Leviticus 17: The book of Leviticus gives us a direct insight into many truths concerning Messiah and His sacrificial death. It also answers many questions for us concerning the work and person of Yeshua Messiah.
This chapter ties into the previous chapter in it’s subject matter, which is the Day of Atonement. It deals with the fact that only one place for sacrifice was permissible and the value of the blood of the sacrifice.
When Israel was in the land of Canaan, many of them had to travel over one hundred miles to reach the tabernacle. It was not feasible for some of them to make the trip with animals to use for food and sacrifice. So why did Elohim insist on only one place for the sacrifice to be made? Israel was fresh out of Egypt and had been surrounded by idolatry. They had been worshipping the idols in Egypt for a long time and there was always a danger of slipping back into idolatry. The Egyptians worshipped an idol called seirim which means “hairy one.” This was a goat. The Egyptians worshipped the goat god named Mandes and the Greeks worshipped the goat god named Pan. This is the cloven foot creature with a tail and horns that medieval Christians associated with the devil. We get our word “pan”-ic from this period of time referring to the terror the devil caused.
Israel is not permitted to make a sacrifice anywhere but at the place of the Tabernacle, or Temple. This was to keep them from making an offering to Pan, the goat god, or any of the other gods of the pagan nations.
Also, under no circumstance was blood to be eaten. There are several reasons for this. 1. Blood turns septic in a very short amount of time and will make one sick. 2. Blood contains many toxins and diseases even before it turns septic. 3. Life is sacred and even animals are not to be killed needlessly. 4. Blood speaks of the sacrifice of Messiah. Life is very precious and Messiah had to give His up in order to save us.
Believers are to drink the blood of Messiah in the form of wine at Passover as a remembrance of Him. We are to do this as a reminder of the sacrifice Yeshua made for us.
(Lev 17:1 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 17:2 NASB) “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, and to all the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, saying,
Lev 17:2: These instructions are not just for Moses and Aaron, but they are for all Israel. He wants their lives to be different than the heathen nations surrounding them.
(Lev 17:3 NASB) “Any man from the house of Israel who slaughters an ox, or a lamb, or a goat in the camp, or who slaughters it outside the camp,
(Lev 17:4 NASB) and has not brought it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguiltiness is to be reckoned to that man. He has shed blood and that man shall be cut off from among his people.
Lev 17:4: There has been great debate amongst Jews and rabbis concerning this verse and the passage in Deuteronomy 12:15-16.
There are two schools of thought on these passages. One is that the people had to bring their animals to the Tabernacle for slaughter before they ate them while they were wandering in the wilderness (Leviticus 17:1-6). But after they entered the land (Deut. 12:15-16), they could slaughter their animals for food anywhere they were located.
The other explanation seems to fit the context of this passage better. Leviticus 17 is speaking of the slaughter of animals for offerings (sacrifices) only. The passage in Deuteronomy is speaking of animals slaughtered for food.
(Lev 17:5 NASB) “The reason is so that the sons of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they were sacrificing in the open field, that they may bring them in to the LORD, at the doorway of the tent of meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD.
(Lev 17:6 NASB) “And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and offer up the fat in smoke as a soothing aroma to the LORD.
Lev 17:6: The context of this passage seems to make it clear that sacrifices are the subject, not the slaughter of animals for food.
(Lev 17:7 NASB) “And they shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.”‘
Lev 17:7: The word for “goat demons” here actually means “hairy-ones” or “goat-god.” This is a warning against worship of the god, Pan.
(Lev 17:8 NASB) “Then you shall say to them, ‘Any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice,
(Lev 17:9 NASB) and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that man also shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 17:9: It is also prohibited for anyone to offer a sacrifice to Elohim any other place than the place designated by Elohim. In that day, it was where the Tabernacle was located. This command applies not only to the blood Israelites, but also to the ger, or stranger among them from other nations that wish to be a part of Israel also.
(Lev 17:10 NASB) ‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
Lev 17:10: Restrictions against eating blood are prevalent in Scripture (Gen. 9:4, Lev. 3:17, 7:26-27). This was also a command reiterated to those who were interested in entering a synagogue and hearing the Torah and the message of redemption through Messiah (Acts 15:19-21).
This is a message that is not spoken of much today, but Elohim takes it very seriously.
(Lev 17:11 NASB) ‘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.’
Lev 17:11: This verse explains the main purpose of the sacrifices. The blood holds the life of the flesh. The shedding of blood is the requirement for the atonement (appeasement) of sins.
The life of the flesh is in the blood. Torah allows for substitution. In sacrifices, it is the life blood of the animal that suffices as a substitution for the life blood of the unintentional offender. Whenever a covenant is made with Elohim, blood must be shed. The Covenant that Israel made with Elohim had to be a blood sacrifice (Exod. 24:7-8).
But why must blood be shed in a Covenant with Elohim? A covenant with Elohim is an agreement of obedience. It is through the keeping of the Torah through the Covenant that Israel had life (Lev. 18:5, Ezek. 20:11-13). Torah allows substitution, so the life that His people receive through the Covenant with Him required the life blood of a substitute.
In the same way, through the blood of Yeshua Messiah, we have the New Covenant (Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25). The New Covenant is Elohim putting His Spirit within us and causing us to be obedient to His Torah (Heb. 8:8-10, Ezek. 36:25-27).
In order for Elohim to make a Covenant of life with His people, the shedding of blood was necessary. It is through the sacrificial shed blood of Messiah that we have a New Covenant and have life through Him (John 10:10, 14:6). The sacrifice of Yeshua was the making of the blood Covenant for Israel to have life. It was the sacrifice of the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18).
(Lev 17:12 NASB) “Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’
(Lev 17:13 NASB) “So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.
(Lev 17:14 NASB) “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’
Lev 17:14: Yeshua also told us that life is in the blood (John 6:54-56). If we have a realization that through the shed blood of Messiah we have the Spirit of the Father within us, we too have life. And we are to live our lives abundantly and according to His Word (1 Peter 2:24).
(Lev 17:15 NASB) “And when any person eats an animal which dies, or is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or an alien, he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening; then he will become clean.
(Lev 17:16 NASB) “But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.”
Lev 17:16: This is another remarkable warning against disease that Elohim is giving here. He doesn’t want people to eat something diseased. An animal that dies naturally is probably diseased. The carcass of an animal that is killed by another animal is very likely diseased also.
Elohim requires cleanliness and purity of His people. If His Torah is disobeyed, cleansing is required, not optional. In the case of someone becoming unclean, and requiring the cleansing of the water with the ashes of the red heifer, they were required to cleanse themselves. If they did not do it, they were cut off from the people (Num. 19:20).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas