Lev 17.14 is the key verse in understanding Lev 17.11. That verse says that “As for the life of all flesh its (blood) is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life (nefesh) of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.'” Blood is not alive, but any creature beyond a certain size requires a circulatory system to stay alive.
As we have said before, the blood transports oxygen and nutrients to the body. When all the blood leaves the body, that creature dies because life cannot be sustained. Dr Mitchell explains that the Bible never really defines what life is, but neither does science. We can be alive one minute, and dead the next. The characteristics of life can be described but what that unidentified thing is that makes something alive has not been discovered.
The Torah uses the word “nefesh” to refer to “life” and “soul” of humans and animals, but not in regards to plants and insects. Life comes from God, and the blood sustains that life. Creatures continue to live because they have blood, but the blood does not make them alive. That is a big difference. We can die from something other than loss of blood. We are still dead even though there is still blood in their bodies. So, the presence of blood in an embryo beyond a certain size is needed in order to maintain life, but it already possessed life before that from God.
In the case of a human embryo, that gift includes being made in God’s image. So, based on Lev 17.14 as it elaborates on Lev 17.11, the life of all flesh is in the blood because it sustains life in the flesh. From the third week forward, a human embryo develops blood and a system to circulate it through the body to maintain life to already possesses. When the egg is fertilized the gift of life is imparted by God, just like when God breathed into Adam in Gen 2.7.
The genetic blueprint at the time of fertilization marks the moment when a human life begins. Even if there will be twins (Like Jacob and Esau), God provides the resources for creating two (or more) individual souls in the womb (Psa 139.16). DNA may be similar, but they will have individual personalities because there is more to a person than the blueprint. When three weeks have passed, that life (or lives) will begin to produce the blood and circulatory system that is needed to sustain that life (which is already there) until death. As a result, life begins at fertilization but the blood does not make them alive, it keeps them alive and that is what Lev 17.11-14 is all about.
Lev 11 through 17 dealt with ritual uncleanness and purification. Lev 18.1-30 talks about the subject of moral uncleanness and punishment. Lev 18.6-18 discusses forbidden marriages. Lev 18.19-23 discusses immoral practices and Lev 18.24-30 is an exhortation to remember what happened to the Canaanites, whose customs were a perversion to social morality. If Israel followed these practices it would lead to their destruction.
The next Torah reading is called “Kedoshim” (holiness) and it covers Lev 19.11 to 20.27. First, you can see that the name of this Torah portion is related to the word “kedusha.” Kedusha means, “to designate and to set apart something or someone for the service of God by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of time (like the Sabbath, etc) is marked by limits and restrictions on man’s activities concerning work and construction.” This Torah portion is a course on “Kedusha.”
Kedusha will not be found “on a mountain” but in the little things, like in Lev 19.1-37. It can be found in leaving the corners of your field for the poor and the hungry, reproving your neighbor and leaving the gleanings for the poor. This was seen as charity (v 9). The rabbis viewed this portion of the Torah as the “kernal of the Torah (law)” because the essentials of the Torah are summarized. So, Lev 19 and 20 is a short course on kedusha, and the definition we gave is important to understand because kedusha is misunderstood.
When you read these verses say “kedusha is” then read the verse. For example, when you read Lev 19.9 say, “Kedusha is…When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.” Lev 19.11 should be read, “Kedusha is…You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” For Lev 19.17 say, “Kedusha is…You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but, shall not incur sin because of him.”
Lev 19.19 says that we are to keep the statutes of the Lord (as they apply, of course). We are not to breed together two kinds of cattle; we are not to sow our fields with two kinds of seed nor wear a garment with two kinds of material mixed together. Spiritually, this alludes to the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan and the false Messiah (Gen 3.15). These two “seeds” will have enmity with each other. The word “Babylon” means “confusion, a mixture.” Gen 1.11 says that vegetation and and plants will yield seed that bear fruit after its own kind.
Dan 2.31-45 talks about a statue. The toes and the feet of that statue were “mixed” with iron and clay (the Hebrew “erev” means “mixed”). In other words, they will combine with common man but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay. Satan’s “head” tried to overtake God’s “heel” trying to reverse Gen 3.15, Hab 3.13 and Isa 14.12. Satan has tried to mix his “word” (false teaching) into God’s word (Torah), but the Torah is only good when it is unmixed. Yeshua brought this concept out in his parables in Matt 13.1-33.
We will pick up here in Part 19.