In sharp contrast to the modern believer who doesn’t concern him or herself with the fundamental issues of holiness, purity, and cleanness, the ancient Hebrews were obsessed with purity and cleanness.
Why is this?
The reason is because they were acutely aware that their status of being holy could be lost.
If they sinned by breaking one of the commandments handed down to them by Moses, their Holiness status was put into a state of suspension.
Your average Hebrew travelled up and down a spiritual ladder with uncleanness at the very bottom and Holiness at the very top.
1st RUNG: HOLINESS!!!
2nd RUNG: COMMON & CLEAN
3rd RUNG: COMMON & UNCLEAN
When a Hebrew person broke one of the Torah commands, one of two things would result.
He would either be degraded down to a “Common & Clean” state (the 2nd rung), or descend to the lowest rung of being “Common & UN-clean” (the 3rd rung).
Disobedience to most of the Torah commands brought a Hebrew into the temporary state of being COMMON but still CLEAN (the 2nd rung).
However, there were other acts that brought one down to the dreaded lowest rung of being both COMMON & UNCLEAN.
For example, if one touched a dead body, then BOOM, that person was instantly in a “Common & UN-clean” state.
He was now at the very bottom of the holiness ladder so to speak and thus had to get back to that neutral middle ground (the 2nd rung) of being “Common & Clean”.
That was the purpose of the ritual purity laws.
Are you catching that?
The purpose of the ritual purity laws was to bring one from a state of “Common & Unclean” (bottom rung) to a state of “Common & Clean” (2nd rung).
We will see later that an important part of the process of becoming ritually pure was to bathe in a MIKVAH (ritual bath).
Now once a person reached the 2nd rung of the Holiness Ladder, his next target was to get himself back into a state of acceptable holiness, the top rung of the ladder!
This was achieved by performing the appropriate sacrifice at the Tabernacle.
Are you catching all of this?
The purity rituals brought one from a state of “Common & UN-clean“ to a state of “Common & Clean”.
The sacrificial system brought one from a state of “Common & Clean” to a state of “Holiness”.
The term used to describe the process of traveling from a state of “Common & Clean” to a state of “Holiness” is “ATONEMENT”.
Are you getting this?
Can you see how there is a distinction between “becoming PURE” (or clean) and “becoming HOLY”.
Moving from a state of “Common & UN-clean” to a state of “Common & Clean” (the 2nd rung) is the process of BECOMING PURE.
Moving from a state of “Common & Clean” to a state of “Holiness” (the 3rd rung) is ATONEMENT.
So this was the reality your typical Hebrew faced daily.
It was like he was on an elevator that constantly travelled up and down the holiness ladder.
I can see now why Paul and other Torah observant Jews who comprehended what Yeshua’s sacrifice had accomplished were so ecstatic.
Because of Yeshua’s sacrifice, there would no longer be this going up and down the holiness scale.
I’m affirming that Yeshua’s sacrifice of atonement puts those who trust in Him into a PERMANENT state of HOLINESS!
Through faith in Him, in an instantaneous moment of time, you move from the bottom rung of the ladder (Common & Unclean) to the top (Holiness).