“Cleansing of the leper under the Law”
Leviticus 14 is the chapter for today’s Bible reading. It is a chapter about the law concerning those who have infectious skin diseases, after they have been cleansed.
In general terms leprosy is associated with sin. But notice that leprosy can be cleansed! Leprosy standing there for the sin, which is contagious, and can kill, but also can be washed away through faith and baptism into Christ. Sin was covered (the Atonement), but not taken away. Both Jews and Gentiles are eligible to be cleansed by Christ. We read about sprinkling the blood seven times on the person with the infectious skin disease and then pronounce him clean. Later we shall see Jesus giving his blood to cleans all people and to pronounce them free of sin, free of the curse of death. V5 – killed over fresh water perhaps echoes baptism or that Christ was the living water in a body of flesh (the clay pot). V7 – the number 7 might refer to spiritual perfection or spiritual completeness and possibly the millennial day of rest; cleansed of disease reminds us of the saints being cleansed of sin on the 7th day of rest. We do find here a figure of the redemption that is available in Christ. Just as the leper could not cleanse himself but required the sanction of the priest we cannot cleanse ourselves but are cleansed through the work of our high priest. The priest pronouncing one clean could echo the high-priest Christ judging and allowing entrance to the kingdom and eternal life.
The leprosy of the house, as described in this chapter, has direct bearing on the two occasions when Jesus cleansed the temple.
The house of God when Christ returns to the earth will only have clean stones/saints (v42). V47 – those allowed in the kingdom will have clean raiment and be clothed in righteousness and be washed/baptised with water and the word of God. V48 – Again, there will be a day of judgment, a day when those called will be examined by Christ, and we must be on our guard particularly in these last days to not be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, to not let our love grow cold, and to not let sin grossly infect the community of true believers (2Tim 3:1-5). We should know that in the time coming closer to the Last Days there shall be more Godlessness or a world full of (spiritual) ‘leprosy’.
During the last days difficult times will be present and we should be hardened against them. For the people will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unaffectionate, unreconcilable, slanderous, without-self-control, untamed, not-lovers-of-good, traitors, reckless, having become conceited, pleasure-lovers rather than God-lovers, holding a form of godliness but having denied the power of it. Indeed, be turning-away-from these ones. Do take distance form this infected world. Make sure you find people who are cleansed and found righteous in their way of following Christ Jesus, not keeping to human doctrines or pagan festivals (like Easter and Christmas). Bye sure to follow the right ones, who are clean in their heart and in the way they want to follow Jesus Christ, pure in the heart being in Christ.
V53 – there will be a ‘purification’ process when Christ returns to earth, a day of judgment with the elect cleansed of sin and death thanks to Christ’s who offered his life for the sins of many. As Isaiah 53:12 prophesied of Christ …
“he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”.
Peter Moore reminds us
In today’s chapter we do find instructions for any kind of mildew or fungus which is for us in these days also the fungus of the world that infects the way of life of many. As followers of Christ we should help each other to distinguish between what is clean and what is unclean and should do our best to keep ourselves and the way we want to serve God clean.
These requirements regarding the law of the leper also symbolise the spiritual state of the house of Israel. The Priest was to make three visits to inspect the house to assess its’ condition. Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem and gave judgements on the spiritual condition of the nation. These judgements are also written for our learning as individuals and ecclesias. What part do we play in supporting the ecclesia to which we belong?
|1st Visit Lev 14:36-38||Priest goes to house to see and diagnose its condition.||1st Visit||Beginning of ministry, Jesus goes to Temple to see and diagnose.|
|2nd Visit Lev 14:39-42||Priest revisits the house to and recommends remedial repairs.||2nd Visit Matt 21:12-14
|Near end of ministry, Jesus revisits the Temple to bring about change.|
|3rd Visit||Priest revisit the house. If there is no improvement he condemns the house for destruction.||3rd Visit||Jesus returns to Jerusalem to condemn the house of Israel. The stones of this house were literally removed by the Romans and the inhabitants of the house scattered.|