Leviticus 14:54 – This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
Leviticus 14:55 – And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
Leviticus 14:56 – And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
Leviticus 14:57 – To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
Hello readers, back with a new blog today. And this blog is about leprosy. I’ve tried outlining my thoughts from scripture as clearly as possible and hope it’s a blessing to you, but I hope primarily with this blog to help you get into Leviticus yourself and view it through the lens of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve been thinking about the law of the leper found in Leviticus 13 and 14 a lot recently. The best thing to do is read it for yourself, as always. There’s so much in it I can’t hope to cover too much in this short blog. But God spent two chapters outlining how to identify leprosy, what was to be done when people had it, and how to be cleansed when you were healed of it. Leprosy was a serious disease in old times. It was incurable, when you got it, it was life changing to say the least.
Leviticus can be quite a challenge to read many times for me. “Levi” is the first part of the name of the book, because this book is speaking primarily to the Levites. The Levites were a special tribe of Israel. Numbers 18:6 – “And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The Levites were involved in the service and ministry of God.
But this book does concern us. Because the Bible says Christians, born again believers, are priests unto God. Revelation 1:6 – “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” It’s an incredible truth that through Jesus Christ, who is our great high priest, we have an access to God and ability to serve him and be accepted of him that those in ages past did not have.
The Bible says in Hebrews 5:1 – “Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” The priesthood was important because priests would be who you would go to to hear from God, offer to God, and get right with God. Priests minded God’s business. You don’t have to go on a long trip like Sheba, you can open your Bible and kneel in prayer and enter into the holy place today. What grace! Priests lives revolved around God, and so should ours. If Jesus said “I must be about my Father’s business”, so should we. For many of us we aren’t that interested in God though. Ask yourself, is your life about serving God through the Lord Jesus Christ? Thanksgiving, praise, worship, our career, our ambitions, our time, indeed our very lives are all sacrifices we make to God as we minister to him, and to others in the name of the Lord.
So this is a special book, and it’s filled with great riches, but riches that may require some digging to get. To get gold, diamonds, treasures of the earth, you have to dig for them. There are riches in these passages, but you may have to dig to get them. But when you get onto a good vein of gold, there is much rejoicing. When you read the Bible, you’re like Ruth gleaning in the field, but every now and again you come across a big handful left to you on purpose! And in these two chapters on leprosy, we learn many great truths about sin. Leprosy is a picture of sin in the Bible. You’ll learn so much about sin in these two chapters it’s incredible. We are just going to glean some simple truths from the law of the leper today.
You know, God is who says what leprosy is and what leprosy isn’t. That’s the first thing that struck me reading these chapters. God made the law on it. God made the law on how to identify it to how to cleanse it, it was God’s law. The thing that matters is what God says. The thing that matters is how God views sin. So often we measure ourselves against our own standards we conveniently craft for ourselves, but what really matters is what the Bible says about what is sin and what isn’t, what is clean and what isn’t. The Bible is the only thing that is ultimately important. What has God said? What does God say? It didn’t matter what anybody else thought, it didn’t matter on other people’s opinions or views… it only mattered what the priest said, and the priest would make all his determinations based on what God had said.
God says what is sin and what isn’t. For all mankind’s thoughts, opinions, theories, philosophies, wisdom and morals, it only ultimately matters what God says. God says what is right and wrong, and it doesn’t matter what you think or believe or say or “how it looks” to you. The diagnosis of leprosy was made on how it looked, was it spreading or not, how deep was it, the diagnosis was based on careful observation and comparing what the priest was seeing to the law of God. That’s the only way you could tell. We can tell what is right and wrong and what is clean and unclean when we carefully analyze our lives to God’s word. How do we all measure up? We should be looking at our lives and be able to identify what the problem is, because God is telling you today what your real problem is. Having leprosy was a HUGE problem, sin is a huge, great big problem.
God cares about you being clean. What’s at stake in this whole leprosy issue is who is clean, and who is not. God’s people are meant to be a clean people. If only we got that back to central to our lives. Why are so many professing Christians living unclean lives. They’re like that raven out there in the post flood world, don’t bother returning to Noah because I’m enjoying all this rotten, unclean flesh. If you’ve got the dove in you, the dove won’t find rest in this unclean world and an unclean life. All sin is uncleanness. Sin produces uncleanness. And what produces uncleanness is our flesh. See, they’d look on the skin, they’d look on the outside, because the skin covers the flesh, and the skin would reveal a problem that was going on in the flesh, and it wasn’t good. Galatians 5:19 – ” Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” It goes on, but until you see your works of your life are unclean, and producing uncleanness, you won’t desire healing and cleansing. Leprosy was found in the flesh, and our flesh produces unclean thinking, speaking and doing.
Moses and Aaron listened to God, they listened to what God said about leprosy. God spoke, they listened. Imagine if more preachers and pastors and teachers today had that attitude to God’s word. God’s word isn’t just a good idea, or something to consider, it is the law. God makes the laws, God says what is clean and what is not. Aren’t you glad God has given his word, and the Holy Spirit with it to shine a light on our condition as lost sinners? How are we going to be saved if we don’t see we are lost? How will we know our condition if the great Physician does not shine a light on our problem? Leprosy was ugly, it was putrid, it was unsightly, it was dehumanizing… a life in sin will be your ruin.
