Message – The Clean & Unclean
Series: Thru the Bible
***Video is HERE***
The reasons for these rules are more than likely both practical and spiritual
- parteth the hoof
- is cloven-footed
- and chews their cud
(ALL not “or”)
Excerpts from Gill and from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown…
Ruminating animals, due to their multiple stomachs, re-chewing their food and so on digest their food more fully than others. As a result, large portions of the poisonous properties of noxious plants eaten by them is more completely removed from the final product which passes into their gut and blood stream. This ability is said to be particularly remarkable in cows and goats. This makes them safer and more wholesome food than other land dwelling animals – containing more nutrition, less poisons and is in all more easily digested by the human stomach, and is therefore more easily assimilated. This process is less perfect in other animal and is therefore or far less quality in terms of nutrition and safety.
Animals which do not chew the cud, convert their food less perfectly; their flesh is therefore unwholesome, from the gross animal juices with which they abound, and is apt to produce scurvey & scrofulous (the later of which is a bacteria like tuberculosis usually affecting the lymph nodes. This later one is also used as a metaphor for moral corruption.
Also there is a comparison between how their multiple chewings and stomachs compare to our processing the word through exposure, meditation and incorporation.
- The first exposure to food (or the word of God) the chewing is basic and the amount extracted from it negligible. – Raw facts
- The second time it is broken down more completely and assumptions which take away from the true meaning of the text begin to be eliminated. – understanding
- The third separates the truth into smaller more specific categories. – Wisdom
- The fourth begins the process of integration so that the life and character are changed. – Application.
As for the parted hoofs, this is known to affect the amount of noxious substances which become integrated with the animal as well. “When feeding in unfavorable situations a large amount of fetid and noxious matter is discharged, and passes off between the toes; while animals with undivided hoofs, feeding on the same ground, become severely affected in the legs, from the poisonous plants among the pasture” Adapted quote from [Whitlaw, Code of Health].
JFB – on fins AND scales —
“The fins and scales are the means by which the excrescences of fish are carried off, the same as in animals by perspiration. I have never known an instance of disease produced by eating such fish; but those that have no fins and scales cause, in hot climates, the most malignant disorders when eaten; in many cases they prove a mortal poison” [Whitlaw].
A more recent article reports similar results
“Interestingly kosher dietary laws prohibit the eating of fish without both scales and fins. That eliminates a number of delicious sea foods, including shellfish, shrimp, catfish, lobster, mussels, eels, sharks, sturgeons, and swordfish, just to name a few.
Clearly their law-giver knew something that has taken scientists years to discover. Now we know that fish with scales AND fins are equipped with a digestive system that prevents the absorption of poisons and toxins into their flesh from the waters they call home. Flounder, cod, haddock, and salmon are a few examples of fish with scales and fins. ”
In fact, just about any search for seafood which is better for you than others will result in a very similar list.
Those fish and crustaceans which are not on the Kosher list, are not necessarily dangerous – some are just seriously LESS nutritious. That having been said, you’d be hard pressed to find ANY of them which are not nearly INFINITELY better for you than say – Macaroni and Cheese or breakfast cereal or pasteurized milk or ANYTHING out of a can or box…so, don’t use this as an excuse to not eat it if you ARE eating other FAR inferior and FAR less nutritious foods.
No rules just 20 specific birds NOT to eat hough there IS a link between most of them as being predators or scavengers, which like bottom feeders and crustaceans feed off of waste and dead matter.
Four footed insects – off the menu UNLESS they have a jointed legs above their feet with which they leap – like the grasshopper, cricket, locust…etc.
Vs. 26- No touchy!
Whoever touches the carcass of any of these shall be unclean until evening:
- Unclean animals, when dead, couldn’t just be left in the community to rot; they had to be disposed of. But the people who disposed of the unclean animals had to remedy their uncleanness by washing and a brief (until evening) quarantine.
- This means that if a dead rat was found in an Israelite village, it would be carefully and promptly disposed of, and the one disposing of it would wash afterward.
This helped prevent disease in a significant way!
Consider the Black Death – (bubonic plague) – which killed one quarter of Europe’s population around 1350, was spread largely by fleas which are often carried by feral cats and rats. An interesting fact about the Black Plague is that the Jewish communities were largely spared because they followed these hygienic regulations. Sadly, because they were often largely preserved, they were often accused and punished for being “masterminds” behind the plague.
So the law against Creeping unclean animals was VERY important – at least from a hygienic standpoint.
They required, for example, that if a rodent crawled inside a bowl, the bowl had to be broken. Therefore any disease the rodent carried (such as bubonic plague) could not be passed on to the one who would use the bowl.
“Everything on which a part of any such carcass falls shall be unclean”: These laws also promoted a general state of cleanliness inside the Hebrew home. This certainly promoted the health and the welfare of the family.”
(Lev. 11:44-47) The STATED purpose for God’s dietary laws.
“For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.”
- For I am the LORD your God: God claims the right to speak to every area of our life, including what we eat. He had the right to tell Israel what to eat and what not to eat.
- You shall therefore sanctify yourselves: One great purpose of the dietary laws of Israel was to sanctify – to set them apart – from other nations. It made fellowship with those who did not serve God far more difficult.
- We see this sanctifying effect in Dan. 1:1-21, where Daniel and his friends refuse to eat the unkosher food at the king of Babylon’s table – and God blesses them for being set apart for His righteousness.
- Neither shall you defile yourselves: Not only did unclean animals defile one spiritually, but there was also a hygienic defilement, and Israel was spared many diseases and plagues because of their kosher diet.
- Among the animals, considered unclean, MOST fell into one of three categories:
3 Categories of division:
- Predators (unclean because they ate both the flesh and the blood of animals)
- Scavengers (unclean because they were carriers of disease, and they regularly contacted dead bodies)
- Potentially poisonous or dangerous foods such as shellfish and the like.
Eliminating these from the diet of Israel no doubt had a healthy effect!
“In general it can be said that the laws protected Israel from bad diet, dangerous vermin, and communicable diseases.” (Harris)
- For I am the LORD who brings you up out of Egypt: This was the second claim God had upon Israel. The first claim was connected to His role as Creator. This claim is connected to His role as redeemer. We are obligated to God on both claims…and though these specific dietary laws have been lifted, God’s jurisdiction over us is precisely the same. He has CREATOR rights and REDEEMER rights over and concerning us.
Some Christians believe we are under obligation to observe a kosher diet today. Yet this issue was settled once and for all at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:1-41; where it was determined that obedience to Mosaic rituals was not required of the followers of Jesus.
Furthermore, Paul pointed out that we have the full liberty to eat whatever we want to: Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons . . . commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1Tim. 4:1; 1Tim. 4:3-5)
Some are under subjugation to food, or to certain foods, and that is sin under the principle of 1Cor. 6:12 : All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods but God will destroy both it and them.” In the same breath, the apostle goes on to deal with the bodily sin of sexual immorality – linking the two as sins of slavery to the body.
Without question, ALL of us would benefit from the attitude of self-denial and bodily discipline Paul spoke of in 1Cor. 9:24-27.
- Yet, apart from these considerations, Christians are free to eat or not eat whatever they please – and no one should think themselves more right with God because they eat or don’t eat certain things
Lev 12:1-8 NKJV “(1) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. (3) And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. (4) She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. (5) ‘But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days. (6) ‘When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (7) Then he shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female. (8) ‘And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons–one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’ “
- 8th day son is circumcised.
- Mom is unclean for 40 days in all.
- Not to touch any holy thing
- She is unclean for 66 days
- Not to touch any holy thing.
Why the difference?
Both the sin of Adam and the sin of Eve are addressed in this command.
1st let’s realize that the impurity was ceremonial ONLY and not spiritual. There was NO sin here. As such, this impurity was horizontal – pertained to the earth and earthly things.
So it seems to me that these impurity issues addressed the fall in it’s effects on the flesh – not it’s spiritual implications specifically.
It could be argued that from a purely theological standpoint – in regards to earthly things Eve’s sin was worse in that of Adam’s.
- Adam’s sin was to surrender authority which was delegated to him to rule his wife.
- Eve’s sin was to usurp and to take authority concerning Adam which she was never given.
To follow through with this comparison:
- His was a sin of omission, in that it was a failure to step to the plate and assume his role as head.
- Hers was a sin of Commission, in that she assumed and designed to take his leadership role by acting unilaterally and then suggesting that he follow her lead.
- So his was a sin of gross negligence and hers was a high-handed sin by comparison.
Again, that is ONLY when viewing and considering their sin from and earthly and horizontal perspective. From a SPIRITUAL, and therefore vertical perspective Adam’s sin (though largely one of omission) was the greatest and had the greatest consequences for ALL of humanity.
As the vessel created in God’s image and for His glory…
- Adam was to represent God the Father
- Eve was to represent God the Holy Spirit
- He was the source of physical life as the seed bearer – she is the receiver of life and therefore the seed germinator.
- He is the Glory of God – she is his glory
- He is the head – she is the body
- Though in him all humanity fell, it is also through the male seed that all humanity was given a savior.
Eve, and as the vessel created FOR the man – was meant…
- For His aid
- For his pleasure
- For carrying, developing and nurturing his seed and offspring.
Consequently these are the areas also touched by the fall.
- As his help-mate she was the vessel who suggested dissatisfaction with what they had been given in the garden and therefore suggested and led in the rebellion towards God.
- She sought her own not his highest good.
- She was to nurture and develop life and instead led in death
- Her curse was that she would NOW have PAIN in four areas of her life as a female…all of which spoke to her God given function. She would have pain –
- In Conception – TYPICALLY the first act of sex for a woman is not a pleasant one – and even in the rare exceptional case where it is, it is almost never the level of pleasure received by the man. Initial sex is accompanied by pain (the hymen and the first large scale expansion of the female sexual organ – most often proves painful or at very least unpleasant).
- Throughout Pregnancy. Her pregnancy would now be accompanied by unpleasantness. Universally, most women experience morning sickness, odd dietary cravings (which in times past were FAR less likely to be satisfied), mood swings, back pain and general – all over discomfort.
- At Child birth – in pain not joy.
- In marriage – she would find her heart longing for husband alone, but never would never be fully satisfied.
- Barnhouse has this to say about this thorny issue – “Your desire shall be towards your husband” – This is true of women in a way that it is not true for men. “This verse will be understood better when it is realized that the desire of man toward his wife alone is solely by God’s grace and not by nature.”
- It comes natural to a healthy man to desire more than one woman, it is not so with a truly healthy woman. It takes the grace of God and a deep inward conviction of truth and fidelity to hold back that impulse in men.
- It is a truth that nearly all aberrant sexual desires spring from unhealthy relationships with the opposite sex.
- Women who desire multiple partners and seek shallow fulfillment on a purely sensual level often have a background of hurt from men.
- Women who desire freedom from dependence upon men do so out of this “desire” God spoke over them. They desire a man, but they want to control him. This desire can be somewhat met in the workplace by advancing in a man’s world – and declaring their independence from men. It is, in the end however, a hollow victory in that it cannot truly satisfy and leads to all sorts of physical, mental & emotional trauma.
All of these things speaks to this issue, we find in these verses.
So we have:
- The man and the woman are unclean until evening following initial copulation.
- The woman alone is unclean following birth.
- 40 days for a male
- 80 days for a female
- Also the male child alone is circumcised and therefore has to shed his own blood.
- It has been speculated that it is this shedding of the blood of her male child in the organ of his seed bearing that acts as a type of atonement for her own impurities as if Adam is making provision for Eve. This is of course mere speculation and we know that in reality – NO human blood was acceptable for sacrifice and atonement but Christ’s which did not merely atone for – but destroy sin in relation internally for the sinner and externally for those already saints. But, nevertheless – you have it that the circumcised son results in a mother who is unclean for less time.
- Also, 40 is the number of temptation, testing and trial. When a number is multiplied the meaning of the number is increased. 2 is the number of division. So it could be argued that the testing, trials have been increased since the wedge of division occured in the garden.
