William Kelly Major Works Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,Leviticus Chapter 14
THE LEPER PRONOUNCED CLEAN.
Now we come to the other side, the grace that can and does cleanse the leper. What a mercy in
a world of misery and suffering through sin! There is no desert in man; there is love in God. Yea God is love. Here it appears in His dealings as Jehovah with Israel. They are without doubt as the leper. Their unbelief owns not the truth: else they would now cry, Unclean, unclean, as they surely will in a day that hastens. They are with out their inheritance, though Jehovah gave it to them; but their sins and iniquities, their uncleanness in a word, made it a righteous necessity that they should be chased out of it, deprived quite of their land and national being, and out of that sanctuary in the place which Jehovah chose to cause His name to dwell there. No judgment of expulsion more certain and clear than that now lying on His ancient people. Their pride rebels; their distance from Him seeks to disguise it even from themselves; but it is written indelibly on their past and present history: thank God, not for ever. Leprous Israel shall assuredly be cleansed, as prophecy declares in sure and abundant and glowing testimonies.
Here however the type is so abstract that we are entitled in no way to narrow the application, but to see how grace adapts it to the need of every and any ruined sinner.
" 1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, 2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest, 3 and the priest shall go out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, the sore of leprosy is healed in the leper; 4 then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two living clean birds, and cedar wood and scarlet and hyssop. 5 And the priest shall command to kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over living water. 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 killed over the living water; 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 go the living bird into the open field" (vers. 1-7).
Typically viewed, the priest is the Mediator, the Saviour. As the leper could not come where He was, the priest must go out of the camp to the leper. Indeed "the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." It was not only that the sinner needed such love to reach a heart steeped in the selfishness and distrust which sin produces in man, along with known rebellion against God and guilty conscience, the sad monitor of coming judgment. Infinite mercy belongs to God; and who could possibly manifest it like His own Son emptying Himself to take a bondman's form, and humbling Himself in obedience even unto death, ay, death of the cross? Thus it was that in Him all the fulness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile . . ., having made peace by the blood of His cross.
Here then the priest is said to look, "and, behold, the sore of leprosy is healed." How this was does not enter into "the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing" beyond the fact here notified. In the application it is a new life given. But the day was not come to reveal such a boon. It awaited Christ, the True Light, in Whom was life, and the life was the light of men. Life and incorruption He brought to light through the gospel. The explanation was left in abeyance. But the arrest of the plague was manifestly effected before him who saw according to God; and thereon followed the means ordained for the leper's purification. It was an immensely serious work, and thus the shadows here seen are pregnant with deep interest and weighty truth.
On the face of it, the work first of all was done for the leper, not in the least degree by himself. The priest commanded to take for him that is to be cleansed two clean living birds, and cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Then he commanded further that one bird be killed in an earthen vessel over living water. The living bird he took with the cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop, and dipt them all in blood of the bird killed over the living water; and lastly he sprinkled upon the man to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, pronouncing. him clean, and letting the living bird free.
The two clean birds thus set forth Christ dead and risen, the one killed, the other let loose into the open field. But there is far more here; for the bird to die was killed in an earthen vessel over living water. How plain the indication of Him who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself spotless to God, deigning to be crucified in weakness! Again, what can be more evident than the pains taken to identify the living bird with the slain one by dipping it in the blood of the one killed over the living water? So Christ was given up For our offences and raised for our justification, as says the apostle (Romans 4:25).
Nor was this all the truth presented in this pattern of things to come. The taking of the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, the dipping them also in the blood of the bird that was slain, has a worthy meaning and like the rest is written for our admonition. The death of Christ has pronounced for him that is cleansed death on all with which man is here conversant. The chosen emblems of the highest in nature and of the lowest, along with that which figures the conventional glory of the world, were dipped in the blood; just as in Numbers 19:6 they were cast into the midst of the burning of the Red Heifer. In what had not man corrupted himself, perverting all that God gave and sanctioned to His dishonour? But every evil is counteracted for the believer in Christ's atoning death. The leper was himself sprinkled with the blood seven times in token of complete cleansing, and was formally pronounced clean by the priest, with the significant mark of the living blood-sprinkled bird let go into the open field.
Yet much more, as we are told, had to follow. How sedulous is scripture to impress the solemn ways of God, even when a soul is supposed to be converted, and the deadly evil of sin no longer active but at a stay, before it can enjoy the full place and privileges of salvation! How little is this understood by revivalism or even evangelicalism!
Indeed under grace, as we are, the deep moment of God's ways with the soul ought to be readily felt. For in the current preaching and faith of Christ, how little is understood the distinct truth taught so elaborately in the latter half of Rom. 5 to the end of chap. 8! Yet how marked is the care of the Holy Spirit in the discussion of chap. 7 to bring home the need of it to the individual in a way beyond all other examples in the N.T.! This is undone by Arminians, who try to persuade themselves and others that the "I" of Romans 7:7-25, or at least 24, is an unconverted man whom Paul personifies; by Calvinists, that it is the normal state of the apostle and of all Christians.
But God will have us, not only to confess our sins, our guilt, in order to forgiveness; He leads us into a more or less profound sense of ourselves of indwelling sin, without which the hale of Christian blessing is unknown, and this the better and more positive half in which we know, not Christ dead for our sins only, but ourselves dead with Him to sin. And this, though of course a matter of faith, has to be learnt experimentally in order to our being brought out of bondage into liberty and the blessed sense that we are "in Christ" where is "no condemnation."
THE LEPER WASHES.
Thus we have seen that in the first place all was done for the leper, not by him. Another was active, not himself. He was to be brought to the priest; and the priest had to go forth out of the camp. The all-important thing was, not that the leper, but that the priest should look and ascertain that the sore of leprosy was at a stay, or rather healed in the leper. The priest had to direct the means then to be employed; and when one of the clean birds was killed in an earthen vessel over living water, it was he that took the other live bird with the various accompaniments he had prescribed, dipt them and the live bird in the blood of the killed bird, sprinkled the leper therewith, and pronounced him clean, letting the live bird go free. Now, and not before, we are told of the leper's activity.
" 8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave all his hair, and bathe in water, and he shall be clean; and after that he shall come into the camp, but shall dwell outside his tent seven days. 9 And 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 shall he shave: and he shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe, his flesh in water, and he shall be clean" (vers. 8, 9).
The blood shed and sprinkled, precious and efficacious as it is judicially for the unclean, is not all. There is and must be a moral cleansing also by the water of the word applied to the sinner. Out of the pierced side of Jesus flowed not blood only but water, of which the inspired witness bore record. To this John also refers in his First Epistle, 1 John 5 "This is he that came through water and blood; not by water only, but by water and blood." The sinner needs for blessing not only expiation, but purification.
Here it is typically presented. We know that all is vain unless our hearts are purified by faith; but these shadows as usual do not rise above external actions. "And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water, and he shall be clean." However strange it may appear for the priest to have pronounced the leper clean in ver. 7, this is the sure and cheering ground for beginning the practical work of cleansing himself as in vers. 8, 9. To be pronounced clean by divine authority affords the highest assurance; but it does not supersede the moral cleansing which Jehovah enjoins in all respects. On the contrary it gives invaluable encouragement to enter on and go through every detail as here. '` His garments," what is displayed to the eye, are at once to be dealt with, and the Spirit applies the word to cleanse them. Former things must be judged by the expressed will of God. But there is much more to be heeded. "All his hair " he had to shave. This belongs to his person; the natural comeliness attaching to man's head must be shorn, and himself must bathe in water. There is no sparing of aught wherein impurity might lurk. The efficacy of Christ's death and resurrection, by which alone one could be pronounced clean before God, only makes it the more incumbent to cleanse oneself from every pollution of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in fear of God. Then is it added, "and he shall be clean."
"And afterwards shall he come into the camp, and shall abide out of his tent seven days." Even so, though made free of his public position, he cannot enjoy his individual place till the purifying is complete. With such nice care as to every minute source of defilement is the full cleansing of the leper guarded. Now there is in the gospel what meets each and all more thoroughly than any of these requirements of the law; and this, by a redemption which is "eternal " and thus superior to legal demands of time. Of this the robber saved on the cross is a clear proof and witness; for his case is really an example, though unbelief of God's grace and Christ's work treats it as an exception to the deprivation of a vast deal of the blessing. So naturally do saints swerve, from the light which already shines, to the shadows of the law.
Verse 9 makes plain that the purifying goes on to the last. "And it shall come to pass on the seventh day that he shall shave all his hair, his head and his beard, and his eyebrows, even all his hair shall he shave, and he shall wash his clothes, and shall bathe his flesh in water, and shall be clean." It is open to our notice that on the last day of the set term the washing is ordered still more minutely than ever, the beard and the eyebrows, no less than the head, and "his flesh" to make the bathing explicit. How blessed for us that we have One to apply the word to our souls and ways in the power of God's Spirit! If the fathers of our flesh chastened us for a few days as seemed good to them, the Father of our spirits so does for profit, in order to the partaking of His holiness.
THE LEPER ON THE EIGHTH DAY,
Here we have the shadow of truth, both of high import, and unthought of since the apostles passed away, when men took their place whose scanty faith fell woefully short of the inspired deposit. Thus we need peculiarly that we be on our guard and looking up for divine guidance so as to read the written word with that discernment which only the Holy Spirit can give.
" 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 tenths of fine flour mingled with oil for an oblation [or, meal-offering], and one log of oil. 11 And the priest that cleanseth shall present the man that is to be cleansed and those things before Jehovah at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 12 And the priest shall take one he-lamb, and present it for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before Jehovah. 13 And he shall slaughter the he-lamb at the place where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered, in a holy place; for as the sin offering, so the trespass-offering is the priest's; it is most holy. 14 And the priest shall take of the blood of the trespass offering and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. 15 And the priest shall take of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand; 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 Jehovah. 17 And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand the priest shall put on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering. 18 And the remainder of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, and the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah. 19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterwards he shall slaughter the burnt offering. 20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the oblation upon the altar; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean" (vers. 10-20).
The ritual of the eighth day foreshadows the work of Christ in the light of His resurrection, the Christian's rich appropriation, and the consequent gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not merely the general and indispensable efficacy of Christ's blood with the [action of the Spirit as living water in order to purification morally as well as judicially. Here we have the conscience cleansed from dead works to serve or worship a living God, and be at home as it were, coming not merely into the camp but into his tent. It is in its measure a consecration like the priests'. Only here it is founded, not on a sin offering (Leviticus 8:14, Leviticus 9:2) but on a trespass offering (Leviticus 14:12-13); for there had been a violation of a holy relation to meet. And the priest applied its blood to the right ear, right thumb, and right great toe (14). All the man is brought under the most holy blood, what he hears and does, with his walk; he belongs wholly to God in thought, work, and way. In the case of the priests it was the blood of a peace offering.
Then follows the unction from the Holy One (15-18). The waving too of all was before Jehovah, so was the application, as with the priestly consecration. The oil was put where the blood had been. How clearly was prefigured the full blessing first enjoyed at Pentecost. Not only was Christ's death for removing evil, but entered into in all its fulness as before God' and in the Holy Spirit's power to give personal consciousness and enjoyment of it all, as having redemption in Christ through His blood, as well as priestly access to the sanctuary, we may add. We are meant to be already in known and near relation to God. Whatever be the intrinsic efficacy of Christ's work (and here it is viewed in its various value as it is really infinite), how much we owe to the Spirit sent personally to abide in and with us! For thereby we dwell in God and God in us, as 1 John 4 says of the Christian. The heart is thus free intelligently to realise God's righteousness and grace in Christ's work to His glory, when the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins. But this can never be rightly or safely unless the conscience has first been searched and cleansed in the light of God.
There is great forge in the figurative state of ver. 18, crowning the previous details. Yet when the completeness of the Spirit's power is thus set out, how sedulously God takes care to mark after this in ver. 19 the sin offering offered, as well as the burnt offering and its accompanying meal offering, each essential to make atonement for him that was to be cleansed from his uncleanness, and all offered that he should be clean and know it with the utmost assurance. For atoning virtue Christ is the all; yet has the Spirit His own blessed function. What a testimony to that which God is in grace and truth and righteousness withal on behalf of the evil and lost!
THE POOR LEPER.
Here, as elsewhere, appears the gracious consideration of God, not for the poor only, but also for what is so represented typically. Jehovah at least does care for such as have no earthly resources; and this is attested in the strongest way when they suffer from an extreme evil which leprosy was and figures. Does He not compassionate the poor in faith, due in general to defective teaching?
" 21 And if he [be] poor, and his hand be not able to get it, then he shall take one lamb a trespass offering, a wave offering to atone for him; and one tenth part of fine flour mingled with oil for a meal offering; 22 and a log of oil, and two turtle doves or two young pigeons, as his hand may be able to get: the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering. 23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day of his cleansing to the priest unto the entrance of the tent of meeting before Jehovah. 24 And the priest shall take the he-lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them a wave offering before Jehovah. 25 And he shall slaughter the he-lamb of the trespass offering; and the priest shall take the blood of the trespass offering, and put [it] upon the 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. 26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the priest's left hand, 27 and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger of the oil that [is] in his left hand seven times before Jehovah. 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. 29 And the remainder of the oil that [is] in the priest's hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed to atone for him before Jehovah. 30 And he shall offer one of the turtle doves or of the young pigeons, of what his hand was able to get; 31 of what his hand was able to get the one a trespass offering, the other a burnt offering with the meal offering; and the priest shall atone for him that is to be cleansed before Jehovah. 32 This is the law [for him] in whom [is] the sore of leprosy; whose hand cannot get what is for his cleansing" (vers. 21-32).
The allowance of grace here is solely for the falling short on the eighth day; and it is here where poverty is now and long has been found. Few rise up to the riches of God's grace in its Christian form and fulness. But the principle must be maintained if the right measure is deficient. If unable to take two unblemished he-lambs and one like ewe lamb, with three measures of fine flour, with oil for the oblation, and a log of oil besides, the poor leper was to take one lamb with one deal of oil mingled for the oblation, with a log of oil. This was indispensable for rich or poor alike. The priest began with the lamb slain for a trespass offering, and not a sin offering simply, still less a ram of consecration of sweet savour. Such was the blood sprinkled on each characteristic organ of his body; nothing other or less was permitted. The defilement must be felt and met adequately. Intrinsic cleansing by blood over the living water to be sprinkled did not suffice.
There is judicial cleansing in the sprinkled blood of the trespass offering, which is the leper's consecration to God, suited to the new creation, and hence applied to the renewed mind, as for work, and for walk. Then and not till then, for poor as for rich, is the unction from the Holy One. Not life only nor redemption or rather purification by blood which dedicates to God, but divine power is figured by the oil which follows the blood; and this oil is completely sprinkled before Jehovah anterior to putting it on each member of the poor leper, and the rest poured on his head. For the priest did all as punctiliously for him as for the richest But two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, such as he could get, we're sufficient, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. His poverty must not hinder his full cleansing and acceptance.
Thus what to the superficial reader seems strange if not tiresome repetition is in reality the witness of God's rich mercy and His loving the poorest with great love. But such a scripture ought also to be a serious guard from that levity which modern revivalism accentuates, though it has ever been the snare of those who are carried away onesidedly with the freeness of grace to forget its fulness. In reaction from a systematic putting under law as a preparatory course for due reception of this gospel, they confound conversion with salvation, and as it were argue the interested soul to believe and say, I am saved! I am saved! before the soul has any genuine sense of sin before God. Those who are strong have no need of a physician but such as are sick; and if the wounds are deep, it is well if they be probed without haste to cover them up. Repentance is most important, lest a crop of such faith arise as James 2 refuses to own. Consider the Prodigal in Luke 15 and indwelling sin dealt with, as well as sins.
The jailer, though speedily and truly converted (Acts 16), was not proclaimed as a saved soul there and then; nor does scripture ever speak with the hurry-scurry so popular among many excellent persons and ardent evangelists. What Paul and Silas said was, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. So the pious and prayerful Cornelius had to hear words whereby he should be saved, and his house. No doubt when he received the Spirit of adoption, he was duly enabled to know that by grace he was saved as a continuous fact. It is well if the preacher is not precipitate, and that the work in souls be deeply laid and sure. It is not for forgiveness only but for deliverance, and communion with God, yea with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. There is a vast body of truth which the believer has to learn, and heavenly truth never revealed before Christ ascended up on high, stretching over to His coming again to receive us and present us where He is. But even the gospel has far greater depth than is ordinarily preached and known, if we go no farther than the first half of the Epistle to the Romans, consistent as it is with all the rest of that "better thing " which is our portion.
