Read 54.) Leviticus 15:1 thru 17:16. Previously, we learned that certain foods, totally fine foods, could not be eaten, as they would result in ceremonial uncleanness. Two things: No one could deliberately and willfully render themselves unclean in an uncaring manner. They were to be cut-off. And, the other was, that it was easy to become accidentally and unintentionally unclean, but rather difficult and costly to become clean once again. I had stated earlier that we were only just getting started, and as we saw everything else that would render one unclean, that in the end, the point was that it was nearly impossible to become and remain ceremonially clean before the Lord for hardly any length of time whatsoever. Read chapter 15, and see how much more difficult this is now going to get! Discharges, seminal emissions, menstrual flow… all these render a man, or a woman, ceremonially unclean! These things are not wrong, wicked or evil. As per 10:10, they are common! There is an overarching purpose in all of this, and anyone of us could easily learn what that is. Perhaps the best way to see it, would be to take a calendar, and just begin to mark off each day that you would necessarily have to be unclean due to the commands we have seen so far, especially these in chapter 15. How many days have been taken away from you for being unclean already? But, there’s still more, as we’ll see later!
Chapter 16 is about Israel’s most holy day of the year, today called Yom Kippur, or The Day of Atonement. It would occur, according to their calendar around our late September/early October time frame. Unlike other holidays, which were typically cause for feasting and celebration, this one was a most serious and somber day of fasting, of humbling oneself, and of introspective contemplation with a look to repentance and personal reformation. The High Priest alone, and only this one day each year, would enter the Most Holy Place, before the Ark of the Covenant, and there present incense before the Lord. Offerings and sacrifices would be made, and one specially chosen goat would be permitted to live, and not be sacrificed, to symbolically carry the sins of Israel away from the camp.
Chapter 17 is expressly for the purpose of emphasizing the incredible importance, in Judaism, of blood. It will be representative of its importance, in Christianity, of the Blood of Jesus Christ. No blood? No cleansing, no forgiveness, no salvation! Further, we see how that not just any blood, or any sacrifice, would be acceptable; but only those blood sacrifices that the Lord has prescribed. It is His way, or the highway! 17:11 makes the point clear and plain… it is ‘blood that makes atonement for one’s life‘. What does this say about anyone else’s attempt to atone for themselves with bloodless ‘good works’? O, how that grates on a lot of people! But, it’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell