Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #3 of Genesis, chapter 9 and we are going to read Genesis 9:4-7:
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
In these verses the Lord is beginning to explain to us some interesting things and certain principals concerning blood. First He says in Genesis 9:4:
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
This principal is found throughout the Bible. It is a consistent principal. Remember that Genesis, chapter 9 is taking place in the year 4989BC, which was 6,024 years after creation. The Book of Leviticus was divine revelation given to Moses during the wilderness sojourn about 3,500 years later. It says in Leviticus 17:10-14:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 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. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
God made changes from time to time in dietary laws and restrictions. Concerning animals, there was a time in the days of Noah that you could eat any kind of animal, but 3,500 years later the Law given to Moses constrained the Jews to eat only “clean animals,” and God determined what was clean or unclean. One thing that was consistent was that even in the days of Noah if a person sat down to dinner to eat an animal, they must not eat the blood. Again, with the Law of Moses, you were not to eat the blood. It is the same thing in the New Testament. After Peter had the experience of seeing the Holy Spirit come upon the Gentiles, a council was held in Jerusalem concerning some of these questions about the Gospel going to the Gentiles. These matters were brought before the council and they had the Holy Spirit guiding them as God was refining doctrine for the New Testament church age. Finally, they made determination in Acts, chapter 15 and these became the laws for the New Testament churches. It says Acts 15:20:
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
God was no longer commanding that a child of God must abstain from certain kinds of meats. Out of all the Law of Moses and the commandments God gave, they came up with this counsel. Again, the Holy Spirit was guiding them in these things. There was a spiritual reason for that because each of these things point to being faithful with the Gospel. It is when a church is unfaithful that they turn to idolatry and they are not abstaining from the pollution of idols; when a church is unfaithful, they are not abstaining from spiritual fornication. As far as “things strangled,” Christ gave a parable about someone who did not forgive his fellow man and he took the man by the neck and was strangling him. So, an unfaithful gospel causes “strangulation” because there is no forgiveness or salvation.
So, as far as abstaining from blood, there was teaching right from the beginning and up to our time that no one was permitted to eat blood. That is the Law of the Bible. Today, people today do not care about the Law of the Bible, so you may hear about all the nutritious qualities of blood and some people have no problem with that, but God’s people desire to do the will of God. God is very clear throughout the Scriptures that we are to refrain from blood. Do not eat things with the blood. There was a time when King Saul gave an unwise commandment to his people that they were not to eat anything until they had defeated their enemy. His son Jonathan had not heard the command of his father and he ate honey and his eyes were enlightened, but the army of Israel was so hungry that they slew animals and ate them with the blood. It says in 1Samuel 14:31-33:
And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood. Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against JEHOVAH, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.
Here, it is very clear that the people sinned against JEHOVAH. Throughout the history of the world, God has consistently commanded that meat may be eaten, but not with the blood. Today we rightfully drain the blood from the meat and eat the meat. Yes, you can eat the meat a little rare – that is not what God is talking about. But it cannot be eaten with the blood and, certainly, you cannot purposefully eat blood.
Why not eat blood? What is wrong with that? It is another part of the animal, like the fat or the meat. It is because God is “jealous” of what the blood represents, which relates to the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. In many places the Bible tells us that Christ’s sacrifice had to do with the shedding of blood. For instance, it says in Hebrews 9:20-22:
Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
In the Old Testament’s sacrificial system, the blood of animals was used in offerings and sacrifices. There would be the sprinkling with blood in accord with the Law and the picture was of purging God’s wrath with blood. For instance, when the high priest went into the Holy of holies once a year with “blood of others,” he approached unto the ark of the covenant that contained the Ten Commandments, representing the Law of God that condemns mankind. He would sprinkle the blood upon the mercy seat which covered the ark and that was a picture of Christ’s shed blood covering over the Law’s demand for the death of the transgressors. The Law of God condemns the sinner and demands the satisfaction of death: “The wages of sin is death.” The blood of animals can never take away sin, but it typified the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at the point of the world’s foundation. The shedding of blood means the taking of life because the “life is in the blood.” Christ’s life satisfied the Law’s demand for death, which is the taking of life. The blood of Christ appeased the wrath of God. So, God is very jealous when it comes to blood. He created man and all the animals and God is the one that filled their veins with blood – it is their life substance. It is what a living thing needs to continue to live. When the blood is shed, man or a creature then dies.
When a man kills another man, it may be out of anger, where one person is so furious with another for a wrongdoing that he slays him to try to get satisfaction for the offense against him. But that is all wrong. There was only to be the shedding of the blood of the “acceptable sacrifice” of the Lord Jesus Christ, although there are some exceptions that we will talk about later when we look more closely at that verse and we see how it relates to the death penalty, and so forth.
