Leviticus 14:54-57 “These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, to determine when something is clean or unclean.”
The 14th chapter of this book goes into at length detail about how a person or things must be cleansed when they are made unclean by the presence of infections and infestations of microbial agents like bacteria and mold. The main reason for doing so was to prevent the Israelites from profaning the holy things of God in the tabernacle. The other reason is that these infectious agents could and would spread throughout the entire camp of Israel if left unchecked.
As a person who studied microbiology in my undergraduate studies, I have a solid understanding from a physical aspect why God would not want bacteria and mold (and fungi) spreading among the Hebrews. They can cause devastation among people when there is no cure, vaccination, or medical treatment. Microbes cannot be seen with naked eye unless they are amassed by growth in a concentrated area such as the mildew described in this chapter.
On the other hand, there is another aspect to this passage that many people don’t get. Most people read this part of the Bible and dread doing so because it lists what is unclean and the procedures necessary to made clean once defiled. What people miss is the fact that disease and destructive microbes came about as a result of man’s fall from grace. They are a part of the curse on the earth and mankind. Because they are associated with the curse and hence the sins of mankind, God could not and cannot have any part of them. He is holy and must be separate from all things unholy and defiling.
Thus, when a person became infected, they were unclean ceremonially not spiritually. However, God could still have no part in it. He required that all be holy (set apart) as He was and is. Now, however, we can thank the Lord Jesus that by the shedding of His blood, we are no longer made unclean from a simple infection or contact with once unclean things. Furthermore, with the advent of the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus provided the basis for our healing from such destructive things like debilitating diseases. For as Isaiah and later Peter both said, for it is by His stripes we are healed. Jesus is the Lord God, who heals us. He heals us of all sicknesses.
Additionally, His sacrifice fulfilled the laws of the ceremonial sacrifices and eliminated the need for ritualistic cleansing and the continual killing of numerous animals. His death was the final, ultimate sacrifice. Thus, by His one sacrifice and our acceptance of God’s love gift of eternal life through Jesus, we are made clean.
Father, thank You for terminating the process of animal sacrifices and ritualistic cleansing. Although the process has been long abandoned, there is much to be gleaned and learned from its study. The process of purification shows us the importance of living a life separated and holy before You as You are holy. It also teaches us to appreciate the magnificence and cost of the sacrifice of Your Son for the sins of all mankind. I wish that Jesus never had to go through such an ordeal in the first place, but I am ever so grateful for the work that was accomplished through the shedding of His blood. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.