What Does it Mean to Be Unclean in the Bible?
In the Old Testament, the terms “clean” and “unclean” were defined to prevent a person from coming into contact with the impurities of the world. This principle carries over into the New Testament, when the term “clean” refers to living a holy, spiritual life that is worthy of one’s calling. In Leviticus chapter 12, the Bible answers questions such as the length of uncleanness for women, and explains when they must be unclean for a time before giving birth. It also answers a question about sacrifices during the millennial kingdom.
Uncleanness is a physical or moral impurity
The Bible has many passages that speak of the dangers of impurity. For instance, in the first chapter of Mark, Jesus exorcises unclean spirits 13 times. He also mentions Satan as an evil spirit, so uncleanness is not an uncommon topic in the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament, leprosy was considered a form of uncleanness. Lepers had to carry a plaque around their neck and shout “unclean!” whenever people were near them.
Biblically speaking, uncleanness refers to a variety of physical or moral impurities. These are often related to covetousness. People who commit uncleanness are generally motivated by greed and desire. Hence, these sins should be utterly repugnant to a holy person.
The Bible also makes it clear that uncleanness is an obstacle to a meaningful relationship with God. Many people believe that being unclean is pleasing God when it is actually hindering the very relationship they seek. Biblical teachings emphasize the importance of purifying our bodies, hands, and hearts.
In the Old Testament, the laws governing cleanliness are found in Leviticus. In fact, the majority of the Bible’s clean and unclean laws are found here. The most prominent of these is a list of the things that are unclean. This list includes dead bodies, insects, and certain crawling creatures. Moreover, it describes the Day of Atonement ritual. In other words, if something is unclean and touched by someone else, the person touched it becomes unclean.
Despite the ambiguity in these laws, Christians are expected to work hard to maintain their righteous standing before God. However, they should not confuse this with salvation. As Christians, we should strive to be free from impurity, regardless of its cause. Uncleanness is not limited to sexual immorality; stealing and immoral behavior are also unclean.
It leads to expulsion
According to the Bible, people who are unclean were excluded from the tabernacle. This was documented in Leviticus 15:31, which also states that every human being contracts uncleanness at some point in his life. Although there is no explanation for this particular rule, biblical texts seem to imply that humans are inherently unclean and contaminated.
In biblical terms, uncleanness can be caused by various things, including sexual activity. Sexual copulation, for example, leaves a person unclean until the evening. Then, men and women must wash their clothes. This was an important part of purification. The Bible also outlines the processes that will cleanse a person’s body.
According to the Bible, an Israelite can be expelled from the camp if he becomes ritually unclean. The Israelites were also commanded to expel anyone who has a leprosy or has discharge from the genitals. In addition, there is a rule about corpse defilement in Num 19. Purification from impurity requires a seven-day ritual and can even involve expulsion.
Another example of an unclean act is in the Pentateuch. Israel was forbidden to have any sex with women until they had first sought God’s blessing. The Israelites were also prohibited from having any kind of sexual relationship with a woman while she was menstruating. Any kind of sex with a woman would render the man unclean for seven days. Both parties would also be subject to a divine “cutting off.”
Several biblical passages make clear the importance of ritual cleanness for worship. During the time of the ancient Israelites, ceremonial cleanness was the primary concern of priests. A priest’s job was to distinguish between the ritually clean and the ritually unclean. As such, the Pentateuch devotes a section of the Book of Leviticus to this topic.
It is sinful
The Biblical concept of “unclean” is not outdated and remains central to the Old Testament law. The words “clean” and “unclean” occur over 500 times in Scripture, most extensively in Leviticus, Numbers, and the legal parts of Ezekiel. God uses these words to make a big distinction between the sacred and the profane. His law enforces this contrast dramatically.
When we are unclean in the Bible, it means we cannot approach God, who is holy. As such, we must take steps to restore ourselves to cleanness. Sin comes from within us, and it is caused by our perverse nature and temptations. Our uncleanness keeps us from being accepted by God, and only the blood sacrifice can bring us back to his favor.
Another time when uncleanness is forbidden is during menstruation. This is because a woman’s blood discharge can be as long as seven days. During this time, any person who touches her is unclean until the next evening. Likewise, a man who lies with a woman is unclean for seven days. This means he should wash his clothes, and bathe in water.
The Israelites needed a clear separation between sex and religious worship. They had once fallen into a fertility cult and worshiped idols with carnal acts of seduction. This separation was imperative to distinguish Israel’s religion from its pagan neighbors. Further, clean/unclean legislation separates sex from worship, which was the foundation for their nation.
It is a matter of external things
The biblical word for uncleanness is akatharsia, which is derived from the Greek word kathairo, which means “pure” or “clean,” but with a prefix a, meaning “dirty.” It refers to unclean thoughts and actions, and thus the Bible teaches that one must be clean before one can become unclean.
The Bible teaches that sin and uncleanness separate us from God, and that we are not free from them. The word “unclean” can be translated as “foul” or “dirty,” but the biblical definition of uncleanness is much higher than the secular one. It means dirty or foul, and is detestable before God.
Biblical cleanliness has nothing to do with physical cleanliness. While many people have claimed that biblical cleanliness was about protecting their physical health, this is not the case. Biblical cleanliness is about presenting yourself in a proper state before God. For instance, in Exodus 40:9, God consecrated the tabernacle and its articles.
It is a matter of separation from the Gentiles
This separation is necessary to know God and to be holy. It is a matter of righteousness in a world filled with unrighteousness. It is the separation of the light from darkness. The Bible uses the concept of separation to teach us how to live the righteous life before the lost world.
In the Bible, it is important to remember that the Gentiles were unclean because they did not follow the Mosaic law. Having a meal with them would be to approve their lifestyle, and that is wrong. However, in Matthew 15:10-11, Jesus says that this law is no longer relevant. The Law is no longer about the literal substance of food, but about evil thoughts and deeds.
The wall in the Old Testament was a physical partition that divided Jews from Gentiles. This wall was constructed by the Jews in power, and it was a barrier that kept gentiles out. This wall was a later addition, and it was a necessity to keep the Gentiles out of the temple precinct. This wall was not part of the original design or the Old Testament. However, it became the norm in 2nd Temple times, when Jews did not allow Gentiles into the temple.
Similarly, the prohibition of eating unclean meat was added to the law by the Talmud, which acknowledges that the law of Moses did not forbid gentiles from eating unclean meat. This prohibition was added about 430 years after Abraham. It was part of the law that Moses gave to the Israelites, and it was a law that only the Jews were allowed to follow.