17:11 One of the most important theological statements in Leviticus. Life is sacred because it belongs to God. As a mark of respect for life and for its Creator, no Israelite could eat meat with blood in it “for the life of the flesh is in the blood” (cf. Gen. 9:4–6). A second reason is that it is the blood that makes “atonement for your souls.” The blood of animals shed in sacrifice took the place of, and symbolically redeemed, the life of the worshiper. Because animal blood was the sign of salvation, man must not consume it. These ideas are both assumed and transformed in the New Testament. Christ’s shed blood actually atoned for sin (Heb. 9:14, 22; 1 John 1:7), and those who spiritually drink that blood have eternal life (John 6:54).
have given it for you. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was God’s gracious gift to His people. In anticipation of the final and perfect blood sacrifice offered by Christ, God Himself ordained the procedures whereby His righteous wrath might be averted and His people reconciled to Him.