Worse Than Leprosy
Text: Leviticus 15:1-33
Subject: Our Corruption Typified in the Running
Date: Sunday Morning – April 21, 2002
Tape # W-97a
We have read Leviticus 15 together. It speaks of corruption from within displayed in “a running issue” in the flesh. Let’s read just the last three verses again.
15:31-33) "Thus shall ye separate
the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their
uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. (32) This
is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth
from him, and is defiled therewith; (33) And of her that is sick of her
flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of
him that lieth with her that is unclean."
I am sure that if you read this chapter earlier in the week, you must have asked, “What am I to learn from this? How do these things apply to me?”
Let me say at the outset that these thirty-three verses of Inspiration, like all other portions of Holy Scripture were indeed written for our learning, and are intended by God the Holy Spirit to be applied to each of us.
(Romans 15:4) "For whatsoever things were written
aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort
of the scriptures might have hope."
Every commentary I’ve read on this passage of Scripture treats the “running issue” in chapter 15 as an uncleanness of far less significance than the leprosy described in chapters 13 and 14. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the corruption and defilement of this running issues portrays, in a way, something even worse than the leprosy of chapters 13 and 14.
Proposition: The “running issue” described so graphically in Leviticus 15:1-33, is a sickening, revolting type and picture of something far more sickening and revolting in us.—The sin that is in us by nature, the corruption of our vile, base, depraved hearts, is a foul, obnoxious puss constantly oozing from our hearts, by which we are defiled and which defiles everything we touch.—This is something worse than the leprosy seen in the flesh. This is the secret, hidden corruption and uncleanness of our hearts.
Sometimes I am simply shocked by the comments people make with regard to the Word of God. I once had a person say to me, “I don’t think the Song of Solomon should even be read in public, much less preached from. It would just be too embarrassing.” That was shocking enough, but as I was preparing for today’s message, I read this comment from a man whose writings I often find very profitable.
“We should feel strongly disposed to question the sound judgment and refined taste of a man, who could stand up and read the fifteenth of Leviticus, in the midst of an ordinary congregation. But why? Is it because it is not ‘divinely inspired,’ and, as such, ‘profitable?’ By no means; but because the generality of persons are not sufficiently spiritual to enter into its pure and holy lessons.”
Such comments are shocking.
That is the way Roman Catholicism deals with the Word of God. Under the
pretense of spirituality and piety, such expressions reveal an utter contempt
for Holy Scripture. They also reflect the horrid self-righteousness and pride
of one who imagines that he is so holy and pure that the reading of Holy
Scripture might defile his mind!
May God the Holy Spirit by
whom these instructions have been preserved for us in Divine Inspiration now be
our Teacher, as wee seek to discover the message contained in Leviticus 15. I
want to show you five things taught in these thirty-three verses.
I. Our hearts are overflowing fountains of
corruption, constantly oozing foulness, impurity and uncleanness.
If I could be more graphic
in describing the corruption of our hearts, I would be. But the Holy Spirit
here uses three very graphic pictures by which I hope we will everyone be
convinced and compelled to cry before God, “I know that in me, that is in my
flesh, dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).
A. First, the
corruption of our heart is portrayed under the picture of a man with a
running issue out of his flesh (vv. 1-15).
This running issue is the
equivalent of what we call gonorrhea. What a proper picture that is of our
Gonorrhea is a vile plague contracted
by illicit behavior. It is something you get from someone else. But it becomes
a part of you. It is something you try to hide. But the corruption from deep
within oozes foulness from your body. That pretty well describes the evil that is
became sinners by the illicit, criminal, adulterous behavior of our father,
sin of our father is now ours, so much ours that sin is what we are.
how we try to hide (from ourselves, from other people, and from God) what we
the corruption constantly oozes foulness from within.
B. Second, the
foulness and corruption of our nature is pictured by the spilling of a
man’s seed (vv. 16-18).
We are not told whether the
seed spilt is spilt in some profane act, or in the conjugal privileges of a
husband and wife, or nocturnally. But this entire chapter is describing things
of the most private nature. I am therefore inclined to think that this
particularly text is dealing with that which occurs nocturnally. It speaks of
something that is unavoidable. Because it is unavoidable, the natural outflow
of a man’s body, we commonly associate nothing evil with it.
But the Lord God declares a
person unclean who is in anyway touched by a man’s seed. Why? The reason is
clear.—Everything that comes out of a man, everything, is corrupt and unclean.