LEPROSY IN THE HOUSE, AND ITS CLEANSING.
What we have seen is leprosy in the man and his raiment, and the cleansing of the leper. There is this further case, rightly reserved for the end, leprosy in the house. The preceding regarded the person, and his immediately surrounding circumstances. Here we have to look at the assembly typified, not of course in its full heavenly aspect in union with Christ, but in that which is formed on earth by the Spirit's indwelling. It therefore fittingly pointed to the land, not to the wilderness. Neither relation could be before Pentecost.
" 33 And Jehovah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 34 When ye come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put a leprous plague in a house of the land of your possession, 35 then he whose house it is shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me like a plague in the house; 36 and the priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest go to see the plague, that all that [is] in the house be not made unclean; and afterwards the priest shall go in to see the house. 37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, the plague [is] in the walls of the house, greenish or reddish hollows, and their look [is] deeper than the wall, 38 then the priest shall go out of the house to the entrance of the house, and shut up the house seven days. 39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and he shall look, and, behold, the plague hath spread in the walls of the house, 40 then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague [is], and they shall cast them out of the city in an unclean place. 41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scraped off, out of the city in an unclean place. 42 And they shall take other stones, and put [them] in the place of those stones: and they shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. 43 And if the plague come again and break out in the house, after he hath taken away the stones and after he hath scraped the house and after it is plastered, 44 then the priest shall come, and shall look, and, behold, the plague hath spread in the house, it [is] a corroding leprosy in the house; it [is] unclean. 45 And they shall break down the house, the stones of it, the timber of it and the mortar of the house, and shall carry [them] forth out of the city to an unclean place. 46 And he that goeth into the house as long as it is shut Up shall be unclean until the even. 47 And he that sleepeth in the house shall wash his raiment, and he that eateth in the house shall wash his raiment. 48 But if the priest shall come in and look and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house hath been plastered, the priest shall pronounce the house clean; for the plague is healed.
49 And he shall take to purge the house the two birds and cedar-wood and scarlet and hyssop; 50 and he shall kill one bird in an earthen vessel over living water; 51 and he shall take the cedar-wood and the hyssop and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed, and in the living water, and shall sprinkle the house seven times; 52 and he shall purge the house from the defilement with the blood of the bird, and with the living water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar-wood and with the hyssop and with the scarlet; 53 and he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open field; and he shall atone for the house, and it is clean " (vers. 33-53).
Literally, as the Israelites dwelt in tents, and had no proper houses till they entered the land of promise, it is clear that the provisions here laid down could not apply while they were in the wilderness. But the typical force does apply to Christians while here below, because there is in Christ association with heaven also before going there themselves. It was not so while Christ was with His disciples, who were living stones indeed but not yet builded together. "Upon this rock," said He, "I will build my church." But men build too since His ascension; and hence there is room for what defiles and corrupts, as well as for what is precious and holy. There is collective evil as well as individual; and consequently God insists on purity in that way no less than this. The allowance of evil is the plague spot for the assembly. Holiness becometh, not the believer only, but "thy house, O Jehovah, for evermore." Any evil may enter from time to time, none too flagrant or deadly; but if judged according to God and put out, the saints prove themselves pure in the matter.
It is altogether different when known evil abides in the midst. Then it is the leprous plague in the house. But even then it is "the priest " who is looked to in order to pronounce. He is over the house of God. Man is apt to be hasty and unreliable, whether lax or severe. Christ never fails, and makes His judgment felt by the spiritual, and knows how to warn in the Spirit all concerned. If the defilement be removed by the adequate means prescribed in His word, it is well: the house is again recognisable, though the atoning work of Christ is just as needful for it as for the sinner. But if the evil remains despite the scriptural measures to extirpate it, there is nothing for the faithful but its demolition. They must at all costs and in the most absolute way abandon what is incurably unclean. There is most solemn responsibility here in the Lord's name. Compromise is fatal.
