Notes on Leviticus 14-16


Chapter 14 deals with the offerings that were to be given by a person who was healed from leprosy. Moses had a brush with leprosy as did his sister Miriam. Moses prayed for Miriam and she was healed from her leprosy. Elisha healed the commander of the Syrian army of leprosy but he was a gentile and there is no mention of him going to Jerusalem to make an offering.  When Elisha’s servant got greedy and wanted to benefit from the healing of the commander he was inflicted with leprosy. King Uzziah became leprous when he entered the temple to offer a sacrifice that only the priest was to do. The priests tried to stop him but he resisted until leprosy broke out on his body. It was then that he left the temple but it was too late.  He died as a leper.

 When Moses got leprosy God was using it as a sign to show Moses what He was going to do to Pharaoh if he resisted the first sign that Moses gave Pharaoh that God wanted him to set the Israelites free.  Pharaoh did resist but we did not see the leprosy.  We did see Pharaoh harden his heart again and again until that hardness cost him his life.

 We don’t really know much about the physical leprosy of the Bible. We do know it comes from within and its roots run deep.  Leprosy was considered contagious and anyone who had it had to be isolated from other people and had to say, “unclean,” to anyone who was about to cross their path. We do know that leprosy is a symbol of sin. The only time we see anyone cured from leprosy is by God’s direct intervention and healing. As I look at the people in the Old Testament who had leprosy I see some common sinful characteristics associated with each person. These are pride, rebellion, greed, and a hard heart. All of these sins are difficult to break. All run deep and have great control over a person’s life. All of these reside in, and control the heart, even to the point of self-destruction.

 In the New Testament there are two Greek words translated sin.  One means to miss the mark in our relationship with God. We tried but we didn’t make it. The second word translated sin means that a person misses the whole goal and scope of life. They didn’t even try nor do they care to. In 1 John 5 this is the sin that leads to death. I think pride, rebellion, greed, and a hard heart are ideal conditions that could cause a person to miss the whole goal and scope of life. Leprosy in the Bible is a physical picture of what is going on spiritually with a person who misses the whole goal and scope of life. The good news is that Jesus died for all sin especially this one. He demonstrated he was able to do this to the priest and the religious rulers when He healed the man with leprosy in Matthew 8:1-4. Here we read that He sent the healed man to offer the sacrifices listed here in Chapter 14.  As far as we know this was the first time the Priest offered these sacrifices and so this was a great sign to the religious rulers that the Christ had come.  But they missed it with both eyes wide open! It appears the religious leaders had a touch of spiritual leprosy themselves.

 Starting in Chapter 14:33 we see that the home can be infected with leprosy as well. What kinds of things are in our homes?  What do the decoration and the knick-knacks say about what we believe. What is hidden in the closet or up in the attict or in the garage? All of these and more reflect what we believe and may express a spiritual form of leprosy.  Verse 55 tells us that these beliefs do not stay at home but may well end up on our clothes.

 A while back I participated in a local benefit car show and receive a tee shirt for entering a car. The tee shirt had nice auto related graphics but right in the center was a skull. For me to wear that shirt would not reflect what I believe. For me to wear it in public would be an unclean discharge from me for the world around me to see.  I don’t own that shirt any more but this little story sets us up for Chapter 15 and again, we are given physical pictures of unclean discharges so we can understand how important the spiritual implications of unclean discharges are. Let me give another example.

 In Daniel 2 Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of a statue made with four different metals.   The head was gold, the shoulders and arms silver, the belly bronze, and the legs and feet iron.  Daniel is called in to interpret the dream and he tells Nebuchadnezzar that the statue represents four successive kingdoms that will rule the world. Starting with Nebuchadnezzar the head of gold is Babylon, followed by the Medes and Persians, then the Greeks and finally Rome. Nebuchadnezzar has an unclean discharge in Chapter 3 when he makes a statue like the one he saw in his dream but this one is all gold. His pride leaks out. Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by the time we get to the end of Chapter 3 but his unclean discharge of pride returns in Chapter 4 and he is put in isolation for 7 years until he surrenders to God later in the chapter.  At the time these chapters were given they were a glimpse of history to come and we still wait for final fulfilment.  From the world’s point of view they show us what worldly man really values and gets excited about. But in Chapter 7 we see these very same nations taking power in the same order but this time we don’t see the precious metals, rather we see the ruling nations as beasts. This is how the world looks from the Kingdom Of Heaven. God does not value what man values, but man expresses what he really values by what he says and does. What he values and works for may be totally opposite of what God values.

 When Jesus declared food clean He said in Matthew 15:17&18, “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth and passes into the stomach is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” NASB

So, we need to inspect what we are saying and doing, realizing that they reflect what we have truly hidden in and set our heart on. Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit who has been given as a lamp to shine and expose what is hidden in our heart, and that brings us to Chapter 16 which deals with the Day of Atonement. For Israel the Day of Atonement was the day when the sins of the people were symbolically transferred to one of two goats and was released to the wilderness never to be seen again. The other goat was sacrificed; for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22. When we have placed our sins on the Cross of Jesus our sins, both missing the mark and missing the whole goal and scope of life, have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west. That is a long way.  On this planet if you head north you will cross the north pole and head south. That’s a long way too. But if you head west you will never head east.  That’s a really long way. Have you released your sins and placed them on Jesus? If you haven’t I urge you to do it now.  On the top of this web page there is a link “Know God” to guide you through the process of putting your sins on Jesus and starting your new life.

 Let’s get heavenly minded! The sacrifice has been made and the healing is a prayer away!

Pastor Dave