation from mortality to immortality; (6) the culmination of human choice; and (7) the dwelling of God with man.
The third day, then, is analogous to the Feast of Firstfruits, which predicted the bodily resurrection of the slain Messiah. This act proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that life beyond this mortal existence is not only possible, it’s something Yahweh is prepared to achieve in us. “Touching death,” need neither be fatal nor permanent, though it is the lot of all men. But to avoid the unpleasant after-effects of human mortality, one must be sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer (complete with hyssop, cedar, and scarlet). This must be done in an attitude of humility before Yahweh (hence the hyssop sprinkling implement) on the third day—that is, in reference to the renewed life Yahshua proved was possible through His own resurrection.
But we’re still not done. The procedure must be repeated on the seventh day. This time, the reference is to the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh and final appointment on Yahweh’s calendar. This is an eight-day feast, the first seven speaking of the perfect reign of King Yahshua as God among men upon the earth, and the eighth indicating the eternal state, the everlasting immortal paradigm. It is not enough to intellectually admit that Christ is the Lamb of God; we must also be prepared to welcome and embrace Him as our eternal King. Only then can the one who has been defiled by death (that’s all of us) finish the procedure. We are then to (1) wash our clothes; that is, don the garment of light provided by Yahweh, through which He does not see our sin. (2) We are to wash our bodies in water—an act that symbolized the immersion (read: baptism) into the Holy Spirit. And (3), we are to wait until sundown. This is a euphemism for the end of one’s mortal life, the point being that we cannot stand in the undimmed presence of the Almighty clothed in mortal flesh. We must be—and shall be—transformed into beings of immortal purity, a form in which we may fellowship with our God for all eternity—if we have been “sprinkled with hyssop” with the living water of God’s Spirit containing the ashes of the sacrificial red heifer, the scarlet of our sin, the cedar of our irrational pride, and the hyssop of our intrinsic insignificance before Yahweh.
To the uninformed, the incessant Torah practice of sprinkling blood on things seems odd, perhaps even barbaric—and at the very least, unsanitary. But the writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us why it was done: “For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.’ And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood.” If you track down the actual references, it becomes apparent that this is a composite overview of what Yahweh instructed in the Torah. It doesn’t refer to one particular precept but many of them lumped together. The point is stated in the punch line: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:19-22) Sometimes the implement of application of this blood was the priest’s finger, but it was often (as we have seen) a sprig of hyssop. The difference is obvious: if the implement was the priest’s finger, Yahweh is telling us that the works of one’s hands are being stressed. But if hyssop is the prescribed implement of the application of sacrificial blood, we are being reminded that humility before God is the key to our understanding.
The preparation for Passover was a perfect example of this principle. “Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For Yahweh will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, Yahweh will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever.” (Exodus 12:21-24) There was nothing the Israelites could do to physically constrain or influence the angel of death, so the blood was not to be applied to the doorposts with the fingers—their “good works” had nothing to do with it. Rather, the shed blood’s application with a bunch of hyssop was symbolic of the idea that the sacrifice had been made and applied in humble obedience to the word of Yahweh. All of the “work” would be done by God Himself that night. All the Israelites themselves were to do was to trust God and feast upon the lamb who had given its life so that the firstborn of the household might live in its stead.
It was a time of mixed sorrow and celebration. Yes, the life of the firstborn had been saved, but God had seen to it that the lamb had, by the time of its sacrifice, become a friend of the family—almost a household pet. In what turned out to be prophetic of the passion week, the lamb had been brought into the house on the tenth day of the month of Nisan, only to be slain on the fourteenth. Thus on Nisan 10, 33 AD, Yahshua entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the throng shouting, “Hosanna (save now)! Blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahweh!” And after the inhabitants of the city had gotten to know Him, they crucified Him on Nisan 14—just as the Torah had prescribed. Almighty God had humbled Himself and taken on the form of a mere man—and then abased Himself even further, becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God so that we could live. If we are willing to appreciate the symbology of what hyssop means, we’ll come to realize that the blood of Christ was indeed brushed upon the doorposts and lintels of our dwelling places with the implement of abject humility.
But there’s a literal component to this as well: “After this [after He had been crucified], Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” Though written long before crucifixion was even invented, Psalm 22:15 describes the desperate thirst this sort of torture causes. “A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:28-30) Hyssop again: the implement of insignificance and humility. But at this point, it was indeed “finished.” From this moment on, we would never again see Yahshua of Nazareth subjected to the indignity of a mortal existence. The next time we’d see Him, it would be as our risen Lord, walking the earth for forty days in a body that was capable of things no mortal man could even conceive of—an immortal body that is apparently the model for the ones we His children will someday enjoy. But for Him, this too was but a temporary form: when the world next sees our Messiah, it will be as the reigning, invincible King. However, there will still be mortals walking the earth during His Millennial reign, so King Yahshua will inhabit a body that is not lethal to those still cloaked in flesh—though it will be as brilliant and glorious as any mortal man can see and yet survive. Humility (for Yahshua) will have become an obsolete concept. The apparent insignificance that characterized His first advent will be unmasked to reveal His eternal glory.
That’s not to say that hyssop will have no part to play during the Millennial kingdom. But now its use will reveal the true nature of fallen man. The Millennial mortals (the children of the blessed “sheep” of Matthew 25:34) born during Christ’s thousand-year reign will still be laboring under Adam’s curse. They, like David of old—like every sinner who ever walked the earth—must come to terms with their own frailty, vulnerability, and insignificance, the need for honest humility before God. David pleaded, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!... Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:1-2, 7-12) As with all men of all ages, only the hyssop of the ordinance of the red heifer will indemnify the Millennial multitudes against their own mortality. Only the hyssop of the law of leprosy can cleanse them from the stain of sin that disqualifies them from fellowship with Yahweh. And only the hyssop applying the blood of the Passover Lamb is able to keep the angel of death at bay.