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Leviticus 17:11
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

“The life of the flesh is in the blood.” This is a profound statement. God informs us that the very essence of life in man and animals runs through the river in their veins. Blood carries their life principle, if you will. And this blood is a precious commodity not to be trifled with.

Man was vegetarian prior to the flood.[1] After Noah and his family stepped off the ark, the Lord added animals to their diet, but He forbade them to eat their blood in the strongest of terms, requiring the life of anyone who ate the blood of an animal in the same way He required the life of a murderer.[2] When this law was later codified, the eating of blood by any member of the covenant community of Israel cut them off from God. “I will set my face against that soul that eats blood,” Jehovah told His people.[3]

Though the eating of blood is not healthy, we have much more than a nutritional ideal being expounded in the Law. God’s people were to respect blood. They were not to eat it nor leave it uncovered. Why? Because it was unsightly? Unsanitary? Unhealthy? No—it was because He had given it to make atonement on the altar. The mystery of blood is that God designed it in such a way that it could cover sin. And this makes it a sacred thing, far too sacred to eat.

While David was holed up in the cave of Adullam, he yearned for a draft of water from his hometown well of Bethlehem. Only one problem—the Philistines were camped there. One can almost see him surveying the scene: the tempting well, the vigilant guards. “I wish someone could give me a drink of that water,” he says, mostly to himself. But three of his men heard him. They tore their way through the Philistine camp and filled their skin bag full of the fresh water. Imagine their excitement as they stood before David after fighting their way back. Flecks of blood were probably spattered on their clothes. Dirt stuck to the sweat tracks on their faces and cracked as they smiled. They were out of breath, but happy. They came bearing a gift for their captain.

“We heard you were thirsty,” one of them says, “so we brought you some water from Bethlehem.” David looks on them incredulously as he weighs the fruit of his careless comment. His men could have died trying to fulfill his whim! “I can’t drink it,” he says, “any more than I could drink your blood! Far be it from me! This water belongs to the Lord and the Lord alone.”[4]  And he poured the water out on the ground as an oblation because it was far too precious for him to drink. Only Jehovah was worthy to receive it. Blood is no different.

Blood is the very life of the flesh. In a culture that can buy its meat already butchered and neatly wrapped in cellophane, we don’t think much about the blood spilled to feed us. Hunters and farmers know different. Steaks and hamburgers were walking, chewing, mooing, living beasts before the butcher’s knife got to them. The very fact that they are slaughtered is a reminder of sin, for when Adam sinned he didn’t just bring death to our race; he brought death to the whole creation.[5] Animals dying is a direct result of man sinning. But this development didn’t catch God by surprise. He had planned for the animal’s life, its blood, to make a covering on the altar for man’s sin. Therefore, He says, “Blood is not for consumption. If you are not going to put it on the altar, I want it buried.”

In a world filled with blood, it is hard to appreciate how precious and novel a commodity it is. God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul. And this soul life, this nephesh, resided in his blood.[6] But blood wasn’t made for man first. Animals were created before man. And it was in reference to their blood that the Lord said, “I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls.”

If angels impress you (as well they should), the technology of nephesh-infused blood being able to atone for sin should take your breath away. But let us deal with the angels first.

Not of this Creation – of Angels and Men

Hebrews 9:11
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. NKJV

Christ serves in a tabernacle that is not of this Creation. If it is not of this Creation, then to which Creation does it belong? Moses was told to build the tabernacle in the wilderness “according to the pattern”[7] because he was representing a heavenly reality. Well, Moses certainly belongs to this Creation. So if the tabernacle in heaven was around when Moses was on Mount Sinai and it is not of this Creation, then it must have been created prior to this universe.

Am I saying that the universe wasn’t created in six days and that it is billions of years old? No; what I am saying is that the heavenly tabernacle is not of this creation. And there is a race of beings that God created to serve in the heavenly tabernacle who are probably not of this creation either.[8] This is important because it brings to light how different a thing God did when He created man.

When were the angels created? The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but we do know what they witnessed.

Job 38:3-7
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Man was not there when the Lord laid the foundations of the earth, but the angels were. They sang and shouted for joy at the event. Even if the angels are of this Creation, the latest they could have been created would have been the early morning of the third day.[9]  It is on the third day that God gathered the waters and made the dry land appear. So, at the very least the angelic race is three days older than mankind. But the fact that their sanctuary is not of this Creation gives indication that they aren’t either.

Revelation 15:5-6
5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

The angels minister in the tabernacle which is in heaven. The earthly tabernacle was purified from the defilement of man’s sin by the blood of bulls and goats. The heavenly tabernacle had to be purified by the blood of Christ.[10] What defiled the tabernacle in heaven? The story of redemption certainly involves us. But the scale of what Jesus Christ repaired by His sacrifice is much larger than we tend to think.

[1] Gen 1:29
[2] Gen 9:3-5
[3] Lev 17:10-14
[4] 2 Sam 23:13-17
[5] Rom 8:20-22
[6] Man is spirit, soul, and body (2 Thes 5:23). This division of man is more clearly shown in the New Testament revelation than in the Old. The Hebraic mindset tends to be more holistic than the Greek. Though nephesh means soul, it can stand for the life of man (both soul and spirit) or the entire man himself.
[7] Heb 8:5
[8] For a more in-depth examination of this, please refer to our resources Redeeming the Time, Study Guide, p. 16-18 by the same author and The Generations of the Heavens and the Earth audio resource by Tim Keyes. These are available at maranathateachings.com.
[9] The actual day is marked from morning to morning. The creative events occur in daylight, then comes evening and the following morning marks the close of one day and the beginning of the next. Thus, the evening (presupposing a period of daylight) and the morning mark the completion of the day, not the entire day.
[10] Heb 9:23-24