Spiritually, blood ties in with Christ Jesus and that is why the eating of blood is forbidden by God. It says in John 6:53-56:
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Many that heard this were offended. It goes on to say in John 6:59:
These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
So, this was taught by Jesus in a synagogue and it would have been primarily Jews hearing Him and there could have been some converts, but most would have been Jews that were familiar with the Law in Leviticus that said they should not eat the flesh with the blood. But here was Christ saying to eat His flesh and drink His blood, so it would have seemed to go against the Law given in Leviticus. It goes on to say in John 6:60-61:
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? Then Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
Then it goes on to say in John 6:65-66:
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Why was this so bad? I used to read this and I thought that they were so literal-minded that they did not get the parabolic meaning, but what He was saying seemed to go against the Law. These people were aware of the dietary restrictions in the Law, just as Peter had been aware of it. And now Christ was saying they must eat His flesh and drink His blood and that would appear to go against what they read in the Book of Leviticus, until you understand the spiritual meaning. It did not have to do with the literal eating of His flesh or the literal drinking of His blood, but it had to do with the Gospel and salvation wherein we partake of His death as He died on behalf of His people and gave His blood for the payment of sin. So, God’s people that were chosen by God and whose sins were cast upon Christ are able to eat His flesh and drink His blood spiritually. Of course, it is not literal or physical, but it helps us understand why God is so jealous over the “blood of Christ” and how He protects the Gospel teaching that the elect people are to eat and drink of Jesus’ flesh and blood and, therefore, they are not to eat the blood of any other creature, which would point to other kinds of gospels. So, there is an abstaining from blood in the Old Testament in the Book of Leviticus and in the New Testament it was a Law stated in the Book of Acts for the New Testament churches and congregations. And even thousands of years before the Law was given to Moses, God is saying the same thing in Genesis 9:4:
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
Then it goes on to say in Genesis 9:5-6:
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
After establishing the law against eating or drinking blood, then God speaks of a man that is killed by an animal or by another man. If an animal kills a man, it is not premeditated and it is not considered murder, but God does speak of a man whose animal tended to be a little wild and maybe he had gone after someone in the past; then through carelessness the owner was not watching the animal closely enough and the animal did kill someone, the owner is guilty and responsible, but not the animal. The animal is never guilty of murder because animals are lesser creatures than man and that is why God applies the death penalty for anyone that takes man’s life, whether it be an animal or man, because man alone was made in the image of God. No other creature was made in the image of God. The elephants are not made in God’s image. Dolphins are not made in God’s image, even though some people think that they may be the creature highest in intelligence aside from man. There are no fowls or sea creatures or any other animals in the world that are made in the image of God. No matter how much we love them, like we love our dogs and cats, and no matter how intelligent some creatures may be, none are made in the image of God. The Bible lets us know this in the creation account. God spoke of creating the fowls, the beasts and the sea creatures and then He very specifically sets the creation of man apart, and He told us in Genesis 1:26-27:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Right from the start mankind was set apart and made distinct from all other creatures. Mankind is also a creature, but he is a very special creature. Mankind is created in the very image of God. He has a “reflection” of God and he is in God’s likeness. He has similarities and attributes of God. God has said that man is special and he shall rule over all other creatures. Mankind is like the king of creation and rule over the creation and have dominion over it, but man will only be in submission to God. God will rule over man and man will rule over the earth and all the varied creatures God made in this earth.
This is the chain of command God created and that was in effect until the fall of man. Mankind fell quickly and fell quite a distance from that high and lofty position of ruling just beneath God over the wonderful new creation and its creatures. Mankind lost his right to rule to Satan by believing the lie and submitting himself to deception and Satan gained rule over man and over what man used to have dominion over, so we see Satan becoming the rule of the kingdom of darkness when the world was cast into darkness. God punished man by bringing death to his soul and then mankind became a physical creature with a spiritually dead soul, unless salvation takes places in his life to restore his soul. Mankind had fallen, there is still that glorious fact that man was created in the image of God and even though 6,024 years after creation he was well established in his sins and fallen condition, God still established the Law about anyone killing a man.
Again, a man is not some “animal,” like the world would have us to believe today where man is no more special than a horse. However, man is very special. He is not a creature that evolved over eons of time. Mankind is special and above all creatures because he, alone, was made in the image of God. Therefore, if an animal kills a man, the animal is to be put to death. If another man sheds a man’s blood, his blood must be shed – he must die. He has murdered a creature made in the image of God.