The Blood of Christ

A study of the meaning of the "blood of Christ," pointing out the many mystical meanings that have been used to explain such.

©1999 by James A. Fowler. All rights reserved.

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   The blood of Christ has always been an important concept to Christian people down through the centuries of Christian belief. The inspired Scriptures contain numerous references to the significance of the blood of Christ.

   But as with any object of belief, there are those who take the object and ascribe to it meaning that it was never intended to possess. Some Christians have done that with the blood of Christ, giving it magical and mystical significance that the Scriptures do not ascribe to it. The purpose of this study will be to expose some of the improper conceptions of the blood of Christ and to look carefully at what the Scriptures legitimately say about the blood of Christ.

Unbiblical Conceptions of the Blood of Christ

   The unbiblical conceptions of the blood of Christ can be divided into two categories: (a) those which regard the blood of Jesus as less important than Scripture indicates, and (b) those which regard the blood of Jesus as having more significance that Scripture indicates.

   Obviously, there are those who have diminished the importance of the blood of Jesus. Christianity has been caricatured by some as a "slaughterhouse religion," because it speaks about the shed blood of Jesus as the sacrificial death for sin that was prefigured in the death of sacrificial animals in the Old Covenant. Some think that this makes Christianity a revolting, "bloody" religion with a "gospel of gore." Some denominations have even removed from their hymnals all hymns which refer to the blood of Jesus, so as not to offend people's sensitivities! (Genuine Christian sensitivities are not offended by reference to the blood of Christ!)

   There have been so-called "scholars" who have tried to convince us that concepts of blood in Scripture are but carry-overs from pagan religions which were introduced superstitiously into the Jewish religion and thus into the Christian religion. Their presupposition is that all religions have evolved and that all religious features can be traced back to their alleged origins in the "evolution of religion." The explanation they offer is that blood covenants and blood sacrifices within animistic and spiritistic religions are the origin of such ideas in the Old Testament, and that mystic conceptions of the efficacy of blood in the mystery religions are the mythic base of all conceptions of blood in Judeo-Christian thinking. Their reasoning is based on unsubstantiated presuppositions, and warped by unbelief!

   Others would diminish the importance of the blood of Jesus by indicating that it does not matter if Jesus ever lived, or if He ever had blood flowing in His veins or shed His blood on a cross. Historicity and the tangibility of the person of Jesus Christ are irrelevant in their perspective. All that matters is how the "story" (they call it "myth") affects people in each age, and whether people find religious comfort and a sense of peace and love in what they believe. Historical veracity, whether it really happened and is true or not, means nothing to these existentialists. All religion is regarded as pure subjectivism and spiritualized fantasy. They certainly regard the blood of Jesus as less important than Scripture indicates!

   On the other hand, there are those who would attribute to the blood of Jesus more significance than Scripture indicates. People have a tendency to take a truth (particularly a "religious" truth which accumulate superstitious significance), and let their imaginations run wild with it. The original truth soon develops many hypothetical accretions which have no substantiation. People have a tendency to build traditions around their interpretations, and these sometimes become as important, or more important, than the original Scriptural truth itself.

   Roman Catholicism, for example, has developed an inordinate emphasis on the "sacred blood" of Jesus and the "sacred heart" of Jesus. Perhaps you have seen Roman Catholic art representations of Jesus with His heart opened to reveal His "sacred heart" with an aura of divine glory emanating from it. Those who were brought up in this Roman Catholic background report that the blood of Jesus was always treated as something very mysterious, something "secret" that could never be fully understood by lay-people. As the word "occult" means something secretive, the Roman Catholic tendency to hide the blood of Jesus in secrets and mysteries seems rather occultish.

