Leviticus 17:1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus 17:2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying,
This chapter opens with a reminder that the instructions recorded in this book are from God—not Moses. Notice that Moses remains the primary person through whom the Lord is communicating with His people.
This chapter focuses on the truth that YHWH, the self-Existent Eternal LORD, is the only God and that all sacrifices should be made to Him according to His instructions. It also emphasizes the importance of the blood in light of life and sacrifice.
Leviticus 17:3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
Leviticus 17:4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
Leviticus 17:5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.
Leviticus 17:6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
Leviticus 17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
Leviticus 17:8 And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,
Leviticus 17:9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.
These verses are basically declaring that the people are not to be making sacrifices on their own—either to God or to “devils,” false gods, evil spirits. All sacrifices to God are to be made at the tabernacle through the mediation of the priest according to God’s instructions. The wording indicates that there were some among the population who were sacrificing to false gods, and God calls it “whoring.” In other words, He considered it to be spiritual adultery—giving to another what rightfully belongs to Him.
Point is made that this instruction had no expiration date.
Any person that disobeyed this directive was to be excommunicated, whether Israeli by birth or living among the people of Israel by choice.
Leviticus 17:10 ¶ 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.
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
These verses make clear that God defines the life of a person in light of the flow of blood through his being. It is through the blood that He has purposed to provide atonement for the soul. Notice that atonement is for the soul—not the body. The reality of one’s persona is in his spirit, his soul, his eternal being—not his body.
Leviticus 17:12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
Leviticus 17:13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
Leviticus 17:14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
Because of the direct connection between life and the flow of blood, the people of Israel were commanded not to eat blood. Any meat that was eaten was to be drained of its blood and the blood covered with dirt. This directive applied to anyone living among the Israelis, even those only living among them temporarily.
I think it is significant that the blood is directly connected to one’s physical life, but that our eternal life in our resurrected bodies will be bloodless.
1 Corinthians 15:42–44 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
1 Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
I believe the implication is that the life of our soul is through the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe that is how Adam and Eve died when they sinned; they died spiritually. They lost the indwelling Spirit of God that would ultimately lead to their physical death. The blood could only continue to support physical life in a corruptible body for a finite period of time.
Leviticus 17:15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.
Leviticus 17:16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.
Allowance is made for man to eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was killed by another animal. One who did so, however, was to wash his clothes and take a bath and was considered unclean until the evening. One who did not wash clothes and being as instructed would suffer the consequences of his sin.