Clean vs. Unclean

In the Old Testament we find what God calls clean and unclean. Sometimes this refers to animals. The earliest we find this is in Genesis 7. Noah is told by God “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the make and his female: and of beast that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” Later on we are told in Leviticus 11 what animals are clean and unclean.

Sometimes “clean and unclean” would refer to clothes (Leviticus 14), houses (Leviticus 14) and even man (Leviticus 15). Nowhere in the Bible is this distinction of clean or unclean dealing with hygiene. Rather, it is the way God designated the difference between what He could receive into His presence and what must remain apart from Him. Only people, animals and objects designated as clean could enter the tabernacles, and later the temple, as part of the worship of God. God told man ways of making himself clean so that he could enter into the worship of God. It was also true of the objects that were used in the tabernacle or later the temple. The priest had to do certain things by the direction of God to make all these things clean so that they could be used in worship to God or so they could worship God as in the case of man.

Man could become unclean for several different reasons. It must be noted that Aaron or the High Priest could not contaminant and make himself unclean. The High Priest could not touch a dead body. When Aaron’s two sons died, he was told “not to uncover your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people …” (Leviticus 10:6). This was so because Aaron was performing the task of the High Priest and could not let anything get in his way of this service to the people and to God.

God said, “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping things that creepeth upon the earth” (Leviticus 11:44).  Peter quotes part of this verse in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Thus today we are to be holy.

We are all sinners before God (Romans 3:23) and are thus unclean. In the Old Testament the High Priest and the objects of the tabernacle or temple had to be dedicated by blood. Under the New Testament it is the blood of Christ that makes us clean or holy so that we can stand before God to worship Him acceptably.

The blood of Christ must be applied to our lives but how is this done? First, let us notice that Christ shed His blood in His death (John 19:31-34). We find in Revelation 1:5c “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” This is why Romans 6:3-4 is so important “Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We then are holy because we have contacted the blood of Christ. This then make us acceptable to approach God in worship. This shows the importance of the blood of Christ. We must then continue to be in contact with the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). This is done by our daily walk (Romans 12:1-2). Then when our earthly walk on earth is done, He will say unto us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of my Lord” (Matthew 25:23).

Love, Keith

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