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As the former chapter pointed out the tokens whereby the disease of leprosy was to be discovered: so this is directed to the rites and ceremonies to be made use of in the cleansing of it. As the cure is wholly from the LORD, nothing is said in relation to the cure, but only the ceremonial part belonging to the priest's office, after the signs of recovery were perceived. This chapter, towards the end, contains the signs of the discovery of the leprosy in an house; and also some laws relative to the state of leprosy in general.
It is profitable to observe in the opening of this chapter, that the priest in his office of examining the leper, evidently shadowed out the features of the LORD JESUS. All communion between the congregation and the leprous person was prohibited, when once the disease was clearly ascertained. But the priest was enjoined to go forth to the camp to visit the leper. Now here JESUS was strongly represented. For as the priest was liable to no infection by the visit, when all others would have been in danger: so let the reader recollect that our dear LORD, though taking upon him our sins, was not tainted with the least defilement from them. Hebrews 7:26 . And doth not this teach us how ministers, who are the servants of JESUS, in imitation of his bright example, are expected to visit the worst of sinners, under their spiritual as well as bodily diseases to minister unto them? Mark 6:13; Mark 6:13 ; James 5:14 .
As the mercy of redemption by the blood and righteousness of the LORD JESUS, extends to all the necessities of our souls, so is it worth our closest observation, that in the old church, in the wilderness state where these blessings were preached, and set forth under type and figure; all those great leading doctrines were under one form, or other, most strikingly represented. As for example, our deliverance from the wrath to come by the blood and righteousness of the LORD JESUS, was shadowed forth under the figure of the Jewish passover. Paul explained this where he said, CHRIST our passover was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7 . But a deliverance from evil, even from the wrath to come is not enough to constitute happiness. For a man may be delivered from positive evil, and yet enjoy no positive good. And this is precisely the case with our nature, until the sin of that nature is done away by a sovereign atonement. And hence under the figure of atonement, as set forth in the fourth chapter of Leviticus at large (see the commentary upon it) the expiation of the sins of our nature, by the sacrifice of the LORD JESUS, is most strikingly explained. But even here again, this would not complete the sinner's mercy, if the divine goodness had stopped here. For a man may be mercifully delivered from the wrath to come, and the sins of his nature atoned for by the blood and sacrifice of JESUS; but still he himself remain incapable of enjoying true happiness, unless qualified by divine grace, and made meet by the renewal of his mind from the leprosy of sin he had lain under. Hence, therefore, in the sweet scripture now brought before us, we are taught by GOD the HOLY GHOST, under the emblem of these two birds, how the blood of JESUS, when applied to the guilty soul, cleanseth; and how the water of regeneration maketh the renewed soul meet to be a partaker of an inheritance with the saints in light. JESUS came not by water only, but by water and blood. 1 John 5:6 . As everything here represented in the ceremony of the church of old, is highly significant and instructive; I earnestly beg the reader to be very particular in his attention to it. Even the lesser circumstances of the cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, no doubt had their signification.
Was not this bird slain, a type of the LORD JESUS slain for our sins? 1 Corinthians 15:3 .
Was not this living bird dipped in the blood of the bird killed, a type of the LORD JESUS rising for our justification, and taking with him his own blood into the most holy place, there to appear in the presence of GOD for us? Hebrews 1:3 . Two birds were necessary to be chosen for this purpose, since one could not shadow forth both these doctrines. Moreover observe, that all the articles made use of in this ceremony were dipped in the blood of the bird slain. So must all our most holy things be washed in the blood of CHRIST. Hebrews 9:21-24 .
There is somewhat particularly striking in the sevenfold application. It is very plain that the blood of JESUS must be sprinkled on the sinner, as well as shed for the sinner. For an unapplied ransom is no ransom. But wherefore seven times? is it in allusion to the perpetual necessity of it; or is it in reference to the SPIRIT's continual office? Revelation 1:4 . The flight of the living bird into the air, is perhaps, as hath been before observed, a beautiful representation of the ascension of JESUS. But is it not also a lively emblem of the sinner, who being cleansed from the defilement of the leprosy of sin by the blood of CHRIST, is thereby brought into the liberty of the sons of GOD, and henceforth rises in his affections and pursuits towards heaven, whither his Saviour CHRIST is gone before. Colossians 3:1-3 .
Do not these renewed washings serve to show that there must be the renewals of the HOLY GHOST; and the continued applications of the blood of JESUS, as the fountain always open to the house of David, and inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness? Titus 3:5 ; Zechariah 13:1 .
All received mercies must be followed up with suitable acknowledgments, so saith David; Psalms 66:13-16 . So said Paul; Romans 12:1 . Reader! Is it not sweet after sickness to go up to the house of GOD? JESUS found his patient the first time after his cure, in the temple. John 5:14 .
Observe the leper, though now cleansed, is not suffered to bring his own offerings; but it is the priest's office to do this. Reader! do not overlook this. All our offerings of our most holy things, as well as our persons, can only be presented by JESUS, and accepted in and through him. Ephesians 1:6-7 .
The waving towards heaven was intended as a sign, that the whole offering is unto the LORD.
Both offerings were to be in the same hallowed spot. JESUS is both the sin-offering, and the burnt-offering of his people.
Everything must be sprinkled that is sanctified to the LORD; and the extremities must all be taken in, to signify that nothing is reserved, or kept back from the LORD. Sweet thought to the believer! all is JESUS'S.
The mingling the blood with the oil, beautifully set firth that both the blood of JESUS, and the anointing oil of the HOLY GHOST are essential in their united operations to the salvation of the sinner. May my soul know the precious application of both?
Observe the condescending goodness of the LORD, to the poor of his people. Sweet is that precept of the apostle's; Let every man do according as he is disposed in his heart; for the LORD loveth a chearful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 .
The same rite was used for all characters; to show that sin hath the same polluting property. And nothing but the applied blood of JESUS CHRIST cleansed from sin. The song in heaven is the same as that on earth; it is to him that was slain, and hath redeemed us unto GOD by his blood. Revelation 5:9 .
The law concerning the leprosy of an house is the same as that respecting an individual; and the same cleansing must be adopted. Nations and families in this respect, come under the same character. For all have sinned, and come short of GOD'S glory. There is no remedy for either, but in the blood of CHRIST. Hence the same ceremony in cleansing the house, as in the cleansing an Israelite, is appointed. Some have thought that the house of Israel was particularly alluded to, in this precept of taking down the leprous house, and which was literally fulfilled, when Israel was carried away into Babylon. But it should rather seem to refer to our nature universally. The remains of indwelling sin, in our poor corrupt and fallen bodies after all our scraping within and without, plainly shows that like the ivy in the wall, the root is in the heart of the building; and until the wall falls down altogether, there will be many buddings of it. Blessed JESUS! how precious here again, is the view of thy tender love to our nature. When we drop these bodies in the earth, we shall through thy complete salvation drop sin with them forever. And when thou comest to raise us from the grave, then shall we arise a glorified body, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Thou will change them, that they may be fashioned like unto thy glorious body, according to the working whereby thou art able even to subdue all things unto thyself.
PRAISES to the covenant GOD of all our mercies, that when our poor nature was leprous, and past all the power of recovery by human art and contrivance; GOD our FATHER pitied our lost and low estate, and sent his SON to heal us of our leprosy. Praises to that gracious and most merciful SON of GOD, who by taking our sins and carrying our sorrows, hath opened deliverance for us in his blood. And no less may we ascribe praises to the eternal SPIRIT, by whose gracious application of the Saviour's merits and righteousness, all the leprosy of our souls is healed.
Dearest, and ever blessed LORD! may it be my happiness now, in being dipped, like the living Bird, in the blood of the slain, to mount up on the wings of faith and love to meet thee, thou LORD of my best affections, in the heavens. Rejoicing in the deliverance wherewith my GOD, and Saviour hath made me free. Oh! may every thought, every desire, every wish of my poor heart be the burnt-offering, my high priest will present for me before GOD the FATHER, in token of my renewed life. And when it shall please my GOD, to take down altogether the earthly house of thy tabernacle, which I now dwell in, where the spots and defilements of the leprosy of sin still appear; oh grant me that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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