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“It is the blood that maketh atonement.” — Leviticus 17:11


The 17th chapter of Leviticus has nothing to do with the imaginary sanctity of animal life. It has nothing to do with the health risks involved in eating red meat, or even with eating red meat rare. Leviticus 17, like all the rest of this Inspired Volume, is all about the gospel. It is all about Christ. There are two things revealed in this chapter. They are lessons of tremendous importance. We must learn them. Without the knowledge of these two things, we will never understand the Book of God, the gospel of God, or the work of God. These two lessons are vital.


Christ the Way

All worship except the worship of God through the blood atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is idolatry; and all idolatry is the worship of devils (Leviticus 17:1-10). Christ is the Way. There is no other. Christ is the Truth. There is no other. Christ is the Life. There is no other. Will we ever learn this? Christ is the Door. There is no other. All who attempt to come in some other way are thieves and robbers, thieves who would rob God of his glory. God will not tolerate them. After giving the law regarding the day of atonement, the Lord God gave commandment to the children of Israel requiring that they bring their sacrifices to him at the door of the tabernacle, that they offer sacrifices nowhere else except at his altar. It was a commandment which he required every Israelite to observe, and a commandment he required every stranger who sojourned among them to observe. Any who refused to do so were to be cut off from among the people of God, put out of the camp, banished from the church. Remember the context. The Lord had just finished declaring to Israel that they were to observe the Day of Atonement every year on the tenth day of the seventh month. This was made as an everlasting statute (Leviticus 16:29-34). Everything required in this statute portrayed our Lord Jesus Christ in his great work of redemption. The high priest made atonement for the holy sanctuary, the tabernacle of the congregation, the altar, himself, the priests, and for all the people of the congregation of the Lord. That is a picture of particular redemption. By the sin-atoning blood of Christ, God’s Israel has been cleansed, made clean from all sin before him (1 John 3:5). That great and glorious day, when Israel saw redemption ceremonially accomplished and sin put away by God’s sacrifice, was “a sabbath of rest…by a statute forever.” That is a picture of the blessed rest of faith. Not only do we cease from our works, we rest in him who has done all for us.


Blood Atonement

The Lord God says, “I have given it (the blood) to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls” (Leviticus 17:11). The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was shed at Calvary for one specific purpose: — “To make atonement for your souls.” Will it do the job? Is it enough? What does God say? — “for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Yes, the blood of Christ poured out upon the cursed tree accomplished precisely what God intended. His blood made atonement for his people! Just as the blood of the paschal lamb made atonement for the whole congregation of Israel, so the blood of Christ our Passover, who was sacrificed for us, made atonement for all God’s Israel (Romans 5:6-11). It is not the blood and something else. The word is most explicit. It attributes atonement exclusively to the blood (Hebrews 9: 22). Only in this way can God be both “a just God and a Savior.” Only by the blood can he be both Just and the Justifier of all who believe.







Don Fortner








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