And he shall break down the house
Order it to be pulled down, and demolished entirely, that is, the priest shall give such orders; but Gersom thinks this was to be done by the owner of the house, and that he was to do it himself, and have no associate with him in it: the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the
and, according to the Jewish canons, a house was not defiled with the plague of leprosy, unless it had in it stones, and timber, and dust, or earth; a house which had not stones, timber, and dust in it, and the plague appeared in it, even if anyone after that brought in stones; timber, and dust, it was clean F16: and he shall carry [them] forth out of the city unto an unclean place:
such materials were not to be made use of to rebuild that house, or to be employed in the building of any other. This house may be an emblem of a visible church of God on earth, which is often in Scripture compared to an house, as that signifies both an edifice and a family, and is sometimes called the house of the living God; and into which sometimes the leprosy of immorality and profaneness gets and spreads, or of errors and heresies, which creep in unawares, spread themselves gradually, and sometimes very fast, and eat as do a canker, and are very troublesome and defiling; and which God permits to enter in, that they which are approved might be made manifest: now when this is the case, or there is any appearance of it, the priests, the ministers of the Lord, are to be told of it, who are to examine into it, and rebuke sharply, as the case requires; and care is to be taken that the infection spread not; the tainted stones, immoral or heretical persons, are to be removed from the communion of the church, and others to be put in their room, as may present; such as are dug out of the common quarry of nature, and separated from the rest of the world, and are hewn and squared by the Spirit and grace of God, and are become lively stones; such are to be added to the church for the support and increase of it. Sharp reproofs are to be given to those who are incorrigible, which may be signified by the scraping of the house; and forgiveness, tenderness, and love, that covers a multitude of sins, are to be shown to those who truly repent, of which plastering may be an emblem; but if, after all, the above disorders in principle and practice spread, and they appear to be incurable, then the house is pulled down, the church-state or candlestick is removed out of its place. And this may be illustrated in two instances, first in the Jewish church, which is sometimes called the house of Israel, and in which great corruptions prevailed, especially in the times of Christ and his apostles; and all means of reformation then being ineffectual, it was utterly destroyed, their ecclesiastical state, and all the ordinances of it; the temple, the house of God, was demolished, and not one stone left upon another, ( Matthew 24:2 ) ; and next in the church of Rome, once a church of God, a temple of his, where antichrist rose up and sat, and has by him been overspread with the leprosy of immorality, false doctrine, superstitious and idolatrous worship; and at times God has been emptying it, or removing his own people out of it, and will do so again before the utter destruction of it, which is hastening on; when it will be utterly demolished, as Babylon its emblem was, so that a stone of it shall not be taken, either for foundations or for a corner, ( Jeremiah 51:26 ) . This also may be applied to the earthly houses of our tabernacles, in which the leprosy of sin is so deeply rooted, that, until they are dissolved, it will never be removed, notwithstanding all the means made use of for the mortification of the deeds of the body.
F16 Misn. Negaim, c. 12. sect. 2.