C. The third uncleanness
presented in this chapter is the uncleanness of a woman with an issue of
blood (vv. 19-24).
Isaiah declares that all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags, discarded menstrual cloths. Here our very
nature is described as the uncleanness of a woman’s discharge during her
D. This is the doctrine
taught by these three disgusting examples of foulness, examples so disgusting
that we simply do not discuss them in public unless the matters are absolutely
unavoidable.—Everything that comes out of us is corrupt and corrupts
everything it touches.
Anything touched by the
unclean man or woman—clothes—bed—saddle—chair—or another person was thereby
made unclean. If a person even sneezed in your presence during the time of his
uncleanness (though intending you no harm), the spread of his spit in the air,
if it touched you, made you unclean.
This is what we are by nature, at heart, in the core of our beings—Unclean! The heart of man is a polluted fountain. Human nature is an overflowing cesspool of uncleanness, constantly oozing corruption. It is hopelessly defiled and defiling. Awake or asleep, sitting, standing, or lying, we are defiled and defiling. Our very touch conveys pollution.
This is a humbling lesson us proud creatures; but it is true and faithful. Leviticus 15 is but a mirror reflecting our nature. It leaves us nothing to glory in. We may boast of our refinement, our moral sense, our dignity and our goodness; but God calls it as he sees it—Uncleanness!
These thirty-three verses of foul ugliness accurately portray what we are by nature, all of us—Young and Old!—Men and Women!—Rich and Poor!—Believer and Unbeliever!
(Romans 7:18) "For I know that in me (that is, in my
flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to
perform that which is good I find not."
15:18-19) "But those things which
proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
(19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"
Fallen humanity is a polluted fountain. All its streams are polluted. It cannot send forth anything that is holy, pure, good, and beneficial. It only oozes corruption.
We are all unclean from the inside out, unclean by birth, unclean by nature, unclean at heart! In the light of this fact, the second point of my message ought to get our attention. It is a lesson implied in all that is written in Leviticus 15; but it is written out in bold letters in 1 Samuel 16:7.
16:7) "But the LORD said unto
Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I
have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh
on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
II. Here’s the second lesson. Oh, may God drive it home!—“The Lord looketh on the heart!”
God is not fooled by our
masks. He is not blinded by our disguises. His judgment is not perverted by our
bribes. His vision is not clouded by our flattering words. The Lord God sees us
as we really are at heart.
on this earth is more terrifying to a religious hypocrite than this fact.—“The
Lord looketh on the heart!”
is more comforting to a believer—(Peter – John 21:17).
(John 21:17) "He saith unto him the third time,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said
unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou
knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed
III. Now, learn this third
lesson. The Lord God almighty,
he who looks upon our foul, corrupt hearts is so infinitely holy and pure that
he cannot and will not tolerate any uncleanness (v. 31).
15:31) "Thus shall ye separate the
children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their
uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them."
If a man or woman who was
unclean were allowed to come into the camp of Israel and approach the
tabernacle of God, the unclean would make the whole camp and the tabernacle
itself unclean. Therefore, the unclean had to stay away from the camp and were
banished from the tabernacle under penalty of death. He is of purer eyes than
to behold iniquity (Hab. 1:13).
If you and I are to enter
into heaven at last, if we are to be accepted of the thrice holy God, if we are
to be saved, we must be separated from our uncleanness (Ps. 24:3-4; Isa. 35:8;
52:1; 60:21; Rev. 21:17; 22:14-15). Oh, let me not die in my uncleanness!
24:3-4) "Who shall ascend into the
hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? (4) He that hath
clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor
(Isaiah 35:8) "And an highway shall be there, and a
way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass
over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools,
shall not err therein."
(Isaiah 52:1) "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O
Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth
there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean."
60:21) "Thy people also shall
be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my
planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."
21:27) "And there shall in no wise
enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh
abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's
book of life."
22:14-15) "Blessed are they
that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may
enter in through the gates into the city. (15) For without are dogs,
and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever
loveth and maketh a lie."
IV. Fourth, here, in
Leviticus 15, this great, august, infinitely holy Lord God shows us that he has made a way for us to be separated from
Oh, bless his holy name and
rejoice! God himself, he who cannot look upon iniquity, has made a was for
unclean sinners to be made clean (vv. 13-15).
15:13-15) "And when he that hath
an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days
for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water,
and shall be clean. (14) And on the eighth day he shall take to him two
turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the LORD unto the door of
the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest: (15) And
the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for
a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the
LORD for his issue."
The running water and the
atoning sacrifice both speak of Christ death as the sinners’ Substitute. When
he was pierced, both blood and water gushed out from his heart upon sinful man.
blood was our atonement.
water was our cleansing. It speaks of God the Holy Spirit and the word o his
grace by which sinners are made clean experimentally.
There is a way for sinners
to be made clean; but the only way we can be made clean from our corruption,
the only way we can be made clean from sin before God’s all-seeing eye, is by
being washed in that fountain drawn from Immanuel’s veins.
12:10-14) "And I will pour upon
the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace
and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and
they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and
shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(11) In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the
mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. (12) And the land
shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and
their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives
apart; (13) The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives
apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; (14) All the
families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart."
13:1) "In that day there shall be
a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for
sin and for uncleanness."
Now, watch this. The unclean could not make
himself clean, but he had to personally wash in the running water and bring the
sacrifice God required. So it is with us. We cannot make ourselves clean. We
cannot put away one sin. Christ put our sins away. But we must plunge into the
fountain of his blood! We must bring God the sacrifice he requires! We must
trust the Son of God! And that one who is made clean is restored. No matter how
unclean he has been, no matter how long, he is restored.
Have you noticed, in going
through the Book of Leviticus, that in the ceremonies of the law pardon was
never immediately conferred? In the cases before us those who were unclean had
to wait for pardon, restoration and cleansing for seven days.—Not so in the
1:40-41) "And there came a leper
to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou
wilt, thou canst make me clean. (41) And Jesus, moved with compassion,
put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou
V. Here’s the fifth
thing taught in Leviticus 15.—The
only way we can be made whole from our uncleanness is by touching the Lord
You may be thinking, “Bro.
Don, where did you find that in this chapter?” I’m glad you asked. In verses
25-30 the Holy Spirit gives us a picture that I am just sure was intended to be
prophetic. He speaks of a woman whose issue of blood lasted a long, long time.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us of such a woman, a woman who had an issue of
blood for twelve long years. For twelve years she lived in misery, weakness,
isolation and uncleanness, as much as possible keeping aloof from family and
friends, lest she spread uncleanness among them. She has wasted all her
substance upon physicians of no value and was none better, but only grew worse.
What a picture of this woman is! Here is a sinner conscious of her
uncleanness, her pollution, mourning over her weak and wicked heart, trying
every remedy that man can suggest, yet still sad and broken hearted. But she
cannot stop her corruption. Her soul runs out with sin!
Then, someone tells her about the Lord Jesus! Oh, what a friend!
She hears that just the night before he calmed the sea at its height of storm.
She hears how he had gone all the way across the stormy, treacherous sea to
save a poor, lost maniac in Gadara! Then, she hears that he is passing her way!
She makes her way through the crowd and sees and hears him for
herself. She is persuaded that if he will, he can make her clean. She perceives
that he is himself the very Fountain of Life. She says within herself, "He
is so infinitely full of life and love and power, that if I could but touch the
hem of his garment, I would be made whole."—She did!—And she was!
no gift.— She had spent all ha living already on physicians of no value!
nothing like a cure already begun.—She was "nothing bettered, but
rather grew worse."
She had no
long-waiting time to show as a plea for her sincerity.—She had just come that
no repentance.—Until now her regret was that none of her chosen physicians had
been able to help her.
She made no
promises of love.—She had no love to promise! She was only now
about to see him who alone is worthy of love!
even offer a prayer!—She just drew near and touched him!
The result was immediate cure! Sin and grace met! Uncleanness and
cleanness met! The result was this.—His virtue went out of him into her and she
was made immediately whole and clean!
After presenting her turtle-doves at Jerusalem, how often she
might have walked the seashore with Jarius’ daughter! Remember Jarius’ daughter
was born the same year she had begun her issue of blood and was raised from the
dead on the same day she was healed. I can almost hear them singing the
Savior’s praises together as they walked in sweet fellowship.—Jarius’ daughter
saying to her elder sister, "Who healeth all thy diseases?"
This woman saying to her younger sister, "Who redeemeth thy life from
Illustration: Barnard at Old Faithful