For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2004 James Melough

14:1.  "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,"


As noted previously, Moses represents the principle of law, as Aaron does the principle of grace, so that God's speaking here only to Moses emphasizes that this has to do with God's inviolable law relative to the cleansing of leprosy, and therefore typically, of sin.  This is not to say that grace isn't also involved.  It is, but grace must be accepted on God's terms. He who would be cleansed of leprosy must follow the ritual ordained by God, and he who would be cleansed from sin must also follow God's prescribed order, for He will not pardon at the expense of His own moral integrity.


14:2.  "This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:"


There could be no cleansing apart from the ministry of the priest, nor can there be cleansing from sin apart from the ministry of the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The leper who would be cleansed must come to the priest, and he who would be cleansed from sin must come to Christ.


His being brought implies the activity of another, and the willingness of the leper to follow that other, reminds us that sinners cannot be saved unless they are willing to follow the Holy Spirit, i.e., yield to His striving, and confess themselves sinners without one shred of righteousness.  His striving is never to be confused with compulsion.  No one is compelled to be saved any more than to enter hell and the lake of fire.  Whether heaven or hell, man by an act of his own free will chooses his eternal destination.


14:3.  "And the priest shall go forth out of the camp: and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;"


It would be difficult to find in Scripture a clearer picture of the Lord Jesus Christ's coming forth from heaven to meet and pronounce clean, spiritual lepers willing to obey His Word by confessing themselves sinners, and by trusting in Him for cleansing and redemption.  Nor is it difficult to see in the priest's going forth out of the camp, the Lord's going out of the camp of Israel, not only to save such of that nation as would accept Him, but to bring savation also to the spiritually leperous Gentiles. 


But how do we explain the fact that the leper was clean before he met the priest, and his going was so that the priest might pronounce him clean?  There is no mystery, but rather, the symbolic presentation of the truth that God, by His foreknowledge knows who will and who will not accept His gift of eternal life through faith in Christ as Savior.  The sinner's healing is foreknown by God before the man's faith appropriates it.


The leper's coming to the priest is the symbolic picture of a sinner's coming to Christ, for as the leper's coming was synonymous with his cleansing, so is the sinner's coming to Christ synonymous also with his cleansing from sin.


14:4.  "Then 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:"


The two birds, creatures of heaven, are types of Christ the heavenly One Who came down to earth to shed His blood for the remission of men's sins, and since two is the Biblical number of witness or testimony, we are being reminded that He came as the perfect Witness to man's ruined state, and to God's love in providing for the undoing of that ruin.  Their being "alive and clean" points to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the Author of life, but also God's unblemished Holy Lamb.


Wood is the Biblical symbol of humanity, the cedar portraying those of highest rank, and the hyssop, the lowest, so that all social ranks are comprehended in these two, see 1 Kings 4:33 "And he (Solomon) spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall."


Most commentators take the scarlet to represent worldly glory, but that glory is a vain thing, for Isaiah 1:18 declares that scarlet is the color of sin, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool," Isaiah 1:18.  The mention of scarlet between the cedar and the hyssop declares that all men are sinners who need a Savior.


14:5.  "And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:"


The bird is Christ, and the earthen vessel is the figure of His human body, see 2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."  It was in His human body that He died; and the running water, always a type of the Word ministered by the Holy Spirit, reminds us that, "Christ ... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," Hebrews 9:14, in accordance with, and in fulfillment of what is written in Scripture.


As there could be no cleansing of the leper apart from the death of the bird, neither can there be cleansing for a sinner apart from the death of Christ.


14:6.  "As 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:"


This speaks of Christ's complete identification with man, not only in His assumption of humanity, but in His willingness to be made sin so "that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Corinthians 5:21.  From the greatest to the lowest, men are blighted by sin, and apart from faith in Christ's shed blood, must die physically, and then die also the second death, which is consignment of body, soul and spirit into the eternal torment of the lake of fire.


14:7.  "And 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."


Since seven is the Biblical number of completeness or perfection, that sevenfold sprinkling speaks of the perfect cleansing of those who trust in Christ as Savior.  His righteousness becomes theirs. The believer is as holy in God's sight as is Christ Himself.


The release of the living bird into the open field speaks of Christ in resurrection, as it is written, He "Who was delivered for our offences ... was raised again for our justification," Romans 4:25.


14:8.  "And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days."


