(Exodus 22:19, 31; 34:26)
(Leviticus 7:22-27; 11:1-57; 17:10-16; 19:26; 20:25-26)
(Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-25; 14:3-21)
Today we have read of the Mosaic dietary laws, in which the Lord instructed His people about foods that were acceptable (or clean) and detestable (or unclean) for them. Although many of these restrictions may have pertained to health issues, others clearly pointed to God’s desire for His people to be holy and set apart from the pagan nations around them.
Repeatedly, the Lord issues this key statement:
“You are to be holy to Me
because I, the Lord, am holy,
and I have set you apart from the nations
to be My own.”
(Leviticus 20:26, NIV)
Following the detailed descriptions of animals, fish, birds and other creatures that were suitable for the God’s people to consume (and those that were not), the issue of blood appears.
The life is in the blood.
The Lord commanded His people not to eat the blood of any animal.
“'For the life of the flesh is in the blood,
and I have given it to you on the altar
to make atonement for your souls;
for it is the blood by reason of the life
that makes atonement.'”
(Leviticus 17:11, NASB)
The blood belongs to the Lord, and from the blood comes the issue of life and atonement for sin. This truth is echoed in the New Testament as well, pointing to the atoning sacrifice of Christ.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything
be cleansed with blood,
and without the shedding of blood
there is no forgiveness.”
(Hebrews 9:22, NIV)
The people of God were clearly warned against consuming the lifeblood of any creature. Perhaps this caution was intended to remind mankind that we are unable to save ourselves by what we put into our bodies. We cannot make ourselves clean before God.
Pagans drink blood.
Pagan priests, devil worshippers and those practicing witchcraft and other dark arts often make a point of drinking the blood of animals or even humans. Could this be an attempt to imitate deity, to partake of something that actually belongs to God? Did not Lucifer himself fall from Heaven, along with the angels who followed him, for trying to usurp the position of the Lord?
Communion commemorates the blood of Christ.
When the Lord Jesus Christ commemorated the Passover Seder, sharing His Last Supper with His twelve apostles, He told them that the wine they drank represented His own blood. He instructed them to drink of it. Christians practice the Lord’s Supper regularly, eating the bread representing the body of Christ and drinking the cup that stands for His blood.
Why would the Lord instruct His followers to drink His blood, even symbolically, if the Old Testament faithful were forbidden to consume blood?
God told the Israelites to preserve the blood of animals they killed for food, so that the blood might be offered to the Lord as sacrifice. However, because Jesus Christ died once and for all, the Lord requires no additional blood sacrifices on His altar. The blood of Jesus is our lifeblood, now and forever.
Thanks be to God, who saves us from ourselves and from our sin, restoring us unto Himself. We may live, because He shed His own blood for us.
Will you pray with me?
Your worthiness is unimaginable.
How can we do anything
But follow you?
How we thank You
For offering Your own Son
As the forever sacrifice
Restore us daily to Your heart,
And reveal to us
Any areas of our lives
That we have yet to surrender
Under Your grace and mercy.
We praise You.