Clean and Unclean: It’s Only Physical
The Church of God Seventh day took the law of clean and unclean very seriously but Herbert Armstrong had no problem eating unclean meats. He finally agreed to teach against eating unclean things to obtain ordination by them, however he always maintained the attitude that clean and unclean was “only physical” and primarily a health issue. Which is a very erroneous position. In reality as soon as God commands something it becomes the SPIRITUAL ISSUE of obeying God, of living by every Word of God (Mat 4:4).
God could have created or made all flesh clean! God could have simply not have made His law of clean and unclean! God made the law of clean and unclean for a purpose! It is not just physical but profoundly SPIRITUAL!
If it is true that the law of clean and unclean is only physical why not say that the weekly and annual Sabbaths are only physical? Why do we not also say that adultery is only physical, or that stealing is only physical? We are physical and the whole law and commandments are physical, but these physical laws exist to teach us great spiritual principles, and are therefore also spiritual.
Jesus Christ the Creator came to reveal and teach the spiritual meaning of the physical laws of God.
In fact there is no such thing as “ONLY physical,” because all things commanded by God are tests to see if we will obey and live by every Word of God or not. Every physical law has its spiritual purpose and meaning and is spiritual as well as physical
Instead of calling the law of clean and unclean meats merely physical and a nonspiritual health issue, and avoiding all other aspects of the law of clean and unclean; it is incumbent on us to study the matter and learn the spiritual meaning of this spiritual law.
This law of purity and clean and unclean has many purposes if we would only open our eyes to see.
1. To teach us to obey and live by every Word of God whether we understand the full meaning or not,
2. To test us to see if we will live by every Word of God or not,
3. To teach us to discern between right and wrong, the holy and the profane,
4 To teach us that the unclean and profane person [the unrepentant sinner] is excluded from access to God and the holy, and excluded from the resurrection to spirit and eternal life.
The law of the clean and unclean is that no unclean person can enter the holy tabernacle or temple or come into the presence of God. This physical law is an allegory of the spiritual law that no unrepentant sinner can be accepted by God or inherit eternal life and will be cast into the fire of perdition.
The lesson of this law for the New Covenant is that to enter into a relationship with God, we must sincerely repent of our sins and commit to go and sin no more, only then will we be justified, cleansed and made spiritually clean by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God being applied to us; and only then will God dwell in us through His Spirit.
Clean and Unclean Meats the law of clean and unclean meats uses physical eating to teach us to put a difference between the holy and the profane in what we consume and internalize spiritually.
When we physically eat we take into our bodies what we eat; which is an allegory of what we internalize or take into ourselves on the spiritual plane. Spiritually do we internalize the very nature of God by taking into ourselves what is pure, holy and Godly, or do we fill our minds with the filth of false doctrines, rebellion against any zeal to live by every Word of God and the wickedness that fills our world. We become what we take into and assimilate into our minds: Do we internalize holiness or wickedness; the purity of God or the profane and spiritually unclean.
The law commands that we are not so much as to touch the unclean thing. Spiritually this means that we are to loathe and avoid the spiritual uncleanness of sin so that we are not even tainted by having been close to sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Yes do not consume or touch any physical or spiritually unclean thing that we may learn to put a difference between the holy and the profane, both physically and spiritually.
Spreading infections make people or things unclean because they are analogous of the spreading of sin in the same way that leaven is analogous of sin for its spreading ability. While disfiguring skin conditions are analogous of the appearance of evil as per 1 Thessalonians 5:22. This is not about the actual person but about the appearance.
Defects in clean animals make them unfit as representatives of the perfect Lamb of God but they are still clean and fit for human consumption. Defects in people do not make them unclean.
The first Passover in Egypt was unique in that the destroyer would pass through Egypt at midnight on the 14th day of the first month and would pass over every house with the blood of a lamb or kid on its doorposts. Every household had killed a lamb or kid and the family had placed some blood on their door posts and roasted and ate the lamb or kid.
It was later at Sinai that it was commanded that subsequently after the Egyptian Passover, the Passover lambs and kids must be sacrificed before the LORD at the place that He shall choose [either the tabernacle or later the temple].
After Egypt the Passover animals could ONLY be sacrificed before the LORD in the Holy Place, and since there is no temple today the Passover lambs and kids may not be sacrificed.
It was at Mount Sinai that the laws of sacrifice and clean and unclean were renewed, those laws had been in effect since creation; although it is conceivable that they were more general previously and that God added more detail for Israel at Sinai. We know that Able and Noah and Abraham and others offered sacrifices, and that God made specific commands regarding the clean and unclean animals for Noah and the Ark.
