Leviticus 14 -- 15
There is no disease that occupies so much space in Scripture as leprosy. When an Israelite was pronounced a leper, God said: The priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean. . . . his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. . . . he shall dwell alone, outside the camp (Leviticus 13:44-46). To express his extreme grief and deep humiliation, this poor, wretched person had to pass through the camp for one last time, crying: Unclean! Unclean! During his departure, to express his living death he had to cover his upper lip with a linen cloth, such as would be placed upon a dead body (II Kings 5:7; Ezekiel 24:17). Thus shall you separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile My Tabernacle that is among them (Leviticus 15:31).
When leprosy* first appears, it seems harmless -- just a small white or pink spot on the skin, and, in its earliest stages, it is totally painless. The spot might remain for months or even years before it begins to develop further. Eventually, leprosy produces an extremely repulsive disfigurement of the entire body, including spongy tumorlike swellings on the face and head. The movement of joints causes deep, painful, bleeding fissures. The fingers and toes become misshapen, rough, and ragged. The fingernails swell, curl up, and fall off. And, as leprosy progresses, the flesh develops offensive, running sores, and the gums begin to bleed. Eventually the nose is totally eaten away, the fingers fall from the hands, and the toes fall from the feet, leaving stubs of raw flesh. As the years pass, the leper becomes thin and weak, plagued with diarrhea, an incessant thirst, and burning fever.
Leprosy illustrates how insignificant a sin may first appear, but how dreadful, loathsome, and fatal it finally becomes. Sin immediately separates us from God, and the wrath of God is . . . against all ungodliness (Romans 1:18). People controlled by sin exist in a state of living death and, unless they turn to Christ, truly repent, and forsake their sins, at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:49-50).
NOTE: The word leprosy, in the Scriptures, has various meanings. Certain forms of skin diseases were listed as leprosy, such as infection of the skin (Leviticus 13:3), ringworm or sycosis of head or beard (13:29,42), mildew of garments or leather (13:48-51,55,59), or fungus growing on walls (14:34,36-42). Also there was a tuberculoid type of leprosy that would eventually heal; but those who suffer from mycobacterium leprae, as described above, do not recover. The only exceptions in Old Testament history were Miriam (Numbers 12:10-16) and Naaman the Syrian (II Kings 5:1-14), both of whom were sovereignly healed by God. During the ministry of Jesus many lepers were healed, which attested to His Deity.
By the priest who made atonement for the leper (Leviticus 14:20). Christ made atonement for our sins (Rom. 5:11).
14:8 tarry abroad means stay outside his tent; 14:32 whose hand is not able means who cannot afford; 14:37 lower than the wall means below the surface of the plaster; 15:2 running issue means discharge; 15:33 of her flowers means with her monthly period.
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