In this study of Leviticus 12–15, we will be taking a step up and a step back the topics discussed. Some of it is unsettling, and it is easy to lose ourselves in some of the more distasteful details, while forgetting the important life lessons the Holy One of Yisra’el is communicating to us.
The Torah passage נשא Nasso (“take up”) continues the census of the priesthood of Israel from Numbers 1–4, caretakers of the earthly embassy of the Creator. Yes, there’s a Messiah-centered connection between determining who could enter the מִשְׁכָּן Mishkan (“Tabernacle”), testing the faithfulness of a wife, commissioning and decommissioning someone under a Nazarite vow and the 12 days of gifts from each of the tribes of Israel at the dedication of the Mishkan.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so the saying goes. There are things that bring us closer to God and things that move us away from God. There are things that happen to us that are beyond our control that can make us unclean before God, but there are also things that we do to ourselves that make us unclean. That’s the underlying message of the Torah reading מצורע Metzora (“leper,” Leviticus 14–15).
Without Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), we are basically “the walking dead.” Does God want us to “come as we are” and “stay as we are”? No, God wants to bring us up and if we claim to be the sons and daughters of Israel, we should be willing to follow God’s instructions to elevate us from our base selves to His higher self.
Life starts with contamination. It starts out dirty. Childbirth is messy. It’s not sinful; it’s just a fact of life.
The general Bible term for infections of skin and surfaces is “leprosy,” but it covers a host of conditions. It’s also a good parable for “rot” in our character — if the lesson isn’t taken too far.
The Torah reading תזריע Tazria (“she will conceive,” Leviticus 12–13) is concerned about what is physically dirty vs. clean, but the LORD’s lesson for us is more than skin-deep.
Because of God’s grace, we can enter God’s presence “boldly” because the perfection of Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ) has covered our “uncleanness.” The distinction between “clean” and “unclean” is powerfully presented by the tragic events of Leviticus 9-10 and the parable of allowable foods in Leviticus 11.
The Torah reading שּׁמיני Shemini (“eighth,” Leviticus 9–11) illustrates the pervasive problem of being internally “unclean” and approaching God presumptuously while so. Yeshua warned against that in the parable of the wedding garment and the recorded confrontation over paying Roman taxes (Matt. 22:2–21).
Every rule of conduct required of the High Priest on the physical plane gives us an insight into our perfect Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) in the spiritual.
Is this of any value to us in the 21st century? Just as in Leviticus 21, Leviticus 22 is about the function and lifestyle of the High Priest in the physical plane. I want to reiterate this to try to not move this in the 21st century. Imagine you are living in Moshe. You are only a year beyond Egypt and you are learning this for the first time.
Lev. 19:19-34 may seem like a disjointed collection of rules about managing servants, textiles and crops. But when we see that these are used as symbols elsewhere for characteristics of people, we can learn God’s lessons that transcend culture and time.