In the Torah reading נשא Nasso (“take up” or “carry,” i.e., conduct), we witness a type of “harvest,” not of grapes or wheat but of people. The LORD’s Tabernacle is the embassy set up to receive them, and the priests and ultimately the people are the ambassadors sent out to proclaim His message.
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.
Apostle Peter wrote that we are “living stones” in the house of God (1Peter 2:5). As we study Leviticus 14, think of yourself as you read about how a “leprous” house is cleaned.
Much of the imagery in this chapter matches the Day of Atonement. The theme of clean and unclean is repeated from Leviticus 13. Only the priest can decide what is clean or unclean, not a king, a governor or an individual.
In Leviticus 10, Aharon (Aaron) and his sons were ordained as priests. In Leviticus 11-12, they are charged with teaching the people of God to distinguish holy from unholy, “clean” from “unclean.” Once we have been taught by our High Priest, Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), about what is holy and clean, we need to live in that truth. From this we learn how holiness can be just skin-deep if the heart doesn’t change.