   The doctrine of transubstantiation is also part of Roman Catholic belief. The bread and wine of the Lord's Supper (what they call the "eucharist") are considered to actually change substance into the material body and blood of Jesus. Thus it is that Roman Catholic altar-boys are warned of the seriousness of dropping a crumb of the wafer, lest the very body of Jesus be trampled underfoot. Priests are cautious not to spill a single drop of the wine, lest the actual blood of Jesus be spilled again. Young Catholic children are told stories of how heroic priests gave their lives in martyrdom to protect the body and blood of Jesus, as they were carrying the bread and wine somewhere and were accosted by robbers or thieves. Roman Catholics are sometimes appalled when they observe a protestant Christian taking the Lord's Supper and see them chewing the bread, for to them that would be equivalent to chewing on the flesh of Jesus. Catholic lay-people simply allow the wafer to melt on their tongue whereby the flesh of Jesus is thought to be infused into them, and the priest then drinks the wine, allowing the blood of Jesus allegedly to be infused into him so he can represent Jesus Christ and disseminate His benefits to others.

   There are many protestant Christians who have developed the same kinds of interpretative accretions about the blood of Jesus. They too refer to the blood of Jesus as being "mysterious" and as having eternal mystical powers.

   Begining with the premise stated in Leviticus 17:11, "the life of the flesh is in the blood," it is often speculated that blood is the carrier of spiritual life. (This is an obvious misinterpretation because the verse does not read, "the life of God is in the blood.") But the misinterpretation is then amplified, as they go on to explain that when God created man, the blood flowing in the circulatory system of Adam was the "divine addition."1 It is explained that "blood is sacred"2 in that God's life flows in the bloodstream of man. (Genesis 2:7 seems to indicate that God's life was breathed into the spirit (n'shamah) of man instead of his bloodstream.)

   These same authors go on to indicate that when Adam sinned by eating of the "tree of theknowledge of good and evil," he contracted "blood poisoning."3 Somehow or other his blood became spiritually tainted, and thenceforth the poison of sin was carried in the blood-line of the human race. Natural human blood is thus regarded as "sinful blood."4 (Question: On what basis can the adjective "sinful" be properly applied to the amoral physical substance of human blood?)

   They continue to conjecture that since Jesus was supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit, He never had any sinful human blood in His veins, no blood of the blood-line of Adam and the human race, no tainted, contaminated, sinful blood.5 (What does it mean then that He was "born of a woman" Galatians 4:4?) They go on to proclaim that God's life flowed in the blood-stream of Jesus,6 "supernatural blood,"7 the "precious blood" (I Peter 1:19), affirming that "Jesus' blood was eternal life."8 It is even advocated that Jesus had the pure, divine "blood-type"9 of God. (There is no Biblical basis to advocate that God has a blood-type since Jesus says "God is Spirit" - John 4:24.)

   Indicating that God places great value in blood and delights in blood, these authors explain that the shed-blood of Jesus on the cross was not really for our sakes, but for God. It is "precious" to Him; He is satisifed with that blood sacrifice and finds it acceptable. M.R. DeHaan writes,

"As the eternal High Priest, He (Jesus) ascended into heaven to present the blood in the Holy of Holies where God dwells, and that blood is there today, pleading for us and prevailing for us. Every drop of the precious blood is still in existence, just as pure, just as potent, just as fresh as two-thousand years ago." 10

Similarly, H.A. Maxwell Whyte explains,

"How Jesus transported His precious Blood from Calvary to heaven is not understood by mortal men, but the Scripture shows that He fulfilled the type, and therefore He must have sprinkled His own blood upon the mercy-seat (the throne of God) in heaven." 11

He notes that this is indeed "mysterious."12

   Those who think in these ways go on to surmise that God has a heavenly "blood-bank"13 of Jesus' blood, and that when a person becomes a Christian his soul is actually and materially "covered" by the liquid blood of Jesus. (How can a non-material entity such as a human soul be materially covered or overwhelmed by the blood of Jesus?) Others speak of a vat of Jesus' blood into which Christians are allegedly baptized, a "blood-bath," or a fount of Jesus' blood from which we are sprinkled.

   It is explained that God wants to give "blood-transfusions"14 to mankind by the work of the Holy Spirit, that the "precious" blood of Jesus can disinfect15 man's sinful blood and that the supernatural, sinless and incorruptible blood of Jesus, constituting "the eternal life of God,"16 can flow through the veins of a Christian.

