THE UNCLEAN II
Difficult questions to answer:
1. Why do children have an inclination for what is wrong, and resist doing what is right?
2. Why are children easily inclined to evil and not to good?
3. Why are children generally disobedient?
4. Why do children hide from their parents the wrong things that they do?
5. Why are adults generally slaves to the evil that they learned during their early years?
Jehovah demanded holiness in the lives of the priests and also in the lives of the people. “You shall be holy, for I, Jehovah your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2; 20:7,26).
If any Israelite committed any sin, he would go to the priest, in the temple, with the animals: one for the burnt offering and another for the sin offering. The priest would offer the animals on the altar to Jehovah, and the sin was forgiven (Lev. 4:27-35).
As for the unclean, we read in the letter to the Hebrews: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh” (Heb. 9:13). The uncleanness was more strongly connected with sex. In Lev. 15:16-17 we read that the seed of sexual intercourse is unclean. The blood of menstruation was also unclean (Lev. 12:1-4).The child was born unclean (Job 15:14; 25:4). A “show” of uncleanness (2 Peter 2:10).
But the Israelites were sacrificed and purified by the sacrifices of the Law (Heb. 9:13). If they were sanctified and purified by the expiatory sacrifices and the burnt offerings, where the victim was completely burnt on the altar, why did the sexual intercourse continue to be unclean? Why did the seed of the man’s sexual intercourse continue to be unclean? Why did the seed of man and the menstrual ovulation of the woman continue to be unclean? THE ANSWER IS: Because they were created unclean. Before Christ, all flesh was unclean, for it was of an unclean nature. Paul says that the flesh and the blood are corruption in 1 Cor. 15:50. Jesus declares in Job 6:63 that the flesh profits for nothing. Paul declares also that, in order for someone to belong to Christ, the flesh has to be crucified. “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). All who are outside of the cross are unclean. When Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24), he was making it clear to the disciples that the flesh is filthy and decaying, and it is an enemy of our souls. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). Paul confessed, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating on another” (Titus 3:3).
It is important to remember that no fleshly desire comes from the Father. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). The will of the Father is other than that: “…To live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:2).
Now, Adam and Eve were clothed with flesh by the hands of Jehovah (Gen. 2:21-23). “Clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews?” (Job 10:11). And the flesh is so filthy, that the clothes become unclean by the contact with it (Jude 23). Even the Law of Jehovah became weak, because of the flesh (Rom. 8:3).
The work of Jesus in the cross was so powerful and glorious; his sacrifice was so effective that this goes beyond our understanding! Peter, the apostle, confessed: “And he beheld the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Arise, Peter, kill and eat!’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’ And again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy’” (Acts 10:11-15). Peter, in obedience, went to preach the gospel in the house of the centurion Cornelius, the Roman Gentile, and when he arrived, he said,“You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean” (Acts 10:28). The Jews considered themselves holy, and the rest of the nations they had for unclean. And God, by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, purified all the races. But Peter did not have an eye to see the work of Jesus. “And He himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “Namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). To God, the Father, there are not unclean men anymore, nor unclean childbirth, neither unclean children.
If there is not any unclean childbirth anymore, why does Paul say that there are unclean children? “If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let she not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Cor. 7:12-14). Paul teaches in this passage that, when the unbeliever consents to live with the believer, he approves of the faith of the believer in Christ. When he does not consent, it is because he does not believe, and in this case he cancels the work of Christ on the cross, and in this way he remains within the Old Testament of Jehovah.
This issue calls for some serious consideration. The sperm of the man is naturally unclean (Lev. 15:16; 22:4). The menstruation of the woman is also unclean (Lev. 15:19). The honest sexual intercourse is unclean (Lev. 15:18). Children are born unclean (Lev. 12:1-7). Notice that, the moment the seed of the sexual intercourse comes out, the man becomes unclean, and also the woman. The little child has to be circumcised, in order to be considered clean. If man was created with an unclean seed, if the flesh with which man was made of is unclean (2 Pet. 2:10), can an unclean man be created in the image and likeness of a holy God? In the New Testament, though, the sacrifice of Christ sanctifies man, and the marriage bed becomes undefiled (Heb. 13:4). Now man can be in the image of God the Father (Col. 3:8-10).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira