Browsing through Leviticus, I came across chapter 17 where God tells the Israelites not to eat blood. Now, it is interesting that in the letter to the Gentiles, the Jerusalem church tells them that this is one of the laws that they cannot break. Circumcision – whatever – but do not eat/drink blood. Before we reach this command in verse 10, we find verses 1-9 speaking of how the people must offer their sacrifices to the Lord at the Tent of Meeting, and not outside of the camp.
But there is something fascinating that happens in verse 7. “They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat demons to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for generations to come.”
What is a goat demon? The Hebrew word is se’irim, which simply means “hairy one”. It is used in 2 Chronicles 11:15 and Isaiah 13:21 as well. Sometimes it is translated as goat. Sometimes it is translated as Satyr. Sometimes it is simply translated as “baboon”.Some have thought that maybe these se’irim are false gods in Egypt that were “blood thirsty”, and God is saying “Don’t you indulge in that.” What in the world is going on here?
There is this weird connection between offering to the goat demon, and eating the blood. God says don’t eat blood, because the life is in the blood. When we examine Acts 15:29, we find that the things mentioned to the Gentile believers to abstain from are the very things that were used at times to worship false gods. Do not eat sacrifices offered to idols. Do not eat the meat of strangled animals. Abstain from sexual immorality. Sandwiched in the middle is this command to not eat blood. So, it seems likely that this is indeed one of those things that would have been performed as a ritual when sacrificing to a certain false deity.
Jump ahead to 1 Corinthians. Paul is talking to these believers, and he says to them “about eating food sacrificed to idols…” that “food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” Then, to top it off, Paul says, “If anyone… sees you… eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.” This dialogue is found in 1 Corinthians 8.
Jump ahead in 1 Corinthians to chapter 10. Paul makes the statement to “flee from idolatry”, and then wraps that intimately with communion. Then, if that weren’t confusing enough, he flips the subject around and says, “Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean that sacrifices offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
What just happened? One minute Paul seems to say that it isn’t a big deal to eat of the sacrifices offered to demons – which is deliberately against what the Jerusalem counsel said – and then in chapter 10 it seems like he starts back-peddling. Might I suggest that what is being expressed is bigger than just meat offered to idols? The whole point isn’t about the meat, nor about the idols. The point goes beyond this to a deeper truth. It is about what the communion itself means.
Communion with the Lord is about marriage to God. When the Jewish people would become “engaged” (truthfully, the courtship of the ancient Israelites was much more than what we would call engagement), the father would go with his son to the woman’s home. They would speak to the father of the woman, and they would try to work out a marriage pact. Then, at the end of it all, the son would take a cup and fill it with wine. He would say over the cup, “This is my blood of the covenant. Take and drink of it.” The daughter will then have an option: take the cup and accept marriage with God, or politely decline. When we take of the cup of the Lord, we are committing ourselves to marriage with Him. Jump back to Leviticus 17. Notice the language is about harlotry when the Israelites would offer to this “goat demon”.
We have before us two tables. There is the table of the Lord, which is a covenant between God and His people of marriage with them. Then, there is the table of demons, which is a covenant with death and hell solemnly sworn against the Lord.
To the table of the Lord, we find verses like Genesis 14:18, where Melchizedek brings wine and bread to break with Abraham. We find Psalm 78:19, where God spreads a table in the wilderness for Israel. We find in Mark 8:4, where the disciples ask Jesus, “Where will we get enough bread to feed all these people in this remote place?” In Ezekiel 20:35, the prophet speaks of a time still yet in the future when Israel would be scattered into the wilderness of the nations and sup with God face-to-face. Revelation 12:6 speaks of a time where the woman (Israel) flees into the wilderness to a place that God has prepared to take care of her for 1,260 – another prophecy that is most likely future. It is spoken of this communion that unless you eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood, you cannot be His disciple.
Then there is another table. There is a contrast. Psalm 14:4 speaks of evil doers who “devour my people as men eat bread”. Jeremiah 10:25 prophecies of a wrath to be poured out on all the nations and people who “have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland.” But the most blatant of all these Scriptures is in Micah 3. “Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel. Should you not know justice, you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh in the pot?”
What is the point? There is somehow a direct connection between taking the meat sacrificed to idols – joining in the table of demons – and devouring the people of the Lord. There are few things that God says He will cut the people off for. This is one. Another is the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly there is taking the mark of the beast. I believe that all three of these are connected deeply and intimately. Notice Matthew 12:28 that Jesus compares the Spirit of God with the kingdom of God – “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Then, Jesus goes on to express that the strong man – Satan – must be bound in order for the Kingdom of God to come. Then, Jesus goes back to the subject of the Spirit of God by saying those who blaspheme the Spirit of God will not be forgiven. Why? Because the Spirit of God is the one that is casting out the kingdom of darkness. The Spirit is being likened to the kingdom of God. To say that the work of the Spirit is actually the work of Satan is the ultimate affront.
The book of Revelations contrasts the seal of the 144,000 with the mark of the beast. To one, the mark of God is put upon their forehead. To the other, it is the mark of the beast upon the forehead. What is the difference? They who see the antichrist and will actually claim this man is God is to equate the kingdom of God with the kingdom of darkness. It is the same as they who blaspheme the Spirit – which is the same as they who will feast at the table of demons. Look at Luke 11:20. The same verse in Matthew 12 that compares the Spirit of God with the kingdom of God is said in Luke 11:10 “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
This phrase is found in Exodus 8:19. The Egyptians see the plagues as the “finger of God”. What is happening? The contrast is being made: Egypt or Israel? Goat demons or Jehovah? The Spirit of God or the false miracles performed by the false prophet? Jesus or the Antichrist? The kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness? Which do you choose?