| || Power In The Blood? |
Is the Blood of Christ Literally Applied to the Believer?
Timothy S. Morton
A Bloody Subject
With the predominance of "progressive" attitude and "positive thinking" among many who claim to be Christian leaders of the day, there are some key Bible doctrines that are essentially ignored. These Bible doctrines are considered much too negative and old-fashioned for these "cultured" and "sensitive" "ministers" to even mention, let alone teach. One of them is the Bible teaching on Hell. It means nothing to these charlatans that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke much more about Hell than He did Heaven. They neglect to inform their congregations of the fact that the Old Testament verse Christ quoted more than any other was concerning the fires of Hell (Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 9:48). They cheat the lost out of the knowledge there is a place called Hell and it awaits all those who die in their sins. Hell is much too negative for their refined tastes.
Another vital doctrine ignored by the majority is certain Judgment. Ministers today refrain from preaching about judgment because it may harm the fragile egos and "self-esteem" of their listeners. They refuse to tell them that all humanity will stand individually before their creator and answer for their life. The saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ; the lost at the Great White Throne. They utterly refuse to warn them that they must give account for their actions. Instead they teach them how to "cope" with life, "get along" with their neighbor, and get rich by sending them "seed money." This is a pitiful and pathetic excuse for a ministry.
There are several other precious Bible doctrines that are shunned by modern Christendom. One is bearing one's cross; another is a literal, personal Devil; and another is the general concept of sin. But one of the most shunned Bible doctrines among today's crowd of "preachers, " is the Scriptural teaching of a blood atonement. It is much too uncouth and crude a subject for their cultured, modern ears. They imply it speaks of a time when mankind relied on primitive and superstitious methods of dealing with their transgressions. However, as usual the cultured minister is just so much bunk. He has nothing of value to offer, just a bunch of high-sounding talk.
In the following we will look at the doctrines of blood and blood atonement as found in the Scriptures and as a result have access to information and truths that are unknown to those who are willingly ignorant.
A Special Substance
The word "blood" is found 392 times in the King James Bible. In the Old Testament it is found most in Leviticus (88 times). In the New Testament in Hebrews (22 times). (See our soon coming Bible Analyzer page for information on our free software that can easily determine such things). Often the term is used as a means of signifying violence or death (2Sam. 1:16, etc.), but in other places it speaks of life and atonement (Lev. 17:11).
The first mention of blood in the Scriptures is quite interesting. There we find attributed to blood what appears to be living characteristics.
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; (Gen 4:10-11) Notice how Abel's blood speaks to God. Cain could not hear it, but God could. Blood has a "voice" which God hears. Some of you may be thinking, "You are going overboard, Brother Morton, this is just figurative language. Blood cannot talk." How can you be so sure? Are you so conceited you believe you can hear everything that speaks? There may be some element of figurative language in the passage, but probably not as much as most assume. Consider this verse:
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Heb 12:24) Here another blood is speaking to God (in present tense! ), the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It speaks of better things than Abel's did 4000 years earlier. Call it figurative if you want, but I am not that bold. I believe blood speaking is more literal than most will acknowledge. In fact, I take comfort in the thought that the redeeming blood of my Savior Jesus Christ is speaking in my behalf to the Father.
Although the first direct mention of blood is in Gen. 4, there is a strongly implied reference to it earlier. In Gen. 3 we find:
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Gen 3:21) Where did the Lord get the skins to make the coats? Skins come from a living creature. Notice it doesn't say God made the skins in the sense of just creating them. It says he made the coats from skins. In fact, it would contradict everything else in the Scriptures concerning sin, sacrifice, and atonement if the Lord just created the skins apart from an animal.
Therefore, the Lord had to obtain these skins from at least two animals he created previously. How did He get them? There is no other way even hinted in the Scriptures other than slaying the animals.
Now picture this: Here is Adam and Eve fresh from their sin in the garden of Eden wearing their fig leaves (Gen. 3:7), and the Lord talks to them. After they play the "blame game" for a while and the Lord pronounces some curses, He offerers them these coats of skins that He just obtained. The two sinners cast off their fig leaves and accept the coats as a covering for their sin. They walk a few steps farther in the beautiful garden and spot two whitish objects lying on the ground. After closer examination they discover they are skinned, dead animals (sheep? ). Maybe two animals they had seen and played with repeatedly before. Then they both have an epiphany. Adam looks at Eve, and she at him, and then each looks at their freshly made coats. They now know what death really is, and also the price of sin. Learning about this experience from his parents is likely how Abel determined the proper sacrifice to offer.
With the skinning of the animals some bloodshed is required. Thus it was the Lord Himself that caused the first physical death in the new world, and He that shed the first blood. Think about that a few days.
The Life of the Party
The next mention of blood helps explain the previous,
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (Gen 9:4) It wasn't until the 17th century that "modern man" determined that life is sustained in the body by blood. Noah knew this nearly 5000 years ago. The Bible says repeatedly that the "life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11; Lev. 17:14; Lev. 19:16; Deut. 12:23; Matt. 27:4; Matt. 27:24; ) . It is the very life of the flesh. However, it and the flesh must be together to have physical life.
Lev. 17:11-14 adds some more details.
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. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood...For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. (Lev 17:11-14) From this passage and those previous we can determine:
An important fact in Lev. 17 is that God has given man blood for the purpose of making atonement. It is not that man decided to use the blood of animals for atonement. God gave the blood and the instructions for its use as a means of atonement. It is reserved solely for Himself.
- Blood is the life of all flesh
- God has given man blood for purposes of atonement
- Blood can make atonement for the soul
- Blood can speak to God
- Eating blood could cost an Israelite his salvation
Lev. 4:27-31 give the details of a Scriptural blood sacrifice in a sin offering:
And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance...then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. (Lev. 4:27-31) Clearly, blood is a key element of the sacrifice. The individual picks the best animal he has, brings it to the brazen altar before the door of the tabernacle, lays his hand upon it to represent the transfer of his sin to the animal, and then kills the animal with his own hand. The priest then catches the blood in a pan, places some on the horns of the altar and pours the rest on the ground around the altar. The priest then burns the fat of the animal. All of this being done by the individual and the priest makes atonement for the sin.
Dear Reader, have you ever killed an animal with your hands? How about a healthy, favorite animal like a pet? Have you ever felt its warm blood running between your fingers after you cut its throat with a knife? I doubt most of you have. This is what Israelite sinners in the Old Testament were required to do. It happened countless thousands of times. The scene around the altar must have looked like a slaughterhouse. The ground around the altar was probably soppy and red with bloody mud. The view from heaven would have been of death, blood, sacrifice and obedience, and it was a sweet savour to the Lord. His law was satisfied.
Some think the system of sacrifice the Lord established makes Him into a bloodthirsty sadist, but in actuality it was a great object lesson for humanity to show just how evil sin is and the cost to redeem from it. However, with all the countless sacrifices it wasn't enough. Why? Because the blood that was offered was wrong and corrupt, thus it couldn't fully redeem (Heb. 10:4).
"Bringing in Some New Blood" Ever since "medicine" determined blood was a key element of life a few centuries ago, they began to examine it when a person became ill. As nearly anyone who has been to a doctor can attest, whenever an illness is suspected, the doctor often wants to "take your blood." He knows that if there is something wrong with your blood it will affect the whole body. The very fact that one's blood carries all disease and infirmity proves man's blood is corruptible. The reason? It is thoroughly tainted and corrupted with sin. The reason men die is directly because of sin (Gen. 3), but the substance that actually brings their death about is their blood. Even if one dies by accident he dies because blood is not getting where it needs to be to sustain life. In fact, man's blood is so corrupt that even after he is dead morticians hurry to get it out of his body so it won't rot as fast. Then the body will be more "presentable" at a funeral.
This is a great paradox God has placed into man's body. The very substance that keeps him alive is also the very substance that kills him! Say a person gets melanoma skin cancer, and it is initially confined to one spot. If not quickly treated it spreads. How does it spread? Through the blood. Furthermore, how does the cancer receive the nutrients it needs to grow and even exist? Through the blood. Blood makes alive and kills.
It should be evident that this is not the "natural" course of things. Something had to cause such an internal contradiction. Of course, the Bible Believer knows it is the fall of man and the resulting curse. The natural, lost worldling doesn't have any idea. He just wanders around in a fog enamored about the wonders of "evolution."
Another result of the curse God placed upon the earth, the blood of animals became corrupt also. It appears it has been imputed man's guilt (Rom. 8:20). So to purchase man's eternal redemption God could not use either source for blood. He had to bring in new blood; blood that does not have a taint of sin from Adam and thus no corruption. There were basically four requirements God had to satisfy to provide an eternal redemption,
How the Lord fulfilled this cannot be fully understood by us feeble humans. That is the reason what He did is part of the "Mystery of godliness (1Tim. 3:16)." It is a concept we cannot fully comprehend. Nevertheless, we can know what the Lord has revealed in the Scriptures.
- The sacrifice had to be human instead of animal
- The human had to have a body that could die
- The human had to be innocent of any sin
- The human had to have blood that could be shed for sin and applied to sinners.
Blood or Blood?
In recent years there has been some controversy about the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ's blood. Is it human blood or divine? Is it of God, man, or both? Some insist it is divine, eternal blood that is not human while others claim it is only human. The truth is like the rest of His person, Christ's blood carries traits of both His humanity and deity.
Christ's favorite designation for Himself was the "Son of man." This designation identified Him with humanity. Being born of a woman He was born a man, but without the sin that comes from a man. In the Scriptures it is not the woman who begets a child, it is the father, a man (Gen. 5). Furthermore, it is the man's "seed" that actually begets the child. So the Bible indicates that a child inherits his nature from his father. Ever since the fall man has had a fallen, evil nature that has a desire for sin and this is the only nature a father can pass on to his "seed."
However, Gen. 3:15 speaks about a woman having a "seed." This is the only place in the Scriptures such an anomaly is mentioned. Apart from a man women just don't have a "seed." They must get that from a man. (Yet today women are still reliant upon men. Women do not even have a name apart from a man. They either have their husband's name or their father's. Many have tried to get around this with no success) With this prophecy the Lord was telling humanity that the day would come where a woman would have a seed and give birth to a "man, " apart from a man. The reason for this was unknown to mankind until around 4000 years later when a woman conceived a child without a man being involved. She was instead conceived by the Holy Ghost. Being a woman Mary had humanity to supply to her "seed, " but since there was no man involved to impart his evil nature, the humanity was not tainted with sin. It appears to have been very much like Adam's nature before the fall. Thus Jesus Christ is born the "Son of Man."
Since Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, which is very God himself, there is a divine element to Christ. Unlike His human nature, this God nature is eternal. Christ was not born God; He always was God. What was new and a great mystery is that God was born a true man with all the original characteristics inherent a man. He was in the likeness of sinful flesh, but not sinful flesh Himself. Judas spoke the truth in Matt. 27:4 where he said he had betrayed "the innocent blood." A person can be innocent of some things, but Christ was innocent of everything. Thus he is rightly called "THE innocent blood" in distinction from all other men. (If you don't have a King James Bible this truth is hidden from you! )
However, the question remains. Since Christ was fully God and fully man, what was the nature of His blood? Acts 20:28 says "God" purchased the church with his "own blood, " but does this mean Christ's blood is only divine and eternal? Not necessarily. Since Christ is God, then any part of His nature, being, or body is considered "his own." There is nothing in the Scriptures I can find that says God had blood in any sense before the incarnation. For that matter He didn't have a human body before then either. Yes, God appeared in a human body in the Old testament, but He was not yet human. It was not until Christ took on the "body thou hast prepared for me" that he became a man.
Christ got His physical blood the same way we did, He was born with it. It was prepared in Mary's womb with the rest of His body. There is no reason to believe the physical elements of Christ's blood were much different than ours apart from sin. True, since God is His father His blood wais not corrupt and did not carry death as our does, but it was by all appearances physically the same. His body was in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), and it stands to reason his blood, being part of his body, was in the likeness of sinful blood.
The divine and lasting element of Christ's blood is harder to pin down. We know His blood is still available to wash a sinner and purge him from his sins, but these spiritual qualities are a mystery. About all we can say is Christ's blood has two natures like Christ Himself. One human and physical, and one spiritual and deity.
The Redeeming Blood
The first indication of Christ shedding His blood and purchasing our redemption is found in the garden of Gethsemane. There, while He was praying and contemplating the horrible ordeal ahead of Him, he sweat "as it were great drops of blood" (Luke 24:44). Even if these drops were not actual blood (notice it says "as it were..."), they are identified with blood and thus the atonement. These drops came from His pores and likely fell to the ground. They were the first drops of many that would fall over the next several hours.
Not long after the scene in the garden Christ was arrested and likely man-handled by the Roman soldiers. When He appeared before the high priest he was buffeted and smitten which could have caused bloodshed (Matt. 26:67). A little later Pilate ordered Christ scourged and by necessity the blood flew through the air hitting the soldiers, bystanders, and generally splattering the whole area (Matt. 27:26). Afterwards the soldiers in mockery formed a crown of thorns and beat it onto his head with rods and more blood was shed (Matt. 27:29). At Calvary more of the precious substance was shed with His nailing to the cross. And even after His death the final amount fell to the ground (John 19:34). The area around Christ looked much like the scene around the brazen altar of the Old Testament, a bloody mess, and God was "well pleased" (Isa. 53:10).
Some teach there is a sort of magic in the physical blood of Christ. Your author has heard it said, "If one could just get one drop of the blood of Christ, he could save and heal the whole world." Their attempt at exalting Christ is notable, but their doctrine is lacking. Christ's blood was splattered all over the place during the 12 hours before His death. It was most certainly on the Roman soldiers and their whips, but no magic was performed on them. The soldier who pierced Christ's side after His death surely was splattered by the falling blood, yet he received no magic either. That blood was just left there for anyone to walk through or touch, but by itself, it helped no one. No, the "magic" is not in Christ's blood as blood. It is in Christ Himself!
To receive Christ's blood one must receive Christ himself (John 1:12-13). With Christ the sinner receives a life he did not live (1John 5:12), a death he did not die (Rom. 6:3), and a blood atonement he could not purchase (Heb. 9:14). We need all three. These are all aspects of the one act of salvation.
Application of the Blood
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’ s veins; Many times have we sang this old song of the faith. It was written by William Cowper and first published in 1772. It is one of many of the old hymns that speak of the atoning blood of Christ. The modern trend, however, is to omit reference to the blood in "Gospel Music." Today's music emphasizes the believer and what he can get (love, prosperity, etc.) while the older hymns emphasize Christ, His redemption, and His blood. One of my favorite hymns, written by Isaac Watts, starts, "Alas and did my Saviour BLEED and did my soverign die...." Even if today's "singers" don't know where redemption comes from and its price, the old saints did. They knew from reading their King James Bible that blood had to be applied to a sinner to wash him from his sins.They knew the following truths about Christ's blood. It:
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Think for a minute, dear reader, and forget much of the nonsense you hear floating around in "Christian" radio, television, and some commentaries. The Bible does not say Christ's death alone brings the virtues mentioned above; it is His blood that redeems. There is a large segment of believers who claim "blood" is a synonym for "death." There has even been "Bibles" produced that transpose "death" for "blood" in many instances (Good News for Modern Man, New English Bible, etc.) They insist blood is just another way of saying death. To be fair and true to the Scriptures, sometimes "blood" does refer to death, violence, and other things rather that strictly blood (Matt. 27:25; Acts 5:28). Also, sometimes the word is used figuratively (John 6:53-54). It is usually easy to tell from the context the meaning. But when it comes to salvation and redemption "blood" means blood.
What many forget is death is a state of being. It is not a substance that can be literally applied. True, Christ was dead and is now alive, and when we receive Him we receive His death because He was once in the state of death. But blood is not a state of being; it is a literal, tangible substance that CAN be applied to something. Christ shed His blood, remember? It is no longer part of His body. It is thus available to wash and cleanse a believer. How can one be washed with death? That is like using the state of sleep to wash your car. It just won't work.
While on the cross and immediately before a legal transaction occured between Christ and God that held all the heavens spellbound. While Christ was sheeding his blood the physical elements were falling to the ground while the spiritual element was atoning in heaven. It was by this blood Christ could enter into the holy place an purchase our redemption (Heb. 9:12). The price was paid on earth, redemption obtained in heaven, making it possible for salvation to be applied to the soul.
The death of Christ and the application of His blood are BOTH required for salvation. One is meaningless without the other. The ordinance of Lord's Supper proves this. It has two distinct elements in it; bread to represent the broken body of death, and the fruit of the vine to represent blood. One must wrest the Scriptures to claim death and blood are one and the the same. His death without shedding His blood would have been worthless. So would shedding His blood without death.
Here the obvious question arises, if Christ's blood must be applied to a believer's heart, where is it and how it it applied? Is there a "fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins"? The answer is yes there is, but it is not a physical fountain filled with physical blood. Remember, something can be literal without it being physical. Your heart or mind is literally real, but it is not physical. It does not dwell in the physical realm. This is the same with anything that has to do with the soul, spirit, and spiritual realm. The God of creation is very real, but other than His manifestation in Jesus Christ He is a Spirit (John 4:24). His essence is spirit. Satan also is a real being, but he also is a spirit (Eph. 6:12). Clearly, something can be literal and real without it being physical.
Even though one's heart (as used in the Scriptures referring to the seat of emotions and will) is not physical, it is the very part of man that must believe to be saved (Luke 24:25, John 14:1, Acts 8:37, Rom. 10:9-10). One's conscience is the same. It is real but not physical. However, Heb. 9:13-14 make a profound statement
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:13-14) Notice how Christ offered Himself and His blood to the Father "through the eternal Spirit." Notice also how this blood offered through the Spirit can "purge your conscience." This is in stark contrast to the offering of the physical blood of bulls and goats. In the Old Testament the physical blood of animals could purify the flesh, but only the spiritual blood of Christ can purify one's heart, conscience, and soul (Heb. 10:39).
In short, the literal (not necessarily physical) blood of Christ is presently and continuously available to redeem sinners and cleanse believers (1John 1:7). It resides in the third heaven; in the spiritual realm, where it was presented to the Father by Jesus Christ. It was by the right of his shed, innocent blood that the "man Christ Jesus" could enter the holy place, and once there He could present that blood and obtain eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12). Since His blood was not just the blood of a man but also the blood of the eternal God, it can provide an eternal redemption.
Physical versus Spiritual
Concerning the physical elements of Christ's blood that could be seen, the question arises, what about it? Where is it now? Your author has heard some pretty outrageous claims by some in this regard. One is the physical blood was raptured to heaven during Christ's ascension. This may sound appealing to certain ears, but there is not one verse in the Scriptures to suggest it. This reasoning comes from dwelling on the physical at the expense of the spiritual (1Sam. 16:7).
One cannot only look at the physical side of things and see the whole picture. He must consider the spiritual aspect. Often the physical is just an image or figure of the spiritual (Heb. 9:9, Heb. 9:24; 1Pet. 3:21), the spiritual having the real consequence. The physical blood of Christ came from Mary and from the earth. At His crucification it returned to the earth, and that is where the Scriptures leave it. As we said there is no magic in it. This should not sound strange to a believer. Most of you have saved friends and loved ones who have gone on to glory. Where are their bodies? Still here on the earth while the real them, the soul, is in heaven.
In relation to this, Dear Believer, at the rapture what happens to your blood? The Bible says there is only "flesh and bones" in heaven; no blood of man (1Cor. 15:50). In fact, Christ said His resurrected body was "flesh and bones" apart from blood (Luke 24:39), and we are promised a body like unto His (Phil. 3:21). Where does our blood go then? It doesn't go anywhere. It stays where it is when the rapture occurs.
Imagine the scene, a trumpet sounds, bodies go up, and large pools of blood fall to the ground in their wake as they ascend. We leave our rotten blood behind. It is so corrupt that the Lord wants no part of it. He will fix our bodies, but He abandons our blood. It also seems He abandoned the physical part of His own blood while keeping the spiritual, eternal, and divine part in the holy place and on our souls. Thus God's "own blood" will exist for ever to supply believers an eternal redemption.
God is a spirit (John 4:24), He must be worshipped in spirit (John 4:24), man's soul and spirit are spirit (Rom. 8:16), sin is a spiritual concept (Rom. 7:14), and believers are spiritually baptized (1Cor. 12:13). Therefore, sin must be spiritually redeemed with spiritual blood (Acts 20:28).
As we said earlier, these subjects are a mystery, but we can know what the Lord has revealed. One thing is clear to a Bible Believer, however, the blood of Christ is literal, real, and exists in heaven to provide eternal redemption to all who receive Jesus Christ.