Miracle #9. Leper is healed.
- The Ninth Miracle of Messiah
- Opening-up questions and clues
- What is the procedure for making a leper pure?
- We are His New Creation
- Moses the Leper
- Miryam the Leper
- Naaman the Leper
- The Babylonian Talmud
- More questions and clues regarding the Leper Messiah
The Ninth Miracle of Messiah:
וַיֵּרֶד מִן־הָהָר וַיֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרָיו הֲמוֹן עַם רָב׃ וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מְצֹרָע בָּא וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ־לוֹ וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנִי אִם־תִּרְצֶה תּוּכַל לְטַהֲרֵנִי׃ וַיִּשְׁלַח יֵשׁוּעַ אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיִּגַּע־בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר חָפֵץ אָנֹכִי טְהָר וּבְרֶגַע נִרְפְּאָה צָרַעְתּוֹ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ רְאֵה אַל־תְּסַפֵּר לְאִישׁ וְלֵךְ הֵרָאֵה אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן וְהִקְרַבְתָּ אֶת־הַקָּרְבָּן אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה משֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם׃
הוּא יָרַד מִן הָהָר וַהֲמוֹן עַם רַב הָלְכוּ אַחֲרָיו. אָז הִתְקָרֵב אִישׁ מְצֹרָע, הִשְׁתַּחֲוָה לוֹ וְאָמַר: “אֲדוֹנִי, אִם תִּרְצֶה תּוּכַל לְטַהֵר אוֹתִי.” הוֹשִׁיט יֵשׁוּעַ אֶת יָדוֹ, נָגַע בּוֹ וְאָמַר: “רוֹצֶה אֲנִי! הִטָּהֵר!” וּמִיָּד נִרְפְּאָה צָרַעְתּוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ: “רְאֵה, אַל תְּסַפֵּר לְאִישׁ, אֲבָל לֵךְ הֵרָאֵה אֶל הַכֹּהֵן וְהַקְרֵב אֶת הַקָּרְבָּן אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם.” פ
He (the Mashiach) descended from the mountain, and a great crowd of people followed Him. Then a man who was a metzora (leper) came and bowed down to Him, saying, “Master, if you are willing, you are able to purify me!” Yeshua reached out His hand and touched him and said, “I desire. Be pure!” And in an instant, he was healed of his tzara’at (leprosy). Yeshua said to him, “See to it that you do not relate this to anyone, but go show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice that Mosheh commanded for testimony to them.”
וַיָּבוֹא אֵלָיו אִישׁ מְצֹרָע וַיִּתְחַנֵּן אֵלָיו וַיִכְרַע עַל־בִּרְכָּיו וַיּאֹמֶר לוֹ אִם־תִּרְצֶה תּוּכַל לְטַהֲרֵנִי׃ וַיְרַחֵם עָלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ וַיִּשְׁלַח יָדוֹ וַיִּגַּע־בּוֹ וַיֹּאמַר רֹצֶה אָנֹכִי טְהָר׃ עוֹדֶנּוּ מְדַבֵּר וְהַצָּרַעַת סָרָה מִמֶּנּוּ וַיִּטְהָר׃ וַיִּגְעַר־בּוֹ וַימַהֵר לְהוֹצִיאוֹ הַחוּצָה׃ וַיּאֹמֶר אֵלָיו רְאֵה אַל־תַּגִּיד לְאִישׁ דָּבָר וְלֵךְ הֵרָאֵה אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן וְהַקְרֵב לְטָהֳרָתְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה משֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם׃ וְהוּא יָצָא וַיָּחֶל לִקְרֹא הַרְבֵּה וּלְהַשְׁמִיעַ הַדָּבָר עַד אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָכֹל לָבוֹא עוֹד אֶל־עִיר לְעֵינֵי הָעָם וַיֵּשֶׁב מִחוּץ לָעִיר בִּמְקֹמוֹת חָרְבָּה וַיָּבֹאוּ אֵלָיו מִכָּל־עֲבָרָיו מִסָּבִיב׃
בָּא אֵלָיו אִישׁ מְצֹרָע וְהִתְחַנֵּן לְפָנָיו. הוּא כָּרַע עַל בִּרְכָּיו וְאָמַר לוֹ: “אִם תִּרְצֶה תּוּכַל לְטַהֵר אוֹתִי.” בְּרֹב רַחֲמָיו הוֹשִׁיט יֵשׁוּעַ אֶת יָדוֹ, נָגַע בּוֹ וְאָמַר אֵלָיו: “רוֹצֶה אֲנִי! הִטָּהֵר!” בְּאוֹתוֹ רֶגַע סָרָה מִמֶּנּוּ הַצָּרַעַת וְהוּא נִטְהַר. יֵשׁוּעַ הִזְהִיר אוֹתוֹ וּמִהֵר לְשַׁלֵּחַ אוֹתוֹ. אָמַר אֵלָיו: “רְאֵה, אַל תַּגִּיד דָּבָר לְאִישׁ. בְּרַם לֵךְ הֵרָאֵה אֶל הַכֹּהֵן וְהַקְרֵב לְטָהֳרָתְךָ אֶת אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם.” אַךְ הוּא יָצָא וְהִרְבָּה לְהַכְרִיז וּלְהָפִיץ בָּרַבִּים אֶת הַדָּבָר, עַד אֲשֶׁר יֵשׁוּעַ לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל עוֹד לָבוֹא אֶל עִיר בְּגָלוּי אֶלָּא הָיָה נִשְׂאָר מִחוּץ לָעִיר בִּמְקוֹמוֹת שׁוֹמְמִים; וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם בָּאוּ אֵלָיו. פ
