Digging for Treasure in Leviticus 14

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Leviticus 14:4–32, Yeshua in the skin disease cleansing ritual. Read this scripture passage and see how many clues you can find that point to Yeshua. We’ll give you hints along the way by providing you with the scriptures verses to look up that will give you the answers. The purpose of this exercise is to show you that all the ceremonies and rituals that were part of the sacrificial system and that all prophetically pointed to Yeshua the Messiah, who fulfilled them all. This means that if we place our trusting faith in him, we no longer have to do the laborious and involved rituals that our ancient forefathers had to do in order to atone for their sins—we simply have to repent and believe in, love, follow and obey Yeshua and his word.

Now let’s look at the ritual for cleansing a metzora (one with a skin disease—a picture of our sinfulness) who had tzaraas (an infectious skin disease caused by sin).

Verses 4–7, two birds: One bird (likely a dove or pigeon) was killed in a clay pot over running water. The other bird along with the cedar wood, scarlet cloth and hyssop were dipped into the clay pot containing the blood from the killed bird and the running water. The water blood mixture was then sprinkled on the diseased person (metzora) who was being purified, and the living bird was let loose and allowed to fly away. There is a lot going on here, but it all prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection. Beforedeciphering this ritual out, perhaps it would help to understand the spiritual meaning of the wood, scarlet and hyssop, which we will explain next.

Verse 4, cedar wood: What was Yeshua crucified on? (Read John 19:17–18; Acts 5:30.)

Verse 4, scarlet: Scarlet is the color of blood and in the Bible pictures blood. What did Yeshua’s blood do for our sins? (Read Isa 1:18; Rev 7:14.)

Verse 4, hyssop: Hyssop (in reality, probably thyme or oregano) represented an essential oil that was known for its healing, cleansing and disease-killing properties. How would this point to Yeshua’s death on the cross? (Read Exod 12:22; Ps 51:7; John 19:29.)

Verses 7–8, Sprinkling with clean water: The metzora was sprinkled with the water and blood mixture, he then bathed himself and washed his clothes. What is this a picture of in the redeemed believer’s life? (Read Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3–6.)

Verses 10–32, Sin offering: Three yearling lambs were offered for a trespass, sin and burnt offering. How does this point to Yeshua? (Read John 1:29, 36; Rev 13:8; 1 Pet 1:19.)

Verses 4–7, The two birds: Now let’s see how the two birds pointed to Yeshua. The one bird being sacrificed and his blood being sprinkled as part of the cleansing process for the sinner is an obvious picture of what? But what about the bird that was let loose? What does this picture? Imagine letting a live bird loose out of your hands. What would he immediately do? Fly up and away, right? If the birds represent Yeshua, and the killed bird represents his death on the cross, then what does the live bird flying away represent? (Read Acts 3:15; 4:10; 1 Pet 1:3.)

Verse 6, The blood of the birds: How does the blood point to Yeshua? (ReadLev 17:11; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1 Pet 1:18–19; 1 John 1:7; Rev 7:14).

Verse 5, The clay pot: How does the clay pot point to Yeshua? (Read Gen 2:7; 2 Cor 4:7; 5:1.)

Verse 5, The running water: What does the running or living water represent? (ReadEph 5:26.) Who is the Word of Elohim? (Read John 1:1–14.) Who is the sources of that living water? (Read John 4:10–14; 7:37–39.)

So now let’s connect the dots to form the complete picture. We have before us a picture of a clay pot filled with living water, into which is poured blood from a sacrificed bird. Into all that is dipped hyssop, a piece of wood and some scarlet cloth. This is a perfect picture of Yeshua as a man (the clay pot) dying on the cross (the sin offering) and his death atoning for man’s sins. But though Yeshua died on the cross, he did not stay dead, but resurrected out of the grave three days later and returned to his Father in heaven. This is pictured by the bird that was let loose to fly away.

Although this was such a simple ceremony, described in a few short verses in Leviticus 14, yet when you look carefully at it, do you notice how rich in meaning it is? Thankfully, we have the Scriptures in the Testimony of Yeshua to help us to understand the meaning of this otherwise mysterious cleansing ritual!

Leviticus 14:8–9, Shaving the body. What is the significance of shaving the body? The Jewish sage, S. R. Hirsch, teaches that shaving the hair symbolizes the repentant sinner making a clean break from his past demeaning and animalistic behavior and changing his way of living and dealing with others via the use of his mouth. He must come up to the godly level for which he was created and use his mouth accordingly (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Vayikra, p. 223; The Pentateuch­-Leviticus, p. 375, by Hirsch, Judaica Press).

Verse nine specifies three areas of facial hair to be shaved. What is the significance of this? What does the hair of the head, eyebrows and beard signify? The sin of speaking evil of others involves pride or haughtiness and jealousy. How do the three areas of this facial hair (the head, eyes and mouth) contribute to gossip, slander and haughtiness? What lesson did the restored sinner learn from having his facial hair shaved? What would others think when they saw him, and how would this visible stigma be an impetus for him to mend his ways and learn some new habits regarding the use of his tongue?

As redeemed believers, we now have the Spirit of YHVH living inside of us to convict us whenever we sin. Do we obey the divine leading or prompting of YHVH’s Spirit? If YHVH says to zip our mouth shut do we obey him, or do we just have to say what we think or feel even though we know we shouldn’t?

Leviticus 14:14, 17, Right ear … thumb of the right hand … toe of his right foot.What is the spiritual significance of the blood being placed on the restored gossip’s right ear, thumb and big toe? The same was done with anointing oil when sanctifying the priests for their service in the tabernacle. How does this speak of the change of life and direction of the repentant sinner? What do all these steps show us about the gravity YHVH places on the sin of gossip and slander, the need to repent of it, the need to be atoned for it, and the need to mend our ways in the future so that we never commit this sin again? Oil signifies what? Olive oil is very healing. How does this speak of YHVH’s grace?

Leviticus 14:23, On the eighth day. If the number seven represents completion or perfection what does eight represent in a spiritual sense? How does this relate to the healing, restoration and a new beginning for the sinner? And what is the responsibility of those of the community of the saints toward those who fall into sin but have since repented? (See 1 Cor 2:3–11; Jas 5:19; Jude 22.)