Say to them: "For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD" (Vayikra / Leviticus 22:3).
When I was a kid I remember if someone had touched something really dirty or disgusting, we would run away from them yelling, "Youre contaminated!" And if that person would touch anyone else, the other person would also get the same response.
In the Torah getting contaminated was a serious thing.
The sacrificial system in the Torah was central to the life of the nation of Israel. There were only certain people who were actually allowed to offer the sacrifices. The descendents of Aaron, Moses brother, were designated as cohenim (pronounced, co-hen-`im or "priests" in English). Yet only those cohenim who were fit for service could do so.
There were various things that could contaminate a cohen. For example disease, physical abnormalities, or touching dead animals would keep them from participating in the temple service for a time. Some of these things would disqualify them permanently.
But what was it about these things that made them unfit to serve? Why was it that they could not touch the sacred things?
It appears that in most cases what contaminated the priests either had to do with sickness or death. Such contact prohibited them from coming near the things of God.
But what was the big deal? Looking back on my childish behavior, I am ashamed that I would treat any one that way. We live in a day when we are learning how to be accepting of others. We are encouraged to tolerate others no matter what their lifestyle.
Why then did God insist on being like this? Was he worried that we would contaminate him or his things?
Gods insistence on keeping separate from human weakness is for our benefit, not his. We needed to learn that our propensity toward sickness and death was not Gods intention for us. We need to be reminded that our human state is far from what it should be.
It is when we see the great distance between ourselves and God that we begin to make the journey toward him.
Once we recognize how contaminated by death we are, we are then ready for God to share his life with us.
And this is what he wants to do.
God has made a way for us to be able to approach him. By sending his Son, the Messiah, to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice, we can then be brought near to God. Through the Messiahs death we are cleansed from deaths contamination. By trusting in what Yeshua has done for us, we can then all enter God presence.
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