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Leviticus 17 – Sacrifice & Blood

Then God (Elohim) spoke all these words, saying,
‘I am the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.   You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God (YHWH Elohim), am a jealous God (Elohim),’” Exodus 20:1-5a

Leviticus 17 expands on and deals with the particulars of this passage a little bit more.  There are two connected issues here.  First, no one may slaughter an ox, lamb, or goat within or outside of camp without bringing the body to the tabernacle to offer it as an offering to the LORD.  This is to ensure that there is no other worship except the worship of YHWH in the Israelite camp.  If a man or a woman sacrificed an animal to another god, that would have brought defilement upon the camp and people of Israel.

Reading that you could not slaughter an ox, sheep, or goat without offering it as a sacrifice to YHWH, i wonder how the Israelites could harvest their flocks and herds.  If sheep, goats and oxen were the primary means of meat for the Israelites, and they could only be slaughtered to sacrifice them to God, where do they get the meat needed to live on?  I don’t have the answer to that one, but knowing me, i’m probably just missing something simple.

The second part of this chapter deals with the command not to consume blood.  Blood is the life of the creature.  That’s been backed up by research for centuries.  The essence of the creature, it’s life and support system, comes from the blood.  As such, God requires that we do not consume of it.  In fact, when we hunt or kill an animal, we are instructed to let the blood drain out and cover it with dirt.

Do we take Exodus 20:1-5a seriously?  Have we made for ourselves gods other than YHWH?  Obviously we don’t make idols.  However, we have a tendency to worship, pursue, and trust in many things other than YHWH.  Some worship the god of money, others the god of family, others the god of education, others of technology.  Most American’s worship and bow down to the god of self.  When we place any of these things before YHWH, we are making them gods in our eyes.  What will it have to take to change our view and for us to start truly worshiping YHWH, the one true God, once again?

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Leviticus 1 – Offering

The establishment of religion clause.  That is what this government is all about.  It is government by YHWH for the people and for His glory.  After having come out of Exodus and understanding that one of the primary things that YHWH was giving the Israelite people was a means and way of finally being able to worship Him, we find the first chapter of Leviticus giving instructions on how to offer up an offering from  the flock or the herd.

This is the very base and foundation of offerings.  It is the very cornerstone of the sacrificial system.  The shedding of blood for the remission / covering of sins is what gives the people the ability to come before a holy God without being consumed by YHWH’s holiness in the form of fire.  Within the sacrificial system there are three primary sacrificial animals; the bull, the sheep, and the goat.  This chapter answers how to properly bring those sacrifices to the temple, priests, and YHWH.  Secondarily, it also answers to how to bring the sacrifice of a bird.

This sacrifice is the very core of the sacrificial system.  It is a necessary offering and it is complete… or about as complete as an imperfect sacrifice that only covers sin and does not remove them can be.  The true and perfect sacrifice… The fulfillment of the sacrificial system, Jesus the Christ, will not come for millenia yet.

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