The law of the leper in the Old Testament drew my attention. God spoke to Moses about the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing.
Leviticus 14:2 says, “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest”.
The whole cleansing process has a symbolic meaning, which has a special and profound meaning for us believers today. Leprosy is a very bad disease and lepers were not allowed to mingle with the public in those days. In effect, leprosy represented sin. Cleansing of the leper foreshadowed God’s future plan to cleanse all of mankind from sin.
Law of the leper:
First of all, the leper who needs a cleansing was brought to the priest.
Secondly, the priest would go outside the city and take two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop.
Leviticus 14:4 says, “Then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop.”
Each of the elements reminds of the work of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin. The priests going outside the camp point to Jesus being crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem.
The two birds remind us of the Lord’s death and resurrection. Cedar wood points to the cross and scarlet to His suffering.
Finally hyssop symbolized faith. David says, Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
The hyssop that was used in purification ceremonies is generally considered to be a fragrant plant from the marjoram family. It means “faith”. It was used in the application of the blood.
Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water (Leviticus 14: 5,6)
When the first bird was killed, the blood was caught in an earthen vessel with water in it. (Leviticus 14: 5,6). This speaks of Christ’s shedding His blood in an earthen vessel- His human body.
Then the priest took the living bird along with the cedar wood. This represents the cross. The scarlet represent His suffering and the hyssop represents faith and dipped the bird them and the living bird in the shed blood of the bird that was slain. The slain bird’s blood was mixed with the water in the earthen vessel, symbolizing cleansing by the Word (Ephesians 5:26)
The final instruction was in vs. 7 seven times the priest sprinkled the one to be cleansed of the infectious disease and pronounce him clean. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields (Leviticus 14:7)
This speaks of our sins being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Then we see the resurrection in the living bird that was released.
Old Covenant foreshadows the new covenant:
Paul told the Colossians that no one should judge them according to the old covenant traditions about eating, drinking and festival (Col 2:16) This is because the law was a shadow of things to come but says that the law had a shadow of good things to come but the substance is of Christ. Hebrews also says that the law had a shadow of good things to come but not “the very image” (Heb 10:1)
The leper was then allowed to come into the camp in Vs. 8. In the same way when you have been purified by Christ’s blood you are ready to enter God’s Kingdom.
The priests sprinkled the leper with blood seven times for a prophetic reason for we are told hat the blood of Christ was shed seven different times during the hours surrounding His crucifixion.
1. His head: Matt 27:29-30
2. His sweat Luke 22:44
3. His face: Is 50:6
4. His back: Matt 27:26
5. His hands: Ps 22:16
6. His feet Ps 22:16
7. His side John 19:34
After the leper was sprinkled seven times with blood, he now can enter the camp even as we are cleansed by His blood. We became sons and daughters of the living God and member of His family.