Leviticus Chapter 17


All sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle. (Verse 1-9.)

Eating of blood, or of animals which died a natural death, forbidden. (Verse 10-16.)

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

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,

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,

the purpose of this command was to prevent idolatry (vs. 8-9); note that the context of this command was “the camp” (ie. where the Jews had set up camp while travelling in the wilderness). Once the promised land of Canaan was reached, animals could be killed and eaten anywhere (Deut. 12:13-15); the only requirement was that the sacrifices be made in the proper place.

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:

God will not accept just any kind of worship. There is a very strange and perverted concept today that just because we direct our worship toward God, he is obligated to accept it. On the contrary, God has very strict guidelines as to how we must worship him – to step outside of those guidelines puts one in the position of offering God worship that he will not accept. For the OT Jew, God was extremely particular about how he was worshiped.

Study Question

How are we to worship God today according to John 4:24?

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.

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.

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.

[Psalms 106:37-38][1 Corinthians 10:19-20]

when you worship God “in your own way” rather than according to his word, the eventual result is devil worship. The devil and his devils crave worship (Matt. 4:9) and where it is offered by a person and not accepted by God, the devil will move in to claim that worship for himself. In idol worship, a devil is always present behind that idol accepting the worship being offered to it.

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,

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.

[Gen 9:4, Deut 12:16, 1st Sam 14:34, Acts 15:20, Acts 15:29]

The door of the Tabernacle was the place that all sacrifices had to be brought for all the children of the house of Israel without exception.

   Since Abraham up until this day a period of around 500 years there was no specific place to bring a sacrifice to and now there was. There would be no more offerings at a rock pile out in the desert.

   The LORD established the Tabernacle and later the Temple so that there would be a conformity of worship amongst the children of Israel.

   There had been those that had offered their sacrifices unto devils (demons) previously and a central place of sacrifice would aid the children of Israel from all the superstitious practices that were influences God’s people to worship him the wrong way and actually God says it wasn’t really him they were worshipping but devils instead.

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.

[Exod 24:8, Matt 26:28]

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.

This verse is one of those extremely important verses in scripture as it opens the door of understanding to literally hundreds of other verses. The life of the flesh is in the blood, and therefore when God requires a “death” to pay for sin, he requires blood! Since all life belongs to God and the life of the flesh is in the blood, to eat blood under any conditions is to take something that belongs to God. Thus we find that the eating of blood is prohibited before the law (Gen. 9:4), during the law (present passage) and after the law (Acts 15:20). Likewise the student should see the significance behind Satan worshipers offering blood sacrifices to Satan and drinking human blood – the ultimate blasphemy before God! The Roman Catholic Church adds a peculiar twist to the whole scenario in that they teach as official church doctrine that the mass is the drinking of the literal blood of Jesus. Despite the many verses pointing out the symbolic nature of the bread and cup at the Lord’s Supper, the Roman Catholic Church teaches a doctrine of their own making called “transubstantiation” – the wine at the mass is literally turned into the real and literal blood of Jesus and that salvation comes by drinking that blood. This is official Roman Catholic doctrine taught in the RC catechism; anyone who denies this teaching was placed under an official curse by the RC Council of Trent in 1582; this curse upon all non-Catholics who refused to accept this teaching was reaffirmed at the Vatican II Council of 1962. Thus we find that the Roman Catholic Institution is not just guilty of being a “little bit off base,” but is guilty of utter blasphemy in promoting the drinking of Christ’s blood as necessary for salvation. We love the Catholic people, but we have no choice but to denounce as utterly blasphemous the non-biblical teachings of the RC Institution.

“It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” – thus when Jesus died it was absolutely necessary that his blood be shed. If Jesus had died by strangulation or drowning, his death would have not been sufficient to obtain our salvation. The NT places an incredible emphasis upon the blood of Christ as necessary for our salvation (eg. Rom. 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; I Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5; etc.). For those who still insists on using some modern “bible” other than the King James Bible, we would encourage you to make a study of the word “blood” in the NT of the KJB and of your “bible.” Most of the new “bibles” blur the doctrine of your salvation by substituting the word “death” for “blood” throughout much of the NT. You will find that this alteration is: 1) not doctrinally true as shown above; 2) is usually the improper translation of the Greek; and 3) is just another way that the devil has altered his “bibles” to confuse the body of Christ and deceive the lost. The real word of God with the teaching assistance of the Holy Spirit will put the student far ahead of those who use the devil’s “easier-to-read, cheap, imitation bibles.”

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.

The LORD said he would set his face against the soul that ate blood in the land of Israel so that they would be cut off from among his people. This is a very serious thing to the LORD and we should examine this for ourselves.

   What does it mean that the LORD would set his face again the soul that ate blood? That same phrase is mentioned in the book of Leviticus 5 times, Isaiah 1 time, and Jeremiah and Ezekiel 2 times each and it is when the LORD is so angered at the sin of his own people that he fights against them for their sin.

   The phrase is used in conjunction with another phrase that explains its meaning better and that is that he (the LORD) will cut that person off from among his people (Israel). It is the death penalty handed down by God and executed by him as well.

   There are times in the Bible when the second phrase about being cut off does not come with a death sentence. It also means that for the minor offenses or sickness the person may be put out of the camp of Israel until they are declared clean by a priest.

   Having said all that we must focus our attention on what the crime was again that God hates so much that he would “set his face” against one of his own people to cut them off from the land of the living, and that sin was eating blood.

   Some hunters today will drink the blood of their first kill as some sort of rite of passing that every hunter should do. 

It doesn’t matter whether or not it was back in the wilderness or in the woods of West Virginia no one should be eating or drinking blood! Why?

   The first reason is because God says so and that should be enough. I know it was a different dispensation back then and we are not under the Law of Moses today but there are many health reasons why drinking blood is not a very wise thing.

   First of all, let me say taking blood is not the same thing as drinking blood. Drinking blood serves no medicinal purpose whatsoever.

   Taking blood because you had an accident and lost a lot of blood is a means of saving one’s life because the body requires a certain amount of blood to live and replacing the blood that was lost is saving a life. Drinking blood is just wrong!

   It invites all kinds of diseases into a body and drinking the blood of an animal is ingesting any type of parasites that it has into your body and while your stomach can digest just about anything you put in it, it takes whatever is in the stomach and pulls from it, things to use to operate your body on and blood is not something God wants your body operating on.

   What about a bloody steak? Cook it until it kills the germs that only extreme heat can kill. If you will look on many restaurant menus you notice a WARNING about eating meat that is “Rare” with the blood still in it. It says it can cause illness.

   God knew that all along because he is God. Mankind is so far behind the bible even today in the area of health that it would behoove them to study Leviticus and try to get caught up so to speak with the Bible.

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.

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.

When dealing with such an important Bible doctrine, the student should expect the devil to have all sorts of strange heresies running around. Another false doctrine worth noting at this point is the Jehovah’s Witness’ teaching against blood transfusions. Again, the student of God’s word who examines the verses the Watchtower Society puts forth to prove this strange doctrine will quickly notice that none of their verses prohibit blood transfusions. The JW’s simply produce all of the verses against eating blood – which is infinitely different than a transfusion. The cults are obviously always on the lookout for some strange, new doctrine that they can latch on to that will bring them much wanted publicity. This nonbiblical doctrine has had the desired effect of bringing the publicity they seek – unfortunately at the needless cost of many human lives.

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.

16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.

God even goes so far as to tell the hunter to drain the blood of his prey onto the ground and then he is to cover it with dust to prevent other things from eating/drinking the blood of that animal or fowl.

   Further restrictions were also placed on eating things that had died by themselves or that were killed by other animals, because of the situation regarding the blood in those animals and what happens to it if it has been laying there for very long and is decaying. There is an obviously a health concern here.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 1-9 – All the cattle killed by the Israelites, while in the wilderness, were to be presented before the door of the tabernacle, and the flesh to be returned to the offerer, to be eaten as a peace-offering, according to the law. When they entered Canaan, this only continued in respect of sacrifices. The spiritual sacrifices we are now to offer, are not confined to any one place. We have now no temple or altar that sanctifies the gift; nor does the gospel unity rest only in one place, but in one heart, and the unity of the Spirit. Christ is our Altar, and the true Tabernacle; in him God dwells among men. It is in him that our sacrifices are acceptable to God, and in him only. To set up other mediators, or other altars, or other expiatory sacrifices, is, in effect, to set up other gods. And though God will graciously accept our family offerings, we must not therefore neglect attending at the tabernacle.

Verse 10-16 – Here is a confirmation of the law against eating blood. They must eat no blood. But this law was ceremonial, and is now no longer in force; the coming of the substance does away the shadow. The blood of beasts is no longer the ransom, but Christ’s blood only; therefore there is not now the reason for abstaining there then was. The blood is now allowed for the nourishment of our bodies; it is no longer appointed to make an atonement for the soul. Now the blood of Christ makes atonement really and effectually; to that, therefore, we must have regard, and not consider it as a common thing, or treat it with indifference.