Leviticus 17 Commentary

Leviticus 17 Commentary: Don’t eat blood.


We first learn about blood when Abel is killed. And this blood is talking! In this chapter we are told the blood is the life itself or represents the life of an individual. It must not be eaten!

From what we have seen already we can easily guess the importance of blood. It is however when the LORD equates sacrificing to demons to bloodshed that we start thinking more about these symbols. One who sacrifices to demons is as good as one who sheds blood. This is serious!

The temptation to think of these symbols and pointers as ancient and primitive is very high. But when these symbols repeatedly appear in the New Testament, you immediately know there is much more than the immediate context. Blood must not be eaten. Never. But again, there is a meal of blood and flesh that we are commanded to enjoy. The ordinance of Holy Communion is a celebration of the only permitted meal of blood. You immediately know we are looking at some very important heavenly concept though our mortal minds cannot quite register it.

Israel is forbidden from conducting sacrifices outside the tabernacle system. They are specifically banned from sacrificing to demons. For many saints these regulations are boring. But there are still many people, including some saints who feel witch doctors are options. Universalism is convincing us that we are the same – that we worship the same God. The instructions here are exclusive. We worship at a designated place and in a prescribed way.

These instructions are repeated in a more forceful way when the scripture tells us, “No one comes to the Father except through me”. Calvary is the physical place and the procedures and rituals are the fruit of the Holy Spirit resident in every saint.

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
Leviticus 17:11 NIV

Finally, we can begin to put a finger on the mystery of blood. We know why it shouldn’t be eaten. We know why it should be splashed against the altar. We know why monthly periods for women are here looked at with ‘closed eyes’ as they, in part, represent lost life opportunity. It resembles the shedding of blood which the LORD forbade. Seeing blood on the ground is like seeing life being terminated.

Blood must not be eaten. A dead animal still has blood in it. An opportunity to spill blood is symbolically an opportunity to ensure that people don’t eat life. It belongs to God.

More resources visit http://www.bibleproject.com

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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