A person with leprosy in Bible times was expected to cry out “unclean, unclean” so that people would know not to touch him or her for fear of contagion and become infected. The word ‘Leprosy’ covers a multitude of skin infections, some serious, some not; and we read in the last two days in Leviticus of the Priest’s responsibility to determine which were serious and the action to take to prevent infections from spreading.
Today’s Leviticus 15 is about the precautions to be taken with sick people and others who had bodily discharges with the object of preventing the spread of other infections and disease. We also read that if those unclean with a “discharge” touch anyone “without having rinsed their hands in water” then the person touched is also regarded as unclean until the evening and needs to “wash his clothes and bathe himself” (Leviticus 15:11). They also had to cleanse the drinking and other vessels they used.
Now it is now only little more than 200 years since our world discovered how infections spread and the great importance of hygiene; before then countless needless deaths and plagues occurred. In the nineteenth century we read that a few medical men, suddenly realising that the Bible had such laws given by God 4,000 years ago, became convinced it really was a divine revelation from God and followed the way of life and belief found in the Bible.
In today’s 2 Corinthians 11 we see a spiritual counterpart as Paul laments that some were easily “led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ”.
Paul then writes, “if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus that the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:3-5).
Paul says, “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). Sadly; it is the same today – and many accept an “unclean” gospel – but some, by God’s grace, come to realise this and go through a cleansing process. There is, of course, a limit to the spiritual counterpart; note what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.