Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Thirteen – Curse
A leper is someone who has the disease of leprosy. The word, leper, appears in the Old Testament exactly thirteen times. The first time is in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Leviticus: 45 "And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 46 All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be."
The disease of leprosy was a curse that had many parallels to the curse of sin. Like sin, leprosy was pervasive and invasive. Like sin, leprosy invaded the whole body over time and pervaded to the destruction of the body. There was and still is no known cure for leprosy. Leprosy was a plague of the flesh and rendered the leper unclean. Likewise, sin is a plague of the flesh and renders the sinner unclean in the eyes of God. In the Old Testament, we read about leprosy being found in houses and in garments. Sin began in Adam and spread through the whole household of Adam and thus is a plague upon the whole human race. In the eyes of a just and holy God our garments are filthy because of sin.
To be cleansed of leprosy, an animal sacrifice had to be made for the leper. To be cleansed of sin the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God had to be made at the tree of the cross in order that we may be made clean before God. Jesus atoning sacrifice on the tree of the cross cleansed the whole household of God and gave all of them clean garments of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, was made to be a curse for us that we might be redeemed from the curse of sin:
1. Gal. 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
2. Gal. 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
3. 2 Cor. 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
The Lord's bride is set forth for us in Eph. 5:23
Thus, the Lord's church is his bride. She is spoken of as being a virgin and having the beauty that the Lord has imputed unto her:
1. 2 Cor. 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
2. Psa 50:2 "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
3. Isa. 61:1 "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."
In contrast to the description given unto us of the Lord's bride, the serpent's bride is described to us by the name given to her in Rev. 17:5, "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." There are thirteen words in her name. She is the opposite of a virgin in that she is the Mother of Harlots. She is the opposite of true beauty in that she contains the Abominations of the earth. Just as the Old Serpent had a curse proclaimed upon him by God in the Garden of Eden, so his bride is also under a curse.
Furthermore, her so-called gospel is a curse and her preachers are accursed as well: Gal. 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Furthermore, the worshippers under this false church are also accursed: 1 Cor. 16:22 'If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." Anathema literally means accursed. Maranatha means our Lord has come.
The plural form of the word, "serpents," appears exactly thirteen times in the scriptures. In the first chapter of the book of Genesis God placed a curse upon the serpent: Gen. 3:14 "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." The serpent in this passage is usually thought of as being Satan, yet the proclamation that he was cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; and upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat al the days of thy life, certainly holds to the natural creatures we call serpents.
While, that Old Serpent refers to Satan, serpents are sometimes used to represent sin. Because of the sins of the children of Israel in talking against God, God sent serpents among them: Num. 21:5 "And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died." The bite of the serpents brought death to the people. Likewise, the wages of sin is death.
The people cried unto Moses and Moses prayed to the Lord: Num. 21:7 "Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
The serpent of brass was a symbol of Jesus Christ on the cross: John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." Usually we do not think of the Lord as being symbolized by a serpent. However, the serpent was cursed in the Garden of Eden and because the serpents sent forth in the wilderness were a symbol of sins. The serpent symbolized Jesus as he hang upon the cross having been made to be sin for us: 2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
The children of Israel, after they were bitten of a serpent, looked upon the brazen serpent hanging on a pole and realized they were delivered from the poison of the serpent's bite. Likewise, we, having become convicted of our sins, look upon Jesus hanging on the tree of the cross and realize that he has delivered us from the condemnation of sin and as a result of his deliverance we have eternal life.