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Leprosy is a picture of sin that becomes active in the believer, not as a temporary effect, but as a part of life. The picture of leprosy also focuses on the polluting effect of sin. We all can be caught in any trespass (Galatians 6:1; James 3:2). That is something else than living in sin and that is what it is about with leprosy as a picture of sin.
Leprosy is the sin that pollutes a person permanently. Its characteristic is perseverance in one’s own will. Such a person must be removed and dwell outside the camp (Leviticus 13:46). For the church this means: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Corinthians 5:13). The removal of the leper is with a view to self-preservation for the people, but also with a view to healing and restoration of the leper, because restoration is possible. This chapter describes how to deal in case of restoration.
Cleansing of the Leper
The LORD speaks here only to Moses (cf. Luke 13:1; Luke 14:33), because he is a picture of the Lord Jesus as Mediator, as the One Who makes it all right between God and the member of God’s people who has lived in sin.
When the priest hears of the healing of a leper, he goes to the leper. In this we see a characteristic of a spiritual believer: he will pay attention to indications that there is a change for the better in someone who has been removed from among the believers because of perseverance in sin.
The priest does not do anything about healing, nor can he. He can only determine whether the infection of leprosy has healed. Then the cleansing can begin. The leprosy in the spiritual sense is disappeared when the believer “confesses and forsakes” sin (Proverbs 28:13). Then there will be complete humiliation noted.
If someone is healed, he cannot return to the camp immediately. Cleansing must happen first. The cleansing represents the introduction of the Lord Jesus in different aspects, so that such a person may again take the right foundation for God. He has lost sight of this through his sin. Something has disappeared – the infection, the sin – and instead something, or rather: Someone, another Person: the Lord Jesus, must come. Confession is not enough. We must also become aware that the Lord Jesus had to suffer and die for that sin.
Two clean birds should be taken on the first day. They are a picture of the Lord Jesus. Actually this is not an offering. Nothing is brought on the altar and no blood is offered to God. The offerings will only come on the eighth day (from Leviticus 14:10). The two birds together must depict that the Lord Jesus is the Man Who came from heaven, Who died, but rose again. One bird is slain. The other is identified with it and is let go free over the open field. This shows that the Lord Jesus is both “delivered over because of our transgressions” and “raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25). After living in sin for a period, we must become aware of this again.
The blood of the slain bird is done in an “earthenware vessel” in which it is “running water”. That too refers to the Lord Jesus and His work. The earthen vessel indicates that He became Man (Hebrews 2:14). Running water is water that rises from the earth. It is not stagnant water, but there is life in it. It refers to the Word of God that is made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Lord Jesus we see the Holy Spirit at work; the Word of God is in Him; He is the Word and is eternal. In addition, there is the blood as a result of His death.
When the Lord Jesus died and one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, “immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34). Blood and water are both needed for cleansing. Blood is for reconciliation, “for without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). The blood is more in connection with God. The water has more to do with confession and is more connected to the sinner. If he confesses his sins, he may know that God is “faithful” to His Word “and righteous” in view of the work of Christ, “to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
There are other things: cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop. Cedarwood comes from the Lebanon. It speaks of impressive, natural grandeur. Hyssop is a small, little plant that does not impress. Solomon speaks of both as extremes (1 Kings 4:33). Crimson or scarlet is a picture of royal, earthly glory. All this is present with the Lord Jesus. We see that in the Gospels. It is all gone in the death, His death. But He has risen and because of that these things regain their meaning.
All previous actions are then applied to the leper. In this picture we see that cleansing is not removing the wrong thing, but getting a view of the Lord Jesus and His work again. Then he who has been cleansed must wash his clothes, which speaks of bringing his conduct under the control of God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26). He must also shave off all his hair, which says that he renounces all natural honor (1 Corinthians 11:15). Then he must bathe himself in water, which means that he places his whole life under the Word of God, so that there is no more room for sin.
He is allowed to come back to the camp, but has to stay outside his tent for seven days. He has been taken up again in the people of God, but has not yet taken his own familiar place again. Someone who has a gift can be restored to God’s people after a sinful way, but cannot immediately exercise that gift again. That too takes time. After a fullness of time, seven days, he has to shave off all his hair again and wash his clothes and body.
Cleansing on the Eighth Day
Then the eighth day comes. That speaks of a new beginning. This new beginning is again characterized in a special way by the Lord Jesus, His Person and work, as expressed in the offerings brought on that day.
The first offering is a guilty offering (Leviticus 14:12). Living in sin is a choice, an act, by which someone is taking guilt on himself. The three cases of leprosy of the people of God in the Old Testament – Miriam, Gehazi, Uzziah (Numbers 12:5-2 Samuel :; 2 Kings 5:20-Daniel :; 2 Chronicles 26:16-Ecclesiastes :) – show this. For this reason, a guilt offering must be brought, which speaks of the awareness that the Lord Jesus had to undergo the judgment of God before choosing sin. This was the only way in which this guilt could have been extinguished.
