“When someone from the community of Israel slaughters an ox, lamb or goat inside or outside the camp without bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to Adonai before the tabernacle of Adonai, he is to be charged with blood — he has shed blood, and that person is to be cut off from his people.”-Leviticus 17:3-4
Let’s talk a little about the Biblical concept of “blood-guilt”.
In Hebrew, the term for “shed blood” is SHAFAKH DAM.
SHAFAKH means “to shed”.
DAM means “blood”.
Within the context of Leviticus 17, the crime of shedding blood revolves around the improper and unordained killing of domesticated animals.
Remember Genesis 9:4.
“only flesh with its life,
which is its blood,
you are not to eat.”
This verse provides a key to understanding why God prohibited eating or drinking blood.
It clearly says LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD.
If a creature doesn’t have blood, it doesn’t have life.
Another major key to understanding why God forbid consuming blood for food is that He dedicated blood for the sole purpose of atonement.
If blood is the source of atonement for our purification and sins, then this reason alone transforms blood into something sacred.
Think about this for a second.
On a physical level, blood is the source of life.
On a spiritual level, blood is the source of atonement.
Hence, to misuse something so sacred would be a serious crime on many levels.
Murder is a misuse of blood because it ends life.
Drinking animal blood is wrong because God uses it to atone for our sins.
Killing an animal OUTSIDE THE BORDERS OF THE TABERNACLE GROUNDS was forbidden because atonement could only be made inside the holy grounds.
Sacrificing an animal to another deity besides YHVH is a major crime because you’re taking God’s creation to honor demons (which are other created beings) or just figments of your imagination, and this is a crime that happens all around the world all the time.
This prohibition concerning blood guilt in Leviticus 17 was one of the main topics addressed at the revolutionary Jerusalem Council meeting held in 49 A.D.
This meeting was about the Apostle Paul visiting James (Yeshua’s brother and head of the church in Jerusalem) to ask him to not force Gentiles to convert to Judaism in order to become believers in Yeshua.
After much heated discussion, it was decided that as bare minimum prerequisites to satisfy Jewish purity provisions, the gentiles must adhere to the following four conditions.
“We should write them a letter telling them
to abstain from things polluted by idols,
from what is strangled
and from blood.”
The part about the blood is exactly what we’re talking about here.
Namely, gentiles are NOT to misuse blood.
This would include murder, drinking blood, and/or sacrificing an animal to idols etcetera.
In other words, whatever Torah laws existed about blood were to be OBEYED by the gentiles.
And a lot of people don’t realize this, but this also included the Jewish laws in effect at the time concerning where and what manner an animal was to be killed.