Leviticus 14

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 7, 1997


Clean vs. Unclean

Developing a sensitivity to what is pleasing to God.

Last week we began a section dealing with the issue of "leprosy".

We mentioned how leprosy is a lot like sin, causing decay and death. These illnesses that were categorized as leprosy were also contagious, just as sin tends to rub off from one person to another.

When a person was found to be a leper, he or she had to go outside the camp of Israel and live, until they were healed of their leprosy.

And so, in the church, when a person refuses to repent from an open, blatant sin, there comes a time when we have to ask them to go outside the camp:

(1 Cor 5:9-11 KJV) I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: {10} Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. {11} But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Though in those days, leprosy seemed incurable, things that are impossible aren't really a problem with God.

And so we begin a section that shows that nobody is too far gone for God to not be able to help.

We see that God is ready for the leper to be healed.

Leviticus 14

:1-32 The Law of the Leper in his cleansing

:2 the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing:

The fact that God provides for the miraculous.

In the culture of that day, leprosy wasn't something you got over, ever.

It was a permanent death sentence.

But the fact that God gives us this chapter shows that He's a God of miracles.

Nothing is too hard for Him.


Nothing is too hard for God.

Jer 32:27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?"

When Naaman, the Syrian general who had contracted leprosy, heard about the miracle working prophet in Israel, he had a letter sent to the king of Israel, asking for help.

2KI 5:7 And it came about when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending {word} to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me."

But did that stop God, just because the king of Israel didn't know what to do?

When Naaman found Elisha, he was told to dip himself seven times in the Jordan river, and when he did, he was healed.

When Jesus walked the earth, one of the miracles we often hear about, what how he healed the lepers.

Mt 8:2-4 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

We're going to read more about what Moses commanded, so it would be a testimony to the priests.

Whatever it is you're facing, it doesn't matter if it seems impossible to you. It's not impossible with God.

:2 the priest shall go forth out of the camp

This was because the leper was no longer allowed into the camp, he had to stay out.

The practicality was to keep the diseases from spreading.

But we, as priests, ought to take notice.

Jesus too will come to us and rescue us.

He doesn't ask you to clean up your life before coming to Him.

He comes to us just as we are, if we only call for Him.

LUK 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

We as "Junior Priests" ought to learn this lesson as well.

Though we have a separation from those caught in sin, so that we don't get caught ourselves, yet we ought to be willing to go to a person wherever they are, and reach out to them in love and acceptance, to bring them back into the camp.


Go to the lost.

:4-7 The birds, the wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop

There will be two rituals described

The leper, because of his disease, was excluded from both participating in worship in the tabernacle, as well as being excluded from the camp, having to live outside the camp.

The rituals, then, will be to restore the leper first to the fellowship of the camp, then to the fellowship of the tabernacle.

Suggestions on the meaning -

The slain bird might symbolize the death he had just escaped, and the released bird symbolically carried away the polluting skin disease.

Another suggestion, from Warren Wiersbe:

"This unusual ritual pictures to us what Christ did to save a lost world. Birds don’t belong in clay jars; they belong in the heavens. Jesus came down from heaven and became a man (John 3:13, 31; 6:38, 42). As it were, He put Himself into a clay jar so that He might die for our sins…When the blood-stained living bird was turned loose, it pictured our Lord’s resurrection; for the resurrection of Christ is as much a part of the Gospel message as is His death (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Only a living Savior can save dead sinners."

About the cedar wood, scarlet string, hyssop

These same ingredients were included in the burning of a red heifer, to make the ashes of the red heifer, used for the purification from sin.

NUM 19:6 'And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet {material,} and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.

These also remind us even more of the cross.

Jesus died on a cross of wood, spilled His own scarlet blood, drank vinegar from a hyssop branch.

hyssop - a plant in the Mid East that has small white flowers in bunches. It was used by the Israelites to "brush" blood on their doorposts during the Passover. It is often used in the sacrifices for sprinkling blood.

