Doctrine of Cleansing the Leper – Leviticus 14
Eph 5:26-27 – Summer 2017;
Luke 5:12-14 – Summer 2019
This chapter explains the ritual for the ceremonial cleansing of lepers so that they might enter society again. The ritual found in Leviticus 14 speaks of cleansing or purification of one who acquired leprosy. Leprosy represents sin and the ritual inscribed represents what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us and accomplished upon the Cross. As such, we see this cleansing ritual of leprosy as analogous to the cleansing the unbeliever receives for Salvation / Positional Sanctification at the moment of belief in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. As you review these passages and principles, think, in your mind’s eye, how our Lord performed this ritual on you at the moment of your salvation, to purify and cleanse you of your sin, and thus entering you into eternal fellowship with God, based on your Positional Sanctification.
1. The priest goes to the leper, vs. 3.
Of course, the leper was barred from coming into the camp, so the priest had to go “outside the camp” to him. What a picture of Christ who came to us and died “outside the camp,” that we might be saved, Heb 13:10-13.
Heb 13:12, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
We did not seek Him; He came to seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10.
Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
2. The priest offers the sacrifices, vs. 4-7.
This ceremony is a beautiful picture of the work of Jesus Christ. The priest took one of the birds and placed it in an earthen vessel, (clay jar), and then he killed it. Of course, the birds were not created to live in jars, but to fly in the heavens. Christ willingly left heaven and took upon Himself a body, put Himself, as it were, in an earthen vessel, that He might die for us.
Note that the bird was killed over running water, a picture of the Word of God as given by the Holy Spirit, as we see in the analogy of Eph 5:26b.
The priest then took the living bird, dipped it in the blood of the dead bird, and set it free. Here is a vivid illustration of Christ’s resurrection. Christ died for our sins and was raised again, and He took the blood, (spiritually speaking), back to heaven that we might be cleansed from sin.
The priest finally sprinkled some of the blood on the leper, for “all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” Heb 9:22.
3. The leper washes, shaves, and waits, vs. 8-9.
The priest had already pronounced him clean, so he was acceptable as far as the Lord was concerned, but he had to wash, shave, and wait. The work of the sacrifice having been complete and applied, we now see the leper having to accept the sacrifice through washing, (i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit), shaving himself, (representing the new man, the new creation), and then waiting 7 days, (the number of spiritual perfection), and then on the eighth day gain fellowship, (the number of satisfying, satiating, new beginnings, superabundance, regeneration, and resurrection). So, it speaks of all three in regard to the new believer in Jesus Christ.
4. The leper offers the sacrifices, vs. 10-13.
He was now back in the camp at the door of the Tabernacle. He offered a trespass offering, a sin offering, and a burnt offering.
The trespass and sin offerings took care of his defilements, his unknown and known sins, (i.e., wrinkle or spot). The burnt offering represents the judgment of our sins by God the Father in the person of Jesus Christ that propitiated the Father.
In regard to Experiential Sanctification, this also speaks to the application of 1 John 1:9.
5. The priest applies the blood and oil, vs. 14-20.
This is a touching part of the ritual; pun intended. The priest took the blood and applied it to the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the man, symbolizing that his whole body had now been purchased and belonged to God, (i.e., hear the Word, work in the Word, walk by the Word).
A leper had blood placed on his ear, vs. 14, to indicate the importance of hearing Bible doctrine for salvation; i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Putting blood on the ear, thumb, and big toe, also indicates that post-salvation, he was to listen to God’s Word, work for God’s glory, and walk in God’s ways.
Then the priest put the oil on the blood to symbolize in a different way, the Holy Spirit’s work in our salvation and sanctification. The blood could not be put on the oil; the oil had to be put on the blood. The blood represents Jesus’ sacrifice upon the Cross. The oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
You see in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the blood comes first, then the Holy Spirit through common and efficacious grace can apply the blood of Jesus for our salvation. This means that the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel of Jesus Christ understandable to the unbeliever. Then, for those who believe it, the Spirit makes their faith effective for salvation. For where the blood has been applied, the Spirit of God can work.
The rest of the oil was poured on the man’s head by the Priest, and thus, he was anointed for his new spiritual life with the power of the Word and Spirit in His life.
If you read Lev 8:22-24, you will see that a similar ceremony was performed for the consecration of the priests. In other words, God treated the leper as he would a priest. And for the Church Age, all believers are Royal Priests, 1 Peter 2:9.
Of course, all of this is accomplished today through faith in Jesus Christ. He went “outside the camp” to find us. He died and rose again to save us. When we trust Him, He applies the blood and oil to our lives and provides eternal fellowship with God.
1 John 5:8, “For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”
1 Peter 1:2, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.” Cf. Heb 9:14
In Luke 5:12-14, one day a leper said to Christ, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” He replied, “I am willing; be cleansed.” See Mark 1:40-45. Christ is willing to save and able to save. And through His work upon the Cross and our non-meritorious faith in Him, He cleanses His bride for all of eternity, thereby, sanctifying her positionally.
And remember, by analogy, what Christ and the Holy Spirit have done for the believer, the husband should do for the wife experientially, to cleanse her, to overcome the sins in her life. Likewise, as the Leper had to accept the sacrifice, so does the wife in honoring her husband.