An impure person usually had to avoid the sacred and take steps to return to a state of purity. Impurity placed a person in a “dangerous” state under threat of divine punishment or even death (Lev 15:31) when the person approached the sanctuary. Impurity could lead to the expulsion of the inhabitants from the earth (Lev. 18:25), and their danger remained with those who could not be purified (Lev 17:16; Num. 19:12–13). Each of the above terms for impurity is used in two ways: W. R. Smith (Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, 152-55) believes that there is a relationship between Israel`s impurity laws and the pagan taboo. In The Golden Bough, Frazer shows many examples of the taboo between different tribes and nations that bear a striking resemblance to some of Israel`s impurity laws. But does this diminish our respect for the Old Testament laws on impurity? Could not Yahweh use this natural religious perception of people as an intrinsic distinction between pure and impure to educate Israel to realize a higher conception—the true difference between sin and holiness, that is, between moral filth and moral purification? Yahweh`s hand is even visible in the development of Israel`s rudimentary laws on ceremonial impurity. They are not explainable for purely naturalistic reasons, but Yahweh trains a people to be holy, and therefore He begins at the lower level of ceremonial impurity and purity (see Leviticus 11:44 on Yahweh`s purpose of establishing these laws concerning clean and unclean animals). There is an accidental contribution to hygiene by purity/contamination laws. Certainly, the exclusion from the camp of people with possible symptoms of leprosy (Lev 13-14) and gonorrhea (Lev 15:2-15) has quarantined these dangerous diseases and contributed to public health.
Avoiding carcasses or contact with human ejection and discharge would do the same. Ritual baths associated with purification would also contribute to hygiene. Some impure animals are known to transmit diseases to humans: pigs are carriers of trichinosis; hare, tularemia; Scavenger birds, various diseases. It is now known that eating animal sebum leads to heart disease. Adultery of the heart, consisting of excessive and impure affection. Jesus did not allow the laws of purity to prevent Him from touching lepers (Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40–45; Luke 17:11-17), and he touched intentionally and not by his word to show compassion and anticipate by his actions the coming change in the law under the new covenant. Nevertheless, in the transitional age, He required cleansed lepers to show themselves to the priest in accordance with the Mosaic Law (Luke 17:11-17). Jesus did not hesitate to touch the dead (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:41; Luke 8:54) and allowed a sinful woman (e.g., a harlot) to touch him (Luke 7:36-38), despite his ritual (and moral) impurity. In such cases, and in those of a woman with blood flow (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:27), Jesus is not defiled (He has not undergone ceremonial purification), but these are cleansed and healed.
This speaks theologically of the impeccable person of Christ. Cleaning varied with the severity of the impurity. The most severe to least severe cases in descending order were: skin disease (Lev. 13-14), childbirth (Lev. 12), genital discharge (Leviticus 15:3-15 Leviticus 15:28-30), the priest infested with corpses (Ezekiel 44:26-27), the Nazirite contaminated by corpses (Nu. 6:9-12), the one whose impurity is prolonged (Lev. 5:1-13), the layman contaminated by corpses (Num. 5:2-4; 19:1-20), menstruating woman (Lev. 15:19-24), facing the ashes of the red cow or the sacrifices of the atonement (Leviticus 16:26; Nb 19:7-10), semen emission (Lev 15:16-18), carcass contamination (Levv 11:24-40; 22:5) and secondary contamination (Lev 15; 22:4-7; Num.
19:21–22). Jesus turned water into wine in jars for ritual purification (John 2:6-9) to symbolize the replacement of ceremonial law with something better. He did not follow ritual washing, went beyond the Mosaic law practiced by rabbinic Judaism (Mark 7:3 Mark 7:5) and implicitly declared that all food was “pure” (Mark 7:19; cf. Romans 14:14; “Food is inherently impure”). With the coming of Christ, a new era had opened and the ceremonial laws of purity had passed. Typologically, the ashes of the red heifer (used to contaminate corpses), the offering for sin, and the ritual baths indicated the power of Jesus` blood to cleanse the conscience (Hebrews 9:13-14; 10:22; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 7:14). They are cautious about anything – or anyone else – that makes the community unclean and tarnishes its image. But we must not place Lord Spunyarn and his friend Haggard, who both played at the big table, in this impure category.