Leviticus 14:1-6: The Cleansing of Leprosy

This passage is in reference to the cleansing of a leper. Leprosy is symbolic and is a type of sin and therefore symbolizes Jesus’ blood cleansing sinners of their sin.

Leviticus 14:1-6 – “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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.”

The real tragedy of leprosy lies in the leper’s isolation from community life and worship. The leper was taken to the priest and the priest took the leper outside the camp for ceremonial cleansing. This is a type of us going to Jesus, our great high priest, who was taken outside the camp to Calvary’s hill, bearing the reproach of our sin. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13). Any type of uncleanness separates us from God, which is why we must come to Jesus for the cleansing of our sins.

Isaiah 59:1-2 – “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Sin separates us from God. The only remedy is exposing ourselves freely before the “High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1), fully exposing our sin before Him and the light of His glory and allowing His blood to cleanse us completely of our sins. The Apostle John makes this abundantly clear in his first epistle.

1 John 1:5-7 – “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

When we expose ourselves before God, Who is pure light, His light shines upon us, exposes our sin and then and only then can the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanse us of our sins. As long as we are trying to hide or keep our sin from God there is no cleansing or fellowship. If we will constantly walk in the light of His exposure, hiding nothing, the blood of Jesus cleanses and keeps on cleansing us of all sin. As a result, fellowship with God is restored and maintained.

This is why confession is so vitally important and much needed. Confession is the verification that we are hiding nothing from God, but walking in full exposure. It is proof that we have stepped into the light, fully exposing our sin. Otherwise, we are walking in self deception.

1 John 1:8-10 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Let’s walk in the light of His exposure, hiding nothing!

Leviticus 14:4 – “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.”

It’s interesting that there is no definition of the word that was translated hyssop, a wild shrub of uncertain identity, whose twigs were used for sprinkling in ancient Jewish rites of purification. We can assume that this was a plant with some sort of foliage at the top. It was probably a bushy plant.

Two Scriptures bear this out:

Hebrews 9:19 – “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people,”

John 19:29 – “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put upon hyssop, and put to his mouth.”

Leviticus 14:5 – “And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:”

The killing of this bird is in reference to the sufferings and death of Christ, which is necessary for the purging and cleansing of leprous sinners. Jesus endured suffering in His humanity, comparable to an earthen vessel, as a human body sometimes is referred to (2 Corinthians 4:7).

He was crucified and was put to death in the flesh (2 Corinthians 13:4). The running or living water mixed with blood refers to the water and blood that gushed from Jesus’ pierced side. “One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34). This is the 7th place Jesus shed His Blood, referring to His life departing from Him and the releasing of the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34).

Leviticus 14:6 – “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 running water:”

The dipping of the living bird in the blood of the slain one denotes the union of the two natures of Christ or hypostatic union. Jesus was very God and very man. The bird that was kept alive was a type of Christ’s resurrection. The running water is a type of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:11a).

Three-fold Application:

  1. Flee religiosity. Let’s cling to Jesus Who suffered outside the camp of religiosity, like the leper. Christianity means rejecting religion and entering into a relationship with Him. Jesus is inviting you to “go forth therefore unto Him, without the camp, bearing His reproach” – Hebrews 13:13.
  2. The filling of His Spirit. After coming to Jesus for forgiveness and the cleansing of our sins, we can expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit, quenching our thirsty souls. Jesus was the only one to receive the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). Like the running water used in Leviticus 14:5, when the blood and water poured from His side, the Holy Spirit was released without measure to all who would receive it.

    Jesus was looking on as His people were going about with all their religious activities and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believes on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive” – John 7:37-39.

    Let’s seek the fullness of the Holy Ghost, and that without measure.

  3. Resurrection power. His resurrection power is ours to receive and walk in. Let’s lay hold of all the fullness of His resurrection power and apply it to our lives.
    1. Alive unto God. We have resurrection power through Christ’s resurrection and the life of the Spirit. We must simply begin to appropriate His resurrection power and walk in the power of His Holy Spirit. We now walk in newness of Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

      Romans 6:11 and 13 – “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

      Romans 7:5-6 – “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

      Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

      Colossians 3:1-2 – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

    2. Divine health. Like the living bird being released, because Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Ghost, we can walk in divine health. Divine healing is simply a touch of future resurrection power.

      Romans 8:11 – “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (bring life to) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.”

      Let’s claim and expect the power of His resurrection to quicken our mortal bodies and begin to walk in divine health.

With over 43 years of teaching and ministry experience, Dr. Linton’s passion is to equip, encourage, and strengthen pastors and ministry leaders. Check out his latest video messages and sermons.