How 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 modern people? 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 the Bible, 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 ultimately leading to death. Henry explains that man imparts his depraved sin nature to his offspring at conception, which is why the woman needed to go through ritual cleansing after childbirth. Similarly, the Bible teaches us that the plague of leprosy (Heb. tsaraas referring to a generic skin disease) was a judgment by Elohim 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, have 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 how 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” http://www.sfcdcp.org/healthyhabits.html).
“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.”
- Spiritual Application: 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.”
- Spiritual Application: 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 to protect us from sin (Eph 5:26; Rev 1:5).
“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.”
- Spiritual Application: We must keep our spiritual environment clean of spiritual germs and toxins. We must stay away from sin and sinful influences.
“Cough and Sneeze Into Your Sleeve—Learn how and when to cover your cough and sneeze.”
- Spiritual Application: 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.”
- Spiritual Application: 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 too close to others who might infect you or drag you down spiritually.
“Get Vaccinated—Vaccines can prevent many infectious diseases.”
- Spiritual Application: 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 be 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.”
- Spiritual Application: 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. As it says in 1 Cor 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil companionship corrupt good manners.”
“Stay Home When Sick—Learn more about why you should stay home when sick, so as not to infect others with your sickness” (ibid.).
- Spiritual Application: When we become spiritually sick or weak due to exposure to sin germs, we must quarantine ourselves spiritually to convalesce. This means getting away from bad influences that are dragging us down 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.