Long before anyone knew what germs were or how to prevent the spread of diseases, the Torah gave specific instructions to help prevent their spread. Is this further evidence of a sovereign supernatural God intervening to protect and care for those created in His image?
What were the instructions given in the Torah? Who needed to be singled out for the protection of society at large? What was to be done with those afflicted, and is there any information in the Ancient Hebrew Pictograms that might help explain circumstances that are still occurring today?
The Hebrew word used for the afflicted person was Metzora. Although this word is commonly translated leper or leprous this doesn’t tell the whole story. This word is found in Second Kings Chapter 5 verse 27 where the servant of Elisha named Gahazi is cursed with leprosy for greed, lying, and disobedience. Elisha pronounces this judgement on Gahazi:
The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
The word leper is Metzora. This comes from a primitive root that means to scourge or to strike down and is therefore commonly applied to diseases. That is why it is often translated leper.
Each of the letters in Metzora are pictograms that contain meaning that adds to the conventional meaning in the text. What can they reveal to help us understand more? Metzora is spelled Mem Tsade Reysh Ayin.
Mem is the picture of waters either of chaos and destruction like a tsunami or of gentle waters that bring life like a stream in the desert. It can be the living waters or the Word of God that brings life.
Tsade is the picture of the fishhook and means to catch, to harvest, to strongly desire, or to be just or righteous.
Reysh is the picture of the head and means the leader, the master, or the prince.
Ayin is the picture of the eye and means to see, to know, or to experience.
What can we discern here? How does this relate to the judgement pronounced on Gahazi?
The pictographic content of Metzora explains that:
Gahazi will not be able to escape the master and will experience a judgement of chaos and destruction.
What would happen next to someone in Gahazi’s place? Little is recorded of Gahazi after this incident, but we have a good record of King Azariah, king of Judah, who failed to fully obey the LORD. In 2 Kings Chapter 15 verse 5 we read that:
The LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house.
The laws contained in Leviticus Chapter 14 and 15 gave varied instructions for the priests to follow for different purification needs. The Metzora was to submit to the priest for inspection and was then to be put outside the camp. Here we see that King Azariah spent the remainder of his days in isolation.
It is worth noting that in each case, the Metzora is a result of a judgement from the LORD. And it comes as a consequence of spiritual wrongdoing. According to Jewish rabbinical teaching the Metzora was literally a Motzi ra. This was someone guilty of social sins like slander, gossip, and false accusations, and as a result needed to be removed from the camp to prevent ethical contamination of those around them.
Where else can we find someone who was inspected by the priest and declared unclean and guilty of ethical contamination of all with whom He came into contact? Matthew Chapter 26 verse 57 tells us that:
And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the leaders were assembled.
After an examination of Jesus, in verse 65 Matthew writes:
Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
And was this condemned man put outside the camp? Hebrews Chapter 13 verses 12 and 13 state this:
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Jesus was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem at Golgotha.
In Chapter 53 verse 5 the prophet Isaiah detailed the future death of Messiah this way:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Did you follow this? Isaiah predicted that Jesus Christ would shed His blood for the Metzora He carried. Both the diseases and the guilt of the social sins of all people were put on Him on the cross. Does this mean that Jesus deserved the judgement of God?
Yes, but not for His account. Isaiah tells us in verse 9 that:
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Jesus deserved the judgement of God and deserved to be put to death outside the camp, but not because of anything He had done. It was because of what we have done. He took the sins of all mankind upon Himself so that we could be set free from the law of sin and death.
Jesus was Metzora or the one being diseased for you and me. He chose to experience being caught in the chaos and destruction from the Father so that you and I wouldn’t.
In the Gospel of John Chapter 10 verse 10 Jesus reminds us:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.