Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – Leprosy Just a Skin Disease?

Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – Leprosy Just a Skin Disease?




Perhaps you’ve noticed in your own Bibles when reading either Old Testament or New Testament accounts, that whenever leprosy is mentioned, there’s inevitably a footnote.  Regardless of the context, the footnote reads something like: Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases.  Now that’s all well and good, but for the most part – in context – does this make sense?  This isn’t one of the most earth-shattering issues we can examine in Scripture, but it seems to me that it goes along with other “helpful” notes that take away somewhat from the strength of the account.  To this end, in the ESV translation which I frequently use, a similar dumbing-down, which inevitably makes me shake my head, is in the NT when the term “brothers” is used.  In this instance, the footnote says: Or Brothers and sisters.

Now, I get it that the reference truly is to men and women in Christ – all of us who are children of God.  But, seriously, did the translators need to tell me this same fact on every page in the NT where brothers are addressed?

Be that as it may, let’s talk about leprosy.  Leviticus 13 is the primary OT chapter where leprosy is discussed.  And, in fact, to be fair, I think we could interpret the description of leprosy as encompassing other skin diseases besides the real thing.  If we look at the symptoms of leprosy at WebMD, we see a range of symptoms, some of which can be simply awful.  These include the following:

Nerve damage [which] can lead to:

  • Loss of feeling in affected areas, which means you can’t feel pain there and are at risk for injury
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • You could also have a stuffy nose or nosebleeds if the disease affects the mucous membranes in your nose.

When the condition progresses, symptoms could include:

  • Loss of eyebrows and/or eyelashes
  • Sores on the soles of your feet that don’t heal
  • Pain, redness, and burning
  • Deformities of the nose, hands, and feet
  • Blindness
  • Shorter toes and fingers
  • Paralysis of your feet and hands

As you can see, this can be a terrible, debilitating disease.

So, what is it that got me so riled up about leprosy?  In reading Luke 7:21-22, I came across that footnote I mentioned earlier.  In my estimation, I thought it was just stupid because of the context.  Here are these brief verses:

In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

You might ask: What’s the big deal?  Here it is: Consider the severity of those things from which Jesus healed people.  Diseases and plagues and evil spirits.  There were blind people to whom He gave back their sight.  Those who were lame – they were crippled and/or paralyzed and were able to walk again.  The deaf could hear once Jesus touched them.  He cast out demons.  Astoundingly, He raised the dead.

More than that, when the Good News was preached among the poor, they were saved and would no longer go to hell for all eternity.  That’s the greatest miracle of all.  So, in the midst of this Jesus heals somebody with a skin disorder.  Not to discredit “the heartbreak of psoriasis”, but the leper in this passage just has a boo-boo on his arm?  Somehow, I don’t think so.  Context matters.

How does this relate to Bible prophecy?  Interestingly, there have been news articles of late which have mentioned that leprosy seems to once more be making an appearance – in First World Nations, and according to blaring headlines, especially in Florida.

We know that terrible plagues will rage during the Tribulation, so warnings about a leprosy outbreak may not be too much of an exaggeration.  In one of the narratives I fictionally wrote about for the Tribulation Chronicles in my book Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments, leprosy plays an integral part.  That particular chapter I wrote in 2017, well before I decided to expand the story concept to write about all the Judgment plagues in this series, and also well before COVID, the debilitating vaxx, and all that goes with these purposeful disease vectors.  It seems to me that when all this goes down, leprosy will be a very serious scourge.

When Jesus healed, He touched people at a very deep level because of the severity of their illnesses.  During the Tribulation, it may even be that the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists miraculously heal people so as to overcome their disbelief and turn to salvation in Christ.  Leprosy could indeed be such a disease that is healed so as to bring many into the Kingdom.

Let’s not allow even the Bible translation teams to rob us of the wonder of Christ through a seemingly minor footnote.  Jesus is our all in all.

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