Physical contact has spiritual implications. (Also, click here to read the intro to this series)
This is the first thing we must understand when discussing this concept at all. Western Christianity and western thinking in general tends to segregate the physical, the spiritual and the intellectual but there really isn’t a biblical precedent for doing that. Certainly scripture discusses the three separately, but it is assumed that they are inextricably intertwined. This is why physical contact has the curious ability to spread spiritual uncleanliness. “Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean and the person who touches it shall be unclean…” Lev. 5:2 There are plenty of other examples but if you do a bible search for the word “unclean” you’ll get to see them all.
So here’s the interesting part – God the Father, who we get to see the most of in OT scriptures, is so fully and completely holy that the unclean and unholy is immediately rejected by contact with him. This is a question of the nature of being not necessarily of choice. This is why there is so great an emphasis placed on the manner in which priests must cloth themselves when entering the Holy of Holies: the dressing becomes a ritual in which they can cover themselves with holiness so as to approach close to God. Similarly, in 2 Samuel 6:6-7 when Uzzah is struck down for touching the cart it is for two reasons:
- He took no precaution to try and become clean before touching that which is so completely holy.
- There was no reverence for the person of God (2 sam 6:7)
So how do we touch the Father? How can we come close to him and reach out so papa can pick us up and give us hug?
The same way the Priests of old did, by clothing ourselves with righteousness. Only instead of seeking a breastplate of bronze with XYZ stones and a headdress and so on, we can cloth ourselves in Jesus.