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The Red-Bird of Leviticus 14

September 11th, 2005

“…dip… the living bird in the blood…

and let the living bird loose in the open field”

(Leviticus 14:6,7, NKJV)

“[Jesus] who was delivered up for our trespasses

and was raised for our justification”

(Romans 4:25, ASV)

The Bible explains human sin by associating it with the terrible skin disease of leprosy; including, possibly, Hansen’s disease, caused by the microorganism, Mycobacterium leprae. In Leviticus 13, the Bible outlines diagnostics for identification and procedural guidelines for the treatment of leprosy. These hygienic measures are in agreement with modern concepts of communicable disease control: especially running water and isolation of the patient. Lepers were required to live outside the camp or city (Lev. 13:46). They were also required to warn passers-by by crying out: “Unclean, Unclean!” (Lev. 13:45).

“The Law of the Leper” (Lev. 14:1; Lk. 5:14; 24:44) involved the Jewish priest; two birds; and, a plan. One bird would be killed in fresh water (Lev. 13:5). The other bird would be dipped in the blood of the dead bird (Lev. 13:6). The leper would be sprinkled seven times with this blood, cedar-wood, scarlet and hyssop (Lev. 13:7). Then, the bird would be set free in the open country (Lev. 13:7b).

“In Christ,” the red-bird is set free! And, “in Christ,” Christians are cleansed and loosed (Rom. 4:25; 6:3-11; 8:2; Rev. 1:5; Gen. 1:20)!

– Robert M. Housby

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