The chapter begins with a warning that all sacrifices made had to be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting. People were not free to sacrifice in anyway and any place they saw fit. It had to be done by offering it to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting so he could throw the blood on the altar, burn the prescribed parts, and eat the prescribed parts. Although they might kill an animal in the field, they had to bring it to the Lord through His priest. Verse 5 says,
“This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the Lord.”
You may ask, why they couldn’t give the Lord a peace offering, a thanksgiving offering or similar on their own. God’s rules regarding sacrifices were rigid. The sacrifices and offerings were purposeful. Each step had meaning. The priest was integral to the process. He served as mediator between Israel and The Lord. The tent of meeting was essential, that is where God’s presence came down to rest. That is the place that had been made holy by the blood spilled. Israel couldn’t forgive her own sins. Only God could do that and only because He gave power to blood.
God didn’t want them mixing their past paganism with His worship. They had been slaves in Egypt. They had worshipped false gods and sacrificed to them in worship. Sacrifices to The Lord were not like sacrifices to heathen idols. They were holy and serious and for Him and Him alone. Verses 6-7 read,
“And the priest shall throw the blood on the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.”
Sacrifices were significant because of the blood. God wanted His children to understand the importance of blood. There would be no unnecessary spilling of blood. Killing, even of an animal without purpose was abhorrent to God. Verses 1-4 read,
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. 3 If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people.”
Blood carries the life of the person or animal. Blood carries the possibilities of forgiveness, nobility, graciousness, and new life. There can be no forgiveness without blood. There can be no communion between God and His people without blood. Blood is sacred. Yet heathens drank it, and ate it in their hedonist rituals. They took life and called it religion. Life is sacred and blood represents life. Verses 10-12 explain it like this,
“If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.”
Verses 13-14 explain that killing an animal for food was acceptable but still no blood could be eaten.
13 “Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14 For the life of every creature is its blood: 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.”
God further explained that anyone who ate an animal that died naturally or by another beast was unclean until the day ended. Firstly, the blood couldn’t be properly drained from that animal. Secondly, there was no sacrifice, no sorrow or gratitude as in the act of killing the animal for one’s self. And of course The LORD protected His children from the disease that could exist and spread through the practice of living like a scavenger. Although one could eat that meat, he did so knowing that he would be unclean in the act.
Life is sacred. Blood is sacred. We still do not eat blood today, because blood is the life force of a person, it has the power to forgive sin. Jesus washed us with His blood. He forgave our sins with His blood. He made us righteous holy children of God with His blood. We honor the sanctity of life and the sacredness of blood by abstaining from taking blood in.