|Bible Question: The Bible says if I approah (have sexual intercouse) with my wife while she's going through her menstrual cycle I have become "unclean" along with her. The law of Moses commanded that we both bathe in water and shall be "unclean" until the evening. I have two questions 1. Even though it was a Mosaic law, is it still a sin the have sexual intercourse with my wife when she's going through her time of menstruation? 2. Why until the evening, what was so special about the evening?|
Bible Answer: Humility.
To be unclean is not a sin, though sin does make one unclean. Unclean is a "state of being" that renders one unable to approach God safely in the Temple. Evening was the start of a new day. I'm not sure the greater significance, but I do know that a day begins a sunset in the Bible.
Washing with water (ie. baptism) was to demonstrate that a change in status from unclean to clean had occurred. Much the same way our Baptism practiced in Christianity signifies a change in status from alienated from God, to be near God and a part of His family. The true nearness occurs when Rev. 21 happens, but until then we know we have been cleansed (made clean) from our sin.
I've practiced this "law" in our marriage out of respect for both my wife and for life. The menstrual cycle is a reminder that a life that might have happened, had things lined up right, did not and the blood is a picture of life being lost (the life is in the blood). All of this, all of uncleanness, is a picture of what sin did not only to our souls but to the whole physical world and created order at large. It's a physical picture and reminder that things are not as they are suppose to be.
Furthermore, the woman's cycle and subsequent pains in childbirth (and pain during PMS not to mention the man's pain during that time...) is a result of the original sin.
This is how I understand it. It's probably more complicated and odd than what you expected...sorry. I come from the starting point that God's Law is perfect and complete, not to be added to or subtracted from as He says in Deut 4 and 12. How that Law applies when we have no Temple, are not in the Land, and are not Priests, and are living after the resurrection of Jesus is constantly being debated. In the end, I try to keep as much of the command as I am able living in this day and in his place. And that I do poorly at best.
This note does not necessarily reflect the majority opinion.