The Law of Blood and Redemption
Jan 07, 2008
Leviticus 17:10 says,
"And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people."
God did not create blood to be eaten. It had another purpose.
Eating (or consuming) is also a Hebrew idiom for conquering. For example, when the ten spies gave their "evil report" in Num. 13:32, they said, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants." They were concerned about the giants in the land. Joshua's reply in Num. 14:9 says, "they are bread for us." To Joshua, those giants were the breakfast of champions.
Leviticus 17:11 gives us the reason that we are not to consume blood:
"For the life [nephesh, 'soul'] of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life [nephesh, 'soul']that makes atonement."
In other words, Scripture identifies the blood with the soul, even as our breath is identified with our spirit, and the body is identified with the flesh. Spirit, soul, and body correlate with breath, blood, and flesh. To understand the relationship between Spirit, soul, and body, it is helpful to know the relationship between the breath, the blood, and the flesh.
Essentially, the breath gives life to the blood, which diffuses the oxygen throughout the flesh to keep it alive. So also, the Spirit gives life to the soul, which is diffused throughout the body to keep it alive.
The "soul of the flesh" in verse 11 above can be expressed as "the fleshly soul." The soul is fleshly, or carnal, and not spiritual of itself. Paul speaks of "the natural man" (as 1 Cor. 2:14 is translated in the KJV), but the Greek term is actually "the soulish man." This "man" within us is contrasted with the spiritual "man" within us, the new man fathered by the Holy Spirit, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).
The soulish man is who we are in Adam. The spiritual man is who we are in Christ. The soulish man is bloody; the spiritual man has the breath of God and is filled with the Spirit. The soulish man is death-ridden; the spiritual man is alive.
The soulish man, in his death-ridden state, has an inherent, selfish desire to consume, rather than to give. Such behavior, when it reaches its culmination, will consume others with violence and force if necessary to accomplish its will. Human governments and kingdoms tend to impose their will upon others and take men and their property by force; whereas Divine government and the Kingdom of God conquer by giving, which is its prime expression of love.
These are two basic methods of achieving UNITY. The soulish man attempts to achieve unity by consuming others. The spiritual man does it by being consumed in the all-devouring Fire of God. We are what we eat.
And so, for example, we see Edom presented in Scripture as one of the primary expressions of carnal behavior and human government. Ezekiel 35:6 says of Edom, or Idumea,
"Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will give you over to bloodshed [or blood], and blood(shed) will pursue you, since you have not hated blood(shed), therefore blood(shed) will pursue you."
The text literally reads "blood," but it has reference to bloodshed. Later, in verse 12, it explains this further about Edom:
"Then you will know that I, the Lord have heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel saying, 'They are laid desolate; they are given to us for food'."
In other words, Edom was bloodthirsty. They were violating the law against eating blood. I have found no evidence that they literally drank blood, but Scripture says that they were guilty of violating this law by being bloodthirsty and by consuming the inhabitants of the "mountains of Israel." The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, and they believed that they were the true inheritors of the land. But instead of waiting for God to give it to them, they had no faith that God would do so. So they took it by force, according to the dictates of their carnal souls.
Anyone who is bloodthirsty or who tries to consume others is revealing the nature of his carnal, mortal soul. Those who love and give of themselves are manifesting the nature of the spiritual man that is Christ in us.
The prime example of the manifestation of the love of God is found in Jesus Christ Himself. He did not come to consume or devour us but to give His life for the world.
The blood was to be poured out upon the ground as atonement for our souls (Lev. 17:13). In pouring out the blood, it was said that the SOUL was poured out. This is what Jesus did at the Cross, for we read in Isaiah 53:12, "He has poured out His soul unto death." It was done by means of the blood that was poured out upon the ground at the Cross.
To pour the blood of any sacrifice upon the ground (including the Sacrifice of Christ) was an act of giving. Christ did this in accordance with the law, which said that the blood was to be used for purposes of atonement for our souls. But one might ask WHY blood was to be poured out upon the ground.
The answer goes back to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve first sinned. Verse 17 gives us part of God's verdict upon them for their sin: "Cursed is the ground because of you" or for your sake. The ground was actually given responsibility for Adam's sin. In the law, when a man takes responsibility for the sin (debt) of another, he is called a redeemer. In the laws of redemption, the redeemer pays the debt and purchases the debtor. The debtor is not set free, but merely changes masters (Lev. 25:53).
We know that Jesus came to redeem us, and He purchased us by His blood (1 Cor. 7:23). Therefore, we are to submit ourselves as bondservants to Christ, as we read in Rom. 6:22, "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God."
Jesus' redemption work came in the New Testament, but the principle of redemption has been with us from the beginning. The same law of redemption is apparent in Gen. 3:17 when God made the ground liable for Adam's sin. Essentially, the ground was Adam's first redeemer. Adam became enslaved to the ground as a result of this redemption. The ground had the right of redemption, because Adam was made from the dust of the ground and was therefore a near kinsman (Lev. 25:49). But the ground proved to be a hard task master.
The ground owned Adam, and its rights were specified in the law of redemption. For this reason, Adam had to work for the ground by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:19) for his entire life time, until the ground reclaimed him (that is, his soul) at death.
Adam's entire estate was sold to pay for his sin (Matt. 18:25). Adam's estate was all of creation, including the animals. For this reason, when animals were killed for food or for sacrifice, their blood was to be given to the ground, as the law says. The reason was because even the animals had been sold to the ground for Adam's sake in Gen. 3:17. Their souls belonged to the earth by right of redemption.
Jesus then came as a near Kinsman to purchase all who had been sold to the ground through Adam's sin, including the entire estate--CREATION. The same law that sold us to the ground also was the basis of our redemption in Christ.
This is the first part of a series titled "The Law of Blood and Redemption." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones