The Unclean and the Clean

Posted by admin on 6 September 2020 in Exodus, Genesis, Leviticus, Proverbs |

Ezekiel 44:23
23 They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

I. The sin of ‘not teaching the unclean and the clean’ (Ezekiel 22:26)

Via the prophet Ezekiel, God pointed out the sins of priests in Jerusalem (she) in Ezekiel 22:26.

26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

According to Ezekiel 44:23, “how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean” should be taught. As we are the creature with the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we should differ from other animals in knowing the unclean and the clean.

II. The result of not knowing the unclean and the clean (Proverbs 26:11)

Proverbs 26:11 describes the behavior of animals such as dogs without knowing the unclean and the clean.

11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.

All human would know their vomit ‘unclean’ and do not eat it. But dogs do not know ‘what uncleanness is’ and so eat it.

III. The unclean and the clean in Leviticus (Leviticus 11-15)

The 1st five books among 39 books in the old testaments of the Holy Bible are called the books of the Law, written through the great servant of God, Moses. They are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Leviticus consists of 27 chapters. Let us study the unclean and the clean written in Leviticus.

Leviticus 11-15 teach ‘the unclean and the clean”. Leviticus 11 is on the unclean and the clean in food. Leviticus 12 is on purification after childbirth. Leviticus 13-14 are on skin diseases and moulds. Leviticus 15 is on discharges causing uncleanness.

While recommending to read Leviticus 11-15, I take Leviticus 15:16 as an example, that teaches the uncleaness from ‘semen’ in particular.

16 ‘ “When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening.

Different people may apply this knowledge in different ways. Some people may ignore it. Some people may even oppose it. Some people may consider this applied only to the priests inside the ancient or future temple in Jerusalem.

Before reading this part of the Holy Bible last year, I was completely ignorant about this uncleanness and its effective time (till evening). So, even when I was unclean, I moved around and met people. The result was that I felt something affected those I met on that day. I felt sorry to them, but I didn’t know what it was. After reading the word of God, I recognized ‘uncleanness’ first time, became careful and, as a matter of manner, if possible, avoided to go too close to others when I became unclean so as not to defile them. Only the word of God enabled this knowledge in me. Otherwise, I would have stayed ignorant however many years I might have been living. How important to read the Holy Bible!

IV. Sexual Sins and Penalties (Leviticus 18, 20)

Leviticus 18:1-30 is on unlawful sexual relations. The penalties of such sins are written in Leviticus 20:10-21, most of which require death.
Particularly, ‘childlessness’ is the penalty in Leviticus 20:21.

‘ “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonoured his brother. They will be childless.

V. More Commandments (Leviticus 19)

Leviticus 19:1-37 contains commandments some of which overlap ten commandments (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5).

Leviticus 11-20 that include the above three sections are recommended to read.

Appendix. Exodus

The Law is written in Exodus as well. In Exodus 19, God descended in Mount Sinai. Ten commandments are written in Exodus 20 and others are in Exodus 21-24. God gave details on the tabernacle and they built them in Exodus 25-40. Particularly, God gave Moses two stone tablets of the covenant law inscribed by the finger of God in Exodus 31. In Exodus 32, they committed the idolatry by making the golden calf, and Moses broke the stone tablets to pieces in anger. Moses had closer encounter with God and God gave Moses two stone tablets again in Exodus 33 and 34. So, it is recommended to read Exodus 19-24 and 31-34.


[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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