The blood of the guilt offering is put on the lobe of the right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. The whole practical life is brought under the value of the blood. The question we have to ask ourselves when we listen to something, when we want to do something or when we want to go somewhere is: Is it all sanctified by the blood?
Oil is put on the blood. Oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The blood of Christ for justification and the anointing of the Holy Spirit for sanctification are inextricably linked. After the price of the blood through which we are justified and purchased, follows a life of holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit allows us to live according to the value of the blood applied.
The rest of the oil is poured over the man who is being cleaned. It is a special blessing for someone who, as a believer, confesses his sinful way. It is not necessary to live in sin to get such a blessing. It is the privilege of every priest. To be a priest, it is not necessary to have been a leper first. This requires fellowship with God. This leads to higher blessings.
Then the sin offering and the burnt offering are brought. This results in full restoration. The full scope of the Lord Jesus’ work is placed before the attention of the restored believer. He sees how the source, the root, of sin was judged in the Lord Jesus and how he is accepted by God on the basis of His work and in Him. He is clean.
Cleansing of Someone Who Is Poor
Someone who is poor may come with a smaller offering. This does not apply to the guilt offering. The picture here is one who has come to confess his wrong way, but who spiritually does not have much insight into the scope of sin and therefore does not have such a deep understanding of what the Lord Jesus had to suffer. He does know, however, that his guilt has been removed by the work of the Lord Jesus. He does not know much about the source of sin and being accepted by God. For the rest it is dealt with as in the previous case.
A Mark of Leprosy on a House
The third case of leprosy is that on a house. That is only now being discussed because it is a special case. This case cannot happen in the wilderness, where the Israelites have no houses. They only have them in the land. God points to that time (Leviticus 14:34).
The house can be applied to the house of Israel, which will ultimately be leprous and must be torn down. God will have to set aside the house of Israel, His people, when it appears that they forget Him, and serve the idols and reject their Messiah. It is also applicable to Christianity as a whole.
Another application is that on a local church as an expression of the house of God. If sin is found there, it must be judged. It can be limited to the mark of leprosy on one or a few stones, on one person or a few persons. Just as stones can be broken away, those who live in sin must be removed from the local church. Stones represent believers (1 Peter 2:5). Believers who live in sin must be removed from among the believers of the local church (1 Corinthians 5:13).
It is God Who puts the mark of leprosy on a house (Leviticus 14:34). That is, if sin is given a place in a local church, we must acknowledge that God has allowed (not: willed!) it. He allows this to reveal who is for Him (1 Corinthians 11:19).
The owner of the house refers to those who bear responsibility, that in the church everything goes as God wills. This thought is represented in “the angel of the church” (Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7Revelation 3:14). They can be addressed as people who recognize evil. They go with it to the priests. They are expected to do something about it, for they are supposed to be spiritual-minded and to know God’s thoughts. They, in practice, live in God’s presence.
The priest investigates. He knows what the stones should look like. He can determine whether a stone or stones have a different color. He is not hasty. First the house is cleared, so that evil does not spread any further. The house is then closed for seven days. When after that it turns out that there are stones with the mark of leprosy, those stones must be torn out.
When the leprous stones have been removed, the whole house must be scraped. The local church must cleanse itself of the influence of sin. The members must humble themselves, acknowledge their share and prove themselves clean (2 Corinthians 7:11). Then other stones are put in their place. The Lord gives blessing when discipline is exercised in the right mind and thus compensates for the loss.
The Mark Breaks Out Again in the House
The mark can break out again in the house. This happens when the previous case of leprosy has not been thoroughly purified. The whole house must then be demolished and taken out of town. It is the picture of a local church that does not judge sin in its midst. Such a local church can then no longer be recognized as such by the Lord. If sin is not judged, He cannot be in the midst.
A church where the evil has penetrated so much that there is no longer any cleaning can no longer be recognized as a church. It is removed from the circle of houses that make up the city and is taken out of the city. In the practice of the interconnectedness that exists between local churches it will mean that such a church will no longer be visited and other local churches will not receive anyone from such a church. This is related to the fact that the Lord Jesus can no longer be there because of not removing the evil from the midst. Every spiritually-minded church will see this and act in accordance with it.
Anyone who somehow still has something to do with the house, even briefly, before it is demolished, is unclean. By reading God’s Word, the defilement is removed. By reading God’s Word, inverted influences gained through the stay are discovered and condemned and the thoughts are focused on the Lord Jesus.
Cleansing of the House
The cleansing of a house happens, as with a person, by the bringing in the Person of Christ, as He is represented in the various offerings (Leviticus 14:4-1 Samuel :).
We are at the end of the detailed description of the forms of leprosy and its cleansing. The LORD here says again that the law He has given for this applies to every form of leprosy: with leprosy to persons, to clothing and to the house.
This law serves “to teach”. Paul says to Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching … in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Teaching has to do with being ‘trained’ or ‘educated’. What Paul connects with righteousness, we can connect here with unclean and clean. The training or education for this happens when we read God’s Word. We then get teaching in how to see when something is unclean and when something is clean.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 14". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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