having a physical or moral blemish so as to make impure according to the laws, especially the dietary or ceremonial laws: an unclean animal; unclean persons." The word “clean” has a lot of different meanings today depending upon the context in which it is used. For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement. What does the Bible mean when it says something is unclean? The "sin offering" (better, "purification offering") served to cleanse both sin and ritual impurity ( Lev 5:1-5 ; 16:16-22 ). Certain unclean animals are known to transfer diseases to humans: the pig bears trichinosis; the hare, tularemia; carrion-eating birds, various diseases. Uncleanness represents sin, and sin separates man from God. With space, there is the tabernacle (holy), the land (clean), and the nations (unclean). The principle of separation is vital to a holy life. The law has careful divisions. Hygiene, however, is at most a secondary explanation. of Purification always involved waiting a period of time (until evening for minor cases, eighty days for the birth of a daughter), and could also involve ritual washings symbolizing cleansing, atoning sacrifices, and priestly rituals. The New Testament usually uses "unclean" in the moral rather than ritual sense, but it also testifies to the fact that the Jewish people practiced the biblical laws of ritual purity, as well as rabbinic elaborations thereupon. Will there be Bible unclean during the millennial kingdom? The New Testament. I'm not sure it's to the level of clear sin, but one may be convinced about it in their own mind based on that and decide to avoid being dirty and odorous. Bible verses about Women Being Unclean. Jesus did not allow the laws of purity to keep him from touching lepers ( Matt 8:1-4 ; Mark 1:40-45 ; Luke 17:11-17 ), and he deliberately touched rather than healed by his word to show compassion and to anticipate by his action the coming change in law under the new covenant. Just as uncleanness can come from within (natural bodily functions) or from without (contaminating things), so sin comes both from perverse human nature within and temptations without. In order to make sure you understand this principle, let’s review a couple of fundamentals I’ve discussed in the past. "Unclean" objects required purification by water (wood, cloth, hide, sackcloth) or fire (metals), or were destroyed (clay pots, ovens), depending on the material ( Lev 11:32-35 ; Num 31:21-23 ). Likewise, everyone in the tent, or who enters the tent, where lies a dead man, is unclean seven days. The abolition of the food laws conveys deep theological significance. And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Eating meat torn by wild beasts not only defiled ritually, but dehumanized, reducing people to the level of scavenger dogs ( Exod 22:31 ). Absolution took place after healing, whereas were hygiene the purpose it should have occurred before. Compiled & Edited by BST & Crosswalk Staff, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. (The Mishnah, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and archeological remains of ritual baths, miqvaot, provide further evidence.) For instance, touching a dead body puts one in that state, and yet it is a commandment to bury the dead. There is nothing sinful about burying the dead, for example. As is seen in God's lesson to Peter in Acts 10-11, God now declares the Gentiles "clean." Uncleanness placed a person in a "dangerous" condition under threat of divine retribution, even death ( Lev 15:31 ), if the person approached the sanctuary. The division of animals into clean and unclean symbolized the separation between Israelites and Gentiles. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. In the same way, as God's people we need to be extremely careful of what we "touch." They are the things whi… Even if the offense seems minor, it is still an offense against an infinite being. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. There is an incidental contribution made by the laws of purity/impurity to hygiene. 4:15), but there is no scriptural or theological reason to rule out his having been unclean occasionally.In fact, Jesus sometimes seems to have deliberately invited uncleanness in the course of healing a leper (Mark 1:40-42) or bringing a dead person back to life (Mark 5:41-42). There is a difference between sinning and being unclean. Likewise, everyone in the tent, or who enters the tent, where lies a dead man, is unclean seven days. Also, it may be an opportunity to become all things to all men (depending on who you're reaching out to). Thus the food laws symbolically reinforced teaching elsewhere that Israel was a "holy nation" ( Exod 19:6 ) set apart from all others, and promoted practical holiness by discouraging table fellowship with the Canaanites whose diet would ordinarily include the pig and other "unclean" foods ( Lev 20:25-26 ), as modern kosher laws have helped maintain the Jewish race as a separate people. ... That is why you find demons being called unclean spirits. New Living Translation I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. Although "uncleanness" cannot be equated with "sin, " since factors beyond human control could cause a person to be unclean, nonetheless, there is a strong analogy between "uncleanness" and "sin." Typologically, the ashes of the red heifer (for corpse contamination), the sin offering, and the ritual baths foreshadowed the power of Jesus' blood to cleanse the conscience ( Heb 9:13-14 ; 10:22 ; 1 John 1:7 ; Rev 7:14 ). The avoidance of carcasses or contact with human sputum and discharges would do the same. All rights reserved. We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. The central lesson conveyed by this system is that God is holy but human beings are contaminated. Bodily discharges (blood for women, semen for men) represented a temporary loss of strength and life and movement toward death. Salem Media Group. Though not called unclean, there were also restrictions on eunuchs and illegitimate children worshiping in … But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. Believers are not called to uncleanness but to live in holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7). More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free! William Countryman, Professor of New Testament, Levitical impurity (or being “unclean”) is the biblical concept that a person or object can be in a state that—by the Bible’s law—prevents the person or object from interacting with the Tabernacle or Temple and its sacrifices. Since sexual Acts made one unclean, Israel could not follow the practice of sacred prostitution where a god's giving of fertility was symbolized by sex Acts in the cult. Now for the definition of sin: 1) transgression of divine law: the sin… The clean/unclean system divided animals, people, and land into three categories to teach separation from the Gentiles. In Scripture, demons are well-known for being unclean, as representing the work of sin, which defiles the sinner. For example, giving birth, having a skin disease, or burying a dead relative all rendered a person “unclean.” Nothing sinful about any of that. Uncleanness could lead to expulsion of the land's inhabitants ( Lev 18:25 ) and its peril lingered upon those who did not undergo purification ( Lev 17:16 ; Num 19:12-13 ). A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament edited by Roy Zuck. The New Testament refers to purification rites for birth ( Luke 2:22-27 ), ritual washings ( Mark 7:3-4 ; John 2:6 ), and disputes over ceremonial washings ( John 3:25 ). Moreover, the language of ritual impurity is used dozens of times metaphorically of various ethical sins. An unclean layperson could neither eat nor tithe consecrated food ( Lev 7:20-21 ; Deut 26:14 ), had to celebrate the Passover with a month's delay ( Num 9:6-13 ), and had to stay far away from God's tabernacle ( Num 5:3 ). Laws concerning sexual emissions encouraged restraint and sexual self-control (e.g., avoiding sex during menstruation) and would rightly stigmatize violators (such as prostitutes) as social outcasts. Physical imperfections representing a movement from "life" toward "death" moved a person ritually away from God who was associated with life. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. Though there are different degrees of sin, all sin is of one kind; all offenses against God are equally serious. Here is the Dictionary.com definition of unclean :"Chiefly Biblical. Being in an UNCLEAN state is not a sure-fire indication that one has sinned (although sin results in UNCLEANNESS). You seem to be mixing up verses about (general) discharge and emission of semen. Although the apostolic council ( Acts 15:29 ) encouraged Gentile Christians to avoid "unclean" foods ("food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals [blood not drained]") to facilitate table fellowship with Jewish Christians, the matter is presented as advice rather than law. Human beings are "unclean" or "sinful" by nature and cannot approach a holy God. Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Given the inevitability of sin, there’s not much hope of salvation. It should also be pointed out that being unclean was not necessarily the result of sin. If a man actually lies with her so that her menstrual impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean. A new age had dawned with the coming of Christ and the ceremonial laws of purity were passing away. The discharge in Lev 15:1-15 is not semen. This further separated Israel from her pagan neighbors. God wanted the Israelites to “distinguish between holy and unholy, and between uncleanand clean” (Leviticus 10:10). If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. I agree that if eating 'unclean' meat is a sin, then that it would suggest the rest of the OT Mosaic law is still applicable, including regulations about Jewish feasts, temple ceremonies, the sacraficial system, having ear-locks etc etc. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. Unclean is the opposite of holy. The Laws of Uncleanness Illustrated the Nature of Sin A person became unclean when they came in contact with the unclean (Leviticus 11:24). That those involved in the slaughter of war ( Nu 31:19-24 ) even at the command of God nonetheless became unclean hints at the moral impurity of war. If killing animals is not trivial, how much weightier it is to shed human blood. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. He did not follow the ritual washing, going beyond Mosaic law practiced by rabbinic Judaism ( Mark 7:3 Mark 7:5 ), and implicitly declared all foods "clean" ( Mark 7:19 ; cf. Most unhealthy foods (e.g., poisonous plants) and infectious diseases are not mentioned, surprisingly, if hygiene were the purpose. In the new messianic age the principle that God's people are to be separate (holy) from the world remains, but the lines drawn are no longer ethnic in character. Being clean and prepared for worship was about being in a state of wholeness. Jesus turned water, in jars for ritual purification, into wine ( John 2:6-9 ) to symbolize the replacement of ceremonial law with something better. Similarly, a menstuating woman is in that state, and yet menstuating can’t possibly be considered a sin. The book of Leviticus itself makes distinctions between laws that applied specifically to Israel and laws that applied to all nations at all times. There is no sin in giving birth to a child. As you say, it is not a sin, and sin is breaking of the law, so without a temple we are not breaking the law by not observing these particular commandments. 13-14), childbirth (Lev. Remember that whatever goes out of the mouth comes from within and that’s what makes a person unclean. If you're trying to reach clean people, being … We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. "living") water, all symbols of life. Answer: There are four types of bodily discharges mentioned in Leviticus 15, and all four rendered one “unclean” for at least seven days and required sacrifices to be declared “clean” again. The two could not be intermixed(Leviticus 11:43-45). Just as uncleanness can come from within (natural bodily functions) or from without (contaminating things), so sin comes both from perverse human nature within and temptations without. As a matter of fact, it was possible to become unclean and not realize it until later (Lev 5:3). The purity system conveys in a symbolic way that Yahweh was the God of life and was separated from death. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — for they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’” (Mark 3:28–30) A second passage sometimes used as evidence that masturbation is a sin is Matthew 5:27–30. Cooking a kid-goat in its mother's milk ( Exod 23:19 ; 34:26 ; Deut 14:21 ) was a perverse act. Leviticus 11:1-47 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. For example, in the operating room, things must be clean, and that has a very rigid, strict interpretation—to be as free as possible from all germs and contamination. If that were the case, Adventists would really be Messianic Jews, not Christians. Of course the law of clean and unclean animals is different, as we don’t need a temple to make that law relevant. The abolition of the kosher laws then symbolizes a breaking down of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles. Eating animal suet is now known to lead to heart disease. 