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. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, “No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.” (Leviticus 17:11-12)
Because blood is considered so sacred in Scripture, the idea of consuming blood in any way and from any animal, clean or unclean, was regarded as abominable. In fact, God warned that a person who would do such would be “cut off” from the community. This instruction was deemed important enough by the people of Israel that the slaughter of animals for food was delegated to a group of specially trained men — shochetim in Hebrew — whose method of slaughter caused the maximum effusion of blood. As a matter of fact, this is one of the issues addressed by James in his letter to the Gentiles when he said to abstain from things strangled and blood. In other words, James was taking a cue from the heart of the Torah.
The main reason for this prohibition against blood is because blood is the principal carrier of life, therefore, it is equivalent to life — all life is in the blood. And because the Creator of all is the source of life, He ordained that blood is to be reserved for sacred purposes. He designated blood to be the medium for atonement when it is placed upon the altar that He has sanctioned. Furthermore, because He is good, we know that this is not born out of a desire for blood but He has given it to us “to make atonement” – it’s for our benefit and spiritual welfare.
All of this speaks to why the blood of the Messiah, shed on our behalf, is to be considered so precious. We may not understand the mechanics of how His blood atones for our sins but we can appreciate the principle — He gave His life that we may have a life. Through multiple wounds, He poured out His life’s blood that it might be placed upon the Heavenly Altar to make atonement for all who would believe. It is therefore appropriate that we continue to acknowledge blood’s sanctity, and most importantly, how sacred is the blood of the Lamb of God.
Blessings and Shalom,