   Such fanciful language concerning the blood of Jesus is seen in many hymns. Examples of such are:

"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains." 17

"Sprinkle your soul with the blood of the Lamb,...
Wash in the fountain opened for sin,...
Hide in the saving sin-cleansing blood,...
Find peace and shelter under the blood,...18

Most people take these phrases as but the symbolism of "poetic license," but there are some who take them quite literally.

   Having come into contact with Jesus' blood, or having experienced the transfusion of Jesus' blood, it is then explained that Christians can enter into the Holy of Holies of God's presence experientially, but not without "pleading the blood."19 This is a popular phrase within some Christian circles:

­ They "plead the blood" to relieve fears and depression.
­ They "plead the blood" to cast out demons.
­ They "plead the blood" to remove a curse.
­ They "plead the blood" to heal and work miracles.
­ They "plead the blood" to get what they call the "baptism in the Spirit" and to speak in tongues.
­ They "plead the blood" to be delivered from difficult circumstances, and to keep them from all accidents.
­ They "plead the blood" to protect their home and family.
­ They "plead the blood" for revival, for intercessory prayer and for worship.

   They go on to say, "Since the life of Jesus is in His Blood, if we plead, honor, sprinkle and sing about it, we actually introduce the life of God into our worship."20 "We sprinkle the Blood with our tongues, by repeating the word, "Blood, Blood, Blood of Jesus."21 "The more we plead the blood the more power we have,"22 power to conquer the world for Jesus, power to clean up the church, power against satan, as we use the blood as a weapon of spiritual warfare, which fights sinful infection like our white blood cells fight infection in our physical body. (This all sounds to me like a system whereby man thinks he can manipulate God. "Pleading the Blood" becomes a formula, a procedure, a technique, whereby man attempts to coerce God into action. All one has to do is push God's "blood-button," and God will respond like a remote-control God. He just can't help but do what we say when we "use"23 the word "blood." This is fallacious and has no basis in Scripture!)

   This idea of "pleading the blood" leads then to the idea of "the power of the blood." "The more we plead the Blood, the more power we have."24 (Where are the references in the New Testament where any of the Greek words for "power" are ever used in conjunction with the blood of Jesus. I have to question, therefore, whether the blood of Jesus has any on-going inherent or intrinsic power, in and of itself.)

   We might even have cause to question the theology of a very familiar hymn entitled, "There's Power in the Blood."

"Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood.
Would you o'er evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.
Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood.
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide.
There's wonderful power in the blood.
Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood.
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood."25

   Properly understood these phrases are valid, when we recognize the efficacy of Christ's shed blood in His sacrificial death, but we must beware or portraying an on-going experiential application of an independent "blood-power." God is the all-power, omnipotent God. Jesus is seated at the "right hand of power," of God (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62). The power is in God, not in the blood!

   The blood of Jesus is regarded by many of these writers as far more than merely an historical fact. It has become for them a present, living, potent reality. They have personified the blood of Jesus. They have deified the blood of Jesus (even spelling it with a capital "B").26 They seem to worship the blood of Jesus. Evidence of their personification of the blood is seen when they refer to the blood of Jesus speaking to God, "The blood cries out 'sin is covered.'"27 "The blood fights for me."28 The blood is regarded as making the Bible come alive. "Since the 'life is in the blood,' the blood of Christ imparts to the Bible the very life of God by which it becomes a living book."
Repeating the phrase "blood of Jesus" (almost like a mantra), some advocate "sprinkling the blood" by their verbal repetitions over one's paycheck in order to get an increase in salary, "sprinkling the blood" over one's automobile so it will run perfectly, "sprinkling the blood" over the airplane so you will be assured of a safe trip.

   We must beware of fanciful, speculative "spiritualizing." We must beware of mystifying, superstitious fantasies about the blood of Jesus. This has often been a result of taking Old Testament "types" and pushing them beyond their pictorial pre-figuring and thus developing one's theology around vague conjectures. Types are valid. They are pictures. The sacrificial types of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But we cannot take the pictures and superimpose them on the New Testament to create spiritual concepts that are never noted by the inspired Scripture of God! Many Christians have done so and are guilty of regarding the blood of Jesus as having more significance than Scripture indicates.

The Material Blood of Jesus

The blood that flowed in the veins and through the circulatory system of the "man, Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5), was material human blood. It was comprised of plasma (suspension fluid), erythrocytes (red corpuscles), leucocytes (white blood cells or corpuscles), thrombocytes (platelets that facilitate clotting) and the hemoglobin which contains iron in the red blood cells.

   This is indeed a denial of what many have said and written about the blood of Jesus. But unless and until it can be documented where Scripture says otherwise, this is the conclusion that must be drawn from Scripture.

   Where does Scripture state that Jesus did not have human blood? Or that Jesus did not partake of the blood of Adam? Jesus was "born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), but these authors and speakers will go to great lengths to try to explain obstetrically that no blood flowed from the mother, Mary, to the fetus of Jesus.29 Jesus was a "man," "made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7,8).

   Where does Scripture say that natural human blood is "sinful blood?" Such an adjective is never applied to blood in the Bible. Natural man has a sinful spiritual nature and sinful behavior, but it is not in his bloodstream!

   They say that Jesus had the "blood of God" flowing in His bloodstream, "divine blood,"30 "the blood-type of God's blood."31 God is Spirit. He is not comprised of "flesh and blood," so how can He have a blood-type? The "man, Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5) had such physical blood, but God, the Father, does not. Acts 20:28 is sometimes mistakenly used to attempt to document that God has blood: Paul refers to "the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood." The pronoun "He" is best interpreted as referring to the incarnate Jesus Christ (as in Eph. 1:7; I Peter 1:19; Rev. 5:9), rather than to God the Father.

   This supernatural blood is alleged to have carried God's eternal life within it, being "sinless blood,"32 incorruptible blood and imperishable blood. The imperishability of such blood is further explained by M.R. DeHaan:

"Every drop of blood which flowed in Jesus' body is still in existence, and is just as fresh as when it flowed from His wounded brow and hand and feet and side. The blood that flowed from His unbroken skin in Gethsemane; the blood that was smeared about His back when the cruel, weighted thongs cuts through His flesh as the flagellator scourged Him; the blood that oozed out under the thorny crown and flowed from His hands, His head, His feet was never destroyed for it was incorruptible blood. Not one drop of that blood was lost or wasted." 33

   As we have previously noted, these people believe that the material, divine (how can these adjectives be put together?) blood of Jesus was taken to heaven, that it is mysteriously transfused to all Christians in the Body of Christ, the Church, and that the life of God is in our blood, because we are partakers of the blood of Jesus.

   If we are to remain true to the literal statements of God's inspired Scripture, I do not see how we can but believe in the human and material blood of Jesus. His blood was just like yours and mine! He bled just like you and me. And, if I might be so audacious as to say it, His blood would have been just as susceptible to H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. as yours and mine! His blood was natural, human blood, not supernatural, divine blood. His blood-type had to have been derived from Mary, his human mother. If His blood had splattered on those who flogged Him, it would not have purged them from their sins, as some have suggested. Had a drop of His blood fallen from the cross on a soldier's toe, it would not have "saved" him, as some have suggested. Jesus could have given a pint of blood to the Red Cross (had there been such an organization), and it would have had no supernatural or spiritual benefit to the one who received it.

   Where is the material blood of Jesus right now? The Scripture does not deem it necessary to tell us. It probably evaporated or disintegrated, oxidized and returned to dust, like the human blood of all other men who have shed blood and died. We know that Jesus was physically resurrected, but I Corinthians 15:50 indicates that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."

   Beware of mystical spiritualizing and fanciful superstition which have developed into "traditional interpretations." A literal reading of the Scriptures does not allow us to draw any other conclusion than that the material blood of the "man, Christ Jesus," was the same kind of human blood as yours and mine.

