Blood and Life - RR172R31

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Blood and Life
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 31
Length: 0:40:42
TapeCode: RR172R31
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Leviticus The Law of Holiness and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Let us worship God. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, we come into Thy presence with thanksgiving. Thy mercies are new every morning. Day after day Thou hast surrounded us with Thy mercy, with Thy grace and with Thy blessings. Make us every mindful, our Father, how rich we are in Jesus Christ. Give us hearts filled with praise. Give us a joyful heart. And grant that all the days of our life we may serve Thee, knowing that we live in in Thy grace, are the children of Thy mercy and are heirs of Thy kingdom. In Christ’s name, amen.

Our scripture is Leviticus 17 and our subject, “Blood and Life.” “Blood and Life,” Leviticus 17.

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; this is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying,

3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,

4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:

5 To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the Lord.

6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.

7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations.

8 And thou shalt say unto them, whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,

9 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the Lord; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth 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 to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood; neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

15 And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean.

16 But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.” [00:05:20]

Men in every age have flattered themselves that wisdom

Men in every age have flattered themselves that wisdom was born with them; that they represent the dawn of a higher consciousness. As Job said to Zophar, who was one such person, “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.” This is very true where the laws of blood are concerned. We have a remarkable blindness in this area. Supposedly, we are told, these laws represent a primitive view which we have outgrown in our wisdom. But the so-called primitive peoples of the world are often more self-conscious and more aware of things than modern scholars.

One of the products of modern sophistication is that what people have always known naturally, people no longer know. They no longer trust their very natural feelings. They have imposed upon them artificial and sophisticated opinions which blind them to things which they would otherwise know. All over the world, over the centuries, people have recognized the equation of blood and life. Blood means life. As Sir James George Frazer early in the century wrote, in his study of incarnate human gods, “One of these modes of producing inspiration is by sucking the fresh blood of a sacrificed victim. In the temple of Apollo, a woman who had to observe a rule of chastity, tasted the blood of the lamb and thus became inspired by the god, and she prophesied, or divined. Argyria and Achaea, the priestess of earth, drank the fresh blood of a bull before she descended into the cave to prophesy. Similarly, among the kaoru-vicarans, a class of bird catchers and beggars in Southern India, the goddess Kali is believed to descend upon the priest and give miraculous replies after sucking the blood which streams from the cut throat of a goat. At a festival of the Alphores, of Minahasa in Northern Celebes, after a pig had been killed, the priest rushes furiously at it, thrusts his head into the carcass, and drinks of the blood. Then he is dragged away from it by force and set upon a chair, whereupon he begins to prophesy how the rice crop will turn out that year. A second time he runs at the carcass and drinks of the blood, a second time he is forced into a chair and continues his predictions. It is thought that there is a spirit in him which then possesses the power of prophesy.” [00:09:02]

The goal in all such practices is that of Genesis ...

The goal in all such practices is that of Genesis 3:5; “to be as God.” And this is very definitely very self-consciously affirmed. Because, as man has seen it from the earliest days, the control of life is the great power of God. God makes life, and He takes life. Man cannot create life although he certainly tries. But he tries to exercise god-like power in taking life. And this is one of the things that makes murder appealing to many people; the power to kill—a way of saying, ‘I am lord over men’s lives.’ What God reserves to Himself, man claims. The first murder in history took place soon after the fall, Cain murdering Abel. Soon thereafter, Lemech boasts of his power to kill, and of the fact that he has killed. Murder is seen as an exercise of ultimate power; taking life.

In some societies, those who exercise power had a restricted diet in order to heighten their powers. And so they concentrated on blood in order to be more powerful. Again quoting Frazer, “The Gongas, or fetish priests of the Luangwa coasts, are forbidden to eat or even see a variety of animals and fish. In consequence of which, their flesh diet is extremely limited. Often they live only on herb and roots, though they drink fresh blood.” This power over life, over blood, we find all over the world. American Indians carried on a quest for scalps as a means of manifesting their power and prowess, their ability to shed blood, to take life. Some Western gunmen notched their guns to boast in the same way, of their ability to shed blood. And the triumph manifested by many abortionist doctors is in this tradition. It is one of the ironies of the twentieth century that men have most abhorred war and killing, and most commonly indulged in it more so than ever before in history. Obviously, the modern professions of peace have very shallow roots. These people do not know themselves, and are ignorant of their own impulses. [00:12:27]

The Bible is not respectful nor flattering where man

The Bible is not respectful nor flattering where man is concerned. This makes the thrust of the Bible seem ugly and primitive to the gentile Humanists, who with their self-assured moral refinement and benevolence, feel they are above the urges that are common to other men. And thus, Leviticus 17 is not popular with the modern mentality. It regulates man’s behavior concerning blood. It says first, that sacrifices could be made only at the sanctuary in the wilderness; nowhere else, then, in Canaan at regulated places, then finally only at the temple. And failure to observe this meant excommunication. Second, no sacrifices could be offered in the fields or at pagan alters: only at God’s appointed place. And third, blood, or life, is God-created and can only be taken in compliance with His Law and for His purposes. Thus, we can eat, and therefore kill to eat, if we observe God’s Law in the process of killing.

Blood cannot be eaten without blood guiltiness, which means that it is equated with manslaughter and murder. And the penalty is excommunication. Verse 4 deals with the failure to abide by this law. When game animals are killed in the field, the blood had to be drained and covered with dirt or dust, according to verse 13. To respect blood, in other words, was to respect life, to respect God and His creation.

A concern over blood has long been lacking in Christendom. In the modern age, it’s virtually disappeared. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have many, many heresies. But they are unique in this respect, that they take very seriously the Biblical laws on blood. They regard Leviticus 17:14 and Acts 15:28, 29 as binding, and therefore they are opposed to blood transfusions. Now, of course, there are some second thoughts about blood transfusions taking place, because of the possibility of the transmission of AIDS and also Hepatitis B. Dr. Henry B. Solomon, the editor of The Pathologist, a medical journal has raised questions very recently about the value of all blood transfusions, and he says, “It has never been as safe as some doctors have claimed,” and he wrote, “There is a significant survival disadvantage when transfusions are given to patients undergoing surgery for cancer of the lung, breast, and colon. Jehovah’s Witnesses have insisted that transfusion is a bad idea. Perhaps one of these days, they will be proved to be wrong. But in the meantime, there is considerable evidence to support their contention, despite protestations of blood bankers to the contrary.” [00:16:45]

Now it is noteworthy that these laws are applied to

Now it is noteworthy that these laws are applied to all within the land, including no only believers, but all aliens. It is a danger to all (it is held), both religiously and physically.

Leviticus 17 also gives us five very specific regulations concerning blood.

  1. In verses 3-7 requires sacrifices to be made only where God’s Law so specified, as we have seen. When they are separated from God’s appointed place, demonic and alien practices intrude, and man-practice will worship and assert the sufficiency of their wisdom.
  2. Verses 8-9, these requirements as we have seen, apply to all Israelites and foreigners within the land.

  3. Again, as we have seen, verses 10-12, the eating of blood is forbidden to all. All creatures and all life are God’s property and creation. No man has any claim or jurisdiction over life apart from God’s Law. Blood is the life of every creature, and obedience to God is a condition of a continuing possession of the land. Ezekiel 33:25, 26 say, “25 wherefore say unto them, thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood and shall ye possess the land? 26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile everyone his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land?” Now it is significant, that three things are associated by God Himself as great evils, things that lead to judgment and dispossession: idolatry and murder, and shedding of blood and adultery (four things).

  4. The animals cannot be treated callously, which are unsuitable for sacrifice. The blood of every animal, whether it is clean or unclean, when it is killed, has to be drained and the blood covered.

  5. The clean animals, verses 15 and 16, which met their death other than by human hands, are not to be eaten.

One very practical consequence of these laws was to make the butchering and preparation of foods (and meats in particular) a matter of religious and hygienic concerns. It is not surprising therefore, that observance of these laws led to better health. Even to this day, wherever it is observed, the results are significant. [00:20:37]

Scholars have called attention to the fact that these

Scholars have called attention to the fact that these laws are a part of the “holiness code,” as some scholars call it; Leviticus 17 – 26, although the whole book of Leviticus is concerned with holiness.

Now in paganism, holiness has a very different meaning than in the Bible. It can mean, as the Polynesian word ‘taboo’ indicates, “Do not touch; danger;” or, the Māori word in New Zealand, ‘mana,’ “an impersonal and dangerous power. But God, who is the Holy God, is the Covenant God, and the holiness of God is very different from all pagan concepts of holiness. He is personal. His Law and being represent grace, mercy and life to His people. And so God’s holiness is His power, His loving, righteous, saving presence. And His Law manifests His holiness.

Now, among pagans, the concept of a favored people is commonplace; a people who are the people of a god: the favored ones. But the concept of the chosen people is very, very different. Israel was not a superior nation or people. Its advantage is not that God chose them out because they were the best, but out of His mercy and grace; whereas in all pagan religions, the gods favor a nation or a people because they are the cream of all peoples. So, on the one side, merit, and on the other side, grace. And because God is all gracious and all holy, we are required to be holy and dedicated to God in all our lives and being, including our diet. [00:23:15]

One scholar of the last century, Kellogg, commenting

One scholar of the last century, Kellogg, commenting on Leviticus 17 said in part, “The moral and spiritual purpose of this law concerning the use of blood was apparently two-fold. In the first place, it was intended to educate the people to a reverence for life and purify them from that blood-thirstiness which has so often distinguished heathen nations, and especially those with whom Israel was to be brought in closest contact. But secondly, and chiefly, it was intended, as in the {?} part of the chapter, everywhere and always to keep before the mind the sacredness of the blood as being the appointed means for the expiation of sin, given by God upon the altar to make atonement for the soul of the sinner; by reason of the life, or soul, with which it stood in such immediate relation. Not only were they therefore to abstain from the blood of such animals as could be offered on the altar, but even from that of those which could not be offered. Thus the blood was to remind them every time they ate flesh of the very solemn truth that without the shedding of blood, there was no remission of sins. The Israelite must never forget this, even in the heat and excitement of the chase he must pause and carefully drain the blood from the creature he has slain and reverently cover it with dust, a symbolic act that should ever put him in mind of the divine ordinance that the blood—the life of a guiltless victim—must be given in order to the forgiveness of sins.” We shouldn’t remember that the Council of Jerusalem singled out this chapter as something that all pagan converts were to pay particular attention to. Moreover, given this fact, our Lord’s words in John 6:53-56 are particularly striking and important. We read in that passage,

