5. Restrictions on Blood

As we examine Genesis 9 we notice that after the flood God allowed man to eat animal flesh. Noah and his family (8 people) had survived the flood. Noah makes an offering and then God spoke:

Genesis 8:20-9:3 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

Notice that God allowed man to eat animal flesh. Up until then, they were vegetarians. But notice that God begins to give restrictions concerning blood:

Genesis 9:4 “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”

Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God he made man.”

So now blood could not be eaten, nor could it be shed. Also in Leviticus:

Leviticus 17:10 “And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”

Leviticus 7:26-27 ‘Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. ‘Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people.’

Why did God make strict commands about not eating or shedding blood? Because blood was the instrument of redemption. It was holy, it was set apart. God literally had to say that He would kill anyone that eats blood. He sanctified blood made blood so off limits that everyone would treat it with reverence. Even during a woman’s menstrual period she was considered unclean and could not be touched even by her husband until after her purification. Even after giving birth there were restrictions because of contact with the blood.

So why did God put such a ban on blood? Why did He put such a hedge around every possible contact with it? Because blood was the vehicle of redemption. Blood could not be handled in any other context except sacrifice. God set blood apart as a holy thing.

Author: Patriarch Gregg