The Holiness of Sex – Part 1
Holiness is the major Biblical heading of our readings today, and the original
Hebrew heading of today’s chapter was not “Leviticus 12” but “Tazria” -
“When a Woman Conceives.” The subject is the holiness of sex.
God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Man is part
earthly, and part heavenly.
It is said that in three ways man is like the angels, and in three ways like
beasts. The three ways we are like beasts are in eating, in reproducing, and in
relieving ourselves. In these three ways, we are to elevate ourselves above the
animals – we are to be holy.
Last week we looked at how we are to be holy in the way we eat. We are to eat
what God has created for food. God has given us for food animals that split the
hoof and chew the cud, sea creatures that have fins and scales, birds as
enumerated in Torah, and insects that jump with their hind legs (Leviticus
9-11). We are instructed to bless Yahweh before we eat – to bless Him as the
creator of the food. We are instructed to Bless Yahweh after we eat for the
prosperous land in which He has placed us (Deuteronomy 8:10). We cannot
legitimately bless Yahweh for things that He has not given us. These
instructions set us apart from the animals, and help us learn to be holy.
Today we consider how Yahweh made the marital sexual relationship holy, and how
we are to act in ways that elevate us above the animals. As the Apostle Paul
affirmed (1 Thessalonians 5:18), we should give thanks in all things – that is,
we should bless Yahweh for all things He gives us, as we use those things. There
is a blessing for the marital relationship, but we cannot legitimately bless
Yahweh for sexual behavior that He forbids.
Firstly, let us review some background from our past Torah studies.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God covered them with skin. The
Bible says nothing about animal skin (except in very liberal translations). An
ancient Hebrew understanding is that they were covered with human skin –
foreskin and hymen. Henceforth, they would bear children that would inherit
Adams nature of sin. The children would be (tazria) conceived in a state
of (chet) sin, and born with a nature of (avon) iniquity – they
would not have to be trained to sin, but would rather need training to be holy.
David said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother
conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). David’s father and mother did not sin in having a
sexual relationship, and the conception was holy – but there was (tumah)
spiritual impurity. “The creation of human life is the most sublime phenomenon
in the universe. By bringing it into being, man and woman become partners with
God, Who gives soul to their offspring. But this new life begins with tumah,
spiritual impurity” (Chumash: Tazria).
A boy is to be circumcised on the eighth day after he is born (Genesis
17:10-12). This is seen as representing going back to the state before the fall
of Adam – before the covering of skin. The blood of the circumcision is called a
token of the covenant – the covenant of his father to bear a child for the
Kingdom of God. This portrays the eighth millennial day, when the child may be
completely holy eternally, the design of creation. This eighth-day circumcision
relates to the time following the seven days when a mother undergoes ritual
purification, in today’s chapter Tazria (verses 2-3).
When a woman marries, and the marriage is first
consummated, the hymeneal blood is called a token of her virginity – for the
covenant with her husband to bear children for the Kingdom of God, holy
offspring. The breaking of the hymen is seen as representative of going back to
the state before the fall into sin. This token of the hymeneal blood was saved
as the token that she had kept herself a virgin to bear children in holiness for
the Kingdom of God (Deuteronomy 22:15). Today’s chapter Tazria speaks of
this token hymeneal blood as maqor dam (verse
circumstances are not being addressed here for brevity sake.]
We should note here what the Apostle Paul said: “Such
(fornicators, adulterers) were some of you; but you were washed, but you were
sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah
and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
After Yeshua was born, He was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21). After
forty days (per today’s chapter Tazria), Mary brought offerings to the
Holy Temple – two doves (Luke 2:22-24). These were the offerings brought by the
poorest people (Leviticus 12:8). But why did she need to bring anything? There
are two reasons. Literally, she was fulfilling the Torah. Spiritually, this was
the ultimate situation for the picture in these offerings: she was really
without tumah / spiritual impurity from this conception – there was no
human father from whom a sin nature could be imparted.
We have seen Biblically that human conception is holy, a partnership with God
Who imparts the soul. Now let’s consider some more previous Scripture for
our God Who judges His creation, gave us His laws of moral behavior. God also
requires that man establish governments with justice systems and courts to
adjudicate problems and mete out fair punishments for lawlessness. Individuals
are forbidden to take revenge. Through Moses, God set Israel as a light to the
whole world (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 60:3, Matthew 5:14), and established a supreme
court – the Sanhedrin. He gave them His Holy Spirit to impart His judgments to
His people, and ultimately to the world. “So
Moses went out and told the people the words of Yahweh. Also, he gathered
seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent.
Then Yahweh came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit
who was upon him and placed it upon the seventy elders” (Numbers 11:24-25).
Yahweh said, “What great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as
righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? Only give heed
to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things
which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of
your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (Deuteronomy
said, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) – the Sixth
Commandment. Yahweh said, “Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man (through the
human court) shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man”
(Genesis 9:6). God gave His supreme court, 3500 years ago, the authority to
interpret this and mete out the penalties.
Talmud we have sixty-three tractates. This book is one tractate – Sanhedrin.
This is a history of the rules of the Sanhedrin – the Supreme Court that God
established 3500 years ago. This Court said the following rule applies even to a
heathen court: “A heathen is executed for the violation of the seven Noachian
Laws; the Divine Law having revealed this one – murder.” “He is executed even
for the murder of an embryo” (Sanhedrin 57a).
God imparts the soul
at Tazria – when a woman conceives; it is holy! We are required to treat
it as holy. Its intentional destruction is a capital offence by God’s judgment.
He did not ask the US Supreme Court’s opinion; rather, He requires them to seek
This is not to promote any political party or
candidate. However, this paragraph is pertinent to today’s portion:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally
supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal
abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to
weaken or undermine that right.
(The 2008 Democratic National Platform – Section
III Article 14 / Page 50)
God holds all of the
rights! Today we hear of all kinds of “rights” that God has not granted to us.
God retains the right to choose when we are conceived (when a soul is imparted)
and when we die (when a soul is taken) – except that He gave command for earthly
courts to apply capital punishment.
The Holiness of
Sex – Part 2
The original Hebrew
heading of today’s next chapter was not “Leviticus 13” but “Tzaraat” –
not “Leprosy” as it is commonly translated, but a divine discipline for slander
or sexual deviancy. The subject is still the holiness of sex.
The marriage bed is
holy (Hebrews 13:4). Yahweh, the Eternal Gracious One, created it to be
enjoyable by both parties. We should be grateful and seek His glory.
Adam and Eve were
created by God and instructed to populate the world. In 130 years, they had
three sons, and by Hebrew tradition three daughters who became the sons’ wives.
As the world’s population grew, and man’s condition deteriorated from Adam’s
perfection, God instituted protective regulations forbidding incest – marriage
between close relatives (Leviticus 20:17).
design is the marriage of one man and one woman; this is holiness. Yeshua
affirmed this when asked about divorce, using Adam and Eve as the standard
(Matthew 19:3-6). The hymen provides a blood covenant between husband and
wife, which ultimately reflects the blood covenant that we have through Yeshua.
Notice how that covenantal pairing can only be between a male & female (NDC).
Commandment is “You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18);
God’s judgment is death for adultery (Leviticus 20:10). God’s judgment is death
for bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16). God’s judgment is death for homosexuality
(Leviticus 20:13). We will look at this in more detail in a few weeks.
Here is another pertinent quote:
A More Perfect Union
We support the full inclusion of all families,
including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal
responsibility, benefits, and protections. We will enact a comprehensive
bipartisan non-discrimination act. We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act
and all attempts to use this issue to divide us.
(The 2008 Democratic National Platform Section
III Article 16 / Page 52)
Is this only a personal matter? Should we be
In a previous lesson
about forgiveness, we saw that God’s requirement for believers is to seek to
overcome sin in our own lives, to seek repentance in others, and finally to seek
forcible legal action when there is no repentance. It is not “loving” to allow
sin to continue.
“Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34). Sodom and Gomorrah were
overthrown for sin (Genesis 18:20) – not because of an enemy nation or monetary
problems, but because God judged them when they refused to govern themselves as
commanded. This was written for our example (1 Corinthians 10:11).
said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I did not
come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth
pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Torah until all
is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and
teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;
but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of
heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).
We can learn holiness; we can promote holiness. Then we will be blessed both
here and in eternity!
Yeshua was a Torah-observant Jew (Yahudi),
and the apostles were all Hebrews, including Matthew and Luke (whose name is
common for a Hellenized Jew). Constantine and King James were anti-Semites.
Today, we are considering Torah-observance and some of God’s ancient
(toom-ah, impurity) refers to spiritual contamination, usually that which can be
transmitted to other people, even through things. Following the laws of tumah
from dead animals (previous chapter 11), we have the laws of tumah from
childbirth (chapter 12), and then the laws of tumah from slander (chapter
13). A person who is impure is called a metzora. A metzora who
is quarantined / separated is called a niddah.
And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated
themselves from the (tumah) impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to
seek Yahweh God of Israel, ate the Passover. And they observed the Feast of
Unleavened Breads seven days with joy, for Yahweh had caused them to rejoice,
and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in
the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
While tumah is a result of the
fall, it is not the same as sin: we are often required to become impure, though
that would make us unfit to enter the Holy Temple until cleansing. Tumah
relates to death – the result of the fall.
In chapter 11, it is from touching
dead animals or people – and we are required to bury our dead relatives, though
not while on duty performing the Temple service.
In chapter 12, it is from childbirth
– and since Adam’s fall, all are born “spiritually dead”. Spiritual
contamination is transmitted.
In chapter 13, it is from slander and
anger – which fall under the commandment category of murder (slander is
destroying another’s name). Isaiah 32:7 describes one who “devises wicked
schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander.” Slander and anger can
spiritually contaminate – spreading like fire.
At the birth of Yeshua, no spiritual
contamination was transmitted: Mary’s conception was “pure” (Matt 1:20); Yeshua
was sinless because He had no sinful earthly father. So, why did Mary wait the
required times and bring the required offerings for childbirth? Similarly, why
did Yeshua wash in the mikvah (Jordan baptistery)? John asked that, and Yeshua
answered: “It is proper to us to fulfill all of the Torah (all
righteousness)” – Matthew 3:15.
The total period of two levels of
impurity, after childbirth, are forty days for a boy and eighty days for a girl
child. We see this as likely relating to the curse from the time of Eve, not
from any individual sin of a mother related to childbirth, as some commentators
suggest. All explanations in both our Christian and Jewish commentaries seem
totally inadequate to show a reason for this difference.
(tza-ra-at) is commonly translated “leprosy.”
Leprosy is Hansen’s Disease. It is a
popular mistaken idea that, with this disease, people’s fingers and toes rot and
fall off. Actually, this is a disease of the nervous system, where people lose
feeling. As a result of being unable to feel, people unknowingly sustain burns,
animal bites, and other injuries. In poor southeast Asian countries and South
Pacific islands, where this disease is prevalent, rats may bite off fingers or
toes while one sleeps.
The quarantine for tzaraat is
not consistent with disease prevention methods. One stricken with tzaraat
is not considered unclean when the malady covers the entire body, but is unclean
when the body begins to heal (v.13:13). When a house is stricken (v.14:26), the
items inside are not quarantined. If a newlywed is stricken during a Festival,
he is not quarantined until the Festival is over!
The word tzora (singular form
of tzaraat) is a contraction of tozia ra, one who spreads slander
(Arachin 15b). Tzaraat was a physical manifestation of a spiritual
problem, a disciplinary punishment. Until the slanderer learned to overcome
slandering, he was quarantined from society, having to shout “Unclean!” to
anyone coming within hearing range. One stricken with tzaraat is called a