Sermon # 32 Leviticus Sermons
The Day Of His Cleansing”
Text: Leviticus 14:1-57
Subject: The Cleansing of The Leper
Date: Sunday Morning -- 2002
Tape # W-95a
Reading: Leviticus 1-32
What a horrid disease leprosy
is! Even that which observed in leprosy today is horrible. But, as I have
shown, leprosy in our modern world, particularly that form of leprosy observed
in the modern Western world, cannot be adequately compared to the leprosy that
God sent into the land of Canaan among the Jews to be a type of sin. That
leprosy, the leprosy dealt with in Leviticus 13 and 14 was both a real disease
of the most horrible kind and a disease distinctly intended by God to be
typical of sin. Even more specifically, it was intended by God to represent the
believer’s experience of Holy Spirit conviction by which sinners are convinced
of sin, by which we are made to know we are sinners.
Leprosy was a disease that
caused a person virtually no pain. In fact it had a numbing effect, deadening the
senses. It was unknown until the priest identified it. Once it was
identified, once the man was made to know he was a leper, he was marked as a
defiled, corrupt, unclean man.
Off From Men
The wife he loved, the
brothers and sisters with whom he was raised, friends who had loved him as his
own soul, all immediately cast him off. He was unclean. The leper became at
once an outcast and an alien from family and friends, hearth and home. These
things were painful, deep, cutting strokes, but there was a keener and more
cutting stroke still in reserve.
Off From God
The leper was driven from
the people of God, banished from the camp of Israel. He was not allowed to come
with God’s people into his house. For the leper there was no access to God, no
gate open by which he might draw near to the Holy One. As far as he was
concerned, being shut out from the camp of Israel, the poor, unclean, corrupt
leper was without hope. There was no altar for him, no sacrifice, no sweet
incense, no hope. He was a man cut off, cut off from man and cut off from God!
Leprosy was completely
incurable, except by a miracle of grace. So the leper had no prospect before
him but to die a miserable death, the flesh rotting off his bones, and limb
dropping from limb. The leper was a dead man, just waiting to die.
All these things show
leprosy to be a vivid type and picture of sin, in the experience of it, as it
is made known in the heart and conscience of the child of God by the Holy
Spirit, when he convinces the chosen of sin.
Once the hand of God touches
a sinner, once God almighty puts leprosy in your house, once sin is laid bare
in the soul, the sinner finds himself cut off both from man and from God. Let a
man or woman become convinced of sin, I mean their own sin before God, and his
family and friends, those who know nothing about sin, who know nothing about
Christ, who know nothing about the gospel, those who have nothing but that
which looks a little like leprosy (a rising, a bright spot, a scab), will
immediately cut you off. Husband or wife, sons and daughters, companions and
friends will renounce you as a gloomy fanatic. The more you discuss your pain
with them the more they will distance themselves from you.
in Pilgrim’s Progress
– “He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily
estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have
forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids count me for a
stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no
answer; I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife, though
I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. Yea, young children
despised me, I arose and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred
me: and they whom I loved are turned against me” (Job 19:13-19).
– “Lover and friend hast Thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into
darkness” (Ps. 88:18).
– “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand
afar off” (Ps. 38:11).
Painful as these things are,
that which far exceeds them, that which continually torments the soul awakened
to a sense of sin, is the separation from God which is the result of sin.
Joseph Hart wrote many very,
very good hymns. One of his best and most instructive hymns deals with this
“When Adam by transgression
And conscious, fled his
Linked in clandestine league
He ruined all his future
The seeds of evil once brought
Increased and filled the
world with sin.
But lo! The Second Adam
The serpent’s subtle head to
He cancels his malicious
And disappoints his devilish
Ransoms poor sinners with
And brings the sinner back
[To understand these things
This grand distinction
should be known:
Though all are sinners in
There are but few so in
To such as these our Lord
They’re only sinners who
[What comfort can a Savior
To those who never felt
A sinner is a sacred thing;
The Holy Ghost hath made him
New life from Him we must
Before for sin we rightly
This faithful saying let us
Well worthy ‘tis to be
That Christ into the world
That sinners might by Him be
Sinners are high in His
And sinners highly value
I want to talk to you today
about the leper “In the day of his cleansing.”
14:1-7) "And the LORD spake unto
Moses, saying, (2) This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his
cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: (3) 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; (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: (5) And the priest shall
command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running
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 that was killed over the running 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 the living bird loose into the
Proposition: I want you to see that as
the leper in Israel was cleansed only by God’s priest, and only by blood, oil,
and water, so Christ alone cleanses the leprous souls of poor, guilty sinners
by the blood of his sacrifice, the grace he bestows and the Holy Spirit who
brings grace to the soul.