12), genital discharges ( Leviticus 15:3-15 Leviticus 15:28-30 ), the corpse-contaminated priest ( Eze 44:26-27 ), the corpse-contaminated Nazirite ( Nu 6:9-12 ), one whose impurity is prolonged ( Lev 5:1-13 ), the corpse-contaminated layperson ( Num 5:2-4 ; 19:1-20 ), the menstruating woman ( Lev 15:19-24 ), the handling of the ashes of the red cow or the Day of Atonement offerings ( Leviticus 16:26 Leviticus 16:28 ; Num 19:7-10 ), emission of semen ( Lev 15:16-18 ), contamination by a carcass ( Levv 11:24-40 ; 22:5 ), and secondary contamination ( Lev 15 ; 22:4-7 ; Num 19:21-22 ). Being in an UNCLEAN state is not a sure-fire indication that one has sinned (although sin results in UNCLEANNESS). Lev 21:18-21 ; 22:20-24, ; where the same defects disqualify both priests and animals): priests (holy), ordinary Israelites (clean), and Gentiles (unclean). Curse words are "filthy language," and some people love to tell "dirty jokes." According to Numbers 19:11-22, anyone touching the corpse of a human being is unclean. Did Jesus ever become unclean during his time on earth? 2 Corinthians 6:17 commands us not to "touch the unclean." In order to make sure you understand this principle, let’s review a couple of fundamentals I’ve discussed in the past. Symbolism rather than hygiene must be the primary purpose of these laws. Private Masturbation Is Not A Sin Here is good news for many people: private solo masturbation, which is sexual stimulation and release by one's self alone, is not a sin. He rebuked those who, for ceremonial purity, cleanse the outside of the cup but do not practice inward moral purity or charity ( Matt 23:25-26 ; Luke 11:39-41 ). The Rationale of the Purity Laws. Everyone by biology inevitably contracted uncleanness from time to time; therefore, everyone in this fallen world must be purified to approach a holy God. Even at Noah’s time this law was in force. The prohibition of eating the fat of sacrificial animals and the blood of any animal reminded Israel that blood sacrifice reconciles sinful/unclean people with a holy God ( Lev 7:22-27 ; 17:11 ). An unclean person in general had to avoid that which was holy and take steps to return to a state of cleanness. Death Penalty For Sexual Sin Those To Be Cut Off From Israel Sexual Sin, Nature Of. I'm not sure it's to the level of clear sin, but one may be convinced about it in their own mind based on that and decide to avoid being dirty and odorous. Even the open vessels in the tent with a dead person are unclean seven days. The list of the unclean foods can be found in Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21. Human beings are "unclean" or "sinful" by nature and cannot approach a holy God. Lev 14 specifies that such uncleanliness will last at least 8 days. The adjective form of the word, unclean (akathartos) is found 30 times in the New Testament, and is used most often to describe unclean spirits or demons in the gospels. The pig, moreover, was associated with the worship of Near Eastern chthonic deities. This thinking then justified believers to divorce their unbelieving spouses. The article “Could Jesus, as a faithful Jew, have eaten turkey on Thanksgiving Day?” provides a summary of the foods that the Mosaic Law prohibited. Even arbitrary rules cultivate the virtue of self-control, a step toward the attainment of holiness. The command not to eat the flesh with the blood inculcates respect for all animal life. There is no true Scriptural basis for calling it a sin. The question that will be answered in this article is, “Is it a sin to eat unclean animals today?” There is possibly more than one context for its use. Something holy is a treasured item; something set aside for special use,especially for use in the service of God. The idea that it is a sin is pure "doctrine of man," not based on the Bible. Some of the causes of impurity were the result of normal bodily functions. If you're trying to reach clean people, being … Something unclean is at the opposite end of the spectrum.These are the things that you don’t want or that you find disgusting, such as detestable things inDeuteronomy 14:3. Allowing the context to speak for itself clarifies why some laws should still be regarded today by all and why some should not. What Unclean Means—and Why it Mattered. This is an important foundational principle you need to understand. The thought of his readers was that a believing spouse is defiled and made unclean by being married to an unbeliever. 100 Bible Verses about Being Unclean 1 John 1:9 ESV / 7 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Why did the time period of being unclean end in the evening? According to Numbers 19:11-22, anyone touching the corpse of a human being is unclean. But when an actual birth occurred with the woman, there was an offering for sin , because the "sin" is Adam's disobedience, which creates spiritual death in the newborn baby. No. I take it that uncleanliness and being in a state of sin are not synonymous to the ancient Jews? In Leviticus 12 it explains how a woman is unclean after childbirth, and how she is doubly unclean after giving birth to a girl. In Old Testament times the ordinary state of most things was "cleanness, " but a person or thing could contract ritual "uncleanness" (or "impurity") in a variety of ways: by skin diseases, discharges of bodily fluids, touching something dead ( Num 5:2 ), or eating unclean foods ( Lev 11 ; Deut 14 ). G. J. Botterweck and H. Ringgren, TDOT, 5:287-96, 330-42; H. C. Brichto, HUCA 47 (1976): 19-55; M. Douglas, Purity and Danger; J. E. Hartley, ISBE, 1:718-23; J. Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16; idem, Religion and Law; idem, Semeia 45 (1989): 103-9; J. M. Sprinkle, "A Literary Approach to Biblical Law: Exodus 20:22-23:19"; G. J. Wenham, Numbers; idem, Christ the Lord; S. Westerholm, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. It is not right for anyone to live in an unclean home. How Uncleanness Was Contracted and Treated. So unclean in fact, that just being around a woman who is bleeding can make you unclean. Moreover, ritual pouring of the blood back to God symbolically acknowledged that only by divine permission could any animal be killed ( Gen 9:2-5 ). The demon is called an "unclean" spirit, "impure" and "lewd." Leviticus 15:33. There is no sin in giving birth to a child. Then verse 21: It is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble. Jesus did not hesitate to touch the dead ( Matt 9:25 ; Mark 5:41 ; Luke 8:54 ), and allowed a sinful woman (e.g., a prostitute) to touch him ( Luke 7:36-38 ), despite her ritual (as well as moral) uncleanness. Jews seeking Jesus' death refused to enter the palace of Pilate to avoid contracting ceremonial uncleanness during Passover ( John 18:28 ). Unclean definition is - dirty, filthy. Skin conditions were beyond one’s control and therefore not sinful. Verse Concepts. But an “unclean” status did not necessarily relate to sin. In an electronics plant where silicon crystals are grown, the clean room is incredibly clean. Being “clean” or “unclean” was a ceremonial designation governing the ritual of corporate worship. We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. Certainly the exclusion from the camp of those with possible symptoms of leprosy (Lev 13-14) and gonorrhea ( Lev 15:2-15 ) in effect quarantined these dangerous diseases and contributed to public health. Some laws of purity express ethical lessons. Most of the unclean animals were either predators/scavengers or lived in caves (e.g., rock badgers). This speaks theologically of Christ's impeccable person. So, I don’t know about that “holiness” thing which Kelley brought up. In such cases, and that of a woman with a flow of blood ( Matt 9:20-22 ; Mark 5:27 ), Jesus is not defiled (he went through no ceremonial purification), but those are cleansed and healed. It is not a sin to have a moldy house, it’s just unfortunate. But an “unclean” status did not necessarily relate to sin. When we think of something unclean in the Old Testament, we often equate it with something sinful. Israel was not to cook a goat in its mother's milk not because it was a pagan practice, but because it was inappropriate to combine that which was a symbol of life (mother's milk) with the death of that for which it was meant to give life, especially in the context of the Festival of Tabernacles (so the context of Exod 23:19 ) celebrating the life-giving power of Yahweh. Leprosy made a person waste away like a corpse ( Nu 12:12 ). The thought of his readers was that a believing spouse is defiled and made unclean by being married to an unbeliever. We should not confuse being unclean with willful sin. It seems like the Bible is filled with examples of how a woman’s body, especially the blood she sheds, is unclean. Any info would help, thank you! One is now in the realm of scrupulosity. Sorry if I’m off-topic. Still, the “non-normalness” of such conditions put one in a state that required purification—cleansing. He implicitly condemned the priest and Levite who placed concern for ritual purity-they would be barred from temple service if they touched a corpse-over concern for human life ( Luke 10:25-37 ). They were evil spirits who caused the person they occupied to misbehave in various ways and sullied that person’s character. Leviticus 11 lists the classes and even individual species of unclean animals not to be eaten. This separation parallels that of people (cf. There was nothing morally wrong with Jewish Christians observing the old rituals, and, accordingly, Paul did ( Acts 21:20-26, ; purification after a Nazirite vow), but Old Testament laws of purity, and all ceremonial laws, are optional, and even strangely out of place under the new covenant. Nonetheless, in the age of transition he required cleansed lepers to show themselves to the priest in accord with Mosaic law ( Luke 17:11-17 ). This symbolism excluded necromancy ( Lev 19:31 ). Animals that could be sacrificed were "holy"; wild game and fish that could be eaten but not sacrificed were "clean"; and animals that could be neither eaten nor sacrificed were "unclean." Also, it may be an opportunity to become all things to all men (depending on who you're reaching out to). How to use unclean in a sentence. Because of sin, "we are all like an unclean thing" (Isaiah 64:6). The most serious to least serious cases in descending order were: skin disease (Lev. Paul did not deny the existence of a distinction between clean and unclean and even assumed that Jewish Christians would continue to observe the purity code. Note in Lev 15:7, it states that it is a man with discharge, so pus from an infected wound would qualify, but so would blood and other body fluids. Moreover, why would Christ abolish the food laws meant for hygiene? Animal slaughter was limited: only for food, only certain species, only if certain procedures were followed. Rom 14:14 ; "food is unclean in itself"). Purification varied with the severity of the uncleanness. The Old Testament. It was during the Flood that God first gave people permission to eat clean meat. What made some animals clean and others unclean (Genesis 7)? From the Jewish side, what is commonly translated as “unclean” isn’t quite accurate. The laws of purity prohibited connecting worship with sexuality. Leviticus 11 is dealing with the subject of cleanness and uncleanness—specifically, with the subject of clean and unclean foods. In the gospels, "unclean" describes those who are possessed by demonic spirits through constant submission to evil. Also, it is used to refer to common or unclean food, illegitimate children, the ungodly and the immoral. Proud member The ritual baths associated with purification would also contribute to hygiene. Jesus allowed "unclean" or "evil" spirits (in the New Testament "unclean" is twenty-two times connected with demons) to enter swine, perhaps in part because it was fitting for one unclean thing to enter another ( Matt 8:28-34 ; Mark 5:1-16 ; Luke 8:29-33 ). Those who touched the unclean became unclean, and specific steps had to be taken for a person to become ceremonially clean again. Other laws, by creating distinctive customs (even where such customs were without any inherent moral value, as in Lev 18:19 ), nonetheless inculcated Israel with the concept of "holiness" and served as "object lessons, " creating in Israel a sense of self-identity as a "separated" people. Bibliography. Priests were to avoid becoming ritually defiled ( Leviticus 21:1-4 Leviticus 21:11-12 ), and if defiled, had to abstain from sacred duties. However, from identifying physical impurity with sin or demanding that Gentiles adhere to that code." Not just a minister and his family. Some excluded animals such as the camel, which have no association with disease when ingested. Leaving a corpse of an executed man exposed on a tree overnight was barbaric ( Deut 21:23 ). Even the open vessels in the tent with a dead person are unclean seven days. The condemnation of Adam's sin (spiritual death) is therefore transmitted to each and every human being ( Rom 5:12 ). Purification rituals symbolized movement from death toward life and accordingly involved blood, the color red, and spring (lit. But, there seem to be creatures which are unclean: Leviticus 5:2 He refrained. What is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Especially if we profess to be Christians, the more reason to get off your duff and … This is an important foundational principle you need to understand. In Leviticus chapter 12, why is a woman unclean longer if she gives birth to a daughter than if she gives birth to a son? Jesus condemned those who placed ritual above ethics. Jesus speaks against having lustful thoughts and then says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” While there is clearly a connection between lustful thoughts and masturbation, it is unlikely that Jesus was alluding to the specific sin of masturbation in this passage.
2020 is being unclean a sin