Were the laws of uncleanness carried over to the New Testament?


I agree with most of what you say in your article on uncleanness.  The exception is this: Everyone at some point is unclean. If you had sex with your wife -- you are unclean for a day. If your wife had a child she is unclean for a period after childbirth. These normal actions are not separate from scriptural holiness.  It is when you make a lifestyle practice to be unclean that God considers you common or unholy. Other than these points your article is accurate.

The word common or koinos is different from the word unclean or akathartos in the Greek. The word akathartos which is used entirely to refer to uncleanness in the Septuagint is the same words used in II Corinthians 6:17 and Ephesians 5:5.  So uncleanness (akathartos) should also be a concern to Gentile believers in Christ.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (II Corinthians 6:17).

Comments: It is common practice in the world today as it was in Corinth at the time of Paul's writing this epistle to practice akathartos or uncleanness. These gentile believers had to comply with the uncleanness laws also. The same command to touch not the unclean thing is reverberated in the book of Leviticus, and I believe was a warning to the Levitical Priests in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 52 where akathartos is prohibited to the priesthood is one of the many prophecies which are still futuristic and point to the Kingdom of God established on this earth.

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5).

Paul warned Gentiles that persons practicing uncleanness or akathartos would not inherit the Kingdom of Christ.

Even Christ, our Lord and Savior is in agreement that all should not practice uncleanness in His statement to the Pharisees:

"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:34-40).

Most people today conveniently ignore verse 40. In Matthew 22:40 Christ is warning the Pharisees that loving God and neighbor is contingent on practicing God's Laws and learning from the warnings of the Prophets about the repercussions of lawlessness.


The article does mention that uncleanness was unavoidable. It is a bit buried, but I stated "Everyone spent some part of their lives unclean, no matter how hard they might try to avoid it." Those unavoidable times of uncleanness were not distinguished from the accidental or purposeful times. Being unclean was a state a person found themselves in.

All translations of "unclean" in the New Testament come from akathartos (not clean, impure), except in two passages: Romans 14:14 and Hebrews 9:13 where "unclean" translates kionoo (to make profane), and one passage: II Peter 2:10 where "uncleanness" translates miasmos (morally contaminated). Hebrews 9:13 is of particular interest since it references the Old Law and shows that kionoo is a synonym for akathartos. "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh" (Hebrews 9:13). Other uses of kionoo show that it is consistently used as a reference to uncleanness.

"Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man ... But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. ... These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man" (Matthew 15:11, 18, 20).

Mark 7:15, 18, 20, 23 is a parallel passage. Peter and God's use of the two terms show that they are considered equivalent terms: "But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common" (Acts 10:14-15; Acts 11:8-9 recounts the same event). Acts 21:28 shows kionoo being used as the opposite of holiness. "Crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place"" (Acts 21:28). And the last instance is in Revelation 21:27 which says that nothing kionoo can enter heaven.

Therefore, your attempt to avoid Paul's clear statement that the old laws of uncleanness have ended does not work. "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean" (Romans 14:14). You also cannot avoid the comment made by God that what He has cleansed could not be called unclean (Acts 10:14-15) when what was being referenced were animals considered unclean under the Old Law. The laws of uncleanness were altered by God between His old and new covenant. As Paul said, under the Law of Christ, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving" (I Timothy 4:4).

The quote by Paul in II Corinthians 6:17 from Isaiah 52:11 was to prove his point that Christians need to be separate from the world. Since other verses make it clear that the laws of uncleanness ended with the rest of the Old Law (Romans 7:4), it is not binding the physical laws of uncleanness on Christians but using those laws as an example of the need to keep the holy separate from the unclean. See Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament for further proof of the end of the Old Law.

The use of "unclean" in the New Testament does not mean that the laws of uncleanness are carried over as given in the Old Testament. Your use of Ephesians 5:5 does not prove your point.

Your distinction between Jewish and Gentile Christians is also a false doctrine. "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him" (Romans 10:12).

Your statement regarding Matthew 22:40 is a misreading of the passage. Jesus is stating that there are two great laws in the Old Testament: Love God and love your neighbor. Upon these two laws, all the other laws hung up or were built from these foundations. It cannot be read as a command to continue following the Old Covenant after it passed away. "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14).