The Biblical Significance of the Blood of Jesus

   A thorough study of all ninety-seven occurences where the Greek word for "blood" (haima) is found in the New Testament, reveals that approximately twenty-five of those references refer to the blood of Jesus and the significance of His death. We need to turn our attention now to a positive Scriptural understanding of the significance of the blood of Jesus.

   To properly understand the New Testament references to Christ's shed blood and death, one has to understand that the shed blood of Jesus fulfills the "types" of sacrificial death pictured in the Old Testament. The "types" pointed to and pictorially pre-figured the sacrificial death of Jesus, particularly those of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus chapter sixteen. In the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ we have the true and ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the removal of men's sins. But we must keep in mind that the Old Testament concept of "atonement" was but that of a "covering" for sin. John the Baptist proclaims in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." In the new covenant we have that which is much better, not just the "covering" of sin, but the "taking away" of sin.

   The material shedding of blood was an important part of what God wanted to fulfill in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. But we must not allow the shed blood to become an inordinate focus. Had Jesus shed His blood and not died, such would not have been sufficient for redemption. The price would not have been paid. Redemption is not effected by "bleeding," but only by death. Bloodshed does not constitute death. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), and the price that had to be paid for the redemption of man was the taking of the death-penalty.

   Jesus did not die by "bleeding." Bleeding was not the cause of His death; He did not bleed to death. In fact, He did not die by execution on a cross. He "laid down His life" (John 10:17,18; I John 3:16), and "gave up His spirit" (John 19:30).

   John MacArthur Jr.makes these same points when he writes:

"...'the shedding of blood' in Scripture is an expression that means much more than just bleeding. It refers to violent sacrificial death. If just bleeding could buy salvation, why did not Jesus simply bleed without dying? Of course, He had to die to be the perfect sacrifice, and without His death, our redemption could not have been purchased by His blood."34

"...if Christ had bled but not died, salvation would not have been purchased. In that sense, it is not his blood but his death that saves us. And when Scripture talks about the shedding of blood, the point is not mere bleeding, but dying by violence as a sacrifice."35

"It is not the actual liquid that cleanses us from our sins, but the work of redemption Christ accomplished in pouring it out."36

It is important to note that it is not necessarily the physical death that is the most important feature of Christ's death anyway. Jesus incurred all of the death consequences that occured in Adam. Beyond the physical death we must see the spiritual death wherein Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsake Me?" (Matthew 27:46). He became the "first-born from the dead" spiritually (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5) in order to become the "first-born among many brethren" (Romans 8:29), likewise born spiritually from spiritual death. To understand this is essential to a full Biblical understanding of the death of Jesus Christ.

   The Scripture evidence concerning the significance and efficacy of the shed blood of Jesus indicates that the blood of Jesus relates to:

1.    Redemption. Redemption means to "buy back" or "buy out of" in order to set free by the payment of a ransom price. Dr. Luke writes of the "Church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). Paul explains to the Ephesians that "we have redemption through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). Peter refers to our being "redeemed...with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless" (I Peter 1:19). John concurs by noting that Christ "purchased for God with His blood men from every tribe, tongue, people and nation" (Revelation 5:9).

2.    Propitiation. The shed blood of Jesus in His sacrificial death was the objective satisfaction of God's death penalty for sin. "God displayed Jesus as a propitiation in His blood" (Romans 3:25).

3.    Cleansing. As the penalty of sin was taken in the death of the Savior, the blood of Christ thus cleanses from sin. "The blood of Christ...will cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Hebrews 9:14). "The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). The apocalyptic literature of the Revelation refers to those who "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).

4.    Forgiveness. The death of Christ, symbolized by the concept of shed blood, releases and forgives men from the penalty of their sins when received by faith. "We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses" (Ephesians 1:7). He "released us from our sins by His blood" (Revelation 1:5), for "without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

5.    Access to God. There could be no access to God unless our sins which alienate us from God were dealt with in death. Even the Gentiles were "brought near (to God) by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). As Christians "we have confidence to enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19).

6.    Reconcilation. The basis of our alienation from God is taken away by His taking the death for us in order to reconcile us to God. "Through Him (Christ) God reconciled all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20).

7.    Justification. By the vicarious death of Jesus Christ we are declared righteous and made righteous. Paul refers to Christians "having been justified by His blood" (Romans 5:9).

8.    Sanctification. The death of Jesus and the blood shed therein serves to "set apart" Christian people to function as God intended in holiness. "Jesus... that He might sanctify the people through His blood, suffered outside the gate" (Hebrews 13:12).

9.    Conquest of evil. Satan, the one "having the power of death" (Hebrews 2:14), has been overcome by Christ taking the death consequences for us. Christians indwelt by Christ continue to be "overcomers." "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony" (Revelation 12:11).

10.    Basis of the New Covenant. God established a covenant with man as was the custom with men, on the basis of shed blood. The sign of the old covenant was circumcision, and they had the shed blood of sacrificial animals. In the new covenant Christ became the sacrifical lamb and took the cutting of shed blood for us, cutting sin from the hearts of men spiritually. "God brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep (Jesus Christ) through the blood of the eternal covenant" (Hebrews 13:20).

11.    Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is a commemorative celebration wherein the emblems of blood and juice represent and symbolize the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. It is not a sacrament with saving significance, nor is there any Biblical basis for such a doctrine of "transubstantiation," which teaches that the substance of the bread and juice changes into the actual body and blood of Jesus. The grape juice was a natural symbol for blood. The Old Testament refers to the juice of grapes with the symbolism of blood: Genesis 49:11 - "He washes his garment in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes." Deuteronomy 32:14 - "of the blood of grapes you drank wine." There was a natural bridge in Hebrew thought between the drinking of wine and the symbolism of blood. Now the Hebrews would not have even considered drinking actual, material blood! That was forbidden by their kosher food laws of the old covenant (Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; 17:10,14), but there was this conceptual bridge from the "blood of grapes" which could then be applied to the "blood of Christ." At the Last Supper with His disciples Jesus said, "This is the new covenant in My blood" (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; I Corinthians 11:25), indicating that the juice represented His blood which would be shed in sacrificial death. Paul also asked of the Corinthians, "Is not the cup of blessing...a sharing in the blood of Christ?" (I Corinthians 10:16). The passage in John 6:53-56 where Jesus speaks of "drinking His blood" must also be considered in its symbolic intent of assimilating the significance of Christ's efficacious blood and sacrificial death for our own lives.

   If a Christian honestly and accurately studies the New Testament references to the "blood of Jesus," it is obvious that the emphasis of the Scriptures is not upon the material blood of Jesus and its alleged eternal preservation. Nor is there any mystical partaking or communion with that material blood.

   The shed blood of Jesus represents the sacrificial death of Jesus wherein He took our death that we might have His life, inclusive of all the spiritual consequences thereof such as forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, etc.

   According to Scottish theologian and preacher, James S. Stewart,

"...the phrase 'the blood of Christ' stood simply as a synonym for the death of Christ, a synonym expressing in a peculiarly vivid and emphatic way the awfulness of the price at which redemption was purchased, and the absoluteness of the devotion with which the Redeemer gave Himself for men."37

John MacArthur likewise explains

"...when Scripture speaks of the blood of Christ...­it encompasses His death, the sacrifice for our sins, and all that is involved in the atonement."38

Johannes Behm writes:

"Like the cross, the 'blood of Christ' is simply another and even more graphic phrase for the death of Christ in its soteriological significance." 39

"The early Christian representation of the blood of Christ as sacrificial blood is simply the metaphorical garment clothing the thought of self-offering, the obedience to God, which Christ demonstrated in the crucifixion." 40

"The blood of simply a pregnant verbal symbol for the saving work of Christ...the language is metaphorical...the blood is only a graphic term for death." 41

"There can be no question in either Paul or John of the kind of blood mysticism we find in the mysteries." 42

   The efficacy of the blood of Jesus is to be understood by the fact that Jesus gave up His physical and material life-blood in obedience unto death (Philippians 2:8). By His death on the cross (physical and spiritual) the death-penalty is paid. We are thereby redeemed and reconciled to God in order to partake of Christ's spiritual life. This is not a partaking of His material, liquid blood running through our veins, but His Spirit within our spirit, for as Paul writes, "If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9). There is no Scriptural reason to believe that there is a bowl of the liquid blood of Jesus in heaven. Nor is there reason to believe that there is a fountain filled with Jesus' blood wherein all Christians are baptized in the flood of a blood-bath. Such is not to be found in Scripture.

   Please understand! In no way do I want to diminish or denigrate the importance of the shed blood of Jesus, His sacrifical death on Calvary for the sins of mankind. It is my intent to remain true to Biblical teaching and the complete historical and theological foundation of the shed blood of Jesus. But I am obliged as an honest student of Scripture to employ acceptable hermeneutical principles of interpretation and to repudiate superstitious speculations and the "spiritualizing" of Scripture. I cannot accept hypothetical and mystical applications of the blood of Jesus. Such false ideas entrap innocent and gullible Christian people into false faith, into the deification of the blood of Christ, into occultic forms of magical fetishes such as "pleading the blood" or "sprinkling the blood" by repeating verbal mantras. Such concepts and procedures relegate important Biblical truth to the realm of "hocus-pocus" and constitute what Paul would call "another gospel" which is not gospel at all! (Galatians 1:8).

   Praise God for the shed blood of Jesus Christ! We should rejoice in the Biblical significance of the shed blood of Christ's sacrifical death, wherein He took our death that we might have His life.


1      DeHaan, M.R., M.D., The Chemistry of the Blood. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, pb, 1943, pg. 34.
2      DeHaan, M.R., Ibid., pg. 37.
3      DeHaan, M.R., Ibid., pg. 17.
4      DeHaan, M.R., Ibid., pg. 18.
5      DeHaan, M.R., Ibid., pg. 18.
6      Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, The Power of the Blood. Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker House, pb, 1973, pg. 17.
7      DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 40.
     DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 14.
9      Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 17.
10    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 28.
11    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 64.
12    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 14.
13    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 41.
14    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 40.
15    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 19.
16    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 19
17    Cowper, William, Hymn entitled "There is a Fountain."
18    Foote, John, Hymn entitled "When I See the Blood."
19    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pgs. 23,24; Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pgs. 11,32,67.
20    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 69.
21    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 79.
22    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 79.
23    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pgs. 32,41,44.
24    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 79.
25    Jones, Lewis E., Hymn entitled "There's Power in the Blood."
26    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., throughout the book.
27    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 30.
28    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 23.
29    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pgs. 31-34; Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pgs 15,16.
30    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pg. 35.
31    Whyte, H.A. Maxwell, Op cit., pg. 17.
32    DeHaan, M.R., Op cit., pgs 26,28.
33    DeHaan, M.R.,Op cit., pg. 27.
34    MacArthur, John, Jr., "John MacArthur's View of the Blood of Christ." Distributed by Word of Grace Comm. Pg. 2.
35    MacArthur, John, Jr., Ibid. Pg. 3.
36    MacArthur, John, Jr., Grace to You. Article entitled, "I Believe in the Precious Blood." Summer, 1988. Vol. 11, No. 3. pgs. 1-3.
37    Stewart, James S., A Man in Christ: The Vital Elements of St. Paul's Religion. New York: Harper and Brothers. n.d. pg. 237.
38    MacArthur, John, Jr., Grace to You. "I Believe in the Precious Blood." Pg. 2.
39    Kittel, Gerhard, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1964, Volume I, pg. 174
40    Kittel, Gerhard, ed., Ibid., pg. 175.
41    Kittel, Gerhard, ed., Ibid., pg. 175
42    Kittel, Gerhard, ed., Ibid., pg. 175.