Leviticus 14:35, 49-53
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:
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.
If you read the entirety of Leviticus 14, you will see a broader application of the Lord’s directive to a person who was diagnosed with leprosy as well as any house that was identified to have contained a plague. Throughout this chapter, we can see of how the individual who was judged to be unclean would be quarantined. The home where the plague was identified was shut up and the area quarantined. Doesn’t that sound familiar? You see, the Lord was the original author of quarantine.
But in this message, I want to focus on the cleansing of the home that had been marked by a plague, and in doing so, help build your faith in the provision of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
In the text, the priest would take for the house to be cleansed of the plague two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. The priest would kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he would take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he would sprinkle it seven times on the house and then let the living bird loose in an open field so it would fly away into the heavens.
Cedar is extremely resistant to disease and decay. Cedar maintains a lasting, pleasant aroma. The work of God is permanent and leaves a lasting aroma that permeates the environment in which that work is completed. His work is highly resistant to disease and degradation. His work is resilient. No plague can infiltrate His work of redemptive and cleansing power. It can and will stand up to any element of decay.
Scarlet, which was red in color, was fabric dyed with indelible dye so that the red dye could never be separated from the thread of the fabric. In fact, the people who dyed cloth with this scarlet dye extracted from certain insects, would become so stained with the dye, that it left a permanent stain on their skin that could never be washed away. As God’s redeemed, we are permanently dyed with scarlet! Nothing can wash away this red stain!
Hyssop branches were used for the application of the blood and water to the house. Hyssop is the means by which the transfer would take place. It represented the transferable power of the blood and water from the sacrifice to the house. The blood represents the atonement and propitiating power of redemption. The water represents the Spirit of God. The blood covers. The Spirit cleanses and seals that which the blood has been applied to. This redemptive power is transferrable from the sacrifice to the object that is to be free from the plague.
One of the birds was killed in a clay bowl (an earthen vessel) that also contained water from a spring, creek, or river (running water). The blood of this sacrificed bird was collected together with the water in the clay bowl in which the bird was killed.
Running water is literally, “living water.” It refers to water that comes from a flowing source.
Then, the second bird (still alive), together with the cedar wood, the scarlet, and the hyssop branch, were dipped in the blood of the sacrificed bird.
The house was sprinkled seven times, which represents perfection of cleansing. Nothing further is needed. The cleansing is complete.
Then the living bird was set loose in an open field. The blood-stained bird was loosed to fly away into the heavens from which it came.
Understand this: a thing of the heavens was sacrificed in an earthen vessel. The thing that was killed, was cleansed by living water. Bearing the mark of sacrifice, the living bird flew away, ascending to the heavens and out of sight, taking with it the plague that had quarantined the house. Think about it. There was a transfer of blood and water to the house. But, as we know, a plague can be transferred. The living bird transferred the blood and water of redemption, cleansing, and sealing of the cleansing. The plague was transferred from the house to the living bird—that took it away!
These two birds represent the dual nature of Jesus Christ—He was divine, the Son of God from heaven. But He was human, the Son of man. Someone from the heavens was abased to die in an earthen vessel—His flesh. But the second bird, represents His divine nature. For after He died and shed His blood, He ascended back into the heavens taking with Him the mark of sacrifice of His blood, and taking away any plague that would mark our homes and our lives.
He has redeemed me, cleansed me, sealed me, and taken away the plague!
To establish the people of Central Appalachia in the principles of the Kingdom of God, and thereby releasing them to rise above all cultural, historical, economic, and generational limitations so they may live abundantly within their privileges and covenant as sons and daughters of God.