Life-Study of Leviticus, by Witness Lee

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All dead things are unclean. Uncleanness, therefore, equals death.

Death is more defiling and abominable than sin. But according to our concept, sin is more serious than death. If we do not have the right concept concerning death, it will not be easy for us to realize that death is more defiling than sin. Because of our ethical and moral concepts, we know that lying is sinful. If someone lies to us, we shall condemn that lie as sinful. However, we may not realize that talk which is ethical may nevertheless be filled with death. For example, we may not realize talking with a brother about his family may involve death. Such talk may be ethical but still be filled with death.

Using another illustration, I would point out that even giving a book to a brother may involve death. Suppose a brother gives a book to another brother with the intention of pleasing him. Even such a good thing may be filled with death. We should give something to a brother not with the purpose of pleasing him but simply because we are following the Lord’s leading. It is political to have a purpose, an intention, when we give something to a brother.

Suppose one’s intention in giving a book to a brother is to please the brother so that he will then stand with the one who gave him the book. This kind of intention is filled with death, and those who have spiritual understanding, spiritual discernment, will recognize it. The issue of giving a book with this intention is the forming of a party, and such a party will spread death. First, the one who receives the book will be defiled by death. Then between these two brothers who have formed a party, there will be nothing but death. The giving of the book was apparently good, but it involved death.

From this illustration we can see that death is more hidden than sin. It is not easy for us to see through a thing and discern that it is filled with death. A deed like the giving of a book may have a very good appearance but may actually be filled with the uncleanness of death. Death surely is more defiling and abominable than sin.

A. Through a Trespass Offering Any Sin Shall Be Forgiven Immediately

Leviticus 5 reveals that through the trespass offering any sin shall be forgiven immediately (vv. 2, 17-18). From this we see that to deal with sin, to have sin forgiven, is easy. We simply offer the trespass offering, and then we are forgiven.

B. A Person Touching the Carcass of Any Animal Shall Be Unclean until the Evening, and a Person Touching the Carcass of Any Man Shall Be Unclean Seven Days

According to Leviticus 11, a person touching the carcass of any animal shall be unclean until the evening (vv. 24-25, 27b-28a, 31b, 39-40). “Until the evening” means until the end of one’s daily life. This indicates that it takes time for us to be cleansed from the defilement of death. Our experience proves this. If we commit a trespass and then confess it to the Lord, we shall be forgiven immediately, and the matter is settled. But if we are defiled by death, we cannot be cleansed “until the evening.” This means that a certain period of time must pass before we can be cleansed from the defilement of death.

Time is not a factor in being forgiven of our sins, but it is a factor in being cleansed from the defilement of death. We Christians deal with sins simply by confessing them and applying the Lord’s precious blood to our case. As soon as we do this, we are forgiven and cleansed. However, if we touch a “carcass” and are thereby defiled by death, this defilement will remain with us for quite a period of time. Although it does not take time for us to be cleansed from sin, it does take time for us to be cleansed from the defilement of death. This proves that death defiles us more and longer than sin does.

Whereas a person who touches the carcass of an animal shall be unclean until the evening, a person who touches the carcass of a man shall be unclean seven days (Num. 19:11,13). This indicates not only that death is more serious than sin, but also that the carcass of a man is more defiling than the carcass of an animal. In the sight of God, human beings are the most defiling element.

(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 37, by Witness Lee)