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1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying,
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
There was a possibility of a leprous man being cured of his malady. What then? Was he to resume his place in the congregation forthwith? Not so: a special process of atonement was provided for his case, as if to mark off with a special sense of reprobation the class of sin signified by leprosy, and to magnify the grace that extends reconciliation to such a class of offenders. It was more elaborate than all other individual atonements, and had some features not to be found in any other. **
3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
The advantage of such a law as a hygienic protection, is self-manifest, but it is the spiritual significance we are in search of. There are moral lepers and men whose mouths are a fountain of uncleanness -- men comparable only to running sores in the community. "Avoid them", says Paul: "turn away" --
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them".
Their company -- their very touch -- is defiling. Men of God may be thrown into contact with them, as the Mosaic type contemplates: but they have a resort for cleansing which is also figured in the type: they bathe themselves in the water of the living word, and wait with a sense of contracted uncleanness till the next day, when sleep and prayer will bring a return of the purity that is native to the mind in which God dwells. - **
The Law of Moses CH 27
6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy 7 times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
Proximately, no doubt, the priest would understand the liberated bird to represent the restored leper. But there was a wider significance to the Mosaic parable which they did not discern. "The body (or substance) is of Christ." Saved sinners are represented by the liberated bird in so far as they are saved in Christ and in Christ alone, who is made "sanctification and redemption" for all who shall at the last be found acceptably in him...
...It points to both birds as referring to Christ (and only to sinners in so far as they afterwards come unto him). Both were clean birds. Cleanness as foreshadowing character could only apply to Christ. Both were the natural denizens of the air, which earth-cleaving man is not, but which might in a sense be affirmable of him who said,
"I am from above .... I came down from heaven to do the will of him that sent me",
This heavenly bird of the air was killed in an earthen vessel--the very flesh and blood of the fallen human race; over running water --that is, in juxtaposition with the Spirit of God, which inhabited him, which begat him, and fashioned him all his life long, as "righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption" for us "of God".
In the living bird, we have the same kind of bird, and therefore not the type of a sinner, but of the man represented by the first bird in the second phase of his redeeming work: resurrection, proclamation, and intercession. Why should the living bird be dipped in the blood of the dead bird on this view of matters? To represent the truth declared by Paul when he says that by his own blood he obtained eternal life.
Law of Moses Ch 27
8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent 7 days.
The process of re-instatement was only half accomplished. For seven days he remained in semi-exile in the midst of the camp. **
10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
11 And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before Yahweh, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
These are the things to which Jesus referred when he said to the cleansed leper, "Show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them" (Matt. 8:4). **
32 This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.
The Law chased them away and they fled before it: but, in contrast, they sought the presence of Jesus of their own accord. The Law did" nothing for them because it could do nothing: Jesus on the other hand, took pity on them and delivered them from their plight. Descending from the mount he was confronted by a leper. The Law ordered the latter to shun the company of his fellows like an outlaw; but instead of crying, as the Law commanded, "Unclean, unclean", espying Jesus the man came and
"worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean".
The drama of the situation was tremendous. The Law declared the man unclean; but he was convinced that Jesus could make him clean! It was not the power of Jesus which the man doubted, but only his willingness - hence the pathetic plea,
'Lord, if thou wilt ... "
There came the gracious answer which he longed for: "Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean". The Lord's fiat took instant effect. "Immediately", we read, "his leprosy was cleansed".
It was cleansed, we note, by the touch of Jesus. That fact is remarkable. We know from the next miracle (the healing of the centurion's servant) that Jesus did not need actually to touch any diseased person in order to heal him. Yet he deliberately touched the leper! That is, according to the Law, he deliberately came into contact with sin as embodied in the man and as symbolized in his disease. Yet with what effect?
The man's disease (and so his power to communicate uncleanness) ceased upon the instant! - a fact more staggering still if we visualize Jesus touching not only the man as such, but his leprous sores in particular.
The miracle accomplished, the leper could proceed forthwith to present himself to the Priest as a cleansed man as the Law prescribed (Matt. 8: 1-4; Lev. 14: 1-32). In view of 'what happened, therefore, it would clearly be incongruous and grotesque to think of Jesus as contracting defilement by such contact.
Law of Moses Ch 13
33 And Yahweh spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
35 And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
38 Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
THE FIRST INSPECTION & QUARANTINE
Prophetically this points to the work of the prophets, of whom God testifies in Jeremiah 7v25-
"Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them".
The result of these repeated inspections was shown in v26.
"Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: for they did worse than their fathers".
The effort to identify & limit the spread of the infection was the purpose of the law. This condemned the sinner, but had no power to redeem. The "house" was to be "shut up..seven days"- i.e. a complete period. Paul speaks of those under the law of Moses as
"shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed"- Galatians 3v23.
This principle is applied to all outside of Christ in v22 (the word translated 'concluded' is the same as that rendered 'shut up' in v23). It needed the Redeemer to set us free from"the prison house", "the bondage of corruption", Isaiah 42v6,7,22; 61v1 (quoted Luke 4v18); Romans 8v21; Hebrews 2v15- the endless cycle of sin and death universal since the Fall.
It is a sign of the mercy of God that a period is firstly given for an improvement before sterner measures are taken for the preservation of the House of God. However it is obvious
that failing a change for the better, there is no other option than to remove the infected stones and to replace them with clean stones, so that the building might be revealed in glory. *
39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:
42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house.
THE REPLACEMENT OF THE INFECTED STONES:
THE SECOND INSPECTION AND CLEANSING OF THE HOUSE
BC721/605 onwards- the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, when the infected nation was taken into "an unclean place" in the lands of the nations. During the time of the captivity, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were some who made preparations for the next stage of re-building..the time came for the return from Babylon in BC539.."other stones" were placed in the spiritual house, when men like Ezra and Nehemiah led the way in the renewal process. *
43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered;
44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.
v44-45. Unclean - Among the Gentiles. Fretting leprosy. The spiritual lesson - When ungodly walk or heresy is spreading among the ecclesias Yahoshua will break down the house and cast it into Babylon.
46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.
THE THIRD INSPECTION AND CLEANSING OF THE HOUSE
AD30 -70 - again the house became infected- "the plague (came) again, and (broke) out in the house".
The matter was serious, & the "high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec"- Hebrews 6v20;7v21 made an urgent inspection of the house. And when He saw the corruption in the temple, He acted to limit the damage, and prophesied of the imminent removal of the infected house into the lands of the Gentiles by the Romans.
He also taught that clean stones would be used in regenerating the original House of God. Consider carefully the following: Matt. 3v7-9;23v33-39;John 2v13-17;Luke 19v37-46; 21v5,6. - cp "the day of their (thy) visitation" Jeremiah 8v12 and Luke 19v44.
The infection was confirmed, and the nation was taken into "an unclean place"- that is the Gentile lands throughout the earth. "Other stones" which were clean and non-infected were placed in the spiritual house. These are "lively (living) stones" suitable for "a spiritual house" which are built on "the chief corner stone..which the builders rejected"- 1st Peter 2v5-7.
The all-important question now was - would these new stones be able to withstand the corrupting influence of sinful human nature?
The verdict of history is that once again, the same re-introduction of the will of the flesh has resulted in renewed infection of this regenerated house. Those who have recognized this, and desired to remain firmly founded upon the "foundation" of Jesus Christ" and "the apostles and prophets" will "grow unto an holy temple in the Lord..an habitation of God through the spirit"- 1st Corinthians 3v11; Ephesians 2v20-22.
But this is only possible if they keep themselves from the contamination so evident about them, even amongst those claiming to be followers of Christ. It is true that we all need forgiveness for our sins- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" -Romans 3v23. But this indisputable fact cannot be used as an excuse to allow the contamination of sin to continue amongst us.
Infection (natural or spiritual) spreads by contact - whether such contact is direct or indirect:
cp Haggai 2v13,14; 1st Corinthians 5v6; Galatians 5v9; 1st Timothy 5v22;2nd Timothy 2v16,17;2nd John 10,11 & this principle was taught clearly in the sin of Achan.
We now await the final inspection of the leprous house renovated with new stones by the ministry of Jesus Christ, His apostles, and those who have followed, throughout nearly 2000 years.
There is "a time to cast away (unclean) stones" - but also "a time to gather (clean) stones together"...Ecclesiastes 3v5. This noble work continues today.
The quality of our building will be "revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is"- Ephesians 2v13. Infected material will perish. *
52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.
The "Lord Jesus" was "brought again from the dead..through the blood of the everlasting covenant" Hebrews 13v20-as pre-figured by the 2 birds-
It is highly significant that the Lord Jesus Christ, "Who was delivered for our offences (as the slain bird)..was raised again for our justification (as the freed bird, which 'rose on the wings of the spirit')" - Romans 4v25- & was "esteem(ed)" as "stricken" - Isaiah 53v4,8 = the same and related words in the Hebrew to the word translated as the "plague" of leprosy, both of a person and a house in Leviticus 13 and 14.
But Isaiah tells us that it is "WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED"-v5.
The Hebrew word for "healed" is also used for the healing of the leper and the leprous house.
LET US, IN THE FEW DAYS LEFT TO US, TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS GRACIOUS PROVISION - SO THAT WHEN THE HIGH PRIEST APPEARS, WE SHALL BE PARDONED FOR THE LEPROUS FAULTS WE ALL HAVE BY THE NATURE OF THIS "SINFUL FLESH" - Romans 8v3....
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God
through Jesus Christ our Lord"- Romans 7v24,25mg. *
57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
There was thus a fundamental unity in all the leprosy laws.
"This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, and for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, and for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: to teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy."
In all cases it was a question of a defilement which was "deeper than the skin" in man (Lev. 13: 3, etc.), and "lower than the wall" in houses (Lev. 14: 37), that is, of a defilement which had laid hold of the very tissue and fabric of man or house - in fact of inbred sin and its corroding blight.
"To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy."
Thus in his bondage and in his cleansing, alike, the Leper represented Israel objectively to itself and educated the Priestly People in the complete etiquette of acceptable worship of the Covenant God. The Law, while safeguarding the mortal, physical life of man by imposing restrictions on the leper, contrived at the same time to tutor the nation also in the principles of spiritual hygiene. Well may we ask with Moses,
"What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law?"
Law and Grace Ch 9