There are many sicknesses that come up from organic deficiencies of people. Other sicknesses come from promiscuity and filth. Yet other ones show up where there is rottenness. In the ancient wars the dead bodies of men and animals, rotten, gave origin to many kinds of pestilences, which were responsible for more victims than the wars themselves.
There are, however, sicknesses that are born in the mind of Jehovah. He declared it himself: “If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, JEHOVAH YOUR GOD; then Jehovah will make your plagues wonderful, and the plagues of your seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and severe sicknesses, and of long continuance. He will bring on you again all the diseases of Egypt, which you were afraid of; and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, Jehovah will bring them on you, until you are destroyed” (Deut. 28:58-61).
Leprosy is the special plague of Jehovah. He himself declares: “When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put a spreading mildew in a house in the land of your possession, then he who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, ‘There seems to me to be some sort of plague in the house’” (Lev. 14:34-35). The priest will close the house for seven days (v.38). After the seven days, he will cause the inside of the house to be scraped all over, take out the stones, and put new mortar (vs.39-42). Then, after seven more days, the priest, examining it again, will declare the house clean (v.48). Then the priest will make a sacrifice (vs.11-15).
Jehovah produces leprosy and he also heals it (Hos. 6:1; Job 5:18). When Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister, rebelled against Moses the wrath of Jehovah was kindled, and he hurt her with leprosy (Num. 12:9-10). Moses, the mediator between Israel and Jehovah, prayed, and Jehovah healed Miriam (vs.11-15).
King Uziah was good, faithful and righteous in the eyes of Jehovah (2 Chr. 26:4-5). But Uziah, being faithful and obedient, exalted himself, and went into the temple to burn incense on the altar. The priest Azariah with eighty other priests opposed him, saying: It is not for you, king Uzziah, to burn incense to Jehovah, but for the priests alone. Leprosy broke out on his forehead as punishment, and he was leprous until de day he died (vs. 16-21).
Jesus was teaching in the Galilee and said to the Jews: “There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, except Naaman, the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). This declaration deals with a historic moment occurred in Israel. It happened in this way: Elijah, the Tishbite, saw the moral degeneracy of Israel during the reign of Ahab, the wicked: “Ahab the son of Omri did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah above all that were before him. It happened, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. He reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. Ahab made the Asherah; and Ahab did yet more to provoke Jehovah, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:30-33).
Jehovah, as punishment, sent the famine, holding the rain for three years (1 Kings 17:1; 18:1-2). Jezebel, a wicked woman, ordered the death of the prophets of Jehovah. Obadiah managed to hide many of them in a pit (v.4). Ahab, on the other hand, was after Elijah to kill him (vs.7-10). As Jehovah had told Elijah to go after Ahab, Elijah sent Obadiah to announce him to Ahab. When they met, Elijah declared to Ahab his sin and the approaching and terrible punishment. The moral spiritual condition of the people was the worst ever: corruption, idolatry and violence. The consequences were the plagues and pestilences of Jehovah as he had announced in the law and always repeated. Among the punishments was leprosy. How do we know that Jehovah hurt the people with leprosy?
Jesus is the author of the declaration of Luke 4:27 above, for ELISHA was the successor of the prophet Elijah, who lived at the time when Jezebel and Ahab led the corruption of Israel. Among the plagues that Jehovah sent was leprosy. There were so many lepers that they walked in bands, but Jehovah did not heal any of them, because that was the punishment of a curse.
John the Baptist, in prison, doubted that Jesus could be the Messiah he had announced and sent two of his disciples to ask him if he was really the Messiah. Jesus sent back the following answer: “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt.11:4,5). Why did Jesus say, “the lepers are cleansed”? Because there were many lepers, and the origin of this was the implacable vengeance of Jehovah.
Once, going to Jerusalem, Jesus went through Samaria and Galilee. When he went into a village, ten lepers came to meet him and asked him to heal them. Jesus told them: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” It happened that as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:11-14). The only to return and give thanks to God was a stranger (vs.15-18). They walked in large groups, and Jesus healed at wholesale, but Jehovah did not heal anyone. In Luke 5:12-15, Jesus heals another leper and tells him to go show himself to the priest. Why did Jesus command them to show themselves to the priests? Because leprosy was a plague of Jehovah, and Jesus was destroying the plagues and curses of Jehovah. And why was he destroying the plagues, pestilences, curses, and judgments of Jehovah? Because Jesus is Lord. He said: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). And Paul declares that every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth has to confess that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:5-11).
The plagues of Jehovah had the ultimate purpose of destroying Israel. Jesus opposed this malignant project (Deut. 28:20,48, 61; Luke 9:51-56).
What interests us is that Jesus was opposed to the methods of Jehovah, and always declared, “I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE” (John 10:30).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira