Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood. (Leviticus 17:3-4)
This chapter in Leviticus opens with instructions about offerings intended for God and the need for them to be free of any common or idolatrous connection. That is, in large part, why offerings were not to sacrificed anywhere but at the door of the Sanctuary. In fact, it is clear as one continues to read the chapter, that anything offered in any way other than what was commanded was considered as being equivalent to idolatry. Furthermore, anything of this nature that was not brought to and carried out at the Sanctuary would be considered as “bloodshed.”
Until Noah’s day, mankind was forbidden to slaughter an animal for his own needs. Only after the flood do we see God allowing mankind to slaughter animals for food. While there are verses in Scripture that reveal animals were slaughtered for sacrifices, they were not considered as food. So then, because blood is sacred, slaughtering an animal for sacrifice anywhere other than the Sanctuary, was interpreted as offering a sacrifice to an idol and, consequently, warranted the guilt of “bloodshed.” In other words, where before Israel had been warned against being physically contaminated with what was unclean, this warned them not to come in contact with what was spiritually unclean.
This concept is the basis of the directive that was sent out from James to the new believers coming to faith in the early church (Acts 15). The first point made in the letter was to alert these former pagans that they must “abstain from the pollution of idols.” In other words, things still had to be done God’s way and, therefore, they were not to mix their old views and habits with their new found faith. The same is true for us today. We are not to mix our personal views, philosophies and cultural norms with the worship of God.
Plainly spoken, we are not to conform God to our world and its way of doing things but to conform our lives — and those within our world — to His way of doing things. That may not always be convenient but it is the only way that leads to life abundant. When Scripture says, “There is a way that seems right to man but the end is destruction,” it does not say “an evil man” — it says “man.” So it is our duty to do things God’s way and avoid entangling ourselves with thoughts or deeds that are connected to something that is unclean Let’s defer to His standards and what He says is holy because, as God, He knows what He’s talking about.
Blessings and Shalom,