“As for the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water. He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field” (Lev 14:6-7).

Leviticus 14 focuses on the purification ritual of a man who has been cleansed from leprosy, the rite of which provided him with renewed access to God's presence in the tabernacle, and to fellowship with the people of God. It is also in light of this ritual that Noah's actions after the flood take on a fuller meaning. The high priest's sending of the bird out into the field as part of this ritual is likely an allusion to Noah's sending of the dove from the ark after the flood (Gen 8:8-12). The likelihood of this connection is strengthened by the reference to Noah's sacrifice of “every clean animal” and “every clean bird” upon the altar after the flood (Gen 8:20-21). Seen in the light of these vital connections between Genesis and Leviticus, the flood is portrayed as the washing away of the world's ritual impurity (Lev 14:8-9; 15:5-8, 10-11, 13, 16, 18, 21-22, 27), and a restored creation. Noah, likewise, is pictured as God's great high priest for all of creation. And in this sense, Aaron's ritual in Leviticus 14 serves as a reminder of Noah's great high priesthood which provided some relief from the effects of the curse (Gen 8:21).

Noah's purification ritual for the cleansing of creation and Aaron's purification ritual for the cleansing of a leper not only testify to the extent of the defilement caused by Adam's consumption of a forbidden fruit (Gen 3:6,14-19), but also to our need for a great high priest far greater than Noah and Aaron, a high priest who will bring us eternal relief from the defilement of sin.

How blessed we are to know Jesus as our Savior, but we must also come to know him as our Great High Priest!

What do we do when we feel dirty, defiled, and separated from God and man because of our unclean thoughts? We come and bow down before our Great Heavenly High Priest and remind ourselves that through the blood of his perfect sacrifice we have been made ritually, spiritually, and eternally clean.

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:13-14).

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