Metzora Leviticus 14:1-15:33  HafTorah: II Kings 7:3-20

1.This is the second Torah Portion devoted to leprosy. Four chapters given to a disease and all the details of how to tell if a person has it and if so what to do about it and how to be declared clean. Find verses in the Messianic scripture concerning leprosy and see how leprosy was used as a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. Think about the disease and what it did.

Some verses that I think give us a good view of this. Luke 17:12-14, Matthew 10:7-8, Matthew 11:4-5 and Matthew 26:6. What can we see from all these? Think about the disease. What did it do? It spread through the body slowly killing it and also easily spread to others. Sin also is at work in our body to bring death physically and spiritually. 

Leprosy separated the person from being part of the Temple worship, separated them from family and friends. Anyone who had it had to live outside the camp.  Sin also separates us from fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

2.When we read Matthew 26:6 about Simon the leper how can we tell he was cleansed from leprosy?

He lived in town and people came and went in his house. Leprosy was viewed as a death sentence. The person with it had to tear his clothes, leave his head uncovered and cry, “unclean, unclean.”  Sin makes us spiritually unclean and separates us from G-d. To enter into His presence we must be made clean by Messiah.

3. Now to the issue of a leprous house: How can a house be leprous? 

The sages blame leprosy in a house on the words spoken within that house. Most of the evil speech we indulge in happens within the four walls of our own homes. Our spouses or other family members are our confidants as we unburden our hearts, blow off a little steam, and lodge our complaints about others. This kind of murmuring seems innocent. There are no victims. The words never leave the house, so what’s the problem?

Actually, there is a victim. You are the victim. By indulging in critical speech, you are conditioning yourself to exercise a critical spirit. Day after day you are patterning your mind to concentrate on the shortcomings of others. Moreover, you are poisoning the other members of your household with the same increasing bitterness. One could say that the very walls of your house absorb the evil spiritual energy you are creating. The entire home becomes defiled.

The solution to the problem is to break the habit. Make a pact with those in your home not to speak or tolerate evil speech any longer. Scrape the infected spiritual plaster off the walls and start with a fresh coat of optimism, grace, and kindness. See if it freshens up the place a bit.

Why do you think it says in Leviticus 14:34, “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give you as a possession, and I put the leprous plague in a house in the land of your possession.”  Why would G-d intentionally put a leprous plague in someone’s house? 

Could it be a warning that something isn’t right and the family living there need to pay attention?  This could be considered physical prophesy – G-d, in His divine mercy, was directly warning a person or family about their situation.

If a person saw his home going through this process would it influence him to look at his own life and what might have caused the condition? What happened if the leprosy spread in the home? It was torn down. 

No one is immune to spiritual leprosy in their home. The good news however is that there is a remedy – repentance and forgiveness and applying the blood sacrifice on all the family. These steps can stop the growth of spiritual leprosy in a home and restore the peace of G-d.

4. The initial purification process used 5 items, 2 live clean birds (doves), cedar wood, scarlet yarn, hyssop and earthenware bowl filled with living water. What was it about these items that made them so important? Do these items appear anywhere else in scripture?

In Leviticus 14 beginning with verse 4 these five items are mentioned.

Cedar wood is red in color. It is a preservative which makes a symbol of immortality. King Solomon used it in the first Temple

Scarlet also symbolizes blood (Isaiah 1:18)

Hyssop was used during Pesach to put the blood on the doorway of the Israelites. It is a symbol of purification (Psalms 51:7)It is also mentioned in John 19:29 at Yeshua’s crucifixion.

Living water or mayim haim in Hebrew has to come from a river or stream. It could not come from a stagnant pool of water.  It is found in the Messianic Scripture in John 7:38.

All of these items have Messianic overtones as well. Leprosy is a picture of sin in our lives and so each of these items should remind us of what Messiah has done for us.

These are also mentioned in Hebrews 9:19-23.

5.Since we have been discussing how leprosy might symbolize sin I would like to know how can we define sin from a biblical viewpoint? 