A man who was a metzora came to Him, and he pleaded with Him and fell down on his knees and said to Him, “If you are willing, you are able to purify me!” Yeshua (lit. the Salvation of Adonai) had compassion on Him; He reached out His hand and touched him and said, “I am willing. Be pure!” While He was still speaking, the tzara’at departed from Him and he became pure. He (the Mashiach) warned him and quickly took him outside. He said to him, “See to it that you do not tell anything to anyone, but go show yourself to the priest, and make the sacrifice for your purification that Mosheh commanded as testimony to them. But he went out and began to proclaim profusely and make the matter heard, until He (the Mashiach) could no longer come to the city in the sight of the people. So He sat outside the city in desolate places, and they came to Him from all the surrounding regions.”
וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בְּאַחַת הֶעָרִים וְהִנֵּה־אִישׁ כֻּלּוֹ צָרוּעַ וַיַּרְא אֶת־יֵשׁוּעַ וַיִּפֹּל עַל־פָּנָיו וַיִּתְחַנֵּן אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר אֲדֹנִי אִם־תַּחְפֹּץ תּוּכַל לְטַהֲרֵנִי׃ וַיִּשְׁלַח אֶת־יָדוֹ וַיִּגַּע־בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר חָפֵץ אָנֹכִי טְהָר וּפִתְאֹם סָרָה מִמֶּנּוּ הַצָּרָעַת׃ וַיְצַו עָלָיו לְבִלְתִּי סַפֵּר לְאִישׁ כִּי אִם־לֵךְ וְהֵרָאֵה אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן וְהַקְרֵב קָרְבָּן עַל־טָהֳרָתְךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה משֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם׃ וְשָׁמְעוֹ הוֹלֵךְ הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל וַיִּקָּבְצוּ עַם רַב לִשְׁמוֹעַ וּלְהֵרָפֵא עַל־יָדוֹ מִתַּחֲלוּאֵיהֶם׃ וְהוּא סָר אֶל־הַמִּדְבָּרוֹת וּמִתְפַּלֵּל׃
בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בְּאַחַת הֶעָרִים בָּא אִישׁ נָגוּעַ כֻּלּוֹ בְּצָרַעַת. כַּאֲשֶׁר רָאָה אֶת יֵשׁוּעַ, נָפַל עַל פָּנָיו וְהִתְחַנֵּן אֵלָיו: “אֲדוֹנִי, אִם תִּרְצֶה תּוּכַל לְטַהֵר אוֹתִי.” יֵשׁוּעַ הוֹשִׁיט אֶת יָדוֹ וּבְנָגְעוֹ בּוֹ אָמַר: “רוֹצֶה אֲנִי! הִטָּהֵר!” וּמִיָּד נֶעֶלְמָה הַצָּרַעַת. “אַל תְּסַפֵּר לְאִישׁ”, צִוָּה עָלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ, כִּי אִם לֵךְ הֵרָאֵה אֶל הַכֹּהֵן וְהַקְרֵב קָרְבָּן עַל טָהֳרָתְךָ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁצִּוָּה מֹשֶׁה לְעֵדוּת לָהֶם.” אוּלָם הַשְּׁמוּעָה עַל־אוֹדוֹתָיו הָלְכָה וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטָה וַהֲמוֹנִים רַבִּים נִקְבְּצוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ וּלְהֵרָפֵא מִתַּחֲלוּאֵיהֶם, אַךְ הוּא הָיָה פּוֹרֵשׁ אֶל מְקוֹמוֹת שׁוֹמְמִים וּמִתְפַּלֵּל. פ
When He was in one of the towns, there was a man who was entirely affected by tzara’at. He saw Yeshua and fell on his face pleading with HIm, saying, “My master, if you desire, you are able to purify me.” He reached out His hand and touched him and said, “I desire. Be pure!” Suddenly, the tzara’at departed from him. He commanded him not to tell this to anyone, but to go and be shown to the priest and to bring a korban (a sacrificial offering) for his purification just as Mosheh had commanded as testimony to them. News of Him spread quickly and increased, and a large group of people gathered to hear Him and be healed by Him from their diseases. But He departed to the wilderness areas and prayed.
Opening-up questions and clues:
The following opening-up questions and clues are provided as an introduction to this study on the 9th Miracle of Messiah:
Look at the symbolism of the above sign and miracle narrative: At what location does the sign/miracle occur? Who among all of the great ones in the history of Israel is brought to mind in the descriptive phrase, “He descended from the mountain”? How are the Messiah and Moses alike? How are they different?
What do we know about the leprosy that existed in biblical times? Clue: We know that the leprosy that existed during the times of the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah included a wider range of skin disorders than just Hansens’s disease (modern leprosy). We also know that Hansen’s disease was the most serious of these diseases. How is Hansen’s disease helpful to our understanding of sin?
What does Hansen’s disease include that the other forms of tzara’at (Hebrew) and lepra (Greek) do not? Clue: “Necrosis” (νέκρωσις “death, the stage of dying, the act of killing” from νεκρός “dead”). What is necrosis? Clue: Necrosis is a form of cell injury which results in the premature death of cells in living tissue by “self-digestion” (autolysis).
What is “autolysis?” How is this medical phenomenon of ‘death by self-digestion’ an apt description of the ultimate and most serious effect of the spiritual condition that is called sin? Is this death temporal or eternal? Clue: Read Messiah in Shavuot Chapter 19.
After reporting to the priest and engaging in the healing process on what day is the leper able to associate with others in the community? After undergoing a second cleansing and providing the appropriate offerings on what day is the healed person pronounced free to fully participate in the corporate worship of Adonai?
What biblical meanings are conveyed in the two terms Seven days and The Eighth Day? Over the eight days of examination and cleansing what eight different items are required to cleanse a leper? Clue: This required two birds, cedar wood, scarlet wool yarn, and hyssop on the first day (Leviticus 14:4-8); and on the eighth day two male lambs, a ewe lamb, flour, and oil (Leviticus 14:10).
What are the spiritual meanings of all these various items? Clue: All of these items are a testimony to the redemptive ministry of the Mashiach, the Redeemer of Israel.
What is the procedure for making a leper pure?
Throughout the purification process prescribed by Moses the degree of impurity of the leper is reduced in three stages. Day 1. The procedure for making a leper pure included: killing a bird, dipping a live bird and certain other things into the blood of the killed bird, sprinkling the “back of the leper’s hand” (Mishnah) with the blood of the dead bird seven times and freeing the live bird. The priest then shaved all of the visible hair from the leper’s body; thereafter, the leper washed his clothes and immersed himself. Stage 1: What initial spiritual regenerative process and developmental stage is communicated here? How does the high priest Aaron and the historian Josephus describe the condition of a leper before his healing and cleansing? Clue: Numbers 12:12a; Antiquities of the Jews 3:261-9). Day 7. Then, on the seventh day, the priest once again shaved the leper’s body and as before (on the first day), the leper washed his clothes, immersed himself and waited until sunset. Stage 2: What secondary spiritual developmental process and stage is communicated here? Clue: Seven days have gone by. The seventh day indicates a process that has culminated in “completion” and “perfection.” Day 8. Then at sunset (at the beginning of the eighth day) the leper brings three lambs (two male, one female) as his offering to the Temple (in Jerusalem). The Temple priests smear the blood of the sacrificed lambs on the leper in the specified manner (upon the back of his hand) and perform additional appropriate rituals. Stage 3: What final mature spiritual developmental stage is in view in the Eighth Day? Clue: After what day of the week did the Mashiach resurrect from the dead? Clue: What is another number that is assigned to the first day of the week? If the Seventh Day (Shabbat) represents the “Rest,” when the final work of the Spirit corporately brings our lives to a state of completion and perfection, what does the Eighth Day represent? What kind of Life follows completion and perfection?
We are His New Creation:
Why did the Messiah lay His hands on the leper when He healed him?
What are the hands a symbol of? Clues: In the ancient Hebrew alphabet that Moses wrote the Torah in the tenth letter “yod” is configured in the shape of an extended arm and back of the hand. This tenth letter indicates a work or deed that is completed (closed). Also, in ancient Hebrew the eleventh letter “kaf” is depicted in the shape of a hand that is “open” and faced out presenting both the palm and all five fingers. This eleventh letter indicates a work that is begun but not yet completed or an “ongoing” process that may continue on indefinitely. How do these symbols of the open and closed hand positions apply to Moses’ own experience of affliction and cleansing? What happened to the entirety of Moses’ hand in Exodus 4:6-7? On what festival day do we gently strike our breast with our hand as a sign of our sincere regret for our past sins? How does this expression on Yom Kippur relate to our present study of the healing of Moses’ leprosy and His procedures for healing-cleansing a leper?
Moses the Leper:
Why did Adonai first make Moses’ hand as the hand of a leper? (cf. Exodus 4:6-7 below) Based on our study of leprosy thus far what spiritual state does the leprous hand of Moses symbolize?
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה לֹו עֹוד הָֽבֵא־נָא יָֽדְךָ בְּחֵיקֶךָ וַיָּבֵא יָדֹו בְּחֵיקֹו וַיֹּוצִאָהּ וְהִנֵּה יָדֹו מְצֹרַעַת כַּשָּֽׁלֶג׃וַיֹּאמֶר הָשֵׁב יָֽדְךָ אֶל־חֵיקֶךָ וַיָּשֶׁב יָדֹו אֶל־חֵיקֹו וַיֹּֽוצִאָהּ מֵֽחֵיקֹו וְהִנֵּה־שָׁבָה כִּבְשָׂרֹֽו׃
“Adonai furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.” Two times Moses was instructed to touch the part of his body that is located just over the heart. What does the heart symbolize? What is the spiritual meaning of the “Bosom of Moses?” How is the “Bosom of Moses” both a testimony to Adonai’s judgment of sin and a testimony to His forgiveness of sin? How does this testimony apply specifically to the chosen people and nation of Israel? Who is the “Moses to Come?” How does the One Who Comes (Hu Haba’) bring regenerative cleansing, perfect healing, and eternal life to the people of Israel? What is the messianic meaning of the prophet Moses placing his hand in his bosom and ‘first’ drawing out leprosy and then placing his leprosy into his bosom a ‘second’ time and drawing out a purified hand that has been cleansed of leprosy?
Miryam the Leper:
וַיֹּאמֶר אַהֲרֹן אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בִּי אֲדֹנִי אַל־נָא תָשֵׁת עָלֵינוּ חַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר נֹואַלְנוּ וַאֲשֶׁר חָטָֽאנוּ׃
But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miryam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miryam, behold, she was leprous. (Numbers 12:11)
וַתִּסָּגֵר מִרְיָם מִחוּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְהָעָם לֹא נָסַע עַד־הֵאָסֵף מִרְיָֽם׃
So Miryam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again. (Numbers 12:15)
Who were the parents and brothers of Miryam? What are their names; including the name of their tribe? What do these names mean and how do these meanings relate to this study on leprosy? What special spiritual gift did Miryam possess? What sin did the prophetess commit that caused her to contract leprosy? Who gave her the leprosy? Who first asked for Miryam to be healed? What office did Aaron hold? Who did Aaron ask to pray for his sister’s healing? Was she healed? Over what period of time did Miryam remain a leper? If the Moses to come is the one who heals the people and nation of Israel—of all of our diseases—“How does He accomplish this?” How does the sin and leprosy of the prophetess Miryam and her seven-day healing apply to our present messianic study?
Naaman the Leper:
There is only one instance of a Gentile being healed of leprosy in the Tanakh. What connection does this healing of the Syrian General Naaman have with the healing of the prophetess Miryam?
וַיִּשְׁלַח אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע מַלְאָךְ לֵאמֹר הָלֹוךְ וְרָחַצְתָּ שֶֽׁבַע־פְּעָמִים בַּיַּרְדֵּן וְיָשֹׁב בְּשָׂרְךָ לְךָ וּטְהָֽר׃
Elisha sent a messenger to him (Naaman), saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10)
וַיֵּרֶד וַיִּטְבֹּל בַּיַּרְדֵּן שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים כִּדְבַר אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים וַיָּשָׁב בְּשָׂרֹו כִּבְשַׂר נַעַר קָטֹן וַיִּטְהָֽר׃
“So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of the Almighty One (Ha-Elohim-הָאֱלֹהִים); and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean” (2 KIngs 5:14). Elisha followed after the ministry of Elijah. What two administrations of prophetic ministry do these men represent? What are the meanings of the names of the two men? What tribes do the two prophets belong to? What Message do these meanings convey to those of us who are Yehudim? What Message of redemption, therefore, are those of us who are the people and nation of Israel obligated to convey to the Gentile nations and peoples of the world? At what location was Naaman instructed to immerse himself? How many times was Naaman required to immerse himself? What is the meaning of Naaman’s name? What is the meaning of his immersion in the Jordan? How is this healing and cleansing of a Gentile related to Elijah, Elisha and the Mashiach?
The Babylonian Talmud:
The Babylonian Talmud is the oldest and earliest (written) evidence of what the original rabbinic interpretation was of Isaiah 53. This second century (CE) rabbinic writing supports the belief that the Suffering Servant (the Mashiach) was a perfect (sinless) individual. Not an imperfect national Messiah. In this ancient Aramaic interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures it is written: “The world was created but only for the Messiah… The Messiah—What is his name?…The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said [in Isaiah 53:4], `surely he has borne our sicknesses and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of the Almighty and afflicted…'” (Sanhedrin 98b)
“All the prophets prophesied only of the days of the Messiah” (Sanhedrin 99a).
Do you agree with these ancient assertions regarding the Mashiach? Or do you accept the more modern view that the Mashiach is the nation of Israel? Are the nation and people of Israel without sin? Certainly not! Is it not then obvious that the Babylonian Talmud is correct in its assertion that the Mashiach is an Individual? Who in all of our history has never sinned? Who among us has ever been qualified and willing to sacrifice His life for the sake of all?
More questions and clues regarding the Leper Messiah:
אָכֵן חֳלָיֵנוּ הוּא נָשָׂא וּמַכְאֹבֵינוּ סְבָלָם וַאֲנַחְנוּ חֲשַׁבְנֻהוּ נָגוּעַ מֻכֵּה אֱלֹהִים וּמְעֻנֶּֽה׃
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of Elohim, and afflicted.
A word association between the leper and the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 involves the Hebrew verb nagua’ (נָגוּעַ-from נָגַע ) which means to “touch,” “strike,” “reach, to extend,” to be “stricken.” The Torah refers to the condition of leprosy with the noun form of the same word which means “stricken,” “affliction,”and “plague.” The Talmud quotes Isaiah 53:4 where Isaiah uses the same word to describe the affliction of the Suffering Servant: “Surely our sicknesses (nagua’, נָגוּעַ) He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). On the basis of these associations, the ancient rabbis referred to the Suffering Messiah the son of Joseph as “The Leper.” In this depiction the Mashiach Ben Yosef carries the suffering of the exile and the punishment of the Jewish people like a leper carries his affliction. From the eighth century (BCE) to the third century (CE) the wise men and rabbis of Israel understood Isaiah 53:4 to mean that the Individual Messiah took on the nation’s leprosy. The title “Leper Messiah” appears to contradict the Tanakh’s other descriptions of the Messiah: “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13). The scriptures indicate that the Messiah will be the wisest of all men, exalted above Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and even the angels. His stature will exceed that of all the great men and kings of the earth. So, how do we reconcile these two quite opposite descriptions? How do we reconcile the Justice of Adonai with the fact that He has allowed the Mashiach as the Redeemer of Israel to suffer for sins that He did not commit? How is it that the One can save the many through His substituting His life for ours? Is this not in fact exactly what is symbolized in the multiple sacrifices prescribed by Moses? Nationally we must ask then, “When will the Mashiach cease to be the Leper Messiah in exile from His own people?” Or put another way: “When will we the people of Israel cease to be exiled from Adonai and the Messiah?” Clue: When the people of Israel no longer reject the Messiah then Adonai will no longer reject us. Therefore: When is the promised day of our “purification” and “reconciliation” with Adonai? The day of our purification and reconciliation to Adonai refers to the moment of our national redemption when all Israel will be saved. Then will the Immortal Messiah reveal Himself: In His Unveiled Righteousness and Holiness He will gloriously reveal Himself to all of the children of Israel and to all the Gentile nations and peoples of the world!