Is it not striking and instructive to see how completely the truth of the leprous house is ignored by all who fail to recognise the church or assembly as taught in the New Testament? One need not quote names or books; this would be invidious indeed, where all is a blank or worse, as may be seen in the most celebrated, when compared with Scripture.
LEPROSY SUMMED UP.
The subject concludes with a general summary. "This [is] the law for every sore of leprosy, and for the scall; and for leprosy of raiment, and for houses; and for a rising and for a scab, and for a bright spot, to teach in the day of uncleanness, and in the day of cleanness; this [is] the law of leprosy" (vers. 54-57).
God is intimating to us thereby how sin permeates the person, the immediate environment, and the collective or corporate responsibility. It is not only destructive but defiling, so that no earthly cleanness can avail: only Himself according to His word, and through Christ's holy sacrifice. We who believe are bound to spare it not in any degree or in any respect. There is a divine provision of grace to which He calls us to conform. Our own opinion or that of other men is nothing. Having a great High Priest, passed as He has through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we are therefore to hold fast our confession. For we have not a high-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one that has been in all points tempted likewise, sin excepted. Let us therefore approach with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help. Yet more too, where sin has wrought its evil way, and not infirmities simply, there is not only a Saviour of the lost; but the believer has, we have, an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hence it is unwise as well as unholy and unbelieving to shrink from the humbling truth. For God commends His love to us, in that when we were still sinners Christ died for us. If upright by grace, let us not deceive ourselves, but submit to the light of God in which the true character of all things is exposed: for that which makes every thing manifest is light. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us " (1 John 1:8); for if it were, we should speedily learn that we have still a nature, which if not discerned and disallowed would draw us away to gratify its will which is nothing but sin. Our having a new nature, which never sins and delights in God's will, makes us responsible as children to please our Father. But we are bound to take account of the old nature which is there still, and to judge it as incurably evil.
And we must not be hasty, nor trust our own thoughts. We have to do with the most accessible of priests. Neither Aaron nor any other was comparable to our Lord Jesus. If willing to judge ourselves thoroughly according to His word, we are all wrong to despair of His succour. If there be a common danger of self-love and shirking full self-judgment, there may be an occasional tendency to exaggeration which is not the truth. We need Christ to secure it; and so grace has given Him. And it is ours, whether about ourselves or about others, to confide in the unerring judgment which He knows how to make us feel. For He is not dead but alive again for ever more, and ever lives to intercede for us in our weakness.
For feeble we are: it may not be any sore of leprosy, but the scall. We may err too as to raiment or the house. It may not be more than a rising in the flesh that alarms us, or a scab, or a bright spot; for to judge according to the reality we are not competent without Christ. And if we trusted to our judgment, it might soon prove not only hasty but unrighteous. He works in us by His word and Spirit; so that we can, if dependent on the Lord, look for His grace in the day of uncleanness and in the day of cleanness. The two conditions are found now in the evil day. We still wait for the good day of His manifested presence and power for the world to come, the habitable earth; when at least the dweller in the land shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. Righteousness shall then reign.
But evil as the day is now, we have the very distinct certainty of grace reigning through righteousness unto life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21). None the less is Satan the god of this age, blinding the thoughts of the faithless so that they should not discern the illumination of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is God's image, and in all possible ways both hindering His servants and maligning His saints. Blessed as these are by His redemption and with Him in every spiritual blessing on high, they are all the more peremptorily exhorted to cleanse themselves from every pollution of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). It is the possession of the blessing which is the expressed ground for the purifying.
This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
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;
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:
And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
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:
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.
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.
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 he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.
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.
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:
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:
And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:
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:
And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
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:
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:
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.
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:
And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.
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 meat offering, and a log of oil;
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.
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.
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:
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 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:
And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:
And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the LORD:
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:
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.
And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;
Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the LORD.
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.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
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;
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:
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:
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;
Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
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;
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 without the city:
And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:
And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house.
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 plaistered;
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.
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.
Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.
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 plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
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:
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:
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 is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.