A CALL TO HOLINESS

The Necessity Of Blood

Leviticus 17

Jerry A. Collins

We hold many kinds of things as precious and of a great value. Whether it is money, gold or silver, precious metals or stones, positions of power and might, all of them can be stolen from us, deteriorate through natural processes or loose their value over time or that value changes. This is true if you are investing in the stock market (stock values change and so does the value of the kind of stocks you invest in) or moving up the corporate ladder (others coming behind you maybe younger, more educated, less costly).

Of course, the things which are precious to God are things that never deteriorate, are in danger of being stolen or loosing their value or that values changing. When God declares something of value to Him, it possesses a value that will never diminish. One of those precious and valuable things to God is the value of blood! We want to discover the reason for the value of blood band discover how itís value relates to us as believers from Leviticus 17

SACRIFICE MUST BE TO GOD 17:1-7

This is the first warning they receive and it concerns false worship and the disregard for the blood of sacrifice.

(A) PAGAN GODS AND PAGAN PRACTICES 1-4

There was always the danger of Israelís going after pagan gods and following pagan practices. The danger here is that animals would be slaughtered in a way that would be an act of pagan sacrifice and worship. This kind of sacrifice involved the worship of goat-demons (7) which is something they had learned while in Egypt and persisted to practice while in the wilderness. The commandment is to bring this practice to a complete halt in the nation. It would also carry-over to the surrounding nations pagan gods and sacrifices once they settled in the land of promise. Verse 7 says that this is to be a permanent regulation for generations to come. The Israelites were to bring their sacrifices to the tent of meeting so the blood could be dashed against the altar and the fat burned on it to the Lord. The problem would arise when they made sacrifice in any other place, in the open field outside the camp. Sacrificial slaughter was an act of worship and God called their sacrifice outside the camp a pagan one to pagan gods. The penalty for such an act was to be cut off (4). This reference is probably to physical death, either by punishment from the camp or from God directly. Bloodguiltiness in vs 4 carries with the idea of being guilty of murder. The point here is that sacrifice, in order to be propitious, in order to be advantageous, must be to God only! He permits absolutely no rivals. The blood is His and the fat is His. The penalty is to be cut off by God Himself.

God is a jealous God (Ex 20:5). the first commandment is that You shall have no other gods before me, nor shall you make an idol and you shall not worship them or serve them. Interestingly, God reminds them as He begins that he is the God who brought them up out of the land of Egypt and from slavery. There are no rivals to Him. He did what no other god could do. He alone deserves the admiration and devotion of the people. Do not let temptation motivate you to give allegiance to second-rate gods. Gods that do not even exist. It is not only phoney-baloney it is an offense against God. The New Testament tells us knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold...but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The tendency all around us, in our culture, our society will be to diminish the sacrifice of Christ. To disregard His shed blood as unnecessary or ineffective. Pay tribute to our God. Jesus is not enough. There is another way. Add this to the program. In every case we will be asked to go outside the camp to the open field of ideas and religious expression to worship your God. The temptation to carve another path accessible to God will always be there. In the end God tells us that these who believe and practice other ways to him will be cut-off at the great white throne judgment. Having cast-aside Gods program of accessibility into a relationship with Him, they will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15).

BLOOD MUST REMAIN SACRED

17:8-16

(A) REGULATIONS FOR EATING BLOOD OF HUNTED ANIMALS 8-13

Blood could also be misused by eating it. The reason for this regulation is because God has assigned the blood for expiation, for the extinguishing of guilt incurred by sin in ones life. It is the life of the animal and belongs either to the animal, or if slaughtered, to God. For a man to take the blood and eat or drink it would be to rob God, to desecrate that which was holy, set apart to God. Throughout the Bible the blood is the symbol of life. It appears to be what ties together body and soul. Without the blood, there is no life. It formed a graphic picture to the worshipper that life-blood running out of the animal in his place. God so designed the blood for this purpose so that every individual would be confronted with and reminded of expiation, the extinguishing of guilt by sin, every time he shed blood from animals. The conscientious believer would pour out the blood of an animal hunted down because he would be faithful to the teaching that the blood was not for human consumption (vs 13).

(B) BLOOD OF ANIMALS NOT SLAIN 14-17

If the animal was torn by wild beasts then the blood of the victim could not have been poured out as God had instructed to be done. It should be avoided but if eaten he would be required to go through the ritual or he would be guilty before God. Knowing the law and not complying with it was to deliberately sin. Any other practices concerning sacrificial or non-sacrificial blood was a corruption of the holy law of God. It was an evidence of a lack of faith--obedience and a violation of the covenant. The guilty would die.

BLOOD IMPLICATIONS

In the New Testament the believers in the city of Corinth were turning the Lordís supper into a drunken feast (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). They lost the symbolism of the Table and they had little regard for what the wine and bread represented, namely, the body and blood of the Lamb of God. We then read that because of this some of them died prematurely--were cut off (vss 27-30). The message of this passage seems to be that those who follow the Lord in obedience must hold sacred the sacrificial blood that extinguishes our guilt before God. It would be a perpetual reminder of the heart and soul of the covenant; the life is in the blood and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Those who are willing to trample under their feet the blood of Christ are people who have no faith. The only thing that can save them is Christís blood. To spurn it is to condemn yourself.

For believers who lose sight of the importance of the blood that atones for sin, the danger is to move toward false worship like the Israelites. This is where it all deteriorates. We start running after false gods, like new age, Islam, Jehovahís witness, Mormonism, Hinduism, science or pantheism. The next step is contempt for the true sacrifice. Instead of the blood of Christ that can save me, now it is replaced by or convoluted by whatever the steps of redemption my idolatry says is essential. There is no room for the blood of Christ and something else. Following other spirits, which is what is behind false religions, will see little value in the blood of the covenant.

(1) PROGRESSIVE REVELATION

God has chosen to reveal His truths to mankind sequentially. For instance, the necessity of blood is generally introduced early in the OT, later developed more fully by the prophets and then by Christ and finally in fullest form in the NT by the apostles. With blood, early in Genesis God took the shed blood of Abel seriously (Gen 4) and later after the flood God gave more specific commands regarding blood-eating (Gen 9). In the life of Israel camped at Mt. Sanai God used shed blood of the Passover to distinguish his people from Egyptians, visited by the death angel (Ex 12). Lev 17 Israels conduct about blood even more stringent. Later Isa 53 continues to expand the value of shed blood to atone for our sins. In the NT Peter teaches us about the necessity of Jesusí shed blood. Finally Rev 1:5 and 5:6-9 teach Jesusí shed blood, saves us, keeps us saved and gets us to heaven! God long beforehand began to prepare mankind for the value of Jesusí blood.

(2) PRECIOUSNESS OF BLOOD

In Godís sight blood is precious because life is precious. He created life and it is precious to Him. God values all life. God values your life. It is a gift from Him. Jesus shed blood for you places infinite worth and value on your life. 1 John 1:7 that blood still has cleansing effect in our lives when we confess our sin. Maintain fellowship with the Lord and let Jesusí blood keep you clean.