Posts Tagged 'Cleanliness'

1 Chronicles Chapter 10

The children of Israel had been led by judges, chosen by God and under His direction. This went on for many years, until the Israelites allowed the influence of surrounding nations to persuade them to have a king instead of following after the Lord’s pattern. This was around 1095 B.C. As their first king, the Lord chose a Benjamite named Saul. He was a very good, humble, young man when chosen by God. However, he gave in to personal weaknesses over time, and lost the favor of God (see 1 Samuel 15:23).

The Philistines had risen in power during the reign of Saul and he became afraid. He tried to pray for answers, but because of his disobedience, they were not answered. He went to the witch of Endor, and the spirit of Samuel told Saul he and his sons would die (see 1 Samuel 28). This chapter of Chronicles occurs somewhere around 1047 B.C. (according to the chronology of the Bible), after Saul had been told he would die. It begins as follows:

1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.
2 And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul.
3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.
4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.
5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.
6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.
7 And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

The Philistines went against Israel and fought them hard. The Israelite army retreated to mount Gilboa, but the Philistines pursued them and killed many, including the sons of Saul. The Philistines chased after Saul and he was shot by an arrow. Saul asked his servant to kill him, so that he would not be tortured by their enemies, but the servant refused to do it because he was afraid. Saul chose to do it himself (see also 1 Samuel 31). Once the servant saw it, he also killed himself. The men of the land where this happened, saw that Saul and his sons were dead, and they ran away, leaving their cities for the Philistines to take and live in them. (see also 2 Samuel 1:10 for another witness of Saul’s death)

8 And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa.
9 And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people.
10 And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.

The Philistines went to the dead to take what they could from them, and they found the bodies of Saul and his sons. They stripped Saul, took his head and armor, and sent word to their people. They displayed his armor in their temple (the house of Ashtaroth) and his head in the temple of Dagon. (see also 1 Samuel 31:8-10 – his body was displayed on the wall of Beth-shan).

11 And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul,
12 They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

The men of Jabesh-gilead heard of the things that the Philistines had done to body of Saul. The valiant men went to the place where the bodies of Saul and his sons had been disrespected, and took their bodies to Jabesh where they buried them. Then they fasted for seven days, which was tradition according to the law of Moses. In the law, the Lord declared that any who touched the dead, were unclean for seven days. (see Numbers 19:11)

13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it;
14 And inquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

The reason that the Lord allowed Saul to die in battle, was because he had transgressed and gone against the word of the Lord. He had knowingly turned to the forbidden choice of seeking after speaking with the dead, instead of turning to the Lord. In the law found in Leviticus 20:6, we read, “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.” As a result, Saul was not protected in battle and the kingdom was then given to David, the son of Jesse, whom the Lord had chosen to be his successor. This was fulfillment of the prophecy of Samuel to Saul which said, “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.” (see 1 Samuel 13:14)

I have been thinking about the description of the men in verse 12, which says they were valiant men. Which means men showing courage and determination. At first glance, it may seem to mean that these men had the courage necessary to enter the land of the Philistines, at the risk of their own lives, to gather the bodies of their royal family. This would indeed make them men worthy of the description of being valiant. However, I think it is possible that the recorder of this event felt something more about these men. As I said above, it was law that a person who touched the dead were considered unclean. It would seem that more often than not, those who could avoid even looking upon a dead body, would avoid it, so as to avoid all possibility of uncleanliness. Yet these men had such a respect for Saul and his sons (this does not mean they supported him or followed him, but that they respected that he was their leader who had been chosen for them by the Lord), that they were willing to make a personal sacrifice of cleanliness, in order to give them the honor they deserved and no longer be mistreated by their enemies. They were valiant men, because they honored the law of Moses in a time when many of their brethren were not faithful to the law. They made their choice knowing it would have personal consequences both physical and spiritual, but also knowing that their leaders deserved more in death then they had received. They were definitely valiant men of Israel.

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Deuteronomy Chapter 23

The Lord instructed Moses to leave his people with a repetition of the law of Moses. These sermons contained commandments and instruction from the Lord, which, if followed, would have allowed the people to be holy and protected from the world. The sermons of Moses continued in this chapter with rules about who would be allowed to enter the congregation of the Lord.

1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
5 Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Those who were not well or whole (without blemish) physically, or a person born to an unwed mother and any of his family for ten generations, were not to enter the congregation of the Lord. Likewise, anyone with Ammonite or Moabite blood for ten generations, was not to enter either, because their ancestors had been a stumbling block to the Israelites as they journeyed to the promised land. Being able to attend the tabernacle and congregation, required a holiness or worthiness of the Lord’s standards. Likewise, in our day there is a standard set in order for anyone to enter the holy temples of the Lord. The standards are not the same, but the principle is. Only those who are worthy to enter and serve there, may do so. This standard applies, so that the temple will not be defiled, because it is the house of the Lord, where the Lord can be among us.

7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.
8 The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.

Those who were from Edom were not to be hated, because they were their family, the children of Esau. The family of Esau was the extended family to the Israelites, however, they were not of the covenant.
The Israelites were also not to hate the Egyptians, because Egypt had been there for the family of Jacob in a time of need and allowed them to live in their land. Anyone with Edomite or Egyptian blood, would be allowed into the congregation after three generations had passed. I am guessing that would mean being the grandchild of one having married into the Israelite nation, when they were only something like 1/8th Edomite or less.

