Understanding the Blood
I just wanted to share this lesson I taught recently in respect to the blood as discussed in Scripture. All too often the blood is misapplied yet it is my hope that understanding the blood will bring about certain growth.
Understanding the Blood
Springs of Refreshing Fellowship Church
1932 Gwynn Oak Ave
Woodlawn, MD 21207
Elder William James Carter, The 1st
1 August 2013
© The Christian Perspective
Understanding the Blood
It has been said many times that there is a bloodline that runs from Genesis through Revelations. While this may be difficult to prove scripturally the thing that is evident is that the blood has a most definitive place in the spiritual healing of mankind. With that knowledge it is necessary to understand how the blood was used in the Old Testament and how that usage spilled over into the New Testament. However, there must first be an understanding of what blood is.
There are several definitions for the word “blood” used in Scripture. Among those definitions are:
- The death of someone or something (when someone or something is killed) as in the case when Cain killed Abel – Genesis 4
- The life of flesh – Leviticus 17:11
No matter the specific definition “blood” in Scripture is often a reference to sacrifice or atonement. Of the 362 times the word “blood” is employed in the Old Testament it is linked one 103 times to sacrifices. This is significant because blood is an absolute in the washing away of sin – Hebrews 9:22:
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission
Before delving into the Hebraic text it is necessary to explore some history of the use of blood in the Old Testament. Exodus is an example of how God used the blood of animals to bring redemption to His people. The instructions were given to Moses in Chapter 12:3-7:
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Then came the obedience – Versus 28-29:
And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
It is because of the obedience of the Israelites that they did not suffer with the Egyptians. The obedience meant that they were atoned not only by their obedience but also by the proper application of the blood of the lamb. That is to say that there were specific instructions given that had to be adhered to. If the blood had not been properly applied on the doors of the Israelites then those that did not properly apply the blood would have suffered the same fate as the Egyptians.
This moves the discussion to the Levitical application of sacrifices and atonement. Levitical law goes into significant detail as to types of sacrifices sufficient to atone for sin. However the most signicant reasoning for sacrifices is found in Leviticus 17:11:
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.
It is important to note that many of the sacrifices described in Leviticus do not directly mention blood. The reason for this is quite simple because in using an animal for sacrifices by extension means that there has to be a death. It is this death that brings to light the spilling of blood. Hence the first definition of blood comes into play which is the death of someone or something. This is to say that unless there is death or the spilling of blood it is not possible to atone for sin. Hereby atonement must be identified.
Atonement – the act by which God restores a relationship of harmony and unity between Himself and human beings (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
Another definition of “atonement” is:
To avert punishment, especially divine anger, by the payment of a koper, a ransom, which may be of money of which may be of life, Morris, Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, 166 (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology).
This idea of atonement is interesting because when it comes to atoning for sin money was never an issue. There had to be a life taken because the sinner’s penalty for sin was always death (Romans 6:23). Even more the thing scarified for the sinner had to be pure. There had to be neither spot nor blemish or it would not qualify as a sacrifice. Leviticus chapter one gives some insight as to the purity of the animal to be sacrificed.
The animal had to be without blemish. This is the same idea of purity as discussed in Numbers 19:2 wherein the animal had to be without spot. In other words the animal could have no marks upon it and had to be clean in every way. Also, the animal could not have been used in farming. It was to have been an animal specifically set aside for the specific purpose of sacrifice. This is to say that it had to be a “holy” animal because its specific purpose was to stand in for those that deserved the penalty of death because of sin.
It is also important to note that the blood of the animal was to be sprinkled on the altar. Multiple versus point to this requirement but Leviticus 1:5 clearly shows how the blood should be handled. The text:
And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Looking back on verse four of the levitical text it becomes clear that the sacrifice of