Reading through the Bible together

Monday, July 30, 2012

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Leviticus 15 provides instructions concerning impurities caused by genital discharges:

abnormal male (verses 2-15)

     normal male (verses 16-17)

            normal female with male (verse 18)

     normal female (verses 19-24)

abnormal female (verses 25-30; compare Luke 8:43-48)

 

In Leviticus 18:19 and 20:18, prohibition of sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman is included among permanent moral laws (Ezek 18:6). Deliberate sinning by incurring this forbidden impurity results in the divine penalty of “cutting off” (Lev 20:18), with no ritual remedy available. The temporary impurity mentioned in Leviticus 15:24 resulted from an accident when a woman’s menstruating period began without her knowing it. The fact that this could happen was enough to rule out female priests, who would disastrously defile the sanctuary if they became impure while officiating.

 

Some male and female impurities happened automatically and some serious impurities required atoning sacrifices for purification. These facts have been misinterpreted by many Christians to mean that humans sin automatically. But they have not understood the difference between sins and physical impurities. Acts of sin are acts, and therefore they are not automatic. They involve choice (James 4:17), even if a person does not realize at the time that the choice is wrong (Lev 4). We retain our state of sinfulness until our bodies are changed at Christ’s Second Coming (1 Cor 15:51-54), but God is able to keep us from acts of sin (Jude 24).

 

Roy Gane

Andrews University