John 15:3 “Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you”. |
Leviticus 11 tells us about ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’. Much has been ‘lost in translation’ in this text. The first three verses tell us about permissible foods. Whereas modern science continues to find health benefits to the Levitical diet, the primary reason for these ruling is not health. If God forbids pork because of trichinosis, He should also forbid chicken because of salmonella. There are no English words for the Hebrew ‘tahor’, translated as ‘clean’, and tamei’, translated as ‘unclean’, so for the sake of textual integrity, we will keep them in Hebrew.
These terms actually refer to an animal in its dead state, and technically speaking are relevant only to approaching God via the Tabernacle or later, the Temple. To simplify the idea, the carcass of any animal killed improperly, be it chicken or pig, is ritually contaminating. But when slaughtered according to Biblical standards, the carcasses of ‘tahor’ animals is not ritually contaminating. It is therefore not ritually wrong to own a pig or a cat, the difference is only in the carcass. The carcass of a man is technically ‘tamei’ (even if it were properly slaughtered; God forbid!), whereas the carcass of a properly killed cow is ‘tahor’. This understanding gives a whole new twist on the story of Abraham going to offer his son, and on Samson, a nazarite from birth supposed to stay continually remain in a perpetual state if ritual cleanliness, eating honey from the carcass of a lion. This is why also certain animals are allegeable for offering and others are not.
We must understand that the conditions of ‘tahor’ amd ‘tamei’ have nothing to do with hygiene or sinfulness. A woman is ‘tamei’ after having a baby which is not a sin but actually obedience to a fundamental Divine command. These conditions have only to do with the state of being human. Human beings we have dead cells and ‘tamei’ particles in our body all the time, so that we can only enter the Presence through the blood of a ‘tahor’ animal, and/or enter a ritual bath. We must take into consideration though that these rulings only concern our relationship with the temple in Jerusalem, so until it is rebuilt, they are only applicable on a symbolic level
But here is the good news: Yeshua knew and anticipated a very long Temple-less exilic period of time so He told the Samaritan woman "…The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father (John 4:21)”. At His last Seder with His disciples Yeshua also said, “… You are clean (tahor) because of the word that I have spoken to you(John 15:3), so speaking of Yeshua’s role as the heavenly High-Priest, the writer of Hebrews tells us, with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
May we always have the confidence that by virtue of the Name, obedience, righteousness, and ‘tahor-ness’ of Yeshua, we can always enter in the presence of the Father to obtain His favor.
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