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From: Dean and Susan Wheelock
Subject: Preparing the Bride: Sin and Leprosy (Part 2 of 2)
Dean and Susan Wheelock have a ministry called Hebrew
roots. They produce a quarterly magazine called Hebrew roots. If you
would like to receive the magazine, please send an e-mail to Dean and
Susan at: (email@example.com) or write them at the following address:
P.O. Box 98
Lakewood, WI 54138
Preparing the Bride: The Sin of Leprosy
(Part 2 of 2)
From the website:
~ Robbing the Public ~
"You shall not steal." (Ex. 20:15)
While any kind of stealing is abhorrent to those who abide by the
laws of God, there is one particular kind of stealing which, in
Jewish tradition, was punishable by tzara'at (leprosy). This was the
merchant or businessman who made a practice of robbing the
public by overcharging for his merchandise or service.
Sometimes a person will steal because he is poor and needs food
for himself or his family. Such a situation may occur because the
society in which the individual lives is unwilling to provide the
assistance needed to help the individual through times of difficulty
and back into productive work. The Torah makes it clear that it is
every man's obligation to help his brother or sister who is in actual
need. This does not excuse able bodied men from working, if
work is available.
However, for a merchant (who is already making a living by
charging fair prices for his commodities) to overcharge, so that he
can gain more money from his customers, is abhorrent to the
"A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a lust weight
is His delight." (Prov. 11:1)
"`You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a
just hin I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of
Egypt. Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My
judgments, and perform them: I am the LORD.'" (Lev. 19:36-37)
Are there any members of the Bride of Messiah today who stand
guilty of robbing the public? If so, complete repentance and a change
of business habits is required.
~ Acting in a Capacity ~
~ Not Permitted to Him ~
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall
not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his
maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your
neighbor's." (Ex. 20:17)
Of all the commandments listed in the `ten words,' the one on
coveting is the most difficult to understand from a strictly human
standpoint. The apostle Paul said:
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the
contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I
would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, `You shall
not covet.'" (Rom. 7:7)
One of the ways in which a person covets is to desire the
position or prestige that another person enjoys. This affliction of
the heart can take thousands of forms. It might be the desire of a
person to be of the opposite sex. It might be the desire of a person
to be a leader when they possess no natural leadership skills. It
might be the desire of a person to be rich and influential in their
community when they have not earned that position. Look at
the example of King Uzziah:
"And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD,
according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He sought God in
the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God;
and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper." (II
Now one would think that a king would have no desire to covet,
since he would probably have all the physical items his heart
desired. However, once King Uzziah's mentor, the prophet
Zechariah, died, Uzziah began to drift away from his study of the
Torah and took up farming. In fact, farming became his passion.
"Also he built towers in the desert. He dug many wells,
for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he
also had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel,
for he loved the soil." (II Chron. 26:10)
Now there is nothing wrong with loving the soil, if you are
called to work the soil. However, Uzziah was called to be king of
Judah. One of the requirements to be king was to study Torah
on a daily basis, so that righteous rulership would exist in the
nation. As a result of his drift from Torah study, Uzziah became proud
in his heart and desired yet another position that was not his, that
of priest in the Temple.
"But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his
destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering
the temple of the LORD to bum incense on the altar of incense. "So
Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty
priests of the LORD, who were valiant men. And they withstood King
Uzziah, and said to him, `It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense
to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are
consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have
trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.' "Then Uzziah
became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to bum incense.
And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his
forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the
incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests
looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they
thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out,
because the LORD had struck him. "King Uzziah was a leper until the
day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a
leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his
son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land." (II
The apostle Paul made it very clear that the Bride of Messiah is
a body, tidy framed together by God Himself.
"For as the body is one and has many members, but all
the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is
Christ. "If the foot should say, `Because I am not an eye, I am not
of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were
an eye, where would be the hearing: If the whole were hearing, where
would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each
one of them in the body just as He pleased. ... "Now you are the body
of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in
the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after
that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations,
varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all
teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings?
Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire
the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way." (I Cor.
That more `excellent way' is not positions of power and prestige
within the Church, but a humble attitude of love and respect for all
the members of the Bride of Messiah. Are there any members of the
Bride of Messiah today who stand guilty of coveting by acting in a
capacity not permitted to them? If so, complete repentance and a
change of attitude is required.
~ Conceit ~
"`You shall have no other gods before Me." (Ex. 20:3)
In effect, all of the sins that caused the biblical form of
leprosy came from an attitude of conceit. Anytime a person puts
himself above others, he is setting himself up for a fall into
Conceit is the exact opposite of humbleness. Like leaven (a type
of sin), it puffs one up. But the Bride of Messiah must learn to walk
in "...the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (I Cor. 5:8).
"`For whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted.'" Luke 14:11)
Conceit is never far from the heart of any human being. It was in
the hearts of the disciples when they came to Yeshua and asked:
"...`Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'
"And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of
them, and said, `Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and
become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of
heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the
greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little
child like this in My name receives Me.'" (Matt. 18:1-5)
It is the natural instinct of the carnal mind to want to put
one's self above other people, for this is the attitude from
where the world's form of self esteem comes. But it is a false form of
self respect, and one into which the members of the Bride must not
Are there any members of the Bride of Messiah today who stand
guilty of conceit? If so, complete repentance and a humbleness of
heart is required.
~ Lashon Hara ~
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex. 20:16)
The most extreme forms of tzara'at (leprosy) were said to have
come forth upon those individuals who committed the sin of lashon
hara (lah-shone hah-rah = evil tongue). It is said that one who
speaks lashon hara denies the basic concepts of the Torah. If
this is true, then the Bride of Messiah is in deep, deep trouble, for
the evil tongue; the slanderous tongue; the tongue that has little
good to say about anyone (be they Believer or non-believer), is
rampant within the Believing community. It is important to note that
lashon hara is more than just speaking lies about other people.
Telling the truth about someone can also fall into the category of
lashon hara if the results of one's statement inflicts injury upon
another individual. All kinds of injury are included in lashon hara;
physical, monetary, mental, spiritual or emotional.
Let us again examine the case of Miriam, the sister of Moshe, in
"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the
Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian
woman." (Num. 12:1)
There are a couple of different ways of looking at this verse.
The most frequent understanding is that Miriam and Ahron criticized
Moshe because he had married outside of his racial group. Ethiopians
were understood to be descendants of Noah's son Ham, as they were not
of Semitic (descendants of Shem) origin.
Another way of looking at this, is that they may have been
critical of the troubles that Moshe and Zipporah had during their
trek from Midian to Egypt, and the fact that Zipporah seems to have
spoken disrespectfully to Moshe over the issue of circumcision.
"And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the
LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone
and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' feet, and
said, `Surely you are a husband of blood to me!' "So He let him go.
Then she said, `You are a husband of blood!' -- because of the
circumcision." (Ex. 4:24-26)
After the Exodus we find that Moshe and Zipporah are not living
together, for Zipporah's father, Jethro, brings her back to Moshe.
"Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife,
after he had sent her back, with her two sons, ... and Jethro, Moses'
father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the
wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of
God." (Ex. 18:2-3,5)
This passage has led some to speculate that Moshe and Zipporah
were divorced, and that the Ethiopian woman mentioned in Numbers 12
is a different woman altogether. This theory also seems plausible
when one considers the fact that it is difficult to draw a connection
between the people called Midianites and the
Jewish tradition has a different view. They teach that Moshe had
stopped living with Zipporah as a husband. The reason given for this
decision was because of the command that God had given to the
children Israel prior to His revelation on Mt. Sinai. At that time
God had said:
"The Moses went down from the mountain to the people and
sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to
the people, `Be ready for the third. day; do not come near your
wives.'" (Ex. 19:14-15)
Since Moshe was in constant communication with God, he apparently
felt it was necessary to remain apart from his wife so that he would
never be in an unclean state due to having sexual relations with her.
Since God had not rebuked him on this point, Moshe felt he was doing
the correct thing by staying apart.
Whatever the reason for the criticism, the simple fact remains
that Miriam spoke against Moshe concerning his marriage, and Ahron
listened to her without rebuking her testimony. This sin would have
been great enough but it was compounded by the next statement:
"And they said, `Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?
Has He not spoken through us also?' And the LORD heard it."
In this case, it would have been bad enough for Miriam and Ahron
to express their displeasure over Moses marital relationship
(whatever the problem might have been), but they compounded their sin
by putting themselves on an equal status with Moshe. This makes them
also guilty of the sin of coveting; `Acting in a Capacity Not
In the above example we can see that once lashon hara has been
expressed, it often leads the speaker (or those who hear it) to
commit other sins that would not have occurred had the evil words
never been spoken in the first place.
Are there any members of the Bride of Messiah today who stand
guilty of lashon hara? If so, complete repentance and a change of
speech habits is required.
~ An Evil Eye ~
"You shall not steal" (Ex. 20:15)
In Jewish teaching, the term `evil eye characterizes someone who
is miserly, who is not willing to share his things with those in
need, or is not willing to give generously to the poor. It is said
that the punishment for this type of sin is to have one's house
stricken with leprosy. Thus, if an individual refused to loan a needy
neighbor some food by saying that he did not have what was requested
(when in actual fact he did have it), all of the belongings of his
house would be put out in the street, when the house was vacated
because of it's leprous condition. That way, everyone could see that
the man not only had an `evil eye,' he also was a liar.
A miserly attitude is indicative of a greater problem that exists
within the personality of the individual so afflicted. It is the
outward manifestation of an inward tendency to disrespect or to
even hate others.
"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good,
your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, (KJV =
evil'), your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the
light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness." (Matt.
Yeshua equated the `evil eye' with the laborer who was angry
because he received the same amount of pay for working a full day as
did the laborers who only worked for one hour, even though the
full-day laborer had agreed to the given wage ahead of time. In other
words, he wanted more than he had bargained for.
"`Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last
man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish
with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' "So the
last will be first, and the first last. for many are called, but few
The early laborer should have been pleased that the man who was
unable to find work all day long was blessed by the landowner in such
a generous way. Certainly this late laborer would have been happy to
work all day long had he been able to find work the first thing in
the morning. To condemn the landowners generosity to this needy
laborer is to have the inherent spirit of an `evil eye.'
Are there any members of the Bride of Messiah today who have an
`evil eye?' If so, complete repentance and a change of these miserly
habits is required.
~ Taking a Vain Oath ~
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex. 20:16
To stand up in court and take an oath to tell "the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth," and then perjure one's self,
is indeed the `taking of a vain oath.' But it is also a `vain oath'
to tell someone (whether in a court of law or not) that something is
true, when you know for a fact that it is false.
As Believers we are cautioned by our Savior and Husband, Yeshua
HaMashiach, that we are not to swear at all.
"`Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, "You
shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord." But I
say to you, do not swear at all neither by heaven, for it is God's
throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; not by Jerusalem,
for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your
head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your
"Yes" by "Yes," and your "No," "No." For whatever is more than these
is from the evil one.'" (Matt. 5:34-37)
There is a classic example in Scripture where a man took a `vain
oath' (one he knew was not true) and was plagued with leprosy as a
result. It is the story of Gehazi, the servant of the prophet of God,
Naaman was the commander of the army of the nation of Syria and
he was afflicted with leprosy. A captured servant girl from Israel
suggested to Naaman's wife that he contact a prophet of God in
Samaria for possible healing of his affliction.
So the king of Syria composed a letter to the king of Israel
asking him to heal Naaman of his leprosy. The king of
Israel was extremely upset be-cause he had no power to heal leprosy or
any other disease. The king of Israel was afraid that when the king of
Syria learned that he was powerless to perform the required healing
that war would ensue.
However, Elisha the prophet heard about the problem and asked
that Naaman be sent to him. Naaman came to Elisha, but Elisha did not
even go out to see him. He merely told Gehazi, his servant, to tell
Naaman to immerse himself seven times in the Jordan
river and his leprosy would disappear.
Naaman was angry that Elisha did not come out to see him, but was
finally persuaded by his attendants to try out the cure anyway. Sure
enough, the leprosy disappeared immediately and
Naaman returned to Elisha to thank him and to offer him valuable
gifts. But Elisha declined the gifts:
"But he said, `As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will
receive nothing.' And he urged him to take it but he refused." (II
Naaman left with his entourage to return to Syria. However,
Gehazi, Elisha's servant, had overheard the conversation and became
greedy. He followed after Naaman and intercepted him on the
"So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after
him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, `Is all well?'
"And he said, `All is well. My master has sent me, saying, "Indeed,
just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me
from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver
and two changes of garments.'" "So Naaman said, `Please, take two
talents.' And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two
bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his
servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. "Now he went in and
stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, `Where did
you go Gehazi?' and he said, `Your servant did not go anywhere.'
"Then he said to him, `Did not my heart go with you when the man
turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money
and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen,
male and female servants: Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling
to you and your descendants forever.' "And he went out from his
presence leprous, as white as snow." (II Kings 5:21-27)
Are there any members of the Bride of Messiah today who have
taken a `vain oath?' If so, complete repentance and a determination
never to do so again is required.
~ The Leprosy of the Bride ~
What do all these stories about the punishment of sin through
leprosy have to do with the twentieth century Bride of Messiah? After
all, the biblical form of leprosy no longer exists, and sin is no
longer punished in this manner.
Well, there is a reason for all of this instruction, for a great
deal of Scripture is taken up teaching us about how leprosy
was used as an immediate punishment for very grave sin. It was all
recorded so that those upon whom the end of the age has come might
read, understand and come to a righteous fear of our Creator God. For:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for
every good work." (II Tim. 3:16)
But how does all of this apply to us today?
Simple: Sin still exists in the Body of Messiah, the Bride of
Christ; for the Church still lives in the house of her evil earthly
father, HaSatan, the adversary. Like a leprous cancer, sin in
all of its forms has invaded the Body of the Bride of Messiah. It
appears in various forms of spiritual sickness that we see taking hold
of the Believing community. Yes, false doctrines are a part of it, but
the real leprosy is one of the spirit, not of the mind. An inability
to truly love one another; the willingness of so many to believe the
worst about other Believers; the lack of concern for those who are in
need or suffer from physical aliments, and the list goes on and on.
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for
men shall be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving,
unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of
good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And
from such people turn away!" (II Tim. 3:1-5)
~ What Must We Do? ~
Today the orthodox Jews believe the entirety of the world is in a
state of ritual uncleanness, for there are no ashes of the Red Heifer
by which a person may be ritually cleansed. Certainly, in
relationship to Temple worship that is true.
But there is a way for an individual, who is called by God, to be
spiritually cleansed of these terrible sins and of the spiritual
leprosy that grips the world. That way is through complete
trust and confidence in our Husband and Savior, Yeshua HaMashiach.
Yeshua is now our High Priest, He is the one who is able to cleanse us
from our spiritual uncleanness. He is the one through whom
forgiveness of those sins (which cause our spiritual uncleanness)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
But it requires more than just asking Him to forgive us of our
sins. We must be prepared to do the obedient work of
the Spirit that is required to shut the door to future sins. As Yeshua
said to the woman caught in adultery, we are to "...go and sin no
more." (John 8:11).
In the Old Testament examples we have just studied, what good
would it have done to be cleansed of one's leprosy only to turn
around and commit the same sin and fall again into a leprous state?
Surely, Miriam and Ahron must have learned a very great
lesson from their experience with the immediate effects of the sin of
One of the problems we face as Believers in these last days, is
that God does not usually take immediate action with
us in punishing us for our sins. Does this mean that punishment for
sin will never come? Of course not. Judgment will come if there is not
true repentance and a firm commitment to not perpetrate that
particular sin again.
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of
God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those
who do not obey the gospel of God? "Now `If the righteous one is
scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?'"
(I Peter 4:17-18)
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
cleanses us from all sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a
liar, and His word is not in us." (I John 1:7-10)
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may
abound? "Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer
in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2)
Sin is a spiritual disease, and the punishment for unrepented sin
is spiritual leprosy.
~ The Unrepentant Bride ~
So why is the Bride unrepentant? In large part it is because most
of the members of the Bride are at least partially ignorant of what
constitutes sin. Why is this? Because the Bride has forsaken the
instruction of God, the Torah, the law of Moses which defines sin.
It is `written:
"Whosoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is
lawlessness." (I John 3:4)
The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) defines sin. That is how
the Bride comes to know when she has done something that does not
please her Husband, Yeshua. Now, when she discovers these errors, it
is necessary for her to go before the throne of grace and ask
forgiveness. But it is also necessary that she determine in her heart
to not make that mistake again. As this process continues, the Bride
will eventually come to the place where she begins to look at the law
(Torah) as her friend, not her enemy. For this is the source that
shows the Bride how not to sin; the source from which she learns the
kind of behavior that will please her Husband and make for a happy
It is written:
"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the
whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways." (Psalm
It is time that the Bride of Messiah be cleansed of her leprosy
so that the wedding can go forth as planned. Each of us, as members
(or cells) of the Bride, must take the initiative to cleanse
ourselves of sin through the agency of the blood of Messiah, and
determine to live according to the Torah of Truth.
"`Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the
marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.'
"And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and
bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
~ Sources ~
Hastings, James, ed., Dictionary of the Bible, Charles Scribners Sons,
New York, 1963.
The Jewish Encyclopedia 12 vols., Funk & Wagnalls Co.,
New York & London, 1901.
The Open Bible, The New King James Version,
Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1985.
Strong, James, S.T.D.,
L.L.D., Strong's New Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, World Bible
Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, 1986.
Weissman, Moshe, The Midrash Says,
5 vols. Kenei Yakov Publications, Brooklyn, 1982.
(End Part 2 of 2)
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