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” [00:26:30]

Now it was more than a little offense that these words

Now it was more than a little offense that these words carried to its hearers. By New Testament times, the prohibition of eating blood was strictly observed. Nothing was more clearly set forth about the meaning of these words than our Lord’s were. The life is in the blood. And God is the author of all life. In idolatry and Humanism, the eating or drinking of blood means seeking life from below, from animals which are under us, below the level of our life. But Jesus Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life;” and we must seek life upwards—from Christ. Men outside of Christ will look for life in evolutionary terms: backward in time and downward into primeval chaos. Cornelius Van Til spoke of integration downward into the void as marking Humanistic Man. And the eating of blood—animal blood is an aspect of that integration downward. Our Lord, in the passage in John 6:53-56, has an obvious reference to the communion elements. To seek life by integration downward is death. To seek life in blood rather than in the source of life, the triune God, is evil! It is also death. Thus, to observe Leviticus 17 in its fullest sense means to live in Christ. It means to reject the eating of blood and every quest for life outside of Christ. It means recognizing that only the blood of Christ can make atonement for sin. Otherwise, as our Lord says, “Ye have no life in you.”

In the bloody sacrifices, the blood was drained (that is, shed), and it was then taken to the altar. Leviticus 17:11 is echoed in Hebrews 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” No remission of sins. This statement has reference to Leviticus 17 to God’s altar, and God’s provision. The mere shedding of blood by man can affect no remission of sin but rather aggravates it. When the blood is applied to the altar, the blood of the unblemished sacrifice, then there is remission of sins; and the offering of one’s life to God who made and remade it.

In verse 7 we have a reference to devils, the goat-like deities or demons so commonplace in antiquities; satyrs and fauns and similar gods, which were worshiped in Ancient Egypt and in Greece and in elsewhere and were well-known to the Hebrews. The reference of early Christians to pagan deities as demons, as devils, had an Old Testament origin. These pagan goat deities, the satyrs, the fauns and the like, were fertility cult gods. Just as drinking or eating blood was held to be the appropriation of life and of divine powers. In the same way, sexual perversions and ritual prostitution were used to invoke the life force as a means to a personal and social renewal. Of these devils referred to in verse 7, John Gill, several centuries ago wrote extensively and called attention to the fact that throughout the Middle East, Pan, the satyrs, and the others were these goat deities. All represented the attempt to find life through fertility cult practices. And everywhere people turned in the known world of that day, they encountered them. As a result, then and now both the power to take life and sexuality have been equated with divine powers; taking life, and making life in the fertility cult sense. [00:32:12]

So this chapter has a tremendous relevance to our day

So this chapter has a tremendous relevance to our day, especially in view of the fact that the philosophers of feminism are self-consciously going back to these fertility cults, self-consciously using gnostic and Baal-worship ideas, symbols and categories. And although the general public is not aware of it, these are routinely used by the philosophers of the feminist movement.

These laws of Leviticus 17, finally, are associated with the sacrifices of peace offerings because the goal is not death, but salvation, life and peace. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, Thy Word is truth. And today, Thy Word stands, and as men and nations depart from Thy Word into practices that are evil and demonic, and to the ways of death rather than the ways of life, Thy Word stands vindicated. Grant, oh Lord, that we live in terms of Thy Word, that we as a people of life set forth to those around us the meaning of life, even Jesus Christ. Make us strong and zealous in Thy Word and Spirit, that we may be more than conquerors through Christ our Lord. In His name we pray, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?


[Audience] Rush; are present-day slaughterhouse practices more extensions of the keeping of the Christian traditions than the pagan traditions?

[Rushdoony] Very important question. Are the present-day slaughterhouse practices in line with the Biblical faith?

They have been for generations because there has been that element in the Christian community which has insisted on the proper slaughtering of animals. In particular, in the United States; elsewhere, this is not true in the same sense, but in the United States, it is the practice.

Now, it should be a matter of concern for us, because it is possible that in defiance, as in other areas of biblical faith, we may see a tendency to set this law aside. We know that circumcision was routinely practiced, and a great many other aspects of scripture, until recently. And now, we see a move against everything that is biblical. So there have been very, very open statements that the biblical requirements must be removed from our culture, and I would not at all be surprised if this is soon applied in the area of slaughterhouses. However, I will say we will know when it is done because they want us to know. They want the public to know that they are defying God’s Law. [00:36:32]

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