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This is the law when a man dies in a tent: All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days; and every open vessel, which has no cover fastened on it, is unclean. (Numbers 19:14-15)

It would be one thing to encounter a corpse out in the open; there is a possibility that it could be avoided. But inside a covered area like a tent, everything that death represents — corruption and uncleanness — is contained within that covered area. Therefore, the tent of a dead person was considered to be an environment of death, consequently all who were in the tent were regarded as contaminated as it related to entering the Sanctuary. But as we see, not only were the people inside considered contaminated, but any open (presumably earthenware) container was also rendered unclean.

The Bible makes it clear that the vessel was only polluted if it were uncovered; any covered vessel would not be contaminated because “death” could not get inside — they are sealed. Now consider that people are essentially earthen vessels that are continually exposed to things which are corrupt and destructive. Anyone whose life is “open” to these things will, most likely, be corrupted by them. On the other hand, those who are living set-apart lives and are sealed by the Holy Spirit can be in an environment of death and not be contaminated. For example, Abraham lived among the wicked Canaanites but was not corrupted by them.

As God’s people, we may live in this corrupt world but we don’t have to be corrupted by the world. If we are born again and live a set apart and holy existence, we have the promise of life in spite of the death that surrounds us. Furthermore, we are commissioned to be a light to the nations while living among the nations; but we can’t fulfill the obligation to be a light to them if we are acting like them. And so, we must be guided and “sealed” by the Spirit of God so that what is on the inside remains clean, knowing that His Spirit will keep us until the day of redemption.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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