If Mary was sinless, why was she unclean and had to offer a sacrifice for sin?

by Matt Slick

Roman Catholics teach that Mary never sinned.  But, if that is the case, why did she need to offer an atonement according to Old Testament Law (Lev. 12:1-8) after giving birth to Jesus?  According to the Old Testament, it was only the mother who needed purifying after a birth because of the issue of blood.  She was ritually unclean. If she had a male child, the days of her period of uncleanness was seven days, then the child was circumcised, then she remained unclean for 33 days (v. 4)--for a total of 40 days.  If she bore a female child, her period of uncleanness would be 14 days plus 66 days for a total of 80 days.  Notice in Leviticus 12:2 it says if she bears a male child, she shall be unclean for seven days.  If Mary was sinless, how could she also be unclean?

Below is a chart that has Leviticus 12 and Luke 2 side by side.  You can see from the text that Mary had to offer a sacrifice for uncleanness and as it says in Leviticus 12:8, a sacrifice for sin offering that is an atonement.  Why would Mary, if she is sinless as the Roman Catholics assert, be unclean and also need a sacrifice?

  Lev. 12:1-8, Luke 2:16, 21-24,
  1 "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,    
Birth of a Son 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying: ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean. 16 And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
Circumcision at
Eight Days
3 ‘On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 21And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb
33 Days 4 ‘Then she shall remain in the blood of her purification for thirty-three days; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed. 22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
If she bears a female 5 ‘But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall remain in the blood of her purification for sixty-six days. 23   (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every first-born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord” ),
Days of Purification  6 ‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering 22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. 
  7 ‘Then he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, whether a male or a female.    
Two Turtledoves or Two Pigeons 8‘But if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’” 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

 

 

 

 
 
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