Be sure you do not miss
this.—Under Mosaic law, in the Old Testament, leprosy was cleansed and lepers
were healed only by God’s priests. No doctor was called. No exercises were
prescribed. No therapy was administered. No medicine was prescribed. Moses did
nothing. The people did nothing. The leper did nothing. The priest did
everything. The leper was totally passive. He did not even come to the priest.
The priest came out to the leper and the leper was brought to the priest.
The man was not brought into
the camp of Israel, lest he defile the camp. The priest came out to the place
where lepers were isolated, called for the leper; and the leper was brought to
comes to us. We do not come to him.
calls for us.
Holy Spirit brings the sinner to the Savior.
The priest comes out to the
place where lepers are found and calls them (the preaching of the gospel).
Lepers are brought to him. The priest examines them one by one. He identifies
their malady and pronounces them either clean or unclean. One leper is brought
before God’s priest and then another, and another. Can you see the proceedings?
Here comes a man with a spot that looks like leprosy. The priest looks at him, and
there is a spot on that leper which is not leprous, a bit of raw flesh, but the
rest is healthy. The priest puts him aside. He is an unclean leper. Here
is another leper. He has one or two red spots appearing beneath the
skin. The rest of his body is perfectly sound. The priest puts him aside, too.
He is an unclean leper. Here is a third man. He is covered from
head to foot with a scaly whiteness of the filthy disease. His hair has all
turned white, because the disease has killed the roots. There is not so much as
a single speck of health in him from the crown of his head to the soles of his
feet. He is one ugly mass of pollution and filth. The high priest says to him,
“You are clean.” And after certain necessary ceremonies he is brought into the
camp, and afterwards into the very sanctuary of God. If there had been found in
him any soundness of body or any place unaffected by the disease, he would have
been unclean. But when the leprosy had covered him completely, the man was made
clean by the sacrificial ceremonies described in this 14th chapter
Now let’s apply the passage to ourselves. Is there a leper here
today? Is there a sinner in this house? Here you are before the Son of God, the
Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest.
Many of you, I do not doubt, are ready and willing to confess that you
have done many things that are wrong. Yet, think, “Though I have done much that I can
neither excuse nor justify, I have done some good things. I have been
charitable. I try to help the poor. Yes, I do have my faults, I know. I have my
sins, too. But, at the bottom, I am basically a good person.” God’s High Priest
says, “You are unclean.” There is no promise for you. There is no grace for
you. There is no salvation for you.
Some of you admit with candor that you are guilty of many things. You acknowledge many evil
thoughts. You confess that you have committed terrible, immoral deeds. Still,
though you have no good works of which to boast and no righteous deeds to
trust, you do hope by repentance and the help of God’s good grace to do better.
You are unclean. There is no fountain opened for you, no sacrifice for you, no
cleansing for you.
I see another leper standing far off. I don’t know, you may be a
much better man than either of the others, but not in your own opinion. Your
heart is heavy. Your conscience is tormenting. With broken heart you confess,
your sin. You cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” You look upon your righteousnesses as
filthy rags. Your goodness you see to be corruption. You count all those things
that you once thought your most excellent distinctions but dung. You are
convinced that if ever there was a sinner who deserved the hottest depths of
hell and everlasting condemnation that sinner is you. You think in your soul,
“I fear that I am damned. I deserve to be damned. I am without a shred of hope.
Much as I hate my sin and hate what I am, I know that I can never do any better
than I have done. If I am healed of this plague that consumes my soul, it must
be by grace alone. I can no more change myself than the Ethiopian can change
his skin or the leopard his spots.” You are covered with sin, from the inside
out, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.
I think I hear the Priest of God. What does he say? “You are clean!” You are a
clean leper. Your sins are forgiven you Your iniquities are put away. Through
the blood of Christ, who died upon the tree, you are saved. As soon as the
leprosy had covered him completely, the man was clean,; and as soon as your sin
is fully manifest, so that in your conscience you know yourself a sinner
indeed, there is a way of salvation for you. Then by the sprinkling of blood
and the washing of water you are made clean.
long as a man has anything to boast of, there is no Christ for him, but the
moment he has nothing of his own, Christ is his. As long as you are anything,
Christ is nothing to you. But when you are nothing, Christ is everything.
the warrant that a sinner needs in coming to Christ is to know that he is a
sinner. For ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ Do I know
myself to be a sinner? Then he came to save me, and there I rest and there I
trust. If I have any good feelings or good works which take away from me the
power to call myself a sinner, or if they diminish the force and emphasis which
I put upon the word when I use it, then may I fear that I have no right to come
to Christ. Christ died ‘the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.’ Am I
unjust? Must I honestly declare I am? ‘Christ died for the ungodly.’ Am I
ungodly, is this my grief and sorrow that I am ungodly? Then Christ died for
me. – ‘I do not know,’ said Martin Luther, ‘when men will ever believe that
text in which it is written Christ died for our sins. They will think
that Christ died for our righteousness, whereas he died for our sins. Christ
had no eye to our goodness when he came to save us, but to our badness.’ A
physician, when he comes to my house, has not an eye to my present health; he
does not come there because I am healthy, but because I am sick, and the more
sick I am, the more call for the physician’s skill, and the more argument does
my sickness yield why he should exercise all his craft and use his best
medicines on my behalf. Your only plea with Christ is your guilt; use it,
sinner, use it!” (C. H. Spurgeon)
Use your guilt, even the greatness of it, like David of old, as
argument for mercy. Cry out, like him, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great” (Ps. 25:11).
