One of the reasons the Book of Leviticus was written is to provide an instruction manual to keep Israel pure and live in holiness before God. Moses was commissioned by God to inform Israel of a priest’s life and their precise work to represent an earthly example of obedience to God for Israel. Just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set guidelines and protocols for Covid-19, Leviticus clearly defines God’s standards for future outbreaks. Lepers in the Old Testament experienced one of the first forced quarantines ever recorded on earth.
Then the priest shall examine him, and if the diseased swelling is reddish white on his bald head or forehead like the appearance of leprosy in the skin of the body, 44 He is a leprous man; he is unclean; the priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his disease is on his head, Leviticus 13:43-44.
As the creator of man and woman, God understood how vulnerable human bodies would become after sin entered the world in Genesis 3. While Leviticus is a tough read, any doctor or nurse would find the medical protocols fascinating. The goal of this book is to educate individuals on how to stop the spread of disease. If you go back to March of 2020, some of the health standards implemented by the CDC come straight out of the Bible. Although washing your hands regularly and staying six feet apart may seem like a drag, it plays an important role in keeping people healthy.
And the leper’s clothes shall be rent, and the hair of his head shall hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, Unclean, unclean! 46 He shall remain unclean as long as the disease is in him; he is unclean; he shall live alone [and] his dwelling shall be outside the camp, Leviticus 13:45-46.
If you’ve ever contracted Covid-19, the chicken pox or any other contagious disease, you understand what it feels like to be quarantined. As for first century lepers who had encounters with Jesus, each was responsible for following the rules listed above whenever someone passing by got too close. Lepers were forced to live outside of the city limits until a priest gave them a clean bill of health to return to society. Until healing occurred, lepers could not be held or touched. This was deemed unsafe like those family members were who prevented from visiting hospitals and nursing homes to see their loved ones. As the spread of the Coronavirus appears to have faded, I pray that 2022 allows the outcast to be reunited soon.
by Jay Mankus