In my last blog post we began to study Numbers 5, and right away the subject of uncleanness, impure (unclean) persons and what to do with them arose.
We saw 3 categories of unclean people listed (although there are more):
- The person with skin disease,
- The person with a genital discharge, and
- The person defiled because they touched a human corpse.
And all 3 of these were to be put outside the camp of Israel (meaning outside the Community of Believers) until the cause for their impurity cleared up. When, and if, it did clear up then a 7 day period of purification was performed after which that person could rejoin the community in good standing.
Now let me explain something that is terribly misunderstood: ritual uncleanness still exists in our day. Jesus did NOT somehow universally do away with all uncleanness in this world. However, He did make all of His Disciples clean.
We are told when Christ was crucified that two fluids flowed out of Him:
- Blood and
His blood atoned for our sin; His Living water made us clean. Both fluids were necessary on our behalf. And as we find out in the Torah, atonement is NOT the same thing as ritual purification.
Atonement is the PRICE paid for our sin; purification is the removal of the uncleanness CAUSED by that sin or some kind of contact with impurity.
Further; uncleanness will continue to exist in this world even until the New Heaven and the New Earth. The only place on this planet that uncleanness doesn’t exist is in the heart of a Believer. Yet uncleanness CAN be re-introduced.
Separation From The Unworthy Required
I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate with [sexually] immoral people— not meaning the immoral people of this world, or the greedy ones and swindlers, or idolaters, for then you would have to get out of the world and human society altogether! But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as eat with such a person. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders (non-believers)? Do you not judge those who are within the church [to protect the church as the situation requires]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside [the faith]. Remove the wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (AMP)
Here we have Believers who have decided they CAN continue with unclean evils, and somehow it doesn’t matter because they’ve accepted Jesus.
So, you argue, but this passage speaks of immorality and wickedness…where does it say unclean?
I have a question in return:
Do you think that Yeshua removed the uncleanness from wickedness and immorality! In other words, would you advocate that with the crucifixion of Jesus He took the impurity out of sin?
Yet, in an odd way, that is the implication of the traditional Church teaching on the subject (although I think that is mainly because they don’t know that there is a distinct Biblical difference between uncleanness and sin).
Hopefully, by now you have learned in Torah that ALL wickedness is inherently unclean. ALL immorality is inherently unclean. Not because I say so but because God’s Word says so.
Now listen to this passage describing the very last hours of man’s history, as we know it, in Revelation. In other words, this is a time still well in the future of our age.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (vanished), and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband; and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [as their God,]
Revelation 21:1-3 (AMP)
So we know we are talking about the time Revelation 21 is speaking, and it’s after the current time we’re in when the earth and heaven are being re-formed like at Creation.
Let’s read a little more, understanding that the end of man’s history has come and the Kingdom of God is fully in:
By day (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed [in fear of evil]; and they will bring the glory (splendor, majesty) and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations [detestable, morally repugnant things] and lying, but only those [will be admitted] whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 21:25-27 (AMP)
NOTHING UNCLEAN shall enter in….
If unclean stopped existing about 30 A.D., when Jesus died, then why is it that 60 years later the Revelator, John, wrote about uncleanness as still continuing to exist far into his future, even existing right up until the NEW Heaven and New Earth were being created, and the New Jerusalem has just descended?
Only gentile Bible scholars and teachers, uninterested in the Hebrew Scriptures, or The Torah, or Bible History, or Hebrew culture, want to put forward the Scripturally unsound idea that Jesus did away with uncleanness in this world.
If He did then what’s the difference between “the world” and us, as Believers?
Jesus also came to SAVE the world, didn’t He?
But is everyone saved?
No; because salvation is in a certain sense a two-way street…because the only part of the world that can be saved is that part which will give itself over to Him. The rest is NOT saved; the rest is marked for destruction.
The same with uncleanness, He cleansed us His Believers from uncleanness. He didn’t make the world’s uncleanness, clean. He atoned for our sin…He didn’t do away WITH the world’s sin…yet.
If He did how come evil men fly jet airplanes into tall buildings?
How come men kidnap Christian Missionaries and saw their heads off?
How come some Believers cheat on their spouses?
Why do disciples of Jesus still occasionally tell a lie, or say something hurtful, or behave in our own self-interest, or get angry because we don’t get our way, or constantly seek to be served instead of serving?
The Bible defines every one of those things as sin and every sin as unclean. There is no such thing as a clean sin, just because the sin occurred in a Believer.
Or did Christ take the uncleanness out of sin? Get it?
And when we sin, we automatically introduce uncleanness into our lives. And uncleanness is incompatible with holiness…. the holiness that lives within us…God.
Oh yes, Jesus can and did cleanse us, His followers. He can cleanse ANYBODY who trusts in Him. But don’t think for a minute we can wallow and participate in uncleanness and not have our relationship with God negatively affected.
Listen to Paul speaking to gentiles in this passage:
You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by your faith [as believers understanding the truth of Christ’s deity]. Do not be conceited, but [rather stand in great awe of God and] fear [Him]; for if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], He will not spare you either. Then appreciate the gracious kindness and the severity of God: to those who fell [into spiritual ruin], severity, but to you, God’s gracious kindness—if you continue in His kindness [by faith and obedience to Him]; otherwise you too will be cut off.
Romans 11:19-22 (AMP)
This is a direct quid pro quo, with a threat. IF…you continue in faith to God, AND THEN you will revel in His kindness. But…IF you fall away, you WILL be cut off.
Many NT passages echo this exact sentiment because this is just a basic restatement of the Torah with the newness of faith in Jesus…the long promised Messiah… added.
Why would there be such a threat if that possibility didn’t even exist? Does God make hollow threats?
The point is that uncleanness still exists and you can be polluted by it if you seek after it and if you do not protect yourself, and the Lord who lives in your midst, from it. And should you become tainted by uncleanness it will, at the least, severely harm your relationship with the God Of Israel.
So as we encounter the issues of uncleanness throughout the OT and as we will throughout the remainder of chapters 5and 6 of Numbers, please don’t turn your minds and hearts off to it; understand that it is an issue NOT only of ancient historical interest it is speaking to us, today.
It is often said that what foolish general would not want to know the tactics of his enemy?
We are being very blind and foolish when we think that we are utterly immune to the effects of uncleanness, and so we have no fear of it because many think it honestly no longer exists.
We have many inside and outside of the Church now preaching that even Evil doesn’t exist. Our enemy, Satan, has convinced many NOT to fear God and His laws, and to not think that they have to strive to remain pure, despite Paul’s, Peter’s, even Jesus’ admonition never to think that way; in fact, Paul calls such thinking conceit.
This is NOT a call to return to following the Law in the sense that it is a laundry list of things to do to gain a saving righteousness before God. Rather this IS a call to recognize that danger remains, that the Torah gives us practices that when adhered to add a blessing to our lives, reminds us of God’s principles and that sin and uncleanness remain and are an ever-present hazard to the Believer.