Any breaking of a commandment was seen as a sin. How would this have impacted Yeshua’s life? He lived a sinless life since sin equals breaking of a commandment. Messiah had to be sinless. So we can conclude Yeshua kept all the commandments of the Torah.

Now how is sin interpreted today? Today sin would be anything committed against the rules or laws of the lands. Some would say, “If it isn’t against the law it is ok.” Is cheating on your income taxes a sin today? Is gossiping a sin? Is lying a sin? Why? As a culture and even as believers our definition has changed. What the commandments say is only incidental to our understanding of sin sometimes.

6.What was the  process for a leper to be able to go back to the tabernacle or temple? What spiritual picture does that give us?

Leviticus 14 gives us the process a person had to go through to be able to worship again in the Tabernacle.  The first thing the priest had to go outside the camp and meet the person. 

The priest was to order two live clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop, fresh water. One bird was killed over fresh water in a clay pot. The live bird, the cedar wood, the scarlet year and the hyssop was dipped into the clay pot. Seven times the priest would sprinkle the person being cleansed and pronounce them clean. The live bird was released.

Then the person being cleansed washed their clothes, shave off their hair and bathed. Then they were ceremonially clean. At this point they could come into the camp.  They still had a process to complete of washing their clothes and shaving again. 

As we see in these verses the priest went outside the camp to meet the person ready to be cleansed just as Yeshua met us where we were before our salvation and cleansing.  The blood applied to the ear, thumb and toe might represent the reality that a blood sacrifice of an innocent animal was made to cleanse the person enabling him to enter into worship again in the tabernacle.  This is a foreshadowing of the blood sacrifice Yeshua made to cover our sins.

7.As we look at these chapters concerning clean and unclean it brings to mind the woman in the Messianic Scripture that had an issue of blood for 12 years. Her story is found in Mark5:25-34. How she handled her situation is a wonderful spiritual lesson for us.  How would you describe what Mark is teaching us in these verses?

All three synoptic gospels record the story of a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years. She went to Yeshua for healing.  Mark tells us that she “came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment” (Mark 5:27). 

Matthew and Luke both clarify that she touched the fringe of His garment” (Matthew 9:20, Luke 8:44). (Actually she touched His tzitzit.)  Matthew and Mark both affirm her state of mind: “If I only touch His garment, I will be made well” (Matthew 9:21). She is driven by her faith. This was a very deliberate action that only she could do; no-one else could do it for her. So in spite of the crowds, pushing  around her, she managed to reach Yeshua.

Her cure was dramatic: and happened instantly! She was made clean; the flow of blood stopped and she knew herself to be healed. Yeshua turned round; “Who touched Me?” He wanted to know. Ignoring the attempts of the disciples to brush the matter off, He insisted on knowing who touched Him.

She knew she had to step forward and confess; she has to admit of what she has done and face the consequences. She “fell down before him and told Him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33). Luke describes the embarrassment: “in the presence of all the people” (Luke 8:48). 

She had accepted ownership and responsibility for touching Him without permission and, in the process, making Him unclean by that touch. The disciples may have expected a rebuke – “How dare you touch Me and make Me unclean?” 

But Yeshua’s did  not do that. He even addressed her as ‘daughter’ rather than ‘woman’; a sign of affection. Matthew reports, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22) – reassuring her that she did the right thing in reaching out in that way, and acknowledging her faith. 

Mark and Luke use identical words – “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48) 

The lesson for us is that whether man or woman, Jew or Gentile, there are some things that only we can do in our relationship with Yeshua and the Father. They are essential, critical steps, and they have to be done by us, for ourselves, as ourselves. We cannot delegate them to someone else, or do them by proxy; we have to step forward, take ownership of the situation, accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions and push forward to touch Yeshua, to bring Him the sacrifice of a humble soul and a needy heart. If we act in faith, then He will meet us, speak to us, encourage us and heal us. He will shine His face upon us.