16 December 2010 (Chamashee/Teruah)|
Day #275, 5934 AM
As Filthy Rags
Understanding the Symbolism of Sin
"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.
The first verse of this passage from the prophet Isaiah is commonly and correctly quoted by both evangelicals and messianics to remind us that everyone is a sinner before Yahweh and that obeying the Torah-commandments without trusting in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and accepting His blood atonement for our sins on the Cross can never make us pure again.
"But now, Yahweh, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O Yahweh, nor remember iniquity forever; indeed, please look -- we all are Your people! Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O Yahweh? Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?" (Isa.64:6-12, NKJV).
Ever since the first time I heard this oft quoted scripture I used to conjure a picture in my mind of a dirty old oil rag such as a car mechanic might use. I would sometimes picture a man wearing a shredded robe likewise covered in filthy stains. But the word we translate as "filthy" comes from a Hebrew word 'ed which means a woman's monthly period of menstrual blood.
For those unfamiliar with this subject, I recommend a study of the relevant Torah passages in Leviticus and our revelation, On Menstruation in Women and the Laws of Niddah. But basically Yahweh forbids a husband to have union with his wife during her menstruation as this makes him unclean (not the woman herself, of course, but the blood passing out of her).
It is for this reason that sin is compared to unclean menstrual blood that stains sanitary pads/napkins or tampons (they would have been pieces of cloth or rags anciently) and is contrasted with the clean atoning blood of Yah'shua the Messiah which saves. Just as a husband is commanded in scripture to separate from his wife during this period, so too does Yahweh separate from believers who sin but who do not repent and receive the cleansing of the blood of the Son by trusting.
All sin is noxious to Elohim (God) and so it separates us from Him. Thus every time a woman separates herself during her menstrual period we are reminded of the extreme importance of believers - men and women alike - separating themselves from sin though conscious obedience to Torah so as to remain clean before the Most High. Thus as both the revelation and the actual Laws of Niddah show us, it is a blessing to be reminded of these things so that we may always be right before Yahweh.