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Regarded by the ancient Israelites and many cultures today as the seat of life or vital energy of all flesh. In Old Testament times the Lord forbade Israel to eat blood as food (Lev. 3:17; 7:26–27; 17:10–14).

The atoning power of a sacrifice was in the blood because the blood was regarded as essential to life. Animal sacrifice in the Old Testament was a symbol of the great sacrifice later performed by Jesus Christ (Lev. 17:11; Moses 5:5–7). Jesus Christ’s atoning blood cleanses the repentant from sin (1 Jn. 1:7).