The Cleansing of the Leper

Leviticus 14:1‑20  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
EV 14:1-20{In this passage we find the ceremony, according to the law, for the cleansing of the leper—a figure of the cleansing which Christ has accomplished for us, for leprosy is a type of sin. There is a distinction to be made between the purification of the leper and that of the priest.
There were but three sprinklings with blood in the Old Testament—the sprinkling of the leper, and that of the people, and that of the priest; they each took place once and were not repeated. There was nothing to be done for the healing of the leper; it was the work of God. In order to prove that the disease was leprosy, the leper was kept by himself, set apart and watched, and observed seven days. When he was entirely white, or when the spot had become white, he was purified. (Cf. Psa. 32:3-53When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 5I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:3‑5)). When sin is hidden, and the leprosy internal, the evil is greater. The manifestation and confession of sin lead to peace, and the heart is set at ease; this is the upright and honest heart. The symptoms of leprosy are described in Lev. 13 The healing came from God; the priest could only ascertain the disease, and perform the acts for purification. Leprosy excluded its victim from the camp: sin hinders communion, with God and His people.
After his cleansing, the leper was reinstated in communion with the children of Israel; but the first effect of the knowledge of sin is to take from us the desire for communion with God, the intelligence of that communion, and the seeking after it. Cleansing gives us, indeed, the right of communion with the children of God, although our souls often fail to understand from the the first that they have this right. Healing often precedes the knowledge of this healing; the converted soul puts itself under law, instead of accepting joyfully the whole gospel.
As to the means used for the cleansing of lepers, they are: First, the birds: one dead (type of the death of Christ) killed over a vessel of running water; the other, the living bird, is a type of Christ's resurrection (Lev. 14:4-74Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 6As 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: 7And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field. (Leviticus 14:4‑7)). Our sins brought Jesus to the tomb, but He rose out of it, and left them behind Him there: He had accomplished all. Second, the leper was to be washed with water (vs, 8, 9). Jesus cleanses us by the word which He has spoken to us (John 15:33Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (John 15:3); cf. Psa. 119:99BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9); Eph. 5:2626That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:26)); His word does for our souls what the washing of water does for the body. This cleansing was done once for all. Sanctification is once for all, but the Christian must grow in it. All believers are justified in Christ. This is an accomplished reality; the Holy Ghost puts us in this position. There is the sanctification by God the Father (John 17:1717Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)); that of Jesus by His blood; and that of the Holy Ghost, who gives efficacy to the Father's will and the work of the Son. The Holy Ghost accomplishes it in individuals: He communicates life to us by the word, and sanctifies us wholly. Third, after cleansing follows the knowledge of what has been done; the leper must understand it, and receive its efficacy in his heart (vs. 10-20). The leper is presented to God, with a sacrifice for his offense. He was anointed with blood as a sign of sanctification.
The Christian is never to allow anything to enter his ear which would be inconsistent with the blood of the Lamb. The right hand is the symbol of action: the Christian should not do anything which would be dishonoring to the blood of Christ-all that he does every day should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:1717And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17)); and he must not act in any way which would not accord with the measure of God's thoughts in the death of Jesus. All in our actions Which is not holy as the blood of Christ is sin. Blood on the great toe is a figure of holiness in our walk. We are not negative beings; Christ's life should always act in us. Our thoughts, actions, walk—all are under the blood of Christ; and that blood is the measure of what our holiness should be. One must either be under the shelter of the blood of Christ, or outside it. The child of God has on him that blood which can neither be effaced, nor lose its value. There is never need of another sprinkling. Every day our souls are renewed inwardly by the Holy Ghost, and we confess our sins before our Father. Fourthly, blood was not the only thing necessary; oil was also required. The oil, a type of the Holy Ghost, is given because the blood is there. It was not after the water, but after the blood, that the oil was applied. The Holy Ghost comes to dwell in us because the blood of Christ is on us. If we are as pure in the sight of God as that blood, why should not the Spirit be in us? The blood of Christ has exhausted the wrath of God against sin. There is nothing but love for those who are sprinkled with that blood. The Holy Ghost is a Spirit of knowledge, joy, peace, and love: these are His first-fruits. He is also a Spirit of strength and power, able to overcome the obstacles which arise in our path. The effect of all was to re-establish the leper in communion with God.