Leprosy manifested itself in different ways. When you read through these chapters you’ll realize that fact. It could look like this, and look like that, and it might not even have been readily apparent. In different situations, the priest would shut the person up that was under investigation, and look again on the skin in seven days time. See, the skin would show what was going on in the flesh. Our sinful lives are symptoms of a much bigger problem. Where does all this sin come from in our lives? It’s much deeper than the skin. Your sin problem might manifest differently, but it’s still sin. You may struggle with different sin, but you’re still a sinner. And you might not look so bad at the moment, but that small bright spot could end up covering your whole body.
It’s amazing they had a medical condition, yet they went to the priest. See, you’d think you’d go to a doctor, but your leprosy problem of sin can’t be fixed in this world, by any of the world’s means… it takes God. We don’t want to ever see that the real problem in our life is sin and unrepentance and unbelief. Because it was God’s law, they were a clean people, and far ahead in dealing with infectious disease. They’d isolate, they’d burn their clothing and housing, they’d isolate the source of disease, lepers even had to cover their upper lip. They had to cry out unclean, unclean so nobody would get close and catch it.
One thing that struck me is the phrase “deeper than the skin”. This is actually incredibly profound. Our problem is more than skin deep. Sin is more than skin deep. Something was wrong in the flesh which was causing the problem on the skin. Jesus taught us about how sin comes from the heart of man. Mark 7:21 – “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,“. Leprosy was the outward manifestation of a deeper problem. The stuff going on on your skin, on the outward, it was indicative of a much deeper problem. Something’s wrong in our flesh.
Read this verse. Exodus 4:6 – “And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.” This is God speaking to Moses. And Moses put his hand into his bosom, and took it out, and his hand was leprous. The problem we have with sin comes from our heart. Within us is where the problem starts. You can try hiding it, but when it breaks out all over your life, it’s pretty hard to hide the problem you’ve got. Sin is self destructive, just as leprosy destroyed the leper. The Bible talks about those who “oppose themselves”… we are our worst enemy.
And God knows that. See, God knows the problem. He knows our condition. He can accurately identify the smallest bright spot in your life as leprosy. And you may have problems in your life, and you’re looking for help, but until you come to God and his word, you won’t see the root problem in your life is sin. Thus you won’t be fixed. Your problem is deeper than your skin.
Society often goes looking for solutions in the wrong places. This priest is a picture of God, after all, priests ministered on behalf of God, and as already stated, you’d go to the priest to get access to God in the Old Testament. As priests, Christians should also be able to see the problems deeper than the skin, and see what the root cause of the leprosy on today’s society is. Sin is a leprosy in our society, make no mistake about that. When Christians should have wisdom, and are given wisdom through the word of God, they are more confused and confounded than anyone. They can’t tell clean from unclean anymore. They rejected the law of God, and God’s law is what made Israel a light of the nations, so when you reject God’s light, you are just groping in darkness, knowing not at what you stumble like everyone else.
Another thing I learned from the law of leprosy is that sometimes it isn’t obvious whether it’s leprosy or isn’t. You know, there’s many things in our lives which may not be readily obvious that they’re wrong or they’re gonna cause harm. Often I’ve talked to people about drinking alcohol for instance, and they can’t see anything wrong with it. Yes there is, but the Bible says to avoid every appearance of evil, and things that may appear innocent to you. A little spot wasn’t much to start with was it. That little bit of drinking might just be a little questionable bright spot in your life… but that could be just the start of an issue that is going to take over your whole life. It’s going to make your whole life unclean and shameful… but all it is is a little bright spot at the moment. As Christians we should be able to see the dangerous bright spots and a scab that’s not quite healing. You see the words “darkish”, “reddish”, “greenish”… what’s that telling you? You may not be sure, but that looks like that could lead to real problems in your life. Do you think alcohol could be the start of a leprosy on your life of drunkenness, fornication and adultery?
One of the defining characteristics of leprosy is that it spreads. It spreads on you, and will spread to others as well. That little sin can lead to a big life problem can’t it. That sin will affect how you think, what you want to do and not want to do, it’ll affect how you speak, what you feel, how you love, what you say, what you do. What started as a small scab or bright spot could end up enveloping your whole body. That small little allowance you make for disobedience to God, that small little exception to the rule… it can end up a whole lot more than you bargained on.
You ever think the people didn’t go to the priest for fear of diagnosis? When the priest is inspecting every square inch of your body, looking for spots and spreading… you think that you might be just a little afraid. The reason why people don’t want to hear preaching or hear God’s word is they don’t want the truth about their condition. They don’t want God’s word inspecting their life, revealing what’s really there. They don’t want to be told they’ve got leprosy. They’d rather have their bright spot and rising and scab here and there… but not be shamed or put out. But just because you pretend you don’t have a problem doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem.