Since garments represent not only righteousness, either self-righteousness, or the righteousness of Christ that clothes the believer, but also the man's habits or manner of living, the washing of the clothes speaks of altering the lifestyle, a changed life being the evidence of genuine repentance.  It would speak of bringing the lifestyle into conformity with the requirements of Scripture.


As noted in our study of the previous chapter, hair speaks of vigor, either natural or spiritual, and in the present context there is no doubt that it represents the vigor of nature.  The shaving therefore speaks of renunciation of all confidence in the flesh, which is another mark of genuine repentance.


Since the washing of the clothes points to the government of the lifestyle by the Word of God, the washing of his person with water speaks of the application of the Word to the inner life, the mind, for if the mind isn't governed by the Word, an outward show for the eye of man will be hypocrisy. 


This qualified him to re-enter the camp, but not his own tent, from which he was still excluded for seven days.  Since it is the symbol of the pilgrim lifestyle, his being excluded from his tent declares symbolically that the pilgrim lifestyle couldn't yet be resumed, and it is difficult to envision what this would involve unless it be his exclusion from taking audible part in the meetings of the assembly.  It is to be remembered that the expulsion of the leper from the camp of Israel is the OT foreshadowing of the expulsion of a sinning saint from the fellowship of the local assembly, his expulsion being required by God because of the serious nature of the offence. 


If we are reading the type correctly, it is not only inadvisable, but also forbidden by God, for such a man to begin vocal participation immediately. This is not to say that the man isn't fully forgiven, but to recognize that there is spiritual propriety in his not being overly hasty to act as though nothing had ever happened.  The lesson seems to be that he "walk softly" for a while, and thus furnish evidence of genuine repentance and humility. It might, in fact, be well to wait until being encouraged by the elders, since godly men are much more likely to be able to discern when such participation should resume.


14:9. "But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also the shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean."


This repeats the procedure that qualified him to reenter the camp, and has the same spiritual significance; but, if we are reading the type correctly, it here relates to the preparation for resumption of vocal participation in the meetings of the assembly.


14:10.  "And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil."


As noted in our study of the offerings, the lambs and the fine flour are types of Christ; and the oil, of the Holy Spirit; and since the ritual to be followed here is virtually the same as that used for the presentation of the Trespass, Sin, and Burnt offerings, the reader is referred to the notes on chapters 1-7.


Their being offered here on the eighth day (biblical number of a new beginning) reminds us that the restoration of a backslidden saint is in many respects the same as the conversion of a sinner: for each it is a new beginning: for the sinner, the beginning of life; for the restored saint, the beginning again of communion with God and with His people.


The quantity of fine flour, three tenth deals (a deal seems to have been about a bushel) speaks of resurrection, reminding us that the restoration of an erring saint is akin to a return from the dead, for to be living in sin is to be virtually in a state of death.  (The log of oil seems to have been about a pint).


14:11.  "And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:"


His being made clean by the priest refers to ritual cleansing, not to actual healing from leprosy, but it emphasizes that it is the Lord Jesus Christ Who cleanses men from sin.


14:12.  "And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord;"


Since the lamb is a type of Christ, the lesson is that the death of Christ which cleanses the sinner, cleanses also the erring saint, and restores him to fellowship with God and with His people.


Waving involved the priest's presentation of the offering horizontally towards the altar, and then back to himself, the ritual acknowledging God as the Giver, and the offerer as the recipient willing to use what is given for the glory of the Giver.  The lamb speaks of the life of Christ, which is now our life, and the waving of the log of oil reminds us that that new life will be for God's glory only as there is submission to the Holy Spirit's control.


14:13.  "And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall slay the sin offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy."


The Sin offering was slain on the north side of the Brazen altar, the fat being burned on that altar, and, in the case of the priest and the congregation, the rest of the carcase being burnt in a clean place outside the camp where the ashes from the Brazen altar were deposited.  (Where the Sin offering was that of a ruler or a commoner, the fat was burnt on the Brazen altar, but the flesh was given to the priest as his food).  The Trespass offering appears to have been presented according to the same form, the lesson being that the Christ Who puts away our sin, is the same One Who sustains our new spiritual life.


14:14.  "And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:"


Since this is the same ritual as was followed in the ordination of the priests, it declares that each believer is a royal priest, whose ear is to be obedient to God's voice; whose hand is to do God's work; and who is to walk according to God's Word, the blood upon these three parts which represent the whole body, reminding us that we belong to God, having been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, as it is written, “... ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price ....” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.


