In Leviticus 15, we find a shockingly candid discussion of human discharges. Though our culture is often hesitant to discuss these topics, God had an urgent reason to bring this subject to our attention. God’s laws about cleansing discharges can teach us an important lesson about the cleansing blood of Jesus and the importance of spiritual sanitation.
In this passage, a few types of discharges are specifically described, such as emission of semen or menstrual bleeding. But the rest of the discharges are not clearly specified. The New Testament hints at a few other types of discharges, such as the bleeding woman who touched the cloak of the Lord and was healed (Mark 5). In modern medical terminology, we could say she might have had a bleeding disorder like hemophilia.
Discharges can also include infectious emissions, such as pus. Under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, these discharges can have important practical implications for our Christian life today. Let’s dive in!
When someone receives a serious cut or wound, it’s important to stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean and dry so that it can heal. Otherwise, we run the risk of infection. During war time, many people died from untreated injuries. The wounds themselves were not life-threatening, but the infection that followed caused death. An infected wound can cause disease or even claim your life.
Both blood and water play an important role in guarding against infection. Blood cleans the wound as it flows through the damaged tissue, washing away dirt and killing bacteria. Later, it creates a scab, allowing the wound to heal.
Not only do we need blood to cleanse from the inside, but we also need water (or another disinfectant) to clean from the outside. The wound needs to be washed to remove toxins trying to enter from the outside world. Otherwise, the germs will get into the blood stream and damage the body.
The same is true spiritually. As Christians, our sins are cleansed by the blood of Jesus washing away our stains. Revelation 1:5 says that Jesus “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” (NKJV) His blood cleanses us as we repent and confess our sins.
However, we also need to be washed externally. Ephesians 5:26 says that Jesus wants to “cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word” (NKJV). Jesus washes us with his word, and we participate actively through confession and repentance. The blood of Jesus is always effective, but there are conditions for the blood of Jesus to cleanse us. We need to allow God’s word to wash us (John 13:8). We need to confess our sins and turn to him for forgiveness.
We need to wash away worldly influences in our lives. Otherwise, the infection of sin will quickly and insidiously sneak in from the outside. Before we have a chance to confess it and turn to the Lord for cleansing, sin will begin to take over every part of our lives.
When we fail to receive the washing of Jesus’ word and blood, our uncleanness can cause permanent damage to our bodies and to the body of Christ. Just like an infection can cause irreversible damage and death, unrepentant sin can also bring chastisement and discipline. The Bible makes it very clear that some brothers and sisters who ate the bread and drank the cup of the Lord unworthily, would sleep (physically die) because of their uncleansed sin (1 Corinthians 11:30).
Unhealed sins can cause a “spiritual discharge.” Just like an infected wound oozes pus, unconfessed sins cause a discharge that is difficult to cure. We must be careful not to allow sinful influences to pile up, or they will become an overwhelming force that will cause irreversible damage.
What is a discharge? The inspiration that we got from the Holy Spirit is that a discharge represents wounds that won’t heal. Whether it is the discharge of blood or hemophilia or other circumstances, these physical wounds won’t heal.
Why won’t the wounds heal? Shouldn’t blood automatically be condensed into scabs and heal naturally? Yes, this is normally the case. However, if bacteria and contamination from the external environment have continuously interfered with healing, the wound will become infected. It will cause a discharge.
When there is an infection inside, it manifests in a visible way: a discharge. When our heart is not clean from sin, our actions will leak out onto ourselves and others. After hearing this presentation, one lady shared that her discharge is an entertainment program. She enjoys watching this program, even though she knows it is not good for her spiritual life. Even though she regrets the way the show affects her spiritual life and her fellowship with God, she can’t seem to overcome it. She asked, “How do I overcome this weakness?”
I can relate to this lady’s question. In the past, I indulged my propensity for a certain website full of gossip. This website has a lot of worldly content, and when I used it, I felt tainted by worldly thoughts. For a long time, I couldn’t overcome my habit with this website.