Chapter 13 Laws of leprosy
1st of all this is NOT just about leprosy but about any skin disease which produces scales. In fact, in most cases it could not be demonstrated that this word included the necrosis associated with what is now considered leprosy or Hansen’s disease which today…if caught early, can be cured.
Another way we know this is because leprosy cannot be caught by simple contact. It requires prolonged close contact with an untreated person for many months to catch the disease. In fact it cannot even be contracted by an unborn baby during pregnancy nor spread through sexual contact – yet those with the skin disease translated as leprosy in the Bible were to not be touched at all and had to live separated from everyone in Israel.
Most people do not know this but more than 95% of all humans have a natural immunity to leprosy (as in Hansen’s disease). So this is NOT primarily the disease the Bible is speaking about and the most recent data I know of, has revealed that no skeletal remains of antiquity in Biblical geographical areas have ever revealed any signs of Hansen’s disease whatsoever.
SIDE NOTE: It is amazing how many arguments against the inspiration and trustworthiness of scripture has been conceptualized and spread among the public over simple issues of misunderstanding what the Bible means. This has often happens through poor or partially correct translation as in this case of Leprosy. Many uninformed Christian teachers have taught that Jesus touched and healed leprosy without fear of contracting it due to His power and connection with the Father – but many of those in the medical community use this as yet another example of Christian ignorance and superstition since Hansen’s disease cannot be caught in that way anyway. What Christians saw as a sign of power and divinity was nothing more than the luck of touching an non communicable disease.
What these people overlook is that clearly, whatever these people in the Bible had contracted – it must have been able to be contracted by touch – thus the isolation. So rather than jumping to conclusions they should have considered the matter more closely.
Now, another interesting thing is that in the few cases when a reason for these diseases being contracted are given in scripture, it is always in response to challenging God’s delegated authority to man. (Miriam with Moses; Gehazi’s disobeying his master Elisha; Uzziah challenging the priests…etc.)
Also interesting is that while in other cultures “healing” of leprosy was attributed to their priests …in the Bible it is ALWAYS attributed to the intervention of prophets. The priest examines and declares clean or unclean as “states of being” – the prophet declares “healing”.
Now these diseases are broken down into categorical sections in chapters 13 & 14:
- the diagnosis of the afflictions of the skin (13:2–28, 38–39),
- of the hair (13:29–37)
- of the scalp (13:40–44)
- the ostracism of the incurable (13:45–46; cf. Lam. 4:15)
- the diagnosis of the deterioration of garments, probably due to mildew or fungus (13:47–59)
- the ritual for the rehabilitation of the healed “leper” (14:1–32)
- the diagnosis of the “leprosy” of houses, probably caused by the spread of dry rot, mineral precipitates, or the growth of lichens and fungi (14:33–53)
- the summary (14:54–57).
Though not all the technical terms are understood, the symptoms given are capable of precise medical definition.
The affliction can occur spontaneously (13:2–17), follow a boil (13:18–23) or a burn on the skin (13:24–28), or develop on the head or beard (13:29–45). The first symptoms are those of a swelling, or subcutaneous nodule, a cuticular crust (sappaḥat), and whitish-red spot (baheret).
“The crux of the matter lay in the progression of the disease which is ascertained by the degree of skin penetration. If it affected area was confined to the outermost layer of skin and did not produce pathological changes in the hairs, the affliction was not regarded as especially serious. As such it might consist of eczema, leukoderma, psoriasis, or some related skin disease. If, on the other hand, the affliction had infiltrated the dermis (which is where the blood has contact) and had caused hairs to split or break off and lose their color, then “leprosy” was to be suspected” (R.K. Harrison).
This diagnostic principle also applied to disease affecting the scalp (13:29–37) where the affliction was spoken of as netek (neteq) (JPS “scall”).
Even by today’s standards these are pretty reliable signs and symptoms which would greatly aid the accurate diagnosis of communicable diseases.
Next week I will teach on the next two chapters of Leviticus.
There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!
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