The purification process involved being “cleansed with either blood or water.” Under the Mosaic Law, it was done whenever a person had become “defiled” and after they were purified they were called “clean.” But let’s be clear, this is speaking of a “physical cleansing” that was needed in order for the defiled person to be fit for fellowship in the sanctuary. It did NOT result in a “spiritual cleansing,” though it did picture one being defiled by sin and the need for being morally purified and fit for fellowship with God. Here are three things that defiled the Jew, resulting in the need to be purified:

*LEPROSY defiled a person—“This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing…the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds…he shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean…the one to be cleansed shall then wash his cloths and shave off all his hair and bathe in water and be clean” (Leviticus 14:2, 4, 7, 8…NASB).

*CLOTHING defiled by leprosy—“The garment, whether the warp or the woof, or any article of leather from which the mark has departed when you washed it, it shall then washed a second time and will be clean” (Leviticus 13:58).

*DISCHARGES defiled a man—“When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean…now when the man with the discharge becomes cleansed from his discharge, then he shall count off for himself seven days from his cleansing; he shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in running water and will become clean” (Leviticus 15:1 & 13).

One of the most well-known examples of purification involved being cleansed by “the ashes of a red heifer.” This cleansing was needed when one came into contact with a DEAD BODY. We read about this in Numbers 19:1-10. The defiled Jew was to “bring…an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed…to Eleazer the priest” (verses 2-3). He would then kill it in in the person’s presence (verse 4) and then “take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting…then the heifer shall be burned in his sight” (verses 5-6). Both the priest and the person would “wash his clothes and bathe his body in water” (verses 7-8). Then the “man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside of the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin” (verse 9).

This was an acting of cleansing which used literal blood (from an animal) and water that resulted in a “ceremonial cleansing”; it allowed the cleansed person to resume fellowship in God’s sanctuary with his fellow-Jews. It did NOT result in his actual sins being permanently removed and in him being “cleansed morally” in the sight of God. Yet it was a beautiful PICTURE of one being cleansed from all sin through the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this brought out clearly in Hebrews 9:13-14, “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the PURIFYING OF THE FLESH, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, CLEANSE YOUR CONSCIENCE from dead works to serve the living God” (NKJV)? Has my reader’s conscience been cleansed by the blood of Christ? If you have trusted in Him as the One who died for your sins (see Isaiah 53:5-6; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4; 1st Peter 2:24; 3:18), then you have indeed been “cleansed from all sin.” 1st John 1:7 declares, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (307.1) (DO)