Troublesome Topic: Did Unclean Mean Sinful?

Lesson 7 of 7

No, “unclean” did not mean sinful; my best attempt at putting it into modern English is “isolated for a certain reason.”

A short review is necessary here. The ancient Hebrews saw the world through the following lenses: Some things were holy (i.e. set apart or dedicated to a specific role or purpose), and in order to be holy they also had to be clean. The opposite of holy was common – not dedicated to any specific role or purpose. Things that were common could be either clean or unclean, but only the clean things were eligible to be made holy. These are fundamental truths that explain the spiritual dynamics of our universe.

To that review I will add one more thing: there were different “levels” of uncleanness. Usually being unclean did not make someone sinful, but he had to be cleansed (purified) before he could be eligible to be made holy. For the Israelites, cleansing sometimes required washing in water and waiting till evening. However, the term “unclean” was also used for things that were obviously sinful, such as idolatry. Such uncleanness was considered more serious and required a sacrifice as well as washing and waiting.

For any level of uncleanness, God’s people should desire to immediately start the process of becoming clean and then holy once again.

For the short and the medium length versions of this series, the next lesson is: The Food Laws Taught Three Major Truths

For the full version of this study, the next lesson is: Tear Down that Moldy House

The next lesson for Why Is That in the Bible? is: Tear Down that Moldy House