These commandments at Sinai superseded the instructions given for the Passover in Egypt:
1. The Passover must now be sacrificed ONLY at the Holy Place before the LORD,
2. A person could go out of his house in the night without fear of the destroyer,
3. No unclean person could eat of the Passover because it was Holy having been sacrificed before the LORD.
Later David wrote Psalms for the Passover and the Festivals which Ezra re appointed to be sung at the Passover and Festivals after the Babylonian captivity. Ezra also instituted the four cups of wine Passover service used by Jesus and his disciples and the Jews of the Temple Period. SEE: Harmonizing the Gospels Concerning The Last Passover of Christ
No unclean person may partake of the Passover, this is a Mosaic allegory that in the New Covenant no person unclean by reason of unrepented sin may take the Passover. The justifying of our lack of zeal to live by every Word of God and our tolerating of sin are primary reasons for the spiritual weakness of the Ekklesia today.
After Sinai uncleanness can be placed in three different levels in terms of duration:
1. That which lasts only until sunset if one washes
When a person touches an unclean person or thing; they are to wash and will be clean at sunset. To maintain the allegory and learn the lesson that no unclean person, that is no unrepentant person unclean by sin, may take the Passover, I have always washed [showered] as very many of us do, to be as clean as possible in preparation for Passover evening. Of course this is an allegorical lesson and physically washing is certainly NOT enough; we are to examine ourselves and to sincerely repent and STOP sinning; NEVER trying to justify ourselves or our sins.
To take the spiritual New Covenant Passover we must be clean from sin by sincere repentance, a commitment to STOP sinning, the application of the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the full internalizing of the nature of God through living by every Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. That uncleanness which lasts for seven days such as the handling of a dead human body or the uncleanness of menses, number two is the reason for the question about being unclean for Passover in:
Numbers 9:6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: [Because of the commandment from Sinai that no unclean person may take the Passover] 9:7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel? 9:8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
9:9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 9:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.
9:11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
9:12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
This answer is about eating the holy physical lamb Passover which was sacrificed before God at the tabernacle/temple when people were unclean for a period of seven days by a dead body, yet the command is that NO unclean person may take the Passover. Therefore it applied to menses and to anyone having any lengthy uncleanness. Such people were to delay taking the Passover until the second month and may then take it if clean.
The New Covenant Passover: No physical lamb is being sacrificed before the LORD and made holy, because there is no physical Temple today. Therefore in the Passover service today a holy lamb sacrifice is not being eaten and this law which is that no physically unclean person may eat the holy Passover lamb does not apply, because no holy physical Passover lamb is being eaten.
However this physical law is an allegory of a spiritual reality, and means that no spiritually unclean [sinful unrepentant] person is to eat of the spiritual symbols of Passover. To partake of the spiritual Passover the condition of spiritual purity and cleanness from sin [sincere repentance] applies; while because no holy physical lamb is being eaten the physical cleanness rule does not apply.
The principle here is the same as Paul’s instructions on circumcision; if a man is converted and circumcised in heart, then there is no need for him to be physically circumcised as well [only we must circumcise our unconverted sons on the eighth day in obedience to the law]. In the same way a person who is sincerely repentant and committed to sin no more, may take the spiritual Passover regardless of any physical condition.
The sincerely repentant person who lives by every Word of God is spiritually clean, and need not let any physical condition separate them from God and taking the Passover.
3, That uncleanness which has no specific duration and lasts until God heals [Jesus healing many lepers, deaf and blind to demonstrate the fact that God is our healer], as in skin disfigurements and infections.
This third category is a lesson that in the end we can only really be made clean by God. It is God who washes away our repented sin by applying the sacrifice of the Lamb of God; it is God who gives his enabling Spirit and it was God who called us to repentance and opened our eyes to our sin in the first place.
Some have said that “I was called to God by this man.” No you were not!
Do not exalt the messenger above the author of the message; it is God the Father that calls people to Jesus Christ, not any man. Indeed, if you were called to God and really converted to live by every Word of God; Why would you turn aside from the Great King who called you; in order to follow an imperfect messenger?
Right now we are living in an unclean world full of sin; yet we have a perfect sacrifice to atone for all sin and spiritual uncleanness; therefore let us take the spiritual New Covenant Passover with sincere repentance and confidence that Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us to deliver us from bondage to all the uncleanness of sin.
Today we should avoid the physically unclean things; and also avoid the spiritually unclean things of sin, and even the appearance of sin.
When our LORD comes he will build the Millennial Temple and will clarify all questions regarding the physical sacrifices and issues of clean and unclean regarding that soon to be built holy Temple.