However, the teachings of Brother Witness Lee helped me tremendously. He said that if we have a weakness we are struggling with, we should not try to overcome it in our own strength. Instead, we should invite the Lord to come into this situation and ask Him to do it with us. Of course, the Lord is not willing to be shared with unclean and sinful things, so He has to remove your weakness.
I began to practice Witness Lee’s suggestion. Every time I struggled with weakness, I prayed, “Lord, I am already doing this, so I’d like to invite You to do it with me, because you promise that you will be with me every day until the end of the world. If You are not happy with me doing this, please remove my desire for it.” After a period of prayer, the Lord removed my desire for this website, and I am no longer interested in this site.
Why does this method work? The reason is simple. The book of Hebrew tells us that Jesus Christ has cleansed us once and forever through His blood. We can just come to the Holy of Holies without fear. Don’t be paralyzed by fear, thinking that you cannot come to the Holy of Holies once you have sinned. Even when you rush to the Holy of Holies with bloody sins, not only will you not be killed, but you will also be washed and cleansed by the blood. You can run to the throne of grace with repentance and without fear (Hebrews 4:16).
In order to receive the cleansing of Jesus, we first have to come to him. We have to stop hiding in fear. Remember Adam’s initial reaction after his first sin? He hid himself from the presence of the Lord God. What was God’s first reaction? He was looking for Adam, asking, “Adam, where are you?” When we sin, we are soiled by sin. But then, we are tempted to make the problem worse by hiding from God.
Brother Witness Lee explained the difference between sin and the world by using the example of a child. A child who didn’t want to listen to his parents jumped into a mud pit to play, covering his body with grime. The dirt represents sin.
But imagine that a sinister man came up to that filthy child and said to him, “You don’t listen to your parents. See, you are so dirty. Your parents will blame or punish you or won’t want you anymore. You might as well just follow me to a fun place. There are no parental constraints there. You can just do whatever you want.”
This voice represents the world. The world is a system that Satan created to trap us. It is far away from God. When you sin, you fall into the mud pit, making your whole body dirty. If you run to your parents, they will gladly help you wash it.
But the world complicates things, because now you are deceived into the world by Satan. Not only did you fall into the mud pit, but you are also abducted.
When you are lost in the world and covered in sin, what is your parents’ first priority? To get you back home. Your parents not only need to help you cleanse your body, but they also must look for you first. The child is worried that he can’t see his parents because he’s too filthy, but his parents are primarily worried about finding the child first. It is not that they don’t want to wash him, but first they want to get him back home.
The prodigal son had a similar concern in Luke 15. He worried that he would not be accepted by his father because he ate with the pigs, making him unclean. The father, however, was worried about whether his son could come back after he was lost. When the father saw his younger son come back, he hugged him first, even though he was dirty. Let’s go back to the previous example. A child fell into the mud pit and got lost. If he comes back, would his parents bathe him or hug him first? We all know that parents would hug him first before bathing him.
In the same way, there’s no way that you can be washed by Christ if you refuse to come to him. You can trust that he will cleanse you willingly, without shaming you for your sin. Leave your idols and lies behind and run into his waiting arms. Then, he will wash you and make you clean.
This washing has two layers. One is washing with water. This is washing with water through the word specifically mentioned in Ephesians 5. We wash away the contamination in the world to keep away from the continuous attack of the bacteria. We fight against the world system that tries to tell us to run from God instead of coming to him for cleansing.
We also wash in the blood, which removes all our sins. The relationship between the two is dynamic and complementary. Both are necessary, but the order and application is important.
A sinful man, not daring to return to God because he is afraid of God’s punishment, will hide from Him. The result of hiding is to wander away from God into the world system created by Satan. John told us that if we love the world, love for the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15). The world system is against the Heavenly Father, and was created by Satan to entice us to wander away from God. Far from God, we will be unable to access his cleansing. Bacteria of sin will flood our system, and it will be difficult to have complete treatment and healing. The prodigal son had to stop hiding, leave his sin, turn around, and come back to the father before his cleansing could begin.
In many churches in the United States, people talk about the cleansing blood of Christ, but they still commit sins. One of the reasons is that American society is very secular and worldly. It has abundant material wealth, which has a powerful attraction for Christians. A statistic shows that 70% of American Christians that were surveyed admitted to having watched pornographic videos. In a materially developed country such as the United States, Christians face more temptations than Christians in many parts of the world. Christians in the United States face a unique challenge from the Lord: overcoming the world. If we hide from God and continue to live in an unclean environment, we will not take advantage of the healing blood of Jesus. Gradually, we will begin to suffer from discharge.
While I was reading this passage, the Holy Spirit reminded me that a discharge points to a perpetual wound that does not eventually heal. Many Christians continue to leak infectious discharge in their spiritual lives. Originally, Christians were called to be a light situated on top of the mountain to illuminate the whole city (Matthew 5). We are also called to be the salt to cleanse world. Instead, we have joined the world, like Lot’s wife. We have become a pillar of useless salt, rather than becoming salt that cleanses. Not only do we not illuminate, but the salt has also lost its effectiveness. We fail to live out our testimony as Christians, and we prevent others from knowing and believing in the Lord through our witness.
Many times, people do not believe in the Lord because we Christians have not lived out our testimony. We say one thing and do another. Instead of seeing the Lord in us, they think that we are hypocrites. This is a type of discharge as we lose our strong foundation of life in Christ.
On the other hand, if our unbelieving friends and relatives see the true power of God shining through our lives, they are more willing to believe in Christ. In 2010, we returned to China to receive herbal treatments for our infertility. At that time, my father was still very opposed to the Lord and my mother had been worshipping Buddha for many years.
In 2016,God told me that I would have a child that year, so I returned to China during the Chinese New Year. I told my family about it, but they didn’t believe it. After I got my miracle baby in 2017, my family was greatly shocked. Their hearts began to loosen up, and they gradually opened themselves up to the Lord. I returned to China in the fall of 2018 to pay them a visit, and my parents were all baptized.
I started witnessing to my family in 2002, when I was baptized. But they weren’t baptized until 2018—twelve long years. My parents saw true miracles and divine life lived out in my life. They saw how I was sanctified, detached from the world, and healed from discharges. They believed in God because of the testimony they saw in my life.
Let’s go back and take a brief look at the verses of Leviticus 15. Leviticus 15:2-13 is all about how cleanse a discharge. In verse 13, God says, “When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean.” (NIV) Later, God said: “On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeons and come before the LORD to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and give them to the priest. The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the LORD for the man because of his discharge.” Leviticus 15:14-15 (NIV)
Birds were used for sin offerings and burnt offerings to make atonement, but it happened only after washing with water. In other words, water comes first and then atonement comes later. It doesn’t mean that washing with water is more powerful than the cleansing effect of blood. Instead, I mean that it’s vitally important to stop running, turn away from the world system, and come to Christ so he can cleanse you through his powerful blood.
Similarly, Leviticus 15:16-28 says that men’s emission of semen or women’s menstrual bleeding must be washed with water. The pattern continues in verse 29. Two doves or two young pigeons were offered for a sin offering and burnt offering. These sacrifices include the blood that cleanses the sin. However, the washing in water preceded washing in blood.
This is not to say that water is more important than blood. No. Jesus shed his precious blood, doing a work that we cannot do on our own. God provided the blood of the Son of God to wash away our sins. We cannot do His work.
But as human beings, we play a part in coming to him for cleansing. We can detach from the contamination of the world and wash in water through the Word. We must use our free will to voluntarily draw near to God for cleansing. His blood will cleanse us from all our sins. We can come to the Holy of Holies without fear and draw near to Him.
Dear Christian friends, are you caught in an endless cycle of sin? Do you feel like your life is full of infected wounds, oozing with pus? Do you think that even the blood of the Lord cannot save you?
Like Jacob, you can remove your idols of loving yourself and the world (Genesis 35). You can come to the house of God, like Jacob went to Bethel. There, you will meet God. All your sins will be washed in the blood, and Heavenly Father will come and hug you. Don’t hide from God. Leave your sins behind. Throw off the world’s contamination, the lies that tell you that God doesn’t want you. Rush over to meet Him. He won’t kill you. Before you even reach his presence, His blood will meet you first to cleanse you.