14:15.  "And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:"


Since the left hand speaks of love and affection, as the right does of power and strength, the priest's pouring the oil into his own left hand, from which it will be transferred to the person of the cleansed leper, tells us that the same love that led the Lord to die for us, is the same love that has led Him to bequeath His Holy Spirit to minister to us during the years of our pilgrimage here on earth.


14:16.  "And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord:"


The use of the priest's right finger, symbolically links Divine power with Christ's giving the Holy Spirit, and the seven-fold sprinkling of the oil before God assures us that the same Holy Spirit Who indwells us, is our Minister, not only on earth, but also in heaven, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered," Romans 8:26.


14:17.  "And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:"


Before the anointing with oil, there was the anointing with the blood.  Before there can be the anointing of the Holy Spirit, there must be cleansing in the blood of Christ.  The one signifies fitness to serve, the other, the power of the Holy Spirit as the enablement for service.  Anything done apart from His direction, and apart from His power, is a waste of time.


14:18.  "And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord."


This anointing of the head proclaims the truth that everything begins with a renewed mind, for if the mind isn't yielded to the Spirit's control, adjustment of speech and deeds for the scrutiny of men, is hypocrisy.  Since the oil poured upon the head would have been poured directly from the priest's left hand, the lesson being taught is that love must be the basis for the believer's every thought, word, and deed.


14:19.  "And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering."


14:20.  "And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meal offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean."


The Trespass offering is a type of Christ dying for our sins, but the Sin offering represents Him dying for sin as the principle that rules the life of the unbeliever and produces the sins in his life; and the Burnt offering portrays Him as laying down His life exclusively for the Father's glory, while the Meal offering represents the Lord's sinless humanity, apart from which He could not have died, for death cannot touch Deity.  Since it was one of the he lambs that was offered for the Trespass offering, and since the Burnt offering had to be a male, then it leaves the female lamb as the one to be used for the Sin offering, and as noted already, the male speaks of the activity of the Lord's will in doing the will of the Father, while the female speaks of the complete submission of His will to that of the Father.


His being made ritually clean by the presentation of these offerings, tells us that the foundation of our cleansing and standing before God, are based entirely on the perfection of that one offering presented at Calvary, when the Lord, "... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," Hebrews 9:14.


14:21.  "And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meal offering, and a log of oil;"


14:22.  "And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering."


As noted in previous studies, the literal poverty of an Israelite represents the spiritual poverty of a believer, one who is weak spiritually in comparison with one who is strong, one who has but a small comprehension of the worth of Christ, as compared with one who has an enlarged comprehension.  The Trespass offering must still be a lamb, for God will accept nothing less than a clear understanding that Christ has died for my sins.  I may have but a very imperfect knowledge of the fact that His death has also taken care of sin as a principle, or of the peace He has made by His death, or of the truth that He has died first for God's glory, but there cannot be ignorance or uncertainty about His having died for my sins.


14:23.  "And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord."


14:24.  "And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:"


14:25.  "And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:"


14:26.  "And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:"


14:27.  "And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord:"


14:28.  "And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering:"


14:29.  "And the rest of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord."


14:30.  "And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;"


14:31.  "Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for burnt offering, with the meal offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord."


14:32.  "This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing."


Apart from the substitution of the two birds, the ritual for the cleansing of the poor Israelite was the same as that for the cleansing of the rich, but since the birds represent Christ just as fully as do the animals, the teaching is that whether the backslidden saint be spiritually rich or poor, having an enlarged comprehension of Christ or a small one, it is Christ alone Who can cleanse both.  A further very solemn lesson connected with this is the warning that the spiritually rich is no more immune from falling into sin than is the spiritually poor.  The evangelist, the elder, the teacher is no more immune in this respect than is the least taught believer.  We do well to heed the words of Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."


14:33.  "And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,"


This introduces a new section dealing with the procedure to be followed relative to a house smitten with leprosy, and as noted already, since Moses represents the principle of law, and Aaron the principle of grace, God's addressing both of them declares that while He demanded that the leprosy be dealt with, He nevertheless graciously introduced provisions to save the house, destroying it only when the leprosy was incurable, the spiritual significance of this being apparent when it is recognized that the house represents a local church, the stones representing the individual believers (living stones) who constitute that church. He removes the lamp stand only as a last resort.


14:34.  "When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;"


Since Israel dwelt in tents in the wilderness, there were obviously no houses there to be smitten with leprosy, and a practical lesson to be learned is that the pilgrim lifestyle is the great preservative against the spiritual equivalent of the leprous house.


