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Lev. 14, cleansing and purifying

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Helen, Nov 17, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    There seem to be a number of people who find different ways to mock the Bible. This chapter is often misread to present one of them. The mockery goes as such: "Isn't it weird that God orders a bird and blood to heal a person from leprosy? How primitive can you get?"

    But that is NOT what this chapter is talking about. Leviticus 14 instructs the priests about what to do AFTER the person appears to have been healed. And in the case both of skin infections or lesions as well as mold or mildew in a house, the sanitary precautions taken are outstanding -- and this is before the rituals to make the person or the building ceremonially clean afterwards. But at no time is the actual method of healing or stopping the mold or mildew discussed here.

    First, for a person, a priest has to examine someone who says he has been healed and the examination must take place outside the camp. If the priest agrees that healing appears to have happened, then the ceremonial cleansing and atonement takes place. After that the person may go into the camp, but NOT into his tent for another seven days. After THAT time, if there is no recurrence of skin infection, then the person must shave every bit of hair from his body.

    This, in our view today, would accomplish two things. First, it would show that all the skin was now clear and second, it would remove the 'germ haven' that hair can be. After this he must wash his clothes and bathe himself.

    Then more sacrifices are to be made.

    Why this much fuss over skin lesions? Why not over tumors or a severe cough or chronic pain? If you think about two things, this may make some medical sense: no antibiotics and how rapidly skin problems can be spread. We are, for the most part, pretty well-removed from these concerns today precisely because we do have and use antibiotics, but the prevention of the spread of infection was terribly important in a camp or city of people.

    There are also spiritual meanings regarding this, as there is with just about everything. The skin is the first line of defense against invading organisms. When the skin is compromised, the first line of defense has failed. At least in that spot.

    In the New Testament we read that if a brother, or fellow believer, sins against you, try to settle it between the two of you first. If that does not work, take witnesses. If that is ineffective, take it to the body of believers right there in your area, or the church. If the person still refuses to listen and change, then he must be put out of the group of believers and avoided as much as possible.

    So there is isolation until healing in spiritual matters, too. Our first line of defense against the intrusions of the world and its temptations is our unity as a body of believers. When this is breached by internal conflict, then all manner of other infections can intrude -- and many of those infections have names we recognize: gossip, false doctrine, bitterness, arguments...

    We are told over and over again that these things must not only be avoided but the person causing the problem must be put out of the body, at least temporarily.

    This is basically what is pictured with the infectious skin diseases. And, as with spiritual healing, which is in the hands of God, the physical healing itself is not discussed in this chapter; only what to do afterwards.

    The second part of the chapter has to do with the cleansing of the house attacked by a dangerous mildew as well as its ritualistic purification. Here, for a house, the measures are specific for the necessity of first, waiting, and then tearing down the affected part if the damage is spreading and, lastly, if partial destruction and a rebuild does not stop the problem, a total destruction is commanded.

    After all appears clean, then sacrifices are again made for ritual cleasing after the physical cleansing.

    On the physical level, these molds and mildews could be dangerous to the structure as well as to people's health.

    On a spiritual level we again see the demand for cleanliness and purity.

    Philippians 1:6 is where Paul tells them he is confident that God will finish the good work He began in them. That applies to all Christians. God will not leave the rotten parts of the old life to fester and infect the new. Bit by bit, the old habits and ways of thought will be replaced by His ways. The process may not be pleasant, but it will always be necessary.
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
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    Oct 10, 2001
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