What Does Leviticus 17:11 Mean?

'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.'

Leviticus 17:11(NASB)
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Verse Thoughts

We gain some important understanding of the atoning power of blood in Leviticus 17 - ALL life belongs to the Lord. He is the one who made us with a spirit, soul and body and He is the One Who breathed life into Adam, making man a living soul. When Adam sinned it was the shedding of blood that covered his transgression. The leaves of a fig tree were not sufficient to make atonement for his sin. Only the blood of an innocent animal could cover sin, until the Seed of the woman would redeem mankind from sin; Satan; death and hell - through the shedding of His own blood.

This truth was reinforced when God chose Israel to be His people. He gave them clear instructions on the atoning work of blood sacrifices. They were told what to sacrifice; where to kill it; how it was to be done and who was to spill the blood that would cover their sin, for a limited period, until the true Sin-Sacrifice would come - as the full and final offering for the sin of the world.

Life was given by God and all life belongs to Him, and any sacrificial offering, not in line with His instruction, was a serious offense. So serious, in fact, that any offering made in the camp of Israel, that did not follow the Lord's detailed instructions demanded the culprit be cut off from his people. Any deviation from His plan not only robbed the Lord of what was rightfully His but became a satanic sacrifice and the abomination in the sight of God. 

It is in verse 11 that we read, "the life of the flesh is in the blood". The life of every living creature is in the blood, and God gave Israel the sacrifices to make atonement for their soul - to atone for their their life; for it is the blood by reason of the life, that makes atonement.'

May this truth sink in. Atonement is God's gift to man and atonement for sin is in the blood alone. Life is God's gift to man and life is in the blood. Atonement for sin is found in nothing but the spilt blood of the correct sacrifice - as commanded by God, Who is the Giver of ALL life. Atonement does not come by the shedding of the blood PLUS something else, for without the shedding of blood there is NO remission of sin.

Atonement for sin and the gift of life that accompanies it comes through God's acceptance of the shed blood of the correct sacrifice, as written in God's word. The requirements for pre-cross Israel were given in Leviticus - and it pointed to Christ. Instructions for the post-cross Church are also written in the New Testament, by the word of the Lord - i.e. FAITH in the shed blood of Christ, for there is salvation in none other than Christ - the crucified lamb of God, Who shed His own blood for the sin of the whole world.

It is by the blood of Jesus that we, who were once far off, have come nigh unto God. It is by His blood we have boldness to enter the throne-room of God. He made peace with God, on our account, by the offering of Himself on the cross - and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

For those that can see it there is another wonderful truth that can be extracted from this verse. For just as the mortal life of man's flesh is in the blood, so the eternal life of man's spirit is in the Holy Spirit. Just as the LIFE of corruptible flesh is given by means of the blood, so the LIFE of the incorruptible flesh is given by means of the Holy Spirit of God.

Just as blood is required to maintain the life of mortal man so the Holy Spirit is required to maintain the life of the one who has been saved by grace through faith in Christ - for we have been given His life in US.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your perfect plan of redemption through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ - Who died and rose again so that we might be forgiven of our sin and receive a new, resurrected life, in Him. Thank You for the clear picture of redemption which threads its way through Old Testament scriptures and brings us to an understanding that we are all sinners in need of a saviour - for without the shedding of Christ's blood there is no life - for life is in the blood. Thank You that just as the life of mortal man is in the blood, so that life of forgiven sinners comes through the power or the indwelling Holy Spirit and that one day we will receive a new, resurrected body - like unto Christ's resurrected body. We praise Your holy name for ever and ever, AMEN.

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