“Every male descendant of Aharon may eat from it; it is his share of the offerings for Adonai made by fire forever through all your generations. Whatever touches those offerings will become holy.”-Leviticus 6:11
Today I want to take a close look at the last part of verse 11 where it says “Whatever touches those offerings will become holy”.
It’s important to examine this verse for two reasons.
First, theologians and Bible scholars have for centuries misunderstood the true meaning and implications of this one little phrase.
Second, inherent in this one verse is an expression of the dynamic that governs how holiness and uncleanness in God’s universe work and since we’re all living in God’s universe, this affects all of us.
Let’s first tackle the common misunderstanding most folks have when interpreting this verse.
At first glance, the meaning of this phrase seems pretty simple, right?
It literally appears to be saying that anybody or anything that comes into contact with the holy portion of food set aside for the Priests becomes holy.
But is this really true?
Does anybody or anything that comes into contact with something holy also become holy?
The answer is no.
Actually, the answer is more like a super hell no!!!
The opposite is true.
More often than not, whatever comes into contact with something holy IS DESTROYED, rather than becoming holy itself.
If you think I’m implying that the common translation of verse 11 is incorrect, you’re wrong.
I’m not implying that the common translation of verse 11 is incorrect.
I’m firmly asserting with full confidence that the common translation of verse 11 is incorrect.
The reason I say that is because if the common interpretation of this verse, that anything or anyone becomes holy if it comes into physical contact with something holy, is true, it goes against the overall pattern presented to us throughout all of the Scriptures.
And what is the overall pattern presented to us in the Scriptures?
I really want you to pay close attention to what I’m about to explain because you’re about to learn a foundational dynamic (actually two dynamics) that govern how uncleanliness and holiness function in God’s Kingdom.
If you don’t get this, you won’t get a lot of what’s presented to us in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.
So here we go.
The established overall Biblical pattern is as follows:
-Whatever or whoever touches anything unclean becomes unclean.
-Whatever or whoever touches anything holy, if it or he or she is not already in a state of holiness, THAT THING OR PERSON IS DESTROYED!
And the reason it or him or her is destroyed is because God’s Holiness has been violated.
We’re dealing with a one-way street here.
Uncleanness can be transferred to cleanness but the opposite is not true.
On the other hand, holiness cannot, MUST NOT, is not allowed to come into contact with something or someone COMMON or UNCLEAN.
Or else destruction is the result.
There are plenty examples of this happening.
When the Philistines captured the holy Ark of the Covenant from Israel, THOUSANDS OF THEM DIED INSTANTLY and the statue of their god called Dagon was also destroyed.
Speaking of the Ark of the Covenant, there is an incident in Scripture when the Levites were transporting the Ark and when it appeared that the ark was about to fall, one of the men reached out his hand to steady it.
This was a fatal decision on his part.
Since he was NOT AUTHORIZED to be in contact with God’s holiness, once his hand touched the ark, he was killed by the Lord.
And later in Leviticus, we’re going to encounter a grisly scene where Aaron’s two sons are roasted to death for violating the Lord’s holiness by offering up strange fire.
Lest you think everything I’m saying here is the result of my imagination gone hog wild, check out these verses from Haggai.
“Here is what Adonai-Tzva’ot says: ‘Ask the cohanim what the Torah says about this: if someone carries meat that has been set aside as holy in a fold of his cloak; and then he lets his cloak touch bread, stew, wine, olive oil or any other food; does that food become holy too?’” The cohanim answered, “No.” Then Hagai asked, “If someone who is unclean from having had contact with a corpse touches any of these [food items], will they become unclean?” The cohanim answered, “They become unclean.” Hagai then said, “‘That is the condition of this people, that is the condition of this nation before me,’ says Adonai, ‘and that is the condition of everything their hands produce; so that anything they offer there is unclean.-Haggai 2:11-14
It couldn’t get much clearer than these verses folks!
The common knowledge of the day concerning holiness protocol was that HOLINESS cannot be transmitted via physical contact but uncleanness can.
So in light of my explanation, how should the typical misleading translation of Leviticus 6:11 be revised?
It is probably best to render it as follows:
Whatever touches those offerings must be in a state of holiness.
The implication is if the “whatever” is not in a state of holiness and comes into contact with something holy, it will be destroyed.
This principle governing God’s holiness explains a lot.
It explains why God is so adamant that we be separated from an unbelieving world.
It explains why we should not fellowship with unbelievers.
And most importantly, it explains why we need to be saved.
Ultimately, it comes down to one reason.
God is Holy and we are not.
We can’t contract God’s holiness by just touching something holy.
God’s Holiness can only be bestowed or imputed into us.
Holiness cannot be purchased or bargained for nor is holiness ever something that happens by accident.
It is the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, who makes the rules determining who or what can be holy.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“It is because of him that you are in Messiah Yeshua,
who has become for us wisdom from God–
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
-1 Corinthians 1:30
“So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God
because of our trust,
let us continue to have shalom with God
through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah.”