The surprising way Leviticus chapters 12, 13 and 14 relate to you
These several chapters are some of the most difficult ones in the Torah for us to wrap our brains around spiritually. What is the relevance of these arcane laws of ritual impurity and “leprosy” to us in modern times ? With a little thought, we can see that there are some deep and relevant spiritual truths contained in these biblical passages!
As Matthew Henry points out in his classic gospel-oriented commentary on these passages, after the laws concerning clean and unclean foods in Leviticus 11 come the laws concerning clean and unclean persons. As germs are contagions causing physical disease, so man is infected with the spiritual contagion of a sin nature that brings about spiritual disease leading ultimately to death. Henry points out that man imparts his depraved sin nature to his offspring at the time of conception, which is why the woman needed to go through ritual cleansing at the time of a child’s birth. Similarly, the Bible teaches us that the plague of leprosy (Heb. tzaaras referring to a generic skin disease) was judgment by Eohim against the sins of rebellion, greed and misuse of the tongue (e.g, Miriam, Gehazi and King Uzziah).
The spread of and cure for spiritual diseases is similar to those of physical diseases, as we’ll discuss below. First, however, let’s compare and contrast how physical germs are similar to spiritual sin “germs.”
What are germs?
With the help of several modern health care professionals, we first need to learn about germs.
“Our bodies are pretty amazing. Day after day, they work hard—digesting food, pumping blood and oxygen, sending signals from our brains and much more.
“But there is a group of tiny invaders that can make our bodies sick—they’re called germs.
“Some kids may think that germs are bugs or cooties or other gross stuff. Actually, germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease. Germs are so small and sneaky that they creep into our bodies without being noticed. In fact, germs are so tiny that you need to use a microscope to see them. When they get in our bodies, we don’t know what hit us until we have symptoms that say we’ve been attacked!” (from: kidshealth.org/en/kids/germs.html).
Where do germs live?
“Germs have favorite places to live, preferred ways to travel, and if they are harmful, their own unique ways of causing disease. Germs can live in or on dirt, water, countertops, our skin, our intestines, and in many other places around us. Some germs can survive on their own while others prefer living in people or animals. Some germs live only in hot areas of the world while others live only in cold areas. When germs find a place that is good for them, they multiply and set up a home for themselves” (from: www.sfcdcp.org/germs.html).
How do germs spread diseases?
“Germs spread in different ways. To catch an infectious disease, you first need to be exposed to a harmful germ. Then it needs to get on or into your body and act in its unique ways to cause disease. Our bodies are good at fighting infections; not everybody who is exposed to germs will get sick, but some will. Here are the most common ways to be exposed:
“Touching. Some germs live in body fluids like mucus, pus, and stool. Even the invisible drops released when people talk, cough, or sneeze can carry germs. Touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching your eyes, nose, mouth, a cut, or other opening in the body, can lead to an infectious disease.
“Eating or drinking. Some germs exist in food and untreated water. Unwashed fruits and vegetables, and foods not properly cooked or kept at the right temperature, may carry harmful germs.
“Breathing. Some germs spread through the air. When someone coughs, sneezes, or talks they can release germs. When harmful germs are inhaled, they can cause illness.
“Getting bitten. Animals can carry and spread infectious diseases to people. Bites from wild animals, pets, or even a small animal like a bat or insect can cause illness. Even if the animal doesn’t look sick, it may carry harmful germs” (from: www.sfcdcp.org/germs.html).
With very little imagination, we can see who sin, like germs, are always trying to attack us spiritually and infect us with sinful thoughts, words and deeds. This is one reason that the Bible likens sin to yeast. As one rotten apple can cause a whole box of apples to rot, so it only takes miniscule amount yeast to “infect” a lump of bread dough thus causing it to rise.
How can we prevent the spread of unhealthy germs and thus diseases?
“Healthy habits prevent germs and infectious diseases from spreading. Learn, practice, and teach healthy habits.”
“Handle and Prepare Food Safely—Food can carry germs. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often when preparing any food, especially raw meat. Always wash fruits and vegetables. Cook and keep foods at proper temperatures. Don’t leave food out; refrigerate promptly.”
Eat only healthy spiritual food from good, spiritually organic sources that aren’t processed with the artificial additives of men’s unbiblical doctrines and false, pagan traditions.
“Wash Hands Often—Learn how, when, and why to wash your hands.”
We need to practice good spiritual hygiene many times each day. We must stay washed in the water of the Elohim’s Word and in the blood of Yeshua.
“Clean and Disinfect Commonly Used Surfaces—Germs can live on surfaces. Cleaning with soap and water is usually enough. However, you should disinfect your bathroom and kitchen regularly. Disinfect other areas if someone in the house is ill. You can use an EPA certified disinfectant (look for the EPA registration number on the label), bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol.”