We have already stated that the priests had to make their rulings based on God’s word. But think about it. It didn’t matter who and what you were. It didn’t matter if you were family, or if you were rich, or if you were this colour or that colour… leprosy is leprosy. Sin affects us all. The priests would have their book out to consult when inspecting, when deliberating, when decision making and when they were uncertain. When are we going to get the word of God out and have a look at our lives and what this and that looks like and compare our lives based on what God has said? The Bible says if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. Imagine the leper saying, oh you’re judging me! Don’t judge me! Let me stay in the camp. Oh that’s not leprosy, that’s nothing. But it is something. There’s been a lot of bright spots, scabs and risings in our society, and sin has broken out all over it… and boy has it spread.
Another thing I saw was that leprosy would affect your hair colour of the hair that came out of the affected spot on your body. The hair that came out of the affected skin was different from hair coming out of healthy skin. If the basis of your life, if your foundation of your life isn’t Christ, what comes out and grows from your life will be corrupted and tainted by sin. We talk about a person’s “true colors”. People’s lives are the way they are, because of sin. What’s coming from your life will depend on what’s deep down. Are you saved? Are you born again? Did you know there were problems that looked like they could be leprous that weren’t. God’s law meant the priests could be certain. God’s word is what brings certainty. It was no light thing sentencing someone as a leper. They were separated, shamed and sorrowful over it. We as Christians have a serious calling from God, eternity is at stake.
What started as a small spot was a problem that got bigger and bigger, and harder and harder to hide. You can easily conceal some spots here and there, but at some point, it’d be too hard to conceal. It’s called the “plague” of leprosy, and sin will plague your life. It’ll be in everything you do. You don’t just sin and leave it there, sin changes you. Look how badly sin changed the world Adam and Eve lived in, it took everything from very good and perfection to death, curse, sin, pain, suffering. Sin is a big problem.
Preachers have stopped calling unclean… unclean. Nobody has got leprosy anymore. And because nobody has leprosy anymore, nobody needs healing or cleansing. See, the people that didn’t get leprosy thought they were pretty good. The law that was meant to lead us to Christ instead became an instrument of self righteousness. But the physical leprosy was just yet another picture of our need for a Saviour. I had noticed something huge missing from these two chapters. I couldn’t find anywhere in the law of the leper on how to be healed. There was the diagnosis of leprosy, and there was how to be cleansed when you were healed of it… but there was no how to be healed. The law couldn’t heal leprosy, but Jesus preached his sermon on the mount, and came down and healed a leper. Imagine being the priests, who never saw healing, seeing this bloke and he’s healed. The first question would be “who did this!?”, “how did this happen!?”. What a testimony, Jesus healed me, Jesus did this. Only Jesus can deal with leprosy of the heart.
There’s just so much in these two chapters, but I’m going to leave it there for today. If you read these chapters for yourself, and you may not get anything out of it at all, but just be consistent with reading it, God will show you many glorious truths through the law of the leper. There’s a lot more in here. You know that garments and houses could have it, is there anything in your house that is causing you to sin? Is there anything you need to take out your house, out your life, and get rid of it?
You know, you could be diagnosed with an “old leprosy”. That would’ve been quite a sight. With old leprosy, you had raw flesh, no skin left. Your skin was eaten up by leprosy. Sin will eat your whole life up. It’ll eat your marriage up, it’ll take your purity, your holiness, your cleanliness, your potential, your future, your happiness. And now all you are is a liability to someone else. Unrepentant sinners are only good for making other people unclean. That’s why they were separated from everyone else, and had to go around and cry “Unclean, unclean!”. Sin will bring a shame and reproach into your life. It’ll be your ruin. You keep letting it go, and it’ll just keep getting worse and worse. That’s why this self help, self improvement Christianity is a joke. You can’t better yourself, you can’t dress it up, you can’t improve it, you can’t control where sin takes you and what sin produces.
We need Jesus Christ. It is he who healed the lepers. He healed ten lepers in Luke 17, and only one turned back to thank him. The law of Moses could not heal leprosy. It could tell you you’ve got it. But it couldn’t heal you. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. What we haven’t covered today at all (and there is just so much in these chapters we’ve barely touched the hem of the garment of it) is the law of cleansing when you were healed. In that is pictured the Lord Jesus Christ abundantly. But today we need to firstly see that we have a problem. Your problem may look different to mine, but it’s all sin. It comes from sin. Call it for what it is. Stop spreading your sin to others.
We need cleansing, do you see a need for cleansing in your life, do you want to be clean? The first step to being cleansed is seeing you need it, recognizing the truth of your spiritual state, recognizing that your life is an unclean mess, and going to God’s word, and letting God’s word tell you what you are, so then something can be done about it. God did something about our sin problem, he sent his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins, so we can go free. We are like that bird with the blood on his wings that is let go in the field when a leper was cleansed, free to soar in the heavens, free because Jesus paid the price for our sins. Believe on him and be saved, be saved and cleansed from the unsightly, sad, wretched and utterly unclean condition of sin.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)