:8 wash … shave

For the next seven days, the cleansed leper was able to come into the camp, but had to stay outside his tent.

I wonder if this is a way of giving testimony openly to his neighbors that he was indeed clean.

Washing himself, shaving, etc. only showed that he was indeed free from leprosy.

This was a part of the being accepted back into the community.

:13 in the holy place

This is making it clear that this person is now brought back to the Lord.

They are allowed to offer worship and sacrifice in the court of the tabernacle.

I don't believe the reason for the sacrifices are because the man was sinful because he had leprosy, but that he as a normal human would be committing sin while a leper, and now it's time to get things right with God.

:14 blood … right ear …

If this sounds familiar, it's because it's the same thing the priests did when they were ordained.

They were to be cleansed by blood, from head to toe.

It seems as if the cleansed leper were almost being treated as a priest now.

Of course he couldn't literally be a priest in Israel unless he was a descendant of Aaron, but it's interesting to see the parallel.


Being cleansed qualifies you for priesthood.

Perhaps having been cleansed from leprosy, you are now in a place to better minister to others.

If you want to be useful to the Lord, you need to know what it's like to have been a sinner, and to have been cleansed.

You can't get by pretending that you've never sinned.

You can't get by being caught in sin.

One who's been there and been cleansed will hopefully have compassion on those caught in sin.


Several natives in Zaire were within close proximity of a nearby government medical station. Medical missionaries were therefore very surprised when the natives showed up at their compound which was several kilometers out of their way. The natives needed medical treatment and after the treatment was rendered, the missionaries asked why they had traveled so much farther. The natives replied, "The medicine is the same at the other station, but the hands are different here."

:17 oil … right ear …

And now, just as the priest, the cleansed leper is anointed with oil.

Everything in our lives ought to be touched with the Holy Spirit.

Our ears, that we might have anointed hearing, to receive what the Lord wants to say to us.

Our hands, that we might be anointed in how we reach out to others, and what we do for the Lord.

Our toes, in that everywhere we go, we are led by the Lord.

:18 oil … head

Even the head, all of us anointed in oil, the Holy Spirit.

:21-32 For the poor

We have the same ritual repeated for a poor leper who could not afford the lambs in the regular ritual. Instead, a poor person was allowed to use pigeons or turtledoves.


God doesn't care if you're poor!

He makes sure there's still a way!

:33- Cleaning House

:34 plague of leprosy in a house

Actual leprosy (Hansen's disease) isn't something that a house could get.

It's possible that this is something like a radical case of mildew.

:36 empty the house

If you left your VCR in the house, and the priest declares the house unclean, then you're stuck without your VCR until everything's cleansed!

:37 hollow strakes, greenish or reddish

NIV - greenish or reddish depressions that appear to be deeper than the surface of the wall,

:42 they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones;

If you have to, you would need to replace the stones in your house where this stuff was spreading.

:45-47 break down the house … wash his clothes

If the stuff came back, even after your small repair, then you had a "fretting" leprosy, or an "active" leprosy.

You would have to take extreme measures by actually tearing down the entire house, and carrying off all the pieces to the dump.

Everyone who had been in the house would be unclean until evening and have to wash thoroughly.

:48 the plague is healed

Even a house could be healed of leprosy.

:49-53 - Summarize

The house would go through the same ceremony as the leper, with the two birds, the cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop.

:57 the law of leprosy


Get your house clean!

Get your house in order.

Fix what needs to be fixed, don't let the plague spread any further.

Tear down what needs to be torn down.

Get the idea?

Jesus said,

(Mat 7:24-27 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Your life, your family, your home.

What is it going to be built on?

How is it going to be maintained?

Will you take whatever steps are necessary to have a "clean house"?

Or will you just become polluted and contaminated by it yourself?

Are you willing to tear down the house if necessary?

MAT 5:27-30 "You have heard that it was said, '\You shall not commit adultery\'; 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 "And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.