Come, ye sinners, poor and
Weak and wounded, sick and
Jesus ready stands to save
Full of pity, joined with
Come, ye sinners, come to
He alone your soul can save!
Not the righteous, not the
Sinners Jesus came to save!
You will notice that the
leper was healed first (v. 3). Then he was cleansed. He was miraculously healed
before he was ceremonially cleansed. In other words, the cleansing was purely a
ceremonial thing, intended to picture for us the sinner’s experience of grace
in salvation. This ceremonial cleansing had nothing to do with the leper’s
healing. But the things pictured here show us the only way sinners can ever be
healed of our spiritual leprosy and made clean before God.
The cleansing of the leper
who had been healed of his plague was done in three distinct stages.
I. First, The Cleansing of the Leper in his Separation (vv.
1-8). – This ceremonial cleansing without the camp involved the killing of a
bird, the sprinkling of the bird’s blood upon the leper, the shaving of the
leper’s hair, and the washing of his clothes.—Substitution!
A. The priest took for the leper who had been
healed, the leper who was to be cleansed "two birds alive and clean,
and cedar wood, and scarlet and hyssop" (v. 4).
The leper did not bring this sacrifice. It was all brought by the
These two birds, alive and clean, represent our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord who is
both life and holiness.
cedar wood also speaks of Christ. It represents both magnificent
fragrance and incorruptibility.
scarlet, of course, speaks of our Savior’s precious blood.
hyssop was a small herb. It was used much like we might use a
small, bristly brush, for dipping in blood and for sprinkling the blood.—Moses,
"took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool,
and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people."—The
Israelites in Egypt sprinkled the door posts and the lintels of their houses
with blood, using hyssop.— David cried, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall
be clean!”—The hyssop clearly refers to "the blood of sprinkling!"
B. One of these birds
had to be killed.
14:5) "And the priest shall
command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running
What a blessed picture this
is of Christ dying upon the cursed tree as our Substitute! The bird had to be
killed "in an earthen vessel."—Its blood was not to be spilt
in vain! Every drop must be caught, as a very precious thing, in the earthen
vessel, lest it fall upon the ground and be mingled with the dirt.
O how valuable, how
precious, how unspeakably precious is the blood of Christ!—By his precious blood our
sins are washed away. By his blood justice is satisfied.— By his precious blood
all the chosen family is reconciled to God.—By the precious blood of Christ we
Not one drop of Immanuel’s
precious blood falls to the ground!—Particular redemption is the blood in the vessel.
Universal redemption would be the blood in the dirt!
Now, watch this.—The
bird had to be killed "over running water." This
connects the substitutionary work of Christ at Calvary and the gracious work of
the Holy Spirit in regeneration and conversion. "Running," or
"living," water commonly refers to God the Holy Spirit.—"He
that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow
rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe
on Him should receive."
C. Look at verses 6 and 7. The
living bird was tied to the piece of cedar wood with the scarlet cord and
dipped in the blood of the dead bird. Then the priest sprinkled the
leper who was to be cleansed seven times with, pronounce him clean, and set the
living bird free.
14:6-7) "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: (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 the living bird loose into the open field."
The living bird was dipped
in the blood of his fellow. When he spread his wings and flew up into heaven,
sin atoning blood, as it were, was scattered through the earth. He carried with
him into heaven the blood of his slaughtered companion. So the Lord Jesus, when
He ascended up on high, went into heaven wearing our nature; and as the high
priest, on the day of atonement, entered within the veil not without blood, but
with his own blood, and obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
All this was done before the
leper's eyes. Every minute detail spoke to him. He saw all, heard all, and felt
all. The entire ceremony said, "All this is for you. The bird that died,
died for you. The bird flying in yonder heavens with blood on its wings flies
for you. This is your cleansing. This God has commanded that you may be restored
to the sanctuary."
When by God given faith we
see Christ crucified, the blood, death, sufferings, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus—When
we see Him, as Paul puts it, "crucified before our eyes," as
the healed leper saw the one bird dying in agony, and the other soaring upward
in liberty, we hear God himself say to our souls, “He died and rose again for
D. Next, the priest
had "to sprinkle the blood upon him that was to be cleansed seven
times," and then "pronounce him clean" (v.
