“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Order the people of Israel to expel from the camp everyone with tzara‘at, everyone with a discharge and whoever is unclean because of touching a corpse. Both male and female you must expel; put them outside the camp; so that they won’t defile their camp, where I live among you.’ The people of Israel did this and put them outside the camp — the people of Israel did what Adonai had said to Moshe.”-Numbers 5:1-4
Today we’re going to take a look at a topic that is most difficult for western gentiles to grasp, particularly those who grew up in a traditional church environment.
If you’re a gentile (as I am), it’s not your fault.
Pastors and teachers in Christian churches have done a really lousy job in explaining foundational Torah concepts simply because they just don’t understand them themselves or they are handcuffed to a false doctrine that maintains the Torah has little relevance for the “blood-bought believer in Jesus“.
The topic I’m talking about is RITUAL IMPURITY or RITUAL UNCLEANNESS (they are the same things).
The first thing you need to understand is that for anyone who would worship the God of Israel, ritual impurity is a VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY serious issue.
It is NOT to be taken lightly.
Now one may ask, “if it’s such a serious issue, how come it ain’t mentioned in the New Testament then man?!”
My answer to that question is the same answer I’ve given about a trillion times before.
The New Testament assumes its readers already are well-versed in Torah.
And here’s another interesting fact.
The only “Bible” the early church used was the TANACH or the Old Testament.
They didn’t have the New Testament as it exists today.
I also feel compelled to mention that early “church” was considered as just another sect of Judaism at the time.
Think about it.
Why the heck would it be necessary for the New Testament to repeat everything already long ago established in excruciating detail in the Torah?
Does God’s Torah have to be re-validated?
Does HASHEM have to defend what has already been established?
Of course the answer to both of these questions is NO!
In fact, the answer is HEEELLLLLLLLLLL NO!
Now what makes ritual impurity so dangerous?
Ritual impurity is so dangerous because it’s SPIRITUALLY CONTAGIOUS.
We’re talking about a spiritual infection that can be transmitted physically.
See, here’s the thing.
When some unfortunate soul came down with TZARA’AT (skin infection), the reason he or she was thrown outside of the camp wasn’t so much because others in the camp might contract that particular skin ailment.
Rather, it was more about SPIRITUAL defilement!
See, TZARA-AT was considered to be a reflection of one’s spiritual UNCLEANNESS.
It was the SPIRITUAL UNCLEANNESS that prevented one from having a relationship with the Almighty.
And by the way, TZARA-AT does NOT mean leprosy.
All the English Bibles that translate TZARA-AT as leprosy are wrong.
In fact, cases of leprosy (known as Hansen’s Disease in medical circles) didn’t even begin to surface among the Israelites until after Babylon.
So whether the physical affliction was a skin disease, an abnormal genital discharge, or even an invisible form of uncleanness that occurred from touching a corpse, the results were the same.
The afflicted was separated from the community and separated from God.
This separation could be for just a couple of days or it could be ETERNAL SEPARATION if the infection in question never cleared up.
This is the Torah principle this section of Numbers is intending to demonstrate.
Spiritual UNCLEANNESS (not physical illness) can be transmitted via physical contact.
For example, If a ritually impure person touched objects like forks, knives, chopsticks, plates, or pots and pans, those objects were now contagious.
Or if a ritually impure person sat on a chair or lay in bed, that furniture was now contagious.
The larger community had to be protected from the UNCLEAN!