Cleanliness and Uncleanliness

We understand the common uses of these two words, but Biblically speaking, what do they mean? And is that meaning applicable today?

And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.

Leviticus 11:24-28 KJV

Repeatedly these verses state that whosoever touches something that is unclean, is made unclean. So physical contact is all it takes to make something that is clean, become unclean. In each case, that which has become unclean, is only unclean until the evening - provided that person's clothes have been washed.

Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.

Leviticus 5:2 KJV

This verse indicates that if someone touches something that is unclean by accident, that person is then unclean. The word guilty is also used. This appears to mean that intent doesn't matter. A person could be walking along doing the most noble of acts. The moment they accidentally touch the unclean thing, that's it, they are unclean.

Now lets compare this with our natural world. Suppose a healthy person comes in contact with an unhealthy person who has a disease, like the flu. Which is more likely to happen, does the person with the flu get better because of the contact, or does the healthy person get sick because of the contact? Hopefully the sick person eventually does get better, but it has nothing to do with coming in contact with the healthy person. What typically happens is the healthy person gets sick. That is how the flu travels, from the unclean, to the clean.

This is applicable to the Christian in a spiritual sense. We have all come in contact with that which is unclean. When we do, we are guilty. However our clothes are washed, and we are once again made clean.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV