The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Leviticus 17

Lev 17:7

GOAT IDOLS: "Seirim" = he goats (Egyptian idols -- cp "Pan"); hence the "idols" of Act 15:29. (Translated "devils" in KJV; "demons" in NIV mg.) Cp mythical devil with tail, horns, and cloven hooves. (Tes 54:305).

Lev 17:8

ANY ALIEN LIVING AMONG THEM: These laws (Lev 17,18) were esp for "strangers" (Lev 17:8,10; 18:26). To these laws the Jerusalem elders referred concerning Gentile converts: the 4 things prohibited (Act 15:29).

Lev 17:10

WHO EATS ANY BLOOD: Flesh = mortality, to be eaten under Law. But blood = life, only through new covenant in Christ.

Also, the eating of blood was part of the worship of various idols or "demons" (cp v 7).

Lev 17:11

THE LIFE... IS IN THE BLOOD: See Blood, Blood. Cp Lev 3:17; 7:26,27; 17:14; Deu 12:23.

Everything about this blood -- ie, the blood of the sacrifices -- is positive: (a) it represented the life of the flesh; (b) it was given by God; (c) it went upon the altar; and (d) it made atonement. By contrast, the blood from non-sacrificial animals is spoken of altogether negatively (vv 13,14): (a) it was the life of ALL flesh (as opposed to life of THE flesh); (b) it was hunted or caught, as opposed to being "given" by God; and (c) it was to be covered with dust (not put on the altar).

This blood (vv 13,14) represented the will of man, obtained by his own cunning, and thus it was useless in God's sight. The blood of the sacrificial animal, though, pointed forward to the ultimate provision by God, of blood that would reconcile.

Lev 17:12

If the sacrificial blood was positively presented (v 11), as opposed to the blood of non-sacrificial animals (vv 13,14), then WHY couldn't it be eaten? Because God was teaching that it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins (Heb 10:4). BUT there would come a time when a sacrifice would be provided which could take away sins. It would be the "Word made flesh"; it would be "given" by God; it would provide atonement; and when it came, ALL flesh would be invited to drink of that blood.

The children of Israel were not to eat even the sacrificial blood in anticipation of the blood that one day would be provided, which they would be able to eat. And so the Lord stood up, and proclaimed: "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life... For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:54-56).

And the Jews' response was: "No! Everyone knows the Law says we can't drink blood!" But the whole point of Lev 17 was: "No, you shouldn't NOW... but one day you will be able!" They missed the opportunity. An example of the Jews missing the point of their own law.

Lev 17:15

DEAD OR TORN BY WILD ANIMALS: "Such flesh could not prefigure the sinless lamb of God laying down his own life in obedience to the Father" (LM 270).

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