Today’s reading concludes a chiastic structure begun several chapters ago:
1A: Lev 12:1-8, The law for a woman’s flow of blood following childbirth;
1B: Lev 13:1-14:9, The law for determining leprosy in a man or garment + the living bird;
CENTRAL AXIS: Lev 14:10-32, The atonement for cleansing from leprosy;
2B: Lev 14:33-53, The law for determining leprosy in a house + the living bird;
2A: Lev 15:1-33, The law for bodily discharges + a woman’s flow of blood.
Now all of this detail might seem mind numbing, but what we are reading is a living breathing picture of the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ our Lord! Follow with me:
The leprous man must dwell alone outside the camp, and cry, “Unlcean! Unclean!” whenever anyone came near. We have seen this same picture of exile from family, home, and even the earth, from the opening chapters of Genesis. By comparison of like themes (one of the teaching tools of Scripture), Scripture is showing us that the leprous man is suffering the same state as the fallen, unrighteous, sinful man.
Now leprosy is a fatal disease. But it does not kill in one day. Where have we heard this before? In the day that Adam ate the fruit, he would die. But he did not die in one day. In the mean time, Adam began dying until the day he died, and so the leprous man begins dying until the day he dies. In other words, Adam was a walking, breathing dead man. So also, the leprous man is a walking, breathing dead man.
What is Scripture showing us? Beloved, until the day the Anointed One (priest, a picture of Messiah) makes atonement to cleanse us from our sin, to cleanse us from our uncleanness that leads to death, we are walking, breathing dead men, and all on the face of the earth, are walking, breathing dead men, needing the atonement of the blood of the Lamb to cleanse them from their death!
Oh Lord, let us see them who do not have You, as lepers suffering in their uncleanness, and move us with Your compassion for the walking dead, the sheep without a Shepherd!
All of these chapters teaching on uncleanness, paint pictures of uncleanness arising from death. Lev chapter 11 forms a chiastic structure with the central axis, that death brings uncleanness. A woman’s flow of blood is also a picture of death, because the life is in the blood (Gen 9:4). When a woman suffers loss of blood, she is suffering loss of life (i.e., death), and becomes unclean by it.
Finding Messiah: The B pairs of the above chiastic structure contains a ceremony unlike any other in Torah (Lev 14:1-7 and 14:49-53; correct me if I am wrong, someone). Two living birds are brought, with wood, scarlet, and hyssop. It does not even say, scarlet stuff, or scarlet thread, as earlier in Torah. Just scarlet. One of the birds is killed over running water. Now I know it says “running water” in English. In Hebrew, it says, “living water.” Then the living bird, with wood, scarlet and hyssop, is dipped in the blood over the living water. The man is cleansed of his leprosy when that blood is sprinkled on him, and the living bird is set free.
All of these are pictures of the gospel of grace which Scripture applies to Messiah Yeshua our Lord! He gives the living water. The blood of the Passover Lamb is applied with hyssop. He is the Sin Sacrifice who is offered on the wood of the cross. It is His blood which ran scarlet, which imparts resurrection life (as the living bird is set free) and which cleanses us from walking death!