Leviticus 15

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 14, 1997


I believe itís important to realize that the whole group of instructions about "unclean" versus "clean" stemmed from the incident of Nadab and Abihu.

They had rushed into the Holy of Holies with incense, against Godís instructions, and were killed instantly by God.

(Lev 10:3 KJV) Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

In addition, they had probably been drinking, which impaired their ability to have good judgment, to make good decisions.

(Lev 10:9-11 KJV) Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: {10} And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; {11} And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

Nadab and Abihu had apparently been affected enough by the world around them that they were unable to tell the difference between what was pleasing to God and what wasnít.

This is what itís all about, learning to be pleasing to God.

Leviticus 15

:1-15 A man with an issue

:2 When any man hath a running issue

I know some people like to use the phrase, "Well heís just got issues Ö"

Weíre not talking about those kinds of issues.

This is simply a flow of just about any liquid from a personís body, whether it was a natural or unnatural occurrence.

It could be diarrhea or gonorrhea.

It could be blood, it could be puss.

As weíll see, there are four categories of "issues".

Thereís the long-term male issue, for which there will need to be a sacrifice for sin.

Thereís a short-term, natural issue for men, for which there is no need for sacrifice.

Thereís a short-term, natural issue for women, with no need for sacrifice.

Thereís a long-term female issue, for which, like the men, there was to be a sacrifice.

Though we might tend to look at these areas of "uncleanness" in a personal hygiene way, the actual concern has to do with a type of ceremonial uncleanness.

Those who were unclean were not to be participating in the worship of the tabernacle.

:4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean:

Somehow, this "uncleanness" was considered contagious.

Again, we think in terms of spreading disease, yet I think thereís another underlying kind of uncleanness meant as well.

:8 if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean

Howís that for getting even with someone you donít like!

Spit on them and they canít go to church!

:15 the one for a sin offering,

I believe the need for a sin offering wasnít that a person became sinful by becoming sick, but that a person who had a prolonged disease had missed a lot of opportunities to worship and offer sin offerings during that time.

We all sin, and if we havenít confessed our sin for some time, itís probably likely that we need to be doing that.

:16-18 A man having seed go out

:16 seed of copulation

NIV Ė "an emission of semen"

God is not saying that marital intercourse is sinful.

This is reinforced by the fact that there wasnít even a sin offering required as there was with the other "issues".

After all, it was Godís command that man be fruitful and multiply, and it was God that said it was not good for man to be alone.

(Heb 13:4 KJV) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

But there can be a sense where the marriage bed can open up a kind of uncleanness in a relationship.

Warren Wiersbe: "Perhaps the Lord is telling us that, even in a beautiful experience like married love, there is opportunity for our sinful nature to go to work to defile it. The Jewish couple had to consider God as well as their own desires, and this helped sanctify their relationship."

It is my understanding that some men, after having filled their minds with pornographic images, desire to fulfill those lusts through their wife, which is a way of bringing pollution into the marriage bed.

:19- A woman with an issue

This is talking about a womanís regular menstrual period.

This being a natural kind of issue, there was no sacrifice for sin required.

:24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him,

Probably the sense here is that a man and his wife were unaware of his wifeís period, then he was to be unclean for seven days.

This is in contrast to a man who knowingly lay with his wife during her period, in which the man was to be cut off from the people (Lev. 20:18)


"During the time of her period and for a week afterward, a woman was unclean and had to be careful where she sat and slept and what she touched. But this confinement was a blessing in disguise since it allowed her to enjoy rest and quiet when she needed it most. If her husband was too aggressive sexually, this law kept him from taking advantage of her at a time when intercourse wouldnít be especially pleasant to her. If he forced himself on her, both he and the marriage bed would be unclean for a week, and this would separate him from everybody in the family and the camp! It wasnít worth it."

"Certainly God created sex for pleasure as well as for procreation, but pleasure that isnít disciplined soon becomes bondage and then torture. Unmarried people must exercise self-control lest they commit fornication and invite the judgment of God (Heb. 13:4), but married people also need self-control lest they take advantage of one another and leave God out of their most intimate relationship. God created sex, and wise is the person who permits the Creator to make the rules."

:25 an issue of her blood many days

This is when a womanís issue continued on and on, like that described at the beginning of the chapter.

Here, like the first kind of issue for men, a woman was required to give a sin offering, most likely because she had been "unclean" and unavailable for worship for so long.

:33 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness;

Hereís the reasons for the laws Ė

To keep God's Tabernacle free from uncleanness

It would be nice if you didn't catch all your infectious diseases just because you came to church.

To keep God's people from dropping dead from bringing uncleanness into the Tabernacle.

What is to be our relationship with these principles about "uncleanness"?

1. Recognize whatís unclean

I think that we know we are to clearly avoid things we could label as "sin".

There are definite things that God wants us to avoid.

But I think there are also areas that are kind of gray. Areas not specifically dealt with in Scripture.

Rom 14:13-23 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. {14} I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. {15} But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. {16} Let not then your good be evil spoken of: {17} For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. {18} For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. {19} Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. {20} For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. {21} It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. {22} Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. {23} And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

There are going to be areas like movies (what movies you can stand to watch, etc.) where the bottom line is, there's kind of a gray area of what's okay and what's not. If you can handle it, fine, it's not unclean, but if you can't, it is unclean to you and you need to avoid it.

We need to be careful not to cause others who have a problem with some things to stumble as well.

2. Learning to avoid uncleanness...

What you associate with, affects you.

If I watch a lusty movie, guess what kind of thoughts I have...

GAL 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

3. Defilement comes from within.

Mark 7:14-23 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: {15} There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. {16} If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. {17} And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. {18} And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; {19} Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? {20} And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. {21} For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: {23} All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

We like to blame all our circumstances for our sin, but in reality much of it comes from right inside our heart.

4. Donít be afraid to reach out to those who are unclean

While we need to be careful that we donít defile ourselves, thereís a balance we need to have, to realize that God wants us to reach out to unclean people.

Think of the implications of being "unclean", not being able to touch anybody, or to worship.

Mark 5:25-34 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, {26} And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, {27} When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. {28} For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. {29} And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. {30} And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? {31} And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? {32} And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. {33} But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. {34} And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Note Ė Jesus was not afraid to touch unclean people (even touching lepers), or to be touched by them.

You may be feeling like youíre pretty unclean at times.

Jesus can stop the flow of defilement.

He can make you clean.