Atoning Death
Leviticus 17:10-16
And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eats any manner of blood…

We have here a repetition of a law which had already been twice delivered (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:23-26). Its full and formal restatement is very significant, and this the more because of the emphatic utterance of Divine displeasure in the event of disobedience. "I will even set my face against that soul... and will cut him off," etc. (verse 10). Obviously, the highest importance was attached by God to the observance of this injunction not to eat "any manner of blood." We regard -

I. THE PRIMARY SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS LAW. This is clearly indicated in verses 11 and 12. We shall understand it if we consider the subject thus:

1. Happy and harmonious relations between Jehovah and his people were maintained by continual sacrifices at his altar.

2. In these sacrifices the life of the slain animal was accepted by God as an atonement for the forfeited life of the human transgressor.

3. But the blood of the animal was regarded as the seat and source of its life. When its blood was shed its life was taken, and the shed blood was sprinkled before the vail or poured on the altar (chapter 2:6, 7), as standing for the life which had been offered by man, and been accepted by God. "The blood of bulls and of goats," therefore, however insufficient of itself for the high purpose of atonement for human sin, was yet the outward and visible means which the Holy One of Israel was pleased to appoint for reconciliation between himself and his people. Therefore it was to be held sacred; the idea of it must not be vulgarized, as it would inevitably be if blood were used as common food at ordinary meals. Its sanctity must be carefully fenced. Men must associate with it, in their minds, nothing but the forfeited life, the atonement, with which it was so closely connected. All their domestic and social customs (verses 13, 15, 16) must be so ordered that the blood of animals, anywhere and anywise slain, should speak of those sacrifices at the altar in which the erring souls of men sought and found the mercy and the favour of their God.

II. ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO OURSELVES. It suggests to us the truth that, as the disciples of Jesus Christ, we also should count very sacred in our esteem the thought of atoning blood.

1. For we, too, are redeemed by "precious blood" (see 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14; Revelation 5:9). It may not have been needful that, in the literal sense, the blood of the Son of man should flow, but it was needful that his life, of which the blood is the source and the symbol, should be laid down.

2. Our Lord has given us a permanent institution, the object of which is to keep before our minds the shedding of his blood for our sins (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:26).

3. By their words, he and his apostles laid the greatest stress on his atoning death as the source of our life and hope (John 12:32; John 6:53; Luke 24:46, 47; Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7, etc.).

4. His atoning death was the object of our soul's trust when we entered our Christian course, and will be at the hour when we shall complete it.

5. It is the will of Christ that we should keep it continually in view throughout our life. It is our wisdom as well as our duty so to do, inasmuch as the contemplation of his death for our sins will minister

(1) to our humility;

(2) to our gratitude;

(3) to a consecrated life of cheerful obedience and submission. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

WEB: "'Any man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who live as foreigners among them, who eats any kind of blood, I will set my face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

Various Regulations in Chaps, 17.-22
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