“But if, when the cohen examines it, he sees that the infection has not spread on the garment or in the threads, woven-in parts or leather item, then the cohen is to order that the article having the infection be washed and isolated for seven more days.”-Leviticus 13:53-54
The rules governing TZARA-AT on cloth and leather should be familiar to us since they are pretty much identical to the rules of TZARA-AT on human beings (for those who came late to the party, TZARA-AT is the Hebrew word for skin infections).
The procedures for TZARAT on cloth and leather are as follows:
First, the object in question is brought to the priest for inspection.
Second, if the priest suspects TZARA-AT, the object is put into quarantine for 7 days.
Third, after the 7-day period of limbo, the object is inspected again.
If the object is deemed to have been infected with TZARA-AT, then the item is ritually impure and must be burned up (thank God this didn’t apply to humans).
However, if the infection has not spread on the object, then the object is washed with water and put into quarantine for yet another 7-day period.
After the 7-day period, the object is inspected again.
If the degree of the infection has not changed, it is deemed as TZARA-AT and the object will be committed to the flames.
However, if the infection appears to have diminished, then only the infected part of the object is ripped out, and the rest of the object, as long as it remains free of infection, will be considered CLEAN.
Now a key part of the rules and procedures when dealing with TZARA-AT is the immersion of the previously infected object into water.
What’s interesting about purification via water immersion is that it seems to be a common thread running throughout the whole Bible.
We see the PATTERN of water immersion firmly established here in Leviticus and in the New Testament, we will also see it in John the Baptist’s ministry and later in Yeshua’s ministry.
One may wonder why water was the agent chosen for all of these rituals and ministries?
I mean instead of water, why not wine or olive oil for instance?
My quick answer to that question is STOP ASKING “WHY?” ALL THE TIME.
Going back to our discussion of Kosher animals, recall that those animals the Lord has declared to be UNCLEAN are not necessarily abnormal in and of themselves.
UNCLEAN animals are not necessarily un-whole or incomplete animals.
By contrast, a CLEAN animal is not necessarily a normal or a whole animal.
In other words, a CLEAN animal like a sheep or cow is not inherently better than an UNCLEAN animal like a pig or camel.
The choice of which animals are CLEAN and UNCLEAN is nothing more or less than a sovereign declaration by God and we just have to accept it, instead of becoming Greek in our thinking and asking “why?” all the time.
The best answer I can give you is that the reason the Lord has declared certain things CLEAN and others UNCLEAN is because somehow that reflects the rules of HOLINESS as they exist up in the invisible heavens.
And the same goes for water immersion.
The PATTERN or MODEL that is established here in Leviticus is that “water” is the chosen agent used for purification and we will see this throughout all of the Scriptures.
To share a quick personal testimony, it just so turns out that a couple of days ago while I was blogging about TZARA-AT, a violently itchy skin rash broke out on my under forearms (Irony of ironies!!!).
The itchiness was so bad I thought I might draw blood due to the intense scratching.
I applied some skin cream to the infected areas but to no avail.
Finally, two nights ago, I sat up in my bed and prayed “God, please take care of this! The itchiness on my forearms is maddening!”.
Immediately, I sensed a clear directive from the Lord to go take a shower.
In other words, God was saying “Go cleanse yourself with water”.
I did and afterwards, miraculously, immediately afterwards the itchiness disappeared and it hasn’t bothered me since.
I’m telling you this is what happened man!
So as set down here in Leviticus, “water” seems to be that chosen divine agent used to make something CLEAN.
Before closing, I want to ask you this question.
Do you know what one of the main duties of a believer is?
It is to distinguish between the CLEAN and the UNCLEAN.
Or another way to put it, we are to be a witness to the world what CLEAN and UNCLEAN is through our lives!
And how can we know what CLEAN and UNCLEAN is?
ONLY BY STUDYING THE TORAH!!!
You are NOT going to get a definition of CLEAN and UNCLEAN in the New Testament.
I’ve already said this about six million times, but I’ll say it six million and one more time.
The New Testament assumes its readers ALREADY HAVE A STRONG GROUNDING IN THE PRECEPTS AND PRINCIPLES ALREADY ESTABLISHED IN THE TORAH!
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,”
says the Lord. ”
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.”
-2 Corinthians 6:15