Today the Lord gives further instructions for the offerings. He tells Moses to instruct the children of Israel not to eat the fat or the blood of an animal. The Lord gave Noah similar instructions after he stepped off the ark – “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” (Genesis 9:3-4).
The Lord explains further in Leviticus 17:11-12 why He commands His people not to eat the blood – “‘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.’” And in Leviticus 3:16, the Lord explains why they are not to eat the fat – “And the priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the Lord’s.”
So the Israelites are not to eat the blood because it is for the atonement of souls, pointing to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is coming to shed His blood on the cross in order to reconcile us to His Father – “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). And the Israelites are not to eat the fat because it belongs to the Lord. We have seen the term “fat” used symbolically to mean “best”. Remember when Pharaoh invited Jacob’s family to come and live in Egypt, the Lord said to Jacob – “Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land” (Genesis 45:18). So the Lord expects the Israelites to give Him their best because God is worthy of our best. The Lord taught His children to bring Him their best when He gave them instructions for the Passover before they departed Egypt. He told them to take a lamb without blemish to sacrifice to Him saying, “It is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11). God desires His people to bring Him their best because He is sending His best, the Perfect Lamb of God, to redeem us.
We end the reading with the ordination of priests. Moses properly clothes Aaron and his sons as priests and offers sacrifices on their behalf – “Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.” Aaron and his sons will remain in the tabernacle for seven days till the consecration is complete.
Tomorrow the priests begin their new jobs. However, Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, dishonor the Lord by disobeying His instruction. Keep reading to see what happens when men try to approach God their own way and not the way the Lord laid out for us by His word. (Leviticus 7:1-8:36)