Leviticus 17:1 – 16 (NRSV)
The Slaughtering of Animals
17) The Lord spoke to Moses: 2Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them: This is what the Lord has commanded.
“The introductory address in 17:2 suggests that the responsibility for holiness cannot be fully upheld by either priests or laity alone. It is a reciprocal responsibility; if either the priests or the laity fail to attend to what God expects of them, all efforts toward holy living will be diminished.”
from Leviticus, by Samuel E. Ballentine
NOT like this: !
3If anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or slaughters it outside the camp, 4and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to present it as an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, he shall be held guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood, and he shall be cut off from the people. 5This is in order that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and offer them as sacrifices of well-being to the Lord. 6The priest shall dash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and turn the fat into smoke as a pleasing odor to the Lord, 7so that they may no longer offer their sacrifices for goat-demons, to whom they prostitute themselves. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations.
8And say to them further: Anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to sacrifice it to the Lord, shall be cut off from the people.
Eating Blood Prohibited
10If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut that person off from the people. 11For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement. 12Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No person among you shall eat blood, nor shall any alien who resides among you eat blood.
from 40 Days to Your Best Life: A Spiritual Journey to Contentment for Nurses, by Suzanne Tietjen (Honor Books):
“For the life of any creature is in its blood.” –Leviticus 17:11
The patient sways the first time you assist him to dangle his legs over the edge of the bed.
“Tell me what’s happening.” You help him to lie flat; then reach for his pulse, which is swift and thready.
“Just a little lightheaded,” he says.
You check his dressing. Dry. Once you’re sure he isn’t in immediate danger, you call the doctor for orders. A few hours later your patient is much improved after receiving a transfusion.
Downstairs in the ER, trauma nurses recycle blood from a hemothorax back to the patient so he won’t bleed out.
Every nurse knows that life is in the blood. A 10 percent loss puts the patient into shock, the slippery slope toward death. A 25 to 30 percent loss can be fatal. In a very real sense, lack of blood flow is part of every death.
Our spiritual lives depend on blood as well–the blood of Jesus. Not only did his death put believers into a right relationship with God, his sacrifice goes on cleansing us from the wrong things we do. Just as the cells of our body depend on the flow of blood to bring oxygen and nutrients and take away waste products, we depend on God from moment to moment to guide us and to pardon our shortcomings (some people might call them sins–and they’d be right).
Peroxide take a blood stain out of your uniform. The blood of Jesus works like that when we admit we’re wrong and ask forgiveness.
It costs us nothing.
It cost him everything.
13And anyone of the people of Israel, or of the aliens who reside among them, who hunts down an animal or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.
These ancient requirements in the Old Testaments were God’s devices for teaching the people the value of blood as the carrier of life. With that idea firmly ingrained, Jesus presents his own blood as true life –
John 6:52-56 (English Standard Version)
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
15All persons, citizens or aliens, who eat what dies of itself or what has been torn by wild animals, shall wash their clothes, and bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening; then they shall be clean. 16But if they do not wash themselves or bathe their body, they shall bear their guilt.
We just read that blood is precious to the Lord because “the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar.” Moses and the Israelites did not know that the sacrificial blood of animals would later be replaced with blood even more precious. “Nothing but the Blood” by Matt Redman.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Jesus offering his body and blood. http://kingdavid.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/animated_jesus_wine_bread_hg_clr.gif