The leper did not only see
the blood fall drop by drop from the slaughtered bird. He must be sprinkled
with it seven times. How clearly does all this point to "the blood of
sprinkling which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel"—the
application of atoning blood and dying love to the soul!
The man was now virtually
clean, for we read, when he had been sprinkled seven times (a perfect number),
"the priest shall pronounce him clean." Still, there is more.
E. The leper, when he
was pronounced clean, must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and take a
bath (v. 8).
14:8) "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."
1. He was "to
wash his clothes."—"Having therefore these promises,
dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and
spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Col. 7:1).—He was
no longer to wear the rent garments and filthy tatters of the leper, but the
clean garments of God’s salvation, pure and white, the garments of Christ’s
2. Then, he had to
shave off all his hair.
This was done twice. First,
it was done here, while he was still without the camp. Then it had to be done
again on the seventh day, the day before he was presented before the Lord at
the door of the tabernacle (v. 9. Here we move with the leper into the camp.
This is the second stage of his cleansing.
II. Second, The Cleansing of the Leper in His Restoration (vv.
8-9). – Once he was restored to the camp of Israel, but while he was still
required to dwell outside his own tent, on the seventh day, the leper was
required to shave himself again. This time he had to shave all the hair off his
body, beard, eyebrows, all the hair had to be shaved. He was also required to
bathe himself and wash his clothes.—Regeneration!
14:8-9) "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. (9) 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."
In verse 8 the command is
simply that he should "shave off all his hair." But on
the seventh day (Seven always speaks of grace, perfection, and
completion.) he had to "shave all his hair off his head, and his beard,
and his eyebrows." Here, there is the complete removing of the old
hair that there might be a fresh growth of entirely new. I cannot imagine that
representing anything less than old things passing away and all things becoming
new in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). By this means, the Lord Jesus seems to have said,
“Behold, I make all things new!”
The leper was also required
to wash his flesh in water and be clean. This seems to signify the washing of
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.—I have no doubt that Paul was
referring to this very thing in Hebrews 10, when he wrote, "Let us draw
near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled
from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."—The
body washed with pure water does not refer to baptism, but to the washing of
regeneration, as our Lord speaks of us being "born of water and of the
Now, from 10 through verse
32, we see the leper in the third stage of his ceremonial cleansing.
III. Third, The Cleansing of the Leper’s Consecration (vv.
10-32). – In these verses we see what the priest did
to and for the leper on the eighth day at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. —
The 8th day
is the day of new
beginning. —Sanctification —Consecration!
14:10) "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 tenth deals of fine flour for a meat
offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil."
A. On the eighth day
the leper brought three lambs to the tabernacle—two males and one
female—were selected, the first for a burnt offering, the second for a trespass
offering, and the third for a sin offering.—The two males for the burnt and the
sin offering, and the female for the trespass offering.—Faith!
This brought before his eye
and the heart the great cost with which he had been redeemed. Let it so speak
lamb offered whole as a burnt offering represented the Lamb of
God burned in flames of divine wrath.
trespass offering represented Christ, too, but in a different
way.—In the trespass offering the inward parts of the animal, primarily the fat
around the kidneys and entrails, were burned in the fire. This speaks of the
wrath of God we deserve.—The fires of hell are fueled by that which is in us!
the smoke and flame of the burning fat of the trespass and sin offering
ascended in the sight of the leper from the brazen altar, he saw in picture the
sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ accepted of God as a sweet savor to satisfy
B. The leper also
brought "a meat offering" also of one tenth deal of fine flour
mingled with oil.” – Thanksgiving!–This was a thank-offering, to be
presented by the priest for his cleansing, representing the thankful heart of
the sinner for God’s immaculate, undeserved mercy by which we are saved.
C. Next, we are told that the
blood of the trespass offering was to be taken and applied in a very special
manner.—Consecration!—It was to be "put upon the
tip of the right ear of him that was to be cleansed, upon the thumb of the
right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot."
As we saw back in chapter 8,
in the consecration of Aaron and his sons, this speaks of consecration to God.
But watch this.—There is a log of oil (a little less than a pint)
involved in this ceremony. Oil symbolizes God the Holy Spirit and the
grace of God he brings to us. Learn the meaning of the picture.
oil was applied, like the blood, by God’s priest.
oil was put on the blood.—Redemption and Grace have the same
objects.—Justification and Sanctification belong to the same people.
consecration to God is a deliberate act of faith, arising from hearts of love
and gratitude to Christ. Yet, our consecration to God is the fruit and
operation of his own grace.
blood and the oil are put on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right
hand, and the great toe of the right foot of every leper.—The message is clear.
6:9-11) "Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of
themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And
such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
6:19-20) "What? know ye not that
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have
of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Illustration: “Help me! Help me! Somebody,
please, help me!”
 The uncleanness was purely ceremonial.