God's putting the leprosy in the house would seem to imply that it is He Who creates sin in the assembly, a fact which is of course refuted by the whole teaching of Scripture.  What then is the explanation of this?  The outward appearance of the leprosy was simply the proof that the disease had been already working in the house.  When the equivalent of the leprosy begins to show itself in the local assembly, it is simply the outward evidence of the fact that sin was already working there. God does not create sin: He permits it for the outworking of His own inscrutable purposes; and He will always ultimately expose and judge it.


The wellbeing of the assembly is directly affected by each believer in it.  We are either building it up or pulling it down; strengthening it or weakening it.  No one can say, What I do affects only myself.


Since Canaan portrays the spiritual realm into which faith introduces the believer, the leprosy in the house in Canaan assures us that it is in the spiritual realm that the equivalent of the leprosy often works.  The sin portrayed here is not adultery, drunkenness, theft, etc., what we call the sins of the flesh, but rather, such things as pride, envy, ulterior motive in service, wrong doctrine, etc.


14:35.  "And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, it seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:"


God is the Owner of "the house" (the local assembly), and the coming of the owner of the literal house in Canaan to tell the priest of his suspicion that leprosy was in the house, translates into the spiritual assurance that God will also come and "tell the priest" when He perceives evidence of spiritual leprosy in His "house."  But who or what is represented by the priest?  In the present context, the elders.  Part of each elder's spiritual gift is the ability to discern the spiritual state of the assembly, and woe betide the elders who close their eyes to the evidence of "leprosy" in the assembly which God has entrusted to their care.


14:36.  "Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:"


While the house was obviously to be emptied of people, the reference here appears to be more particularly to furniture and ornaments.  Now clearly the elders' examination of the assembly does not begin with their expelling all the members, but certainly a first phase of their examination ought to be the elimination of the equivalent of the furniture and ornaments.  Many assemblies over the years tend to accumulate a lot of "furniture and ornaments" for which there is no Scriptural warrant, e.g., programs, procedures, activities, etc., introduced by well-intentioned untaught believers, but which, in fact, hinder rather than help the assembly spiritually.  Scriptural order is to be followed with scrupulous care.


14:37.  "And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;"


14:38.  "Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:"


As mentioned in our study of 13:49, red, the biblical color of sin, speaks of the presence of sin, while the green seems to speak of its vigorous activity; and its being deeper than the surface of the wall declares that the sin represented is not superficial, but serious.


The shutting up of the house for seven (number of perfection or completeness) days, speaks not of cessation of all assembly activity, but rather, of the painstaking examination of the matter before God, every function of the assembly being shut up, i.e., subjected to the thorough scrutiny of Scripture.


14:39.  "And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;"


This is the symbolic announcement of the fact that the examination reveals the activity of sin in the assembly.


14:40.  "Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place outside the city:"


The stones represent believers (or those professing to be), see 1 Peter 2:5, and the removal of the stones from the house portrays the expulsion from the fellowship of the assembly of those believers found to be "leprous," i.e., guilty of grievous sin. The "unclean place outside the city" is the world outside the fellowship of a scriptural assembly.


14:41.  "And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off outside the city into an unclean place:"


This would speak of confession and repentance on the part of those who remain, and the putting away from their midst of every vestige of the sin that had resulted in the expulsion of the guilty.


14:42.  "And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaster the house."


These new stones represent new believers raised up by God to take the places of those expelled, while the morter used to plaster the house and bind the stones together, seems to speak of the love which binds believers together, as mentioned by Paul, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love," Christ Himself being "the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God," Colossians 2:2,19.


14:43.  "And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered;"


Here we have the sad picture of an assembly in which the same sin occurs again, after having been, apparently, cleansed.  Very often the evil, portrayed by the leprosy in a house, runs deep, and is very difficult to eradicate.


14:44.  "Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean."


It happens sometimes that even expulsion of those whose doctrine is wrong, doesn't end the evil.  They may have succeeded in indoctrinating virtually the whole assembly, so that the evil continues to work like leprosy, even after their departure.


14:45.  "And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place."


The symbolic picture here is of a church similar to that of Laodicea, relative to which God said, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” Revelation 3:16.


It is to be noted that it is the owner, not the priest, who is to demolish the house, and dispose of the debris in an unclean place outside the city.  It is God alone Who builds each local church, and it is He alone Who has the right to remove it.  Man has no part in this work, save as he may be an instrument in God's hand.


14:46.  "Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even."


Since the time during which the house was shut up, corresponds to the time during which the elders are to examine the state of the assembly in the light of God's Word.  One's going into the house during that time seems to represent one who joins that fellowship, or who is indifferent to the sin being investigated. His action or indifference makes him unclean, and since "the even" is the end of the day, his being unclean until the even, points to his being at least suspect until he is either exonerated or shown to be guilty.


“... until the even,” however, has a deeper significance.  The even is the end of the day, and is used symbolically to speak of the end of one’s life, and relative to Christ it points to the fact that by taking our sins upon Himself that day when He went out to Calvary, He was willing to be made unclean until “the even,” i.e., until the end of His life, His death expiating all our sins, and making available to us God’s pardon and gift of eternal life.


14:47.  "And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes."


Sleeping or resting, and eating are normal activities within a house, but since the house here is the local church, the lesson is that even the normal activities within an assembly undergoing investigation, make necessary the equivalent of the washing of the clothes, i.e., the exercise of care to ensure that every activity is in compliance with the written Word.  There is to be no continuation of old methods without first making sure that they are Scriptural.


14:48.  "And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed."


This portrays the case of an assembly which has bowed to the authority of Scripture, and has rid itself both of the evil, and of those who promoted it.


14:49.  "And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:"


14:50.  "And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:"


The two birds represent the Lord Jesus Christ, the slain bird portraying Him as the One who came from heaven to give His life a ransom for men’s souls; the released bird typifying Him as the One who, having completed that great work, has returned to heaven in resurrection power and glory.


Cedar wood, fragrant and virtually impervious to decay, portrays the perfection of the Lord’s human life.  Scarlet, the color of sin, see Isaiah 1:18, reminds us that He was willing to take our sins upon himself, die for them, and by His death expiate them, as it is written, “For he (God) has made him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21.


Hyssop, the least of all trees, see 1 Kings 4:33, represents Christ, coming in lowliness and meekness, to serve rather than to be served, and to take our guilty place at Calvary.


The slain bird portrays Christ in His death, the earthen vessel typifying His human body, 2 Corinthians 4:7, and the running water representing the Scriptures, the water of the word, Ephesians 5:26, which governed the Lord’s every thought, word, and deed.


The ritual is almost the same as that used for the cleansing of a person, but there are differences.  Conspicuously absent is any mention of oil, and for a very good reason: the Holy Spirit indwells and anoints (oil being the symbol of anointing) individual believers, but not assemblies.


14:51.  "And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:"


14:52.  "And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:"


The dipping of the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, is the symbolic declaration of the truth that Christ, having taken our sins upon himself, and having assumed responsibility for them, has expiated them by His death and resurrection.  Since the running water, as already noted, is a type of the written Word, the dipping of the wood, hyssop,  scarlet, and the living bird, in running water, declares symbolically that all the Lord has done to make atonement for sin, has been in fulfillment of what is written in scripture.


Since seven is the number of perfection or completeness, the sevenfold sprinkling speaks of the complete effectiveness of the cleansing, which is itself symbolic of the perfect cleansing of the believer’s sin by the blood of Christ.


14:53.  "But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean."


This release of the living bird completed the cleansing of the house.  It points symbolically to the Lord’s resurrection, which is the proof that His death puts away for ever the guilt and condemnation of all those who trust Him as Savior and Lord, as it is written, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” Romans 4:25.


14:54.  "This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,"


“... scall” is scurf, i.e., dry scaling of dead skin.  As the skin is the outward covering of the body, the spiritual lesson of the leprous scall points symbolically to the truth that the individual is one whose outward life is a contradiction of a profession of faith in Christ as Savior, and raises the question of whether he has indeed ever been born again.


14:55.  "And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,"


Since clothing speaks symbolically of the outward life, i.e., what is observable by others, the leprous garment speaks of a life in which sin is obvious to all; and since the house speaks typologically of a local church, the leprosy represents sin in that church.


14:56.  "And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:"


A rising here refers to a swelling such as that of a pimple or boil, and a “bright spot” is literally a “white spot,” i.e., it is abnormal, unhealthy.  In the present context, these things point symbolically to that in a professed believer’s life which is incompatible with an obedient walk.


14:57.  "To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy."


Relative to Israel, all of this was literal, but for spiritual Israel, the Church, it relates to the lives of those who constitute that mystical building which is the body and bride of Christ.  What shame we bring upon Him then when we permit in our lives, personal and corporate, those things which are typified by leprosy!

[Leviticus 15]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough