The Walk with God…Sanctification Leviticus 11-27, cont’d.
Leviticus 11-15 The Laws Concerning Purity, cont’d.
Leviticus 15-Purity in Relation to the Body
Leviticus 15:2-15-These verses are speaking of a diseased condition of the male sex organs. He was to be somewhat isolated in order to prevent the possible spread of the disease. After being healed, he had to make a sacrifice (a sin offering, and a burnt offering).
Leviticus 15:16-18-These verses are speaking of the natural secretion of the male sex organs...no sacrifice is necessary.
Leviticus 15:19-24-These verses are speaking of the natural menstrual period of a woman...no sacrifice is necessary.
Leviticus 15:25-30-These verses are speaking of a discharge not connected with a woman's menstrual period...an offering is required (a sin offering, and a burnt offering).
Leviticus 15:31-33-The reason for these laws is to prevent a person who is ceremonially unclean from being guilty of defiling the Tabernacle and being punished by death.
- When they defile my tabernacle: None of these discharges made a man or a woman sinful, only ceremonially unclean. This did promote hygiene in ancient Israel, yet discharges of semen and menstruation were so regarded, not because there was anything inherently wrong with them, but because the two are connected with symbols of life and redemption, blood and seed.
- My tabernacle that is among them: This made an obvious separation between sex and the worship of God. To the modern world this seems normal, but in the ancient world it was common to worship the gods by having sex with temple prostitutes. God did not want this association in His worship.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Leviticus 15,
Leviticus 16 The Laws for the Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement was the most important of all of the ordinances which Israel celebrated because atonement was made for the sins of all the people (16:16,21,30,33), and for the sanctuary (16:16,33). It took place on the 10th day of Tishri (16:29, the seventh month). It was to be observed as a Sabbath day (16:31).
Leviticus 16:1-4-The offering for Aaron...a bull for a sin offering, a ram for a burnt offering.
Leviticus 16:5-28-The offering for the people was two goats. One was for a sin offering, and the other to be a "scapegoat"…this word is a combination of two words, "goat" and "depart" and it literally it is "Azazel". It symbolized the removal of sin from the people.
For an explanation of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) see:
For an explanation of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) from a Jewish perspective see:
Leviticus 17 Laws concerning Sacrificing
Leviticus 17:1-10-These verses forbid offering sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle. It was to prevent worship of any other god or demon (17:7).
Leviticus 17:11-"the life of the flesh is in the blood...for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement". The blood was always to be drained from the body of an animal before the meat was eaten. There are two reasons given why they were not to eat the blood. First, the life of the body is in the blood. There were other religions who believed that by drinking the blood of an animal they would receive its life, or power. They were not to practice this pagan superstition. Second, the blood was the means that God had given for sins to be atoned for.
Leviticus 17:14-The NASV adds the word "identified" to help in translation/interpretation..."For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life."
Why was there a prohibition against eating/drinking blood?
- Of course, many pagan rituals celebrated the drinking of blood, and God also wanted a separation from these pagan practices.
- Thus, as a matter of practice, all animals that were butchered in Israel were drained of blood as much as possible. Not all nations did this. "It appears from history that those nations who lived most on it [blood] were very fierce, savage, and barbarous, such as the Scythians, Tartars, Arabs of the desert, the Scandinavians, [and so forth], some of whom drank the blood of their enemies, making cups of their sculls!" (Clarke)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Leviticus 17,
- The sanctity of blood (17:1–16). This chapter is the very heart of Leviticus, emphasizing once more the importance of blood and life.
No Israelite was allowed to sacrifice outside the camp or apart from the sanctuary. If he did, he was held guilty of bloodshed and he was cut off from the community. Sacrificial animals had to be brought to the priest at the entrance to the tabernacle (later, the temple) and offered in the prescribed way. The point is that the blood of these animals had to be cared for at the prescribed altar and their fat had to be burned as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
The penalty was severe to keep Israelites from straying from the worship of the Lord and offering sacrifices to pagan gods (v. 7), thereby prostituting themselves. The injunction is repeated again: no Israelite or alien in Israel was to offer a burnt offering except before the Lord at the tabernacle (or temple).
The very heart of Leviticus is the blood: “the life of a creature is in the blood.... it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (v. 11). Life is therefore synonymous with blood and is sacred in God’s sight. No one was to eat blood with meat. This is why domestic animals used for food had to be brought to the sanctuary where the priests were careful to drain out their blood. Game animals did not have to be brought to the sanctuary, but the blood of such animals had to be drained out on the ground and covered up before the meat was cooked. No flesh or dead carcasses were to be eaten, no matter how these animals died, because the blood had not been properly drained from the meat. Anyone touching dead beasts was rendered unclean and had to wash and was not clean until evening. If he did not cleanse himself, then he was held responsible by God for insensitivity regarding blood and life.
Elwell, W. A. (1995). Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, Le 17:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, Logos Bible Software
For an answer from a Jewish perspective see:
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for paying the price for my sin…once and for all. Thank You for atoning for my sin.