10 August 2012

A Survey of the Old Testament Law--The Peace Offering Part 4 (3:1-17; 7:11-21)

After a rather lengthy hiatus, we return to our study of the Peace Offering. We pick up with Leviticus 3:17.

So all the blood was drained out and all the fat was burned for God. You don’t eat either one of those things. God makes that very clear in the last verse of our chapter, Leviticus 3:17“‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.’” Ever heard of “blood sausage”? My wife and I were watching one of those cooking shows one night and one of the ingredients they had to use was blood sausage. I thought to myself, “Oh, someone does not eat blood! Ewww.” But yeah, blood sausage (or ‘blood pudding’ or ‘black pudding’) is
“a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. The dish exists in various cultures from Asia to Europe. Pig, cattle, sheep, duck and goat blood can be used depending on different countries. In Europe, typical fillers include meat, fat, suet, bread, sweet potato, onion, chestnuts, barley, and oatmeal while in Spain and Asia, potato is often replaced by rice” (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pudding).
Needless to say, blood pudding is not Kosher. And even if it was—ick, no thanks! The blood was not to be eaten. Why? Well, as a preview of Leviticus 11, we find the prohibition explained in Leviticus 17:11, 14“‘11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul…14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, “You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.”’” When we get to that section, we will see why the Roman Catholic Mass is an abomination to the LORD. But that is for another time.  Suffice it to say, the answer is found in Acts 15:28-2928 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. We will also see why the Jehovah's Witnesses’ prohibition on blood transfusion is built on a faulty interpretation.

Now, the people were not to eat blood because it is that which sustains life. They were also not to eat the fat of the sacrifices because that belonged to God. Ok, well what about the person who simply butchered one of their animals for food—not in the context of a sacrifice, but in their daily dealings. Could that person eat fat or blood? The answer is no. Why could they not eat the fat? Well, the answer lies in the little phrase “this shall be a perpetual statute in all your dwellings…” Not just “in the courtyard of the tabernacle”, not just “at the door of the tent of meeting”—but rather “in all your dwellings.” Even in your own tent you could not eat the fat. Now, this is not to say that if there was a bit of fat that could not be trimmed off that the person was guilty. It is also certain that this prohibition does not extend to the fat that is so often marbled within the muscle. This prohibition is (most likely) meant as an injunction against eating that fat which God specified was to be burned with the offering. As far as the blood, as we have just seen, they could not eat the blood; that is prohibited also in Leviticus 17 quoted above.

Now, to wrap everything up in Christ. What happened to the person that was unclean and tried to eat of this offering? That one was “cut off from his people” (Leviticus 7:20-21). Is Christ our peace offering—our שֶׁלֶם (shelem)? Yes. What did Jesus declare on the night before He was executed? Matthew 26:26-2826 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant.” So when we gather to take Communion, we are partaking in the flesh and blood of Christ—not literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood, but as Paul said in 1st Corinthians 11:26As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. And what happened to those who partook of that cup and that bread when they were unclean? 1st Corinthians 11:27-3027 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. Or, as the English Standard version translates that last verse, 1st Corinthians 11:30 (ESV)That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. “What! You mean someone can die just because they take the Lord’s Supper while they're in their sins??” Yep. John Gill— 
“That is, die a corporeal death, which is often in Scripture signified by sleep, and frequently used of the saints, and their death, and may intend and include some of them here; for though the Lord might resent so far their unworthy conduct and behaviour at his table, as to remove them out of this world by death, yet their souls may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 
Keep in mind, the God who instituted the Lord’s Table for Christians under the new covenant is the same God who established the Peace Offerings under the old covenant. And God always takes very seriously how people approach Him. We don’t get to just come barging into His presence in any old way we feel like, treating the things of God as playthings that are meant to entertain us. God is holy, He considers himself to be holy. And as Nadab and Abihu found out the hard way (while their father Aaron was given them as an illustration), “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3). Just as the Jews under the old covenant were to consider God to be holy, and glorify Him in all they did, so we Christians under the new covenant must consider God the Son to be holy, and glorify Him in all we do.

Jesus Christ is Lord.

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