Various notions have developed, and the phrase "mystical marriage" has come to be viewed in two basic senses; one wide, one more restricted. According to Roman Catholicism, "in many of the lives of the saints, the wide sense is intended. Here the mystical marriage consists in a vision in which Christ tells a soul that He takes it for His bride. Catherine of Sienna, in the final years of her life, purportedly "besought her Divine Bridegroom to let her bear the punishment for all the sins of the world" after a life filled with the "wonderful spiritual fellowship of disciples round her, both men and women united to her by the bonds of mystical love.
Catherine of Alexandria, a virgin and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church , by some accounts also experienced such mystical bonds, even marriage , to Christ. However, today, the Catholic Church takes a fairly cautious approach to such experiences, making little or no official mention of such accounts. Catherine de' Ricci , a Dominican nun, came to be known for her highly mystical life, especially for her ecstasies of the Passion or suffering during crucifixion of Christ at the same time each day for 12 years.
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Further, she was given in "mystical marriage" to Christ in , evidenced by a "ring" that some reportedly saw on her index finger. In the more restricted sense, the term "mystical marriage" refers to that mystical union with God which is the most exalted condition attainable by the soul in this life, also sometimes called a "transforming union," "consummate union," or "deification. John of the Cross this was represented as the ascent of the soul toward perfect union or "the seventh resting-place" of the "interior castle.
A recent discovery of a tomb containing caskets with the names of Yeshua and Miriam etched on them produced a controversial television documentary on The Lost Tomb of Jesus, reputedly, a possible tomb of the historical Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their family. Such notions are considered heretical by orthodox Christianity, but have persisted in folklore and myth throughout the centuries; there have even been claims that the Merovingian kings of France were Jesus' direct descendants.
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Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. This requirement eliminated all shellfish, such as lobster and shrimp, and fish such as sharks and dolphins, as well as other sea creatures such as the eel see vv. Birds forbidden were generally birds of prey that lived on carrion, or, as in the case of the stork and heron, those that may have eaten other unclean creatures see vv.
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The ossifrage is thought to be a species of vulture, as is the gier eagle. Most flying insects were also forbidden. Of these, four are suitable for food. All are members of the locust family. The law specified that contact with the carcass of an unclean animal or a clean animal that had died in some way other than by proper slaughter caused one to be unclean.
In all probability it epitomized for the people of God the full gravity and ultimate consequences of sin. That the unclean person was barred from temple service and fellowship with other Israelites seems to bear out this assumption. The symbolism suggests that contact with sin leaves one tainted, and from this taint there had to be a period of cleansing. This part of the law raises some questions in the minds of many readers. The most obvious question is, Why should natural bodily functions render one unclean?
First, unclean in the Mosaic sense did not suggest something disgusting or filthy, nor did it imply that the body or the natural functions of the body, such as childbirth or sexual relations, were inherently evil. The ordinances of the Mosaic law were all designed to symbolize spiritual truths. The more nearly one approached perfection in the performance of the law, the more closely one approached the true symbolic meaning of the ordinance.
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The physical body and its natural functions remind one that he is of the earth, of the physical. Therefore, to say that a man or woman was unclean that is, not to perform sacred ordinances at certain times was to suggest to the mind that the natural man must be put aside in order to approach God.
There was a similar teaching in the requirements for the high priest see Reading Any person with a physical handicap was barred from being the high priest see Leviticus — God does not view such persons as spiritually inferior. Rather, this requirement was a teaching device. The laws of natural uncleanness should be viewed in a similar light. There were certain practical or sanitary aspects of these laws as well.
The strict rules about contact with an infected person or objects with which he had come in contact have modern hygienic parallels. One commentator summed up both aspects in this way:. In Israel, by sharp contrast, anything suggesting the sexual or sensual is strictly banned from the worship of God. The purpose is to ensure its separation from the worship of God. The rule of strict cleanliness in all sexual matters was also a positive safeguard to health. Many things in the Mosaic law are puzzling at first but become clear and understandable upon further investigation.
This question, however, is one that seems to have no key at present for its correct interpretation. An obvious implication, quickly taken up by some modern critics, is that this rule is a reflection of the inferior status of women anciently, a status which they regard as supported by the law. This conclusion is fallacious for two reasons. First, elsewhere in the law and the Old Testament, there is evidence that women had high status and their rights were protected. God does not view women as inferior in any way, although the roles of men and women are different.
Speculation on why the Lord revealed different requirements for ceremonial purifying after the birth of male and female children is pointless until further revelation is received on the matter. The common characteristic seems to be decay and putrefaction, and thus leprosy became a type or a symbol of sin or the sinful man. Classical leprosy was a dreaded disease that required exile from society and isolation see Leviticus Anesthetic leprosy affects primarily the nerve trunks, particularly of the extremities.
They become numb and ultimately lose their vitality. We may ask whether the various forms of leprosy are covered and intended in this chapter of Leviticus. A certain answer cannot be offered. A modern doctor would not diagnose leprosy on the symptoms given here. It seems probable that many skin diseases, some of them of relatively little importance, were called leprosy. Isolation was the very best method for prevention of the spread of contagion. Because of the nature of the ritual, many people have seen it as a primitive, superstitious, and abhorrent rite which supports the notion that the Israelites were primitive and superstitious pagans.
However, when one applies the guidelines for interpreting symbols as given above, he finds that the ritual is a beautiful representation of gospel truths.
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But one must first understand the true meaning of the various symbolisms used in the rite. These include the following:. The leper. Leprosy in its various forms was a disease that involved decay and putrefaction of the living body; also, because of its loathsomeness, it required the person to be ostracized and cut off from any fellowship with the rest of the house of Israel. Because of these characteristics, leprosy was seen as an appropriate type or symbol of what happens to a man spiritually when he sins. Sin introduces decay and corruption into the spiritual realm similar to what leprosy does in the physical realm.
The priest. The priest served as the official representative of the Lord, and he was authorized to cleanse the leper and bring him back into full fellowship. The birds.
As the only living objects used in the ritual, the birds symbolized the candidate. Because of the two truths to be taught, two birds were required. The first bird was killed by the shedding of its blood, signifying that the leper the natural man had to give up his life.
The second bird, after being bound together with other symbols, was released. This signified that the man had been freed from the bondage of sin. The cedar wood. The wood from cedar trees is still used today because of its ability to preserve surrounding objects from decay and corruption. So the cedar tree symbolized preservation from decay. The scarlet wool. The word scarlet Leviticus really meant a piece of wool dyed a bright red.
Red reminds us of blood, which is the symbol of life and also of atonement.
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See Leviticus The hyssop. Though we are not sure exactly why, we do know that in the Old Testament times the herb hyssop carried with it the symbolism of purification. See Exodus ; Psalm ; Hebrews The basin of water. Notice that the blood of the bird was mixed with the water. In Moses we learn that blood and water are the symbols of birth, both physical and spiritual. Also, we know that the place of spiritual rebirth, the baptismal font, is a symbol of the place where the natural man is put to death.
Over the basin of water the first bird was killed, symbolizing the death of the natural man and the eventual rebirth of the spiritually innocent person. The washing of the leper.
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This clearly was a symbol of cleansing. The shaving of the hair.
One cannot help but note that the shaving of the hair of the body even to include the eyebrows would bring a person into a state of appearance very much like that of a newborn infant, who is typically virtually without hair. Thus, after going through the process of rebirth symbolically, the candidate graphically demonstrated on his own person that he was newborn spiritually.