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Significance of Blood in Atonement

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

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. Leviticus 17:11 -kjv

1. Life in Blood (Leviticus 17:11): According to this verse, "the life of a creature is in the blood," and it is given for the purpose of making atonement. The principle here is that life is sacred, and the act of offering blood in a ritualized manner serves as a substitute for human life. The blood essentially acts as a stand-in, absorbing and removing the guilt or impurity associated with sin.

2. The Passover Sign (Exodus 12:13): In the story of the Passover, the blood of a lamb serves as a protective sign, sparing the Israelites from the final plague upon Egypt. The blood applied to the doorposts is a tangible mark of covenantal protection and sets a precedent for the necessity of blood in divine-human relations.

3. Blood and Covenant (Exodus 24:8): Moses sprinkles blood on the people as a sign of the covenant between them and God. This ritual act solidifies the agreement and obligations between the parties involved. It is as if the covenant is sealed and validated by the shedding and application of blood.

4. Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:15-16): On this most holy day, the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place with the blood of a sacrificed goat. The blood is sprinkled on the atonement cover (Mercy Seat) to make atonement "because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites." This annual ceremony illustrates the continual necessity for blood sacrifice to maintain the relationship between God and His people.

5. Purification Rituals (Numbers 19:2-6): The red heifer's blood is sprinkled outside the tent of meeting as part of a purification ceremony. Even in matters of ritual impurity, not just sin, blood plays a vital role.

6. Sin Offering Procedures (Leviticus 4:5-7): The detailed instructions on how the priest must handle the blood during a sin offering again point to its importance. The blood must be sprinkled seven times before the Lord and applied to the horns of the altar. This ritual aims to cleanse the sanctuary and the people from the contamination caused by sin.

New Testament Reference

1. Law and Blood (Hebrews 9:22): Although a New Testament verse, it summarizes the Old Testament law by stating, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." This provides a retrospective validation of the Old Testament's emphasis on blood sacrifice.


The common thread running through these verses is the indispensability of blood for atonement, covenant maintenance, and purification. In the Old Testament worldview, blood serves as a potent symbol and active agent that effects reconciliation between God and man, signifying that without the shedding of blood, there can be no erasure of sin or restoration of divine-human relations.


Copyright: TEOTW Ministries

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