We must keep our spiritual environment clean of spiritual germs and toxins. We must keep sin and sinful influences away from us.
“Cough and Sneeze Into Your Sleeve—Learn how and when to cover your cough and sneeze.”
We must watch what comes out of our mouth. We need to learn to cover our mouth so that sinful words don’t come out and spread spiritual germs to others.
“Don’t Share Personal Items—Avoid sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected, like toothbrushes and razors, or sharing towels between washes.”
We must keep our distance from others so that we don’t get their sin germs. Be very careful who your friends are and don’t get to close to others who might infect you or drag you down spiritually.
“Get Vaccinated—Vaccines can prevent many infectious diseases.”
Even though I personally believe that many if not most vaccines are harmful to the body, there are a few that are helpful in preventing diseases. There is a spiritual lesson in this. We need to get spiritually vaccinated by taking into us the Word and Spirit of YHVH Elohim. We need to get spiritually inoculated every day through the study of YHVH’s Word, through prayer and by fellowshipping regularly (weekly) with like-minded believers.
“Avoid Touching Wild Animals—You and your pets should avoid touching wild animals which can carry germs that cause infectious diseases. If you are bitten, talk to your doctor.”
Be careful about spiritual contact with pagans or ungodly people. Sometimes we can’t avoid such contact (such as our place of work or school). But we must healthy and strong spiritually so that spiritual germs can’t gain entrance into our lives.”
Stay Home When Sick—Learn more about why you should stay home when sick, so as not to infect others with your sickness.
When we become spiritually sick or weak due to exposure to spiritual germs, we must quarantine ourselves spiritually to convalesce. We must get away from bad influences that are dragging us down spiritually and get spiritually strong before going back into the world. If we go out while we’re still infected with spiritual germs, we’re likely to spread sin and disease to others. Conversely, we need to quarantine ourselves from those who are infected with sin-germs if we ourselves are weak spiritually.
What are the signs and signs and symptoms of sin diseases?
Sin is the leprosy of man’s soul (the mind, will and emotions). As physical skin diseases have signs and symptoms, so do spiritual diseases. The way YHVH instructed the Israelites to deal with the disease of leprosy is how we must deal with the sin today.
Leprosy had visible, outward signs such as sores, scabs and skin color. The presence of sin in a person’s life has outward signs as well. The Bible calls this the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19–21).
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim.
As doctors have to examine a patient to determine the presence of a disease, so the priests of old had to examine an Israelite to determine if he had a communicable disease. Today, YHVH’s priests are his apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is their job to identify sin, to teach and preach against it and to prescribe the spiritual cure. This cure is the gospel message of the cross involving confessing of sin, repentance from sin and living a sin-free lifestyle.
As with some diseases that are so deadly and contagious that a person has to be quarantined, the same is true of some spiritual diseases. The priests of old had to make judgments in these cases as do YHVH’s ministers do today with regard to those who are spiritually diseased in the spiritual body of Yeshua. Moreover, leaders and laity need to be careful at all times with whom they associate both inside and outside the church.
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside Elohim judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person. (1 Cor 5:1–13)
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (Rom 16:17)
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. (Tit 3:10)
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Adonai Yeshua the Messiah, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. (2 Thess 3:6)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come, for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Elohim, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts…(2 Tim 3:1–6)
What was the cure for leprosy?
We can learn much from Leviticus chapters 12 and 13 about how to deal with the uncleanness and disease brought on by sin.
- Signs of the sin or uncleanness appeared on the person.
- The priest had to inspect the person to determine the nature of the disease and whether it was contagious or not. If so, the person was pronounced to be unclean.
- If it was contagious, the person was quarantined. This meant the diseased person had to humble himself not insisting on his cleanness. He had to accept his condition as YHVH’s judgment or punishment his sin. He had to then withdraw himself from society.
- Even the diseased person’s garments were considered unclean. Some people have become so sin-tainted that even their spiritual clothes are contaminated as Jude notes.
[B]ut others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (Jude 23)
Leviticus 14 describes the rituals that were necessary to cleanse a healed leper. In symbolic language, everything in this chapter points to Yeshua’s death on the cross, his shedding his blood to pay for man’s sin penalty, and how his blood washes away the sins of those who place their trusting faith in him.
Sin like germs is destroyed by identifying and acknowledging it, turning away from an unclean and sinful lifestyle habits (called repentance), and then through the process of disinfection through washing—the latter with soap, the former with the cleansing blood of Yeshua.
[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim…(Rom 3:23)
Have mercy upon me, O Elohim, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. (Ps 51:1–3)
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7–9)
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom YHVH does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to YHVH,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Ps 32:1–5)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Elohim is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Adonai. (Rom 6:23)