Skip to content

Faith: Let the living bird loose and paint the truth

Jesus has died for us, taking upon himself the judgment of our sins at the cross. The resurrection of Christ is proof that God is satisfied with the suffering and death of Jesus
John Eggers column head

In Leviticus 14:1-7, we read of an Old Testament picture of the work of Jesus on the cross. This was written by Moses around 1490 BC.

This portion is the account of part of the things that are done in relation to a person who has leprosy.

The verses from Leviticus chapter 14:1-7 are about what was done in the case of a person who is cleansed or healed of this dreadful disease.

We read in verse 2, “this is the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing”. From verse 3 to verse 7, there are instructions about what was to be done.

In verse 3, we are told that the priest of God in Israel was to go out of the camp of Israel to look at the leper’s condition. The priest was to check if the man was healed from the disease.

This is a picture of how the Lord Jesus came from Heaven down to Earth to where we are.

Jesus was God’s eternal son who came nearly 2,000 years ago to be here and ultimately gave his life for us on the cross to suffer for our sins.

In verse 4, the Bible says that the priest, after he verified the leprosy was healed, was to take two live birds that were clean and some cedar wood and scarlet and hyssop. Hyssop is a small plant use for different purposes.

The two birds will be a picture of the death and burial and resurrection of Jesus. The cedar wood is a picture of the humanity of Jesus.

The scarlet is a picture of the precious blood of Christ shed on the cross for sin. The hyssop is linked with cleansing or judgment in the scriptures.

So, having obtained these things, the priest was to show, by the things that he would do, the picture of the suffering of Jesus at the cross.

Next, in verse 5, the priest shall command that one of the two birds be killed in an earthen vessel that had fresh water in it.

The death of the one bird is a picture of the death of Christ on the cross. The water was probably added to make the small amount of blood go far enough to sprinkle the live bird and the hyssop, cedar wood, scarlet and the leper who was healed.

It is believed by most that the birds were small, hence the need for the fresh water in the bowl. So we read in verse 6 that this was done.

Then, in verse 7, it is said that the living bird was let loose into the open field. The living bird is a picture of the resurrection of Jesus. The living bird would again go back to the atmospheric heavens from where it came.

The picture is clear that the death of Christ for our sins has provided a way for us to be cleansed of our sin.

Jesus has died for us, taking upon himself the judgment of our sins at the cross. The resurrection of Christ is proof that God is satisfied with the suffering and death of Jesus. Are we satisfied with what God has done for us? The living bird set free is a picture of this truth.

Certainly the leprous man who was now well would rejoice on this day that he would be declared clean from the disease he had.

He would be free to rejoin his family and friends and be part of the children of Israel again. No more separation and needing to stay out of the camp of Israel because of his leprosy.

He was set free from the terrible disease and was clean from his leprosy ,which is a picture of our sin. 

John Eggers is an elder in the assembly that meets in Westsyde Gospel Hall in Kamloops. KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and can be emailed to Please include a very short bio and a photo.