9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

The Israelites are warned to avoid all wicked things, when they went out to fight their enemies. I am sure moments when they were at war would have been very tempting times.They would have been deep in the world, surrounded by a lot of alluring wickedness, and yet expected to not be of the world. It was a standard of the times, to take the spoils of war for yourself or your nation. I am sure that this also applied to the things they would choose to return home with, or would allow other nations to give to them for their victories and strength.

10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
11 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.

In order to keep others from becoming unclean, those who were not considered to be clean were to remain out of the camp until they could wash and become clean. If they did this, more of the nation would be preserved.

12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

It was necessary that they had a way to keep the land clean from their own waste. They were told to go outside of the camp and use a paddle to cover their waste. The land in their camp, was to be a holier place, where the Lord could walk among them. This was part of the early laws of sanitation and something I am so glad we don’t have to deal with where I live today.

15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

If a servant came to them, after having escaped from his master, they were allow him to live with them, and not return him to his master. They were also to treat him with kindness. I am not sure if this only applied to those men of Israel, who entered servitude, but it teaches that the Lord felt they were not to be treated as lost property, but as people who deserved kindness.

17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

There were not to make any Israelite man or woman, into a harlot or prostitute. These acts would have led to a great falling away of Israel, and needed to be avoided completely. Those who were in a life of prostitution and immorality, were also not to be brought to the house of the Lord for any vows or promises. I believe this was due to their unworthiness to make promises there.

19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

They were not to demand unreasonable amounts of money or goods from their family and neighbors, as part of their payments or exchanges. No additional interests were to be gained from the trades and transactions between the Israelites. This law did not apply to how they dealt with strangers, but among the Israelites, they were to treat others with a kindness and give the things they sold or used, a proper value. Because they were not to bring others into unnecessary amounts of debt and bondage, this law would promote unity and bless the entire nation of Israel.

21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.

It was better not to make a vow with the Lord, than to make a vow without the intent or follow-through to make the expected offerings. Likewise, in our day, it is better that one waits to make covenants with God, until they are truly ready to keep those covenants. Making covenants with God, is eternally binding. One should not take them lightly, or make them for a reason other then they are intended. This is why it is so important that covenants are made with an understanding of what they are and what will be expected of one who makes them.

24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

They were allowed to partake of the field of their neighbors, but not to gather and take them or move them out of the field.

Most of this chapter, seems to be a reminder to the Israelites of the little details of life that could either keep them a holy and worthy people, or cause them to be unworthy of the presence of the Lord. The world may be different in our day, but we are still expected to live the standard of the Lord for us. If we do so, we can be worthy of his spirit among us, and of being able to make covenants and promises in the holy temples on earth today. If we fail to live according to the Lord’s standards, and have no desire to hold to them, we should not attempt to make sacred promises with God, because they will lead to our eternal damnation when we face our own judgement. I am grateful for the gospel, which teaches me how to be worthy to make and keep covenants with God, because I cannot imagine life without the spirit of God, to help and comfort me.

Numbers Chapter 19

The Israelites were wandering in the wilderness at this point in the bible. They had been given the law of Moses with many laws and ordinances. Part of the law, was the law of sacrifice. Each sacrifice had a specific purpose in the purification and sanctification of the children of Israel. The Lord had further instruction in this chapter, which begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2 This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:
4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:
5 And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:
6 And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.
7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.
8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.
9 And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.
10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice a young red calf, without blemish, which had never borne a yoke. Eleazar, the son of Aaron and priest, was to be given the cow. He was to take her out of the camp, where someone would kill her in front of him. Then Eleazar was to take her blood and sprinkle it seven times, in front of the tabernacle of congregation. The cow was to be burned with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet. Eleazar, the priest, and anyone who helped to burn the cow, was to wash and return to the camp unclean for the rest of the day. One who was considered clean or worthy, was to gather the ashes and put them in a clean place outside of camp for the water of separation, which was used for purification from sin. The one who gathered the ashes, was then to wash his clothes and be considered unclean for the rest of the day.

11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.
14 This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.
16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
17 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:
18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:
19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.
20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.
21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.
22 And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.

Those who touched the dead, or entered into the tent when someone had died there, were considered unclean for seven days. If they went through purification on the third day, they would be considered clean on the seventh day. If purification was not done, then the person was unclean, and defiled the tabernacle. As a result, they were to be cut off from the people or excommunicated from the church. Part of the purification process, was a sprinkling of the water of separation. The uncovered vessels within a tent where one had died, were also unclean. Those who touched someone who died by sword in battle, any dead body, any bones of a person, or any grave for the dead, were also considered unclean for the seven days. The purification process for these unclean people, was that they were to take the cow ashes and add them to running water in a vessel. Then one who was clean, would then take hyssop, dip it into the water and sprinkle it upon the tent, vessels and any person who had become unclean by the dead. The unclean person was to be sprinkled on the third day. On the seventh day, they were to purify themselves, wash and remain unclean for that day. The person who sprinkled the water of separation was to wash his clothes and be unclean for the remainder of the day. Any individual who touched the water was unclean for the rest of the day as well. Anything that was touched by the unclean, was also considered unclean. Anyone who touched anything considered unclean, was also unclean for the rest of the day.

The Israelites were taught to be clean, and went through a very physical process to be purified. They did this so that they would be considered worthy to the Lord. Today, we should also strive to be found clean and worthy. For us, the process is much more spiritual. It involves sincere repentance and returning to the Lord every step of the way. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:114 and 116, we read, “But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom . . . Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him” We must be purified, in order to be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. Since true conversion, learning, and growth can only happen when the Spirit can be there with us, we should strive to be pure and clean all the time. I am grateful for atonement and that it covers all things that may cause me to be unworthy. The challenge in life, is to remember to use the atonement everyday through repentance, and then to live according to the will of the Lord. I know that the result of worthiness to the Lord is of great importance and will lead to receiving countless blessings from the Lord.

Numbers Chapter 5

At this point in the narrative of the bible, the Israelites were in the desert of Sinai, camped at the base of the mountain. Moses, was given laws and statutes for the children of Israel to follow. God commanded Moses to organize the people for their journey to the promised land. They were organized into the camps of Israel, in a mighty army. He also organized the burden of the tabernacle of the congregation, which was the mobile temple of their day. The commandments given to the Israelites were in many ways, a preparation for their entry into the promised land. The instruction of the Lord continues with the following:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:
3 Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.
4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.

All the lepers were to be sent out of the camp, along with those who had sores (probably like boils), or other items which made one what was considered to be unclean. In this, the rest of the camp would not be at risk of outbreaks and defilement, where the spirit of the Lord dwelt. The Israelites followed this commandment.

5 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
6 Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty;
7 Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.
8 But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.
9 And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his.
10 And every man’s hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his.

All who committed sin, were commanded to confess and to make recompense or restitution, either to the offended or the Lord, for the wrong they had done. Those things that were considered sinful, had been revealed by the Lord and taught by Moses to the people. An atonement was to be made for the sinner. All offerings given of the Israelites, were given to the priests. The priest had the authority to act in the place of God, in receiving all offerings to the Lord.

We are likewise commanded to confess our sins. In the modern revelations of the book of Doctrine and Covenants, we read, “Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.” (D&C 19:20) and later in Doctrine and Covenants 64:7 we read, “Nevertheless, he has sinned; but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.” Confession of sins, restitution and receiving the atonement in our lives, are absolute parts of the repentance process. We are promised that if we do these things, we will be forgiven and made clean.

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;
14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

Any married woman, who may have commited an act of immorality or adultery, but was not caught in the act, was to be taken before the priest by her husband. She would go through a trial of jealosy, in which an offering would be made for her.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord:
17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:
18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;
22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

The priest would perform a ritual, where dust of the ground was added to water that had been consecrated for purification, and then put on the uncovered head of the woman. She would then be told that if she was innocent of adultery, she would be free of the curse. If she was not innocent, she would be given a cursing of a sickness to her body.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar:
26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.
27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

A record would be kept of this cursing and then the priest would ritually blot the record with the water. The woman was then to drink the water and give her offering to the priest. If after the ritual of offerings and drinking of the water, she was taken with the sickness, it would be known that she was guilty of adultery or immorality. If she was clean, she would be free from guilt and the curse or separation from others and from the Lord. When a woman was suspected of this by her husband and he caused that she would go through this trial, he would be free of the burden of her iniquity.

I think that this ritual and judgement was another way for the Israelites to recognize that God has all the power. Man would not bring the consequences upon any unfaithful woman, but God would. The Israelites were being set apart from the world, as the Lord’s holy people. They were being prepared to live worthy of the spirit of God, which meant that they could not allow the people to commit unholy acts of this nature. In order for God to dwell where we are today, or for the spirit of God to touch our hearts, we cannot allow the worldly ideas, that sexual morality is outdated or unnecessary for true happiness, to creep into our lives. When immorality is a part of our lives, we separate ourselves from that spirit and allow our spirits to decay, much like the cursing here made their bodies decay. Their is hope in this. The hope is that God allows sinners to repent and be forgiven of these things. I owe my happiness today, to the healing power of the atonement, which makes forgiveness possible for our sins. I know that Jesus Christ makes this possible for all of us, if we humble ourselves and return to Him.

Leviticus Chapter 22

The Lord called Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his family to be holy to the Lord. The men of his family were set apart to be the priests who served in the tabernacle of the Lord. They had been given specific instruction on how they should live, so that they would be sanctified and prepared to do the work of the Lord. The instruction to the family of Aaron continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord.
3 Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.
4 What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him;
5 Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath;
6 The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water.
7 And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food.
8 That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the Lord.
9 They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the Lord do sanctify them.
10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.
11 But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.
12 If the priest’s daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.
13 But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof.

Those of the seed of Aaron, who were set apart, were to separate themselves from the things of the world. They needed to be sanctified and worthy. I think that part of this, was that those who would later serve in the tabernacle when receiving ordination to the priesthood, were to be raised already set apart for the service of the Lord.

Likewise, those who were not clean, holy or set apart, were not to be near the things that were set apart as holy. Any of the seed of Aaron who had leprosy, or was unclean because of any of the previously mentioned physical items (from other chapters in Leviticus), was not to partake of the holy food until he was made clean again. Anyone who had become unclean through touching things that were unclean or an act that made them unclean as prescribed by the Lord, was unclean until the end of the day and was not to partake of the holy food. He was to wash with water and after the sun went down, he was considered clean and could eat.

The priests were not to eat of the animals who died on their own or were killed by other animals. They were to keep these commandments or they would be held accountable for that sin and be separated from the spirit of God for it. Those who were not of the priesthood of Aaron, were not to partake of the holy food, even if they were staying with the family of Aaron, with the exception of servants and those born of Aaron’s family. If the daughters of Aaron, married outside of the family, she was no longer to partake of the holy food, unless she returned to the family as a widow, divorced and without child.

14 And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing.
15 And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord;
16 Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the Lord do sanctify them.

If someone ate the holy food unknowingly, they were to give to the priests a fifth part as an offering and were not to be made to feel guilty.

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;
19 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.
20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.
21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.
22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord.
23 Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.
24 Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.
25 Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.

All who were with the children of Israel, from the house of Israel or stranger within, were to offer sacrifices of perfect animals without blemish. Those with blemish were not acceptable for them because thy were not acceptable to the Lord. The sacrifices were to be a type of Christ, who was sacrificed for all, and who died without spot.

26 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
27 When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
28 And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day.
29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.
30 On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the Lord.
31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the Lord.
32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,
33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.

Those animals that were just born, were to be kept with their mother for seven days and then on the eighth day, they were acceptable as offerings to the Lord. An animal and its young was not to be sacrificed in the same day. All offerings of thanksgiving were to be freewill offerings, eaten the same day as it was sacrificed with nothing left for the next day. Here is a reminder again to keep the commandments of God and reverence Him who had led them out of the hands of their oppressors in Egypt. God would be there for the Israelites if they obeyed His word.

God has not asked any less of us today. We are commanded to become Holy through Jesus Christ. We are to give sacrifices of our bodies, hearts and minds. This means that we are to do all we can in this life to further the work of the Lord. We have the scriptures, which teach us the commandments that we are expected to live by. When we are worthy through keeping His commandments, the spirit of God can dwell with us and sanctify us.

Leviticus Chapter 17

In the book of Leviticus, the Lord gives instruction to the children of Israel. This portion of the law of Moses has included details about sacrifices, how the priests of Aaron were to officiate in their office, and what was considered clean or unclean. The Lord continues to give commandments and teachings to Moses as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying,
3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the Lord.
6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

There was only one acceptable place for sacrifices to the Lord, now that they had a tabernacle in their midst. Any sacrifice to the Lord, was to be given at the door of the tabernacle as the Lord had previously directed. In latter-days, the early saints were given similar commandment and instruction, with regard to temple work. We have been instructed on how to do baptisms for the dead, and the authority was given at first to perform those in the Mississippi river. Once the building of the temple was commanded, the Lord told the Prophet, Joseph Smith, that the saints were no longer authorized to perform baptisms for the dead in the river, but were to perform them in the font prepared in His holy temple.

Any Israelite, who chose to do otherwise, was to be cut off from the people of the Lord. The law included forbidding any sacrifices to anyone else. I have been studying ancient mesopotamia, and the act of sacrificing to all kinds of gods and rulers was extremely common among all the people of the world in that time. I am sure there was great importance for the Israelites to set themselves apart from the world, by worshipping the one true God. This feels to me like a repetition of the commandment not to worship any other Gods, or as mentioned here, devils.

8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,
9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

Again, anyone who chose to make a sacrifice to God, and failed to bring it to the tabernacle, was to be cut off. The footnote in verse 8, references Doctrine and Covenants 132:9 which reads, “Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?” If someone offered me a gift, but it had my sister’s name on it, would I feel like it was a gift for me? Why then, would God accept the sacrifices prepared for someone else? He had asked that all gifts be given in a specific way and those who desired to honestly show their love for Him, would have brought those offerings to the tabernacle as He had instructed.

10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.
16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.

They had already been commanded not to eat blood, but they are commanded again here. Genesis 9:4 reads, “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” No one of the covenant, or one who stayed among the people, was to eat blood. I find the phrase “set my face against that soul” to be one of interest. I looked up the word “against” to get a clearer understanding and the first way to define it says, “in opposition to”. This makes sense to me. The Lord would be in opposition to anyone who disobeyed this commandment. I’m pretty sure that having God against them, was not going to make their life happy and blessed. Likewise, we do not want God to be against us, either.

Blood holds the life of the body, or its mortality. God alone, is to have power over the mortality of any soul. The only use for blood, was for making atonement within the tabernacle of the Lord. Only with the blood, as with the blood of Christ, could an atonement be made for the souls of mankind. If they were to hunt animals, they were not to partake of the blood, but pour it on the ground and cover it with the dust of the earth. This reminds me of a scripture I read recently in the book of Isaiah. He was teaching of things that would happen at the time of the Lord’s second coming, when wickedness would be destroyed. In Isaiah 26:21 we read, “For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” No works are hid from the Lord. Any blood that has ever been spilt against the commandment of the Lord, is going to be known. All the works of unrighteousness will be revealed and the people will be judged for these sins against God. The reward for these works, will be an eternal separation from God. The Israelites were told here, that if an animal died on its own or by other animals, and they ate that animal, they were to wash their clothes and bathe. They would be unclean through that day. If he did not wash, or wash his clothes, he would have sinned.

Jesus-Portrait

I think the purpose of commanding the children of Israel these things, was to keep them focused on what sacrifices were really about. The world had taken sacred things and distorted them. Adam was given the first instructions about why men were to give sacrifices. In Moses 5 we read the following:

4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.

The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to offer sacrifice to the Lord and the angel taught Adam that this was to remind them of the sacrifice of the Son of God. God never came to any man and said otherwise. All other sacrifices were created by men, through the temptations of Satan, that mankind would turn from God and become as he is. In commanding the Israelites these things, God was reestablishing His laws, so that His people would know who to look towards for salvation and eternal life. It is a great blessing to have the fullness of the gospel on the earth today, to know why and how we can worship God and have the promised blessings in the life to come.

Leviticus Chapter 15

The previous two chapters dealt with leprosy and the cleansing of lepers, which was part of the law of Moses. The act of cleansing, was not to be rid of the disease, but rather to become worthy to participate in the ordinances and rituals of the Lord. Being unclean with leprosy, was to be unworthy in the sight of the Lord, and I think there are several occasions throughout the bible, where leprosy was brought on by some type of sin. The laws regarding being unclean in other ways, continue in this chapter as well.

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
8 And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.

The header of this chapter, clarifies that an issue means a discharge. Therefore a discharge from the flesh of a man, made him unclean. According to Numbers chapter 5, they were sent outside of the encampment, just as the lepers were. Anywhere he slept or sat, was to be considered unclean. If anyone else touched, sat or slept where the unclean man had been, they were to wash their clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. Anyone who touched someone with this or was spat upon by him, was also to wash his clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. The saddle he sat on, or anything that was under him, was considered unclean. If they carried any of these things, they were considered unclean until evening. If the unclean washed in an earthen vessel, it was to be broken and if it was wood, it was to be rinsed with water.

As a side note, I think that when it says they would be “unclean until the even”, it probably means that they would be considered unclean for the remainder of that day.

13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.
14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest:
15 And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue.
16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

Once the man was free of the issue, he was to go through the cleansing ritual for seven days. He would wash his clothes and bathe each day. On the eighth day, he would take two turtle doves or young pigeons and offer them at the door of the tabernacle. One would be for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord. The priest would make atonement for the man. Any relations between a man and woman would cause them to be unclean until evening.

19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

A woman with an issue was separated from others for seven days. Anyone who touched her would be considered unclean. All that she sat or laid on was unclean. Anyone who touched her bed, or anything she touched, would be unclean and would need to wash their clothes and bathe. If a man had relations with a woman who was unclean from an issue of blood, he was also unclean for seven days. If the issue lasted longer, she was to continue to be separated and considered unclean.

28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.
31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.
32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.

Her cleansing would also be seven days, and then she was to take two turtle doves or two young pigeons to the door of the tabernacle and offer them to the priest. They would be her sin offering and burnt offering, and the priest would make atonement for her.

I’m not sure if these issues of uncleanliness had anything to do with the spiritual worthiness of the individual. It seems that for those with an issue, like those of leprosy, if they were required to be sent out of the camp, they were unworthy of the spirit of the Lord to dwell with them. I think that a lot of this chapter, has to do with the very physical laws of hygene, which needed to be in place to keep the people of Israel a healthy and thriving community. There were some very physical parts of the law of Moses, that remind me that the Lord was in the details of their lives. He is in the details of our lives today. I know this. When we are unhealthy, sick, and such, our minds and bodies become consumed with that very physical need. It is very hard to focus on spiritual things when this happens. It is very important for us to be mindful of how to take care of the bodies we have been given. If we knowingly rebel against those things which will keep our bodies clean and well, we are not worthy of the spirit in the same sense as those who pollute the spirit within themselves, with the effects of sin. Part of the reason for us coming here to gain a body, is to learn mastery of it. This was a lesson for the Israelites, just as it is for us today. And just like it was for them, we can only be worthy of the spirit’s companionship, when we repent and return with our sacrifice of a willing heart and mind to the Lord. Then, the Lord’s atonement will take affect in our lives and we will be clean and worthy of the spirit and the covenants with the Lord.

Leviticus Chapter 14

The Lord revealed his law to the children of Israel. We know this as the law of Moses, because it was revealed to the prophet Moses. The previous chapter of Leviticus, covered some of Gods law regarding leprosy. The Bible Dictionary defines leprosy as, “A terrible form of skin disease spoken of in the Bible.” Under leper we can read, “The disease was regarded as a living death.” In chapter 13, it discussed the law of Moses with regard to the leper and his garments. The law of leprosy continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.
9 But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

When a leper was cleansed, he went before the priest out of the camp and the priest would look to determine if the leprosy was healed. Then, two living birds, along with cedar wood, a scarlet cloth (according to the footnotes) and hysop, were taken and one was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Then the remaining bird, the wood, scarlet and hysop, were dipped in the blood of the first bird. Then the leper was to be sprinkled seven times, pronounced clean and the bird let loose. Then, the cleansed leper was to wash his clothes, shave his hair, and wash in the water. At that point, he was to return to the camp and remain out of his own tent for seven days. On the seventh day, he was to shave all his hair again and wash his clothes and his body in water to be clean. I think at this point, the person was prepared to return to the tabernacle because he was clean.

10 And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
11 And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
12 And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
13 And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:
14 And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
16 And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord:
17 And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:
18 And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord.

On the eighth day, the cleansed man, was to take two lambs without blemish, a year old ewe without blemish, flour mixed with oil for the meat offering, and a log of oil, and return to the door of the tabernacle. Then the priest who cleansed him, was to present the man before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle. The priest was to take one lamb for a trespass offering, and then make a wave offering with the lamb and log of oil. Blood of the offering was placed on the right ear, right thumb and right big toe, of the cleansed man. The priest was to place oil is his left palm, and then with his right hand, he was to use his right finger and sprinkle the oil seven times before the Lord. With the remaining oil in his hand, he was to touch the cleansed man’s right ear, right thumb and his right big toe where the blood had been placed, and then it was to be poured on his head.

19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering:
20 And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.

The priest was to offer an atonement offering, after the sin offering, and then he would sacrifice the burnt offering. The meat offering would be made as well. Then after the offerings were made and the atonement made for this man, he would be considered clean.

21 And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil;
22 And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering.
23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord.
24 And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
25 And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
26 And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:
27 And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord:
28 And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering:
29 And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord.
30 And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;
31 Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord.
32 This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.

If the man was poor, he could use a lamb and oil for the trespass and meat offerings, and two turtledoves or young pigeons for the sin and burnt offerings. Likewise, he was to bring them on the eighth day to the tabernacle door. The priest would still make the trespass offering of the lamb and oil as before and use the blood and oil on the cleansed man as mentioned before. Then, the priest would offer one of the birds for the sin offering and the other for the burnt offering, and make an atonement for the man.

33 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
35 And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
36 Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
37 And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
38 Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
40 Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
41 And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:
42 And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house.
43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered;
44 Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.

The Lord went further to tell Moses and Aaron how to deal with leprosy when they finally arrived in the land of Canaan. At that time, if there was leprosy in a house, the owner was to tell the priest. I find it interesting that it would say in verse 34, “and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land”. It sounds like this was the case when a person was cursed of the Lord, and I wonder if that will come up again later in the Bible. In any case, the priest was to see that the house was made empty before he would look to determine if the plaque was there, so that the people of the house would not be made unclean. The priest would look to see the house, and if it appeared to have leprosy, it was to be shut for seven days. The priest was to look again, and if it had spread, the stones were to be removed and cast out of the city, the remaining house was scraped and the dust that was scraped off, was to be removed from the city. Then new stones, mortar and plaster, was to be placed on the house. If the plaque came again, the priest was to look again and pronounce it unclean. Then the house was to be destroyed completely and all the parts taken out of the city.

46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.

Anyone who was in the house with leprosy, was considered unclean until the evening. Those who slept or ate there, were to wash their clothes.

48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.
54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

If the house looked the same or better when the priest came to see it the after the new plaster had been put on the walls, then it was pronounced clean. The priest would take two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop to cleanse the house. One bird was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Then the living bird, wood, scarlet and hyssop were dipped in the blood and running water. The the house was sprinkled seven times. The blood of the bird and the water was used in the house, along with the wood, hyssop and scarlet, in order to cleanse it. The living bird was then let go out of the city and an atonement will have been made for the house. It would then be clean.

The notes here, are my own interpretation of what I have read. It is interesting to me, to read how leprosy would affect people, their clothing and their homes like this. I have heard of experiences where death has left decay and rot in a home, so that is the closest I can come to understanding. It sounds like leprosy was a type of decay of the body, so maybe the idea is pretty close. The Bible Dictionary says the following with regards to leprosy:

There were apparently several types of leprosy, and the word is used in the Bible to designate other sicknesses or diseases. For example, clothing and walls were said to be leprous when they had patches of mildew or some fungous growth, as in Lev. 13:47–59; 14:33–37.

I don’t think I can adequately imagine what it was like, without witnessing the effects of leprosy for myself, and I am glad that I don’t have to at this point.

I think that while this was a very physical law for the people of Israel, which as I mentioned in my previous post, would have been a way to protect the people from destruction within, it is also in the scriptures to remind us of the way sin effects us and should be treated. Sin, like leprosy, is an infectious and cancerous condition of the spirit. It causes spiritual decay when left to spread. If a sin is great enough, it must be taken to the priest, meaning we must confess to our priesthood leadership, like a bishop. The bishop has the authority from God, to determine if the sin has reached the point of making us an unworthy individual to participate in the ordinances of the gospel. If we need to make a change, he will let us know. If we talk with him again, he will determine then if it causes us to be unworthy, or if we can again return to our normal standing within the gospel. We are not made to declare to the world that we are unclean, but the feeling of not being allowed to participate in sacred ordinances, or not being allowed to say prayers or participate during classes in church, is just as lonely a feeling as the lepers had, which were sent out of the city. It can feel like everyone knows and often times like many judge. Worst of all, you can feel the separation from the spirit that one has when they are worthy of it. When the efforts of repentance have been made, and the sin no longer thrives within us, we are asked to come to the Lord and partake of the holy ordinance of the sacrament. This is the ordinance of sacrifice that we participate in today. When we can worthily partake of the sacrament, we can be considered clean from that sin.

(NOTE: The manual I am reading along with this says that the birds represented first, the leper or natural man and the second, the man freed from bondage of sin.)

Jesus-Portrait

I may not be perfect in my interpretation, but when I think of the sacrifice ritual performed for cleansing, it makes me think of the Savior. If the stories of Christ healing the lepers in his minstry, is not enough to cause us to think of Him, there is more here. Two birds are like two individuals brought before the judge or priest, much like we will be brought before God, who is the final judge of us all. One, in an earthen vessel, or in his earthly body, is sacrificed along with wood, a scarlet cloth, and hysop. I’m not sure how the cedar wood was used then, but it reminds me of the wood of the cross, which the Savior was raised upon. A scarlet cloth is a clear reminder to me of the Savior; the symbol of being our king (used even by the soldiers who beat him), the imagery of removing our sins, and a reminder of the clothing he will wear when he returns again. Matthew 27:28 says, “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” Then Isaiah 1:18 quotes the Lord as saying, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”. Finally, In Doctrine and Covenants, the words of Isaiah are repeated in section 133 as follows:

46 And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.

Then, the hyssop is a plant which was used during the Savior’s crucifixion. In John 19:29 we read, “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.” The blood, like His blood, is used with the water to cleanse the remaining individual. We are anointed by his blood and may be pronounced clean, or purified, through the blood of Christ, just as the bird was cleansed by the blood in the ritual. When we are made clean through Christ, we can be worthy to participate in all the ordinances of the priesthood. Therefore, we can be made worthy to receive all the blessings of the priesthood, promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Leviticus Chapter 13

In the book of Leviticus, the Lord reveals details to those things that are clean or unclean. He gave commandments in the law of Moses, with regard to the foods that should be eaten and avoided, as well as the purification of women after childbirth. The laws regarding those thing that are unclean continue in this chapter as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying,
2 When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:
3 And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.
4 If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days:
5 And the priest shall look on him the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague in his sight be at a stay, and the plague spread not in the skin; then the priest shall shut him up seven days more:
6 And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague be somewhat dark, and the plague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.
7 But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath been seen of the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen of the priest again:
8 And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy.

Anyone who was thought to have leprosy, was brought to the priest, Aaron. This was a duty of the priesthood at that time. Aaron was to look at it and determine if it was in fact leprosy, and if it was, the person was pronounced unclean. If they could not tell if it was in deed leprosy, then they were to hide the person away, or quarantine them, for seven days and then check again. If they did not know again, they were to hide the person again for another seven days. If the mark on the skin looked like a dark scab, after fourteen days of hiding away, they would be pronounced clean and simply need to wash their clothes. If it had spread, it was leprosy and he was pronounced by the priest, unclean.

9 When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the priest;
10 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the rising be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising;
11 It is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he is unclean.
12 And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh;
13 Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.
14 But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean.
15 And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy.
16 Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest;
17 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the plague be turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: he is clean.

When a person had leprosy, he was to be brought to the priest to be pronounced as leprosy and not quarantined, but he was to be pronounced unclean. If it had spread all over the body and had all turned white, he was pronounced clean. If it was raw, he was pronounced unclean. If it turned white after becoming raw, he could be brought to the priest and pronounced clean.

18 The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed,
19 And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shewed to the priest;
20 And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil.
21 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein, and if it be not lower than the skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:
22 And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague.
23 But if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

If a person had a healed boil, with a rising white or bright spot of white or red, it was to be shown to the priest. The priest would determine if it was leprosy and if the person was to be pronounced unclean. If it was unknown, the priest would quarantine them for seven day and look again. If it had spread, they would be pronounced unclean. If it had not spread, they would be pronounced clean.

24 Or if there be any flesh, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the quick flesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white;
25 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it be in sight deeper than the skin; it is a leprosy broken out of the burning: wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.
26 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hair in the bright spot, and it be no lower than the other skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:
27 And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.
28 And if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not in the skin, but it be somewhat dark; it is a rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean: for it is an inflammation of the burning.

If the person had hot skin where there were spots, they were brought to the priest to determine if it was leprosy. If it was, they were pronounced unclean with leprosy. If the priest could not tell, the person was quarantined for 7 days and then the priest would see if it had spread. If it spread, the person was pronounced unclean with leprosy. If not, the person was pronounced clean.

29 If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard;
30 Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard.
31 And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days:
32 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, if the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall be not in sight deeper than the skin;
33 He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more:
34 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, if the scall be not spread in the skin, nor be in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.
35 But if the scall spread much in the skin after his cleansing;
36 Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold, if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he is unclean.
37 But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and that there is black hair grown up therein; the scall is healed, he is clean: and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

If a person had possibly leprosy where their hair was, they were brought to the priest to determine if it was leprosy. If he did determine it was, by the way it looked and possibly yellow thin hair, they were pronounced unclean due to leprosy. If unknown, they were quarantined for seven days and checked again. If it had not spread and showed no sign of yellowed hair, then they were to be shaved on all their hair but where the mark was. Then they were quarantined for seven days again and if it had not spread, then the person was pronounced clean. They were to wash their clothes and be clean. If it had spread after being shaved, the priest was to check again and the person was pronounced unclean. If the mark had black hair growing, it was healed and the person was pronounced clean.

38 If a man also or a woman have in the skin of their flesh bright spots, even white bright spots;
39 Then the priest shall look: and, behold, if the bright spots in the skin of their flesh be darkish white; it is a freckled spot that groweth in the skin; he is clean.
40 And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean.
41 And he that hath his hair fallen off from the part of his head toward his face, he is forehead bald: yet is he clean.
42 And if there be in the bald head, or bald forehead, a white reddish sore; it is a leprosy sprung up in his bald head, or his bald forehead.
43 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, if the rising of the sore be white reddish in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, as the leprosy appeareth in the skin of the flesh;
44 He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague is in his head.
45 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.
46 All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

If a person had bright white spots on their skin, they were shown to the priest. If the spots were dark white, it was just a growth and the person was pronounced clean. If it was a bald man, he was clean. If it was a balding man, with a bald forehead, he was clean. If it was a bald or balding man with a sore, it was leprosy and he was shown to the priest. If it was a reddish-white sore, he was pronounced unclean by leprosy. The person with leprosy, had his clothes rent. The lepers were to be without a covering on their head and had a covering over his mouth. Then they were to declare they were unclean around others. While suffering from leprosy, they were to be sent out of the encampment, unclean and alone.

The act of clothes being rent was used as a sign of mourning, I think because it is designed to take a person’s status and bring them low, humbling them. I am sure there was a great deal of mourning when one was found to be leprous. It was also a outward expression of being unworthy and accounted as unacceptable to participate in the ordinances of the gospel. The lepers were not able to participate, until they could be pronounced clean again. This is so sad to me and I am glad that there are few contagious diseases that we have to deal with today, which would make people unable to worship and serve God as they desire.

47 The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;
48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin;
49 And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest:
50 And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days:
51 And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean.
52 He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire.
53 And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin;
54 Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more:
55 And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without.
56 And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof:
57 And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire.
58 And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean.
59 This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

Any clothing worn by one with leprosy, which showed the signs of the disease, was unclean. It was to be burnt. If it did not show signs of the leprosy, it was to be washed and put away for seven days. If, at this point, it looked the same, it was unclean and was to be burnt. If it had darkened, then it was torn out of the clothes. If it still was in the clothes, it was spreading and the garment was to be burnt. If after being removed, the garment looked fine, it was to be washed again and pronounced clean.

I think that there is a lot to the idea of leprosy and what it should remind us of, but I’ll save some of that for another time (I think the next chapter continues on this). At this point, I think that we can learn that the Lord is aware of us. Our health is known to the Lord, just as our spirit is known to Him. The health of our bodies is of great importance to our spiritual health, because they together make up a living soul. When our bodies are not well, we tend to focus on that and it becomes difficult to be edified in the spirit. It was a sad thing for people to be cast out for this plaque. It does not mean, however, that they were all deserving of it due to some type of sin. In some cases, though, it was a way that the Lord chastened individuals because of their sins.

On the other hand, the Israelites were God’s chosen people. They had been promised the blessings of Abraham, which meant they were promised to be a people of great number. If a plaque, such as this, was allowed to spread among the people, it would have meant a significant number of the host of Israel would have been lost. In order to protect the host of Israel, these individuals had to be declared unclean and separated from the whole of society. It was the responsibility of the priesthood, to protect the Lord’s people in order to further the work of the Lord. I think of the many destructive, physical plaques that people have had to deal with throughout time. I have read of entire groups of people dying because of a plaque. I cannot imagine living at a time like this and I am so grateful that we have the medical advancements which allow us to be protected from many of these types of things. I am grateful for the loving hand of God, and to know that we can be protected according to His will for His people. Moreover, the understanding, that the Lord’s work will not be stopped because of something such as this, gives me hope in the outcome of this mortal sphere.

Leviticus Chapter 12

The book of Leviticus continues to reveal the laws and statutes of God to the children of Israel. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
7 Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

Moses was commanded by the Lord, to instruct the Israelites of the law of purification of women. When a child was born, the woman was to be considered unclean for seven days afterwards. On the eighth day, any male infant was to be circumcised according to the covenant tradition of their fathers since it was instituted with Abraham (see Genesis 17:10). Then, for 33 days longer, she was not to touch anything holy or go to the tabernacle or sanctuary. When those days of purification were complete, she was to bring a burnt offering of a firstborn lamb, a pigeon or a turtle dove, and a pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. Once atonement was made by the priests, she was considered clean.

I don’t know the exact reason for this need for purification, but I have an idea as to why this was necessary for them. Throughout the Bible, we have references to blood and the life it is. The greatest references to blood, have to do with the connection they have with the Lord and his sacrifice for mankind. When a child is born, the mother has an issue of blood. Then giving a sacrifice of a lamb fulfills the time of her uncleanliness, in the same way that the sacrifice of the Savior fulfilled the time of performing blood sacrifices. The Bible Dictionary reads, “Uncleanness referred to being ceremonially or ritually unclean and should not be taken to mean that the touching of a dead body or the bearing of children was morally evil. These regulations … were introduced in the law of carnal commandments (of performances and ordinances) of the law of Moses; being fulfilled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, they are no longer required of the believers.” The blood of Christ, giving willingly as an atonement for all mankind, has made it so all can be clean through Him. This is another reason to find joy in the Atonement.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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