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Leviticus 17 Study - "The Sanctity of Blood" ...

The Sanctity of Blood

17 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, saying: 3 “Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be [a]cut off from among his people, 5 to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the Lord. 6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting and burn the fat for a sweet aroma to the Lord. 7 They shall no more offer their sacrifices to [b]demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.”’

8 “Also you shall say to them: ‘Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the Lord, that man shall be [c]cut off from among his people.

10 ‘And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ 12 Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.’

13 “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore, I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’

15 “And every person who eats what died naturally or what was torn by beasts, whether he is a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening. Then he shall be clean. 16 But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his [d]guilt.”


Notes Leviticus 17 Study – (vv. 1-16)


17:1-8: Why this strict law regarding the slaying of the domestic animals??? It was to prevent Israel from succumbing to the idolatry of the peoples around them – to keep them holy and separate from idolatry … It was common among ancient people to offer animal sacrifices to their idols … But Israel was a nation set apart for God alone … Her people were to be holy people living in fellowship with the true and living God … Idolatry, more quickly than any other cause, would turn them away from God … There was and is but one true God, and He revealed Himself to Israel and gave them instruction regarding their relationship to Him …


Here also is a type of the uniqueness of Christ … At Matins, Orthodox Christians sing, “God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us … Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord …” The revelation is Christ Himself … He alone is the atonement for our sins, reconciling us to God … He alone is the Savior … Israel was a type of Church – the new people of God – and this type expresses how the Church is to be separate from the world …


17:7: Israel had a history of straying from God, especially into the worship of idols, often labeled by the prophets as spiritual fornication, showing their unfaithfulness to God …


Here is a type of the faithfulness Christians are to have to Christ … The Church is the Bride of Christ … Jesus is the Groom …


17:8-9: Any Israelite who refused to bring his sacrifice to the tabernacle of testimony to offer it there would bring about his own destruction … If someone was to refuse to worship the Word made flesh- for He tabernacle in the flesh- destroys himself … For we worship His holy body – (AthanG) …


17:11: Due to the supreme importance of blood atonement for sin, it was important that blood be treated with unique respect … Looking at this passage, the life was in the blood … If the blood was shed, a life was given, and the sacrifice was genuine … Not that blood has inherent power to forgive … Instead, the blood, was its inherent life, is God’s gift to mankind to make atonement for sin … The necessity for th atonement was the sacrifice of the innocent life of an animal …


But what was important – lest Israel should become carless about the atonement – was not only the blood of the innocent animals sacrificed, but that all animal blood be regarded with respect … All life was sacred and to be respected …


Of course, this understanding concerning the blood in the old covenant was but a type of the blood of Christ, which initiated the New Covenant … On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My Blood, which is shed for you” – (Luke 22:20) … St. Paul, “In Him we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – (Ephesians 1:7) … Also St. John says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” – (1John 1:7) …


17:13-14: Game animals were another story … They could be killed and eaten anywhere, but still the blood was not to be eaten …


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