“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Ps 16:11

Life by Blood

Christ entered the world to suffer and die. But why by blood; that is, why by way of spilling His blood? Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life 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 that makes atonement.”

Literally we may read, “The soul of the flesh is in the blood.” There are some who believe a person’s soul resides in their blood. The Jehovah’s Witnesses put it this way, “God says that the soul, or life, is in the blood. So it is wrong to eat blood.” Leviticus 17:14 seems to support this conclusion. “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’” This sect therefore also rejects the taking in of blood by way of transfusions. One ought not to attempt to save a life by violating the clear teaching of the Bible.

Does Leviticus 17:11 lead us in this direction? I think not. The text does, however, link life and blood. One may indeed bleed to death. That is, a substantial loss of blood may result in death. For this reason, serious cuts and wounds may be fatal. The military now issues special bandages containing clotting agents to stop bleeding from serious wounds within minutes. This simple bandage can save many lives. Life and blood are intimately connected.

Leviticus 17:11 indicates God gave the blood “on the altar to make atonement for your souls.” God adds, “It is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” The blood represents the life of the victim. The calf or bull or goat or lamb slaughtered before the altar, with is blood collected and spattered on the altar, symbolized the life of the animal given in the place of the worshiper.

The word translated atonement means to propitiate or to cover. God’s word is clear. “O wicked man, you will surely die” (Ezekiel 33:8); and, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The due reward for sin is death. The sacrifice of blood satisfies, propitiates and covers, God’s wrath against sin. The principle was and is simple, “life for life” (Deuteronomy 19:21).

This is the glory and wonder of the sacrifice of Christ. “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Yes, you were saved by the precious blood of Christ. That is, Christ gave His life for you, life for life. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 10:45). The spilling of blood means the giving of life. In shedding His blood and giving His life, Christ “is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2). Again, Christ gave His life for you, life for life.

As a result, you are part of the “church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The Second Person of the Trinity entered the world in human form in order to bleed, to give His life, to pay the penalty of death due to people like you and me, life for life.

2016-10-29T15:11:19-05:00 December 9th, 2013|