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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 17

Verses 1-9

A Part of Each Sacrifice Is for the Lord

Of all the slaughtered animals, the Israelites must bring a portion to the doorway of the tent of meeting in order to sacrifice it to the LORD. In the situation described here, an animal is slaughtered to be eaten with others. It therefore has the character of a peace offering, which speaks of fellowship between the members of God’s people and of God’s people with the priest and with God.

In the precept that God gives here, He expresses that He does not want His people to have fellowship with one another without His involvement. For God, every slaughtered animal has the character of a peace offering. He wants His people to know this clearly. The application for us is: Do we share every joy we have, with God and with all the people of God?

The peace offering is a picture of the Lord Jesus. He is the center of our fellowship and its foundation. We are “called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). The right translation is not “fellowship with” but “fellowship of”. This means that the fellowship is characterized by Jesus Christ, that He is the common object of all who are part of this fellowship. Friendships must also have this center and foundation. The eldest son from Luke 15 wants a young goat from his father to celebrate alone with his friends (Luke 15:29). He doesn’t want to have his father with him. That is the evil of his way of celebrating.

The flesh meals of the people are either dedicated to the LORD, or to the demons. The devil is successful when God is kept out of our feasts. It is in his interest that the Lord Jesus is not the center of our conversations.

Paul applies this in his first letter to the Corinthians. He points out to the Corinthians, in connection with the Lord’s Table, Israel and their service at the altar in offering the peace offering: “Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? (1 Corinthians 10:18). In this context he warns not to act as the nations do and says: “I do not want you to become sharers in demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20). Paul mentions the people of Israel who sat down to eat and drink, and who rose up to play “idolaters” (1 Corinthians 10:7; Exodus 32:6), because they kept God out of this feast. Idols are demonic powers. We are called upon to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Fellowship with God is not limited to a single event per year, as at the Day of Atonement for Israel. Fellowship is an everyday matter. We experience and express fellowship in a special way in celebrating the Lord’s Supper at the Lord’s table, but it is not limited to that. Fellowship with God and with each other is a matter of every day. God wants to be present at all our ‘meals’ and enjoy the relationship with each other and with the Lord Jesus.

In our personal lives, in everything we do, we will contribute to or detract from fellowship with God and with one another. It enhances the testimony that we have as believers on earth or it harms it. That is why we have to ask ourselves personally: Can I share what I do with my brothers and sisters with joy, or would I rather not want them to know, because I know that my behavior will make them sad? How I behave when I am alone, or with people from the world, is important.

Verses 10-14

Prohibition to Eat Blood

This section is about eating blood. Twice before God said this in this book (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26). The blood should not be eaten, because life is in the blood and life belongs to God. Blood is not only life; it is also the means of making atonement (Leviticus 17:11). We may eat an animal, but God retains the right to blood. We acknowledge God’s right to life by not eating blood.

The ban on eating blood does not only apply to Israel. The first Christians are also told this (Acts 15:28-Joel :) as an everlasting commandment. Eating blood or, for example, blood sausage, remains prohibited.

Verses 15-16

Food That Makes Unclean

Eating “[an animal] which dies or is torn [by beasts]”, means eating an animal of which the blood has not come on the altar. Nor has the blood flowed out of it in the manner prescribed by God, nor has it been covered with earth (Leviticus 17:13). Someone who eats unconsciously of such an animal is unclean. It must be said to him, and when he hears it, he must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. If he does not, he shows indifference in the things of God and “he shall bear his guilt”.

Applied to us, it means that we feed ourselves with something that is not first dedicated to God. It can be material or spiritual. We may enjoy all that God has created, but it is important that we realize that it comes from Him. We do this by thanking Him for it. Then we involve Him in it (1 Timothy 4:4-Deuteronomy :). If we forget that and become aware of it, we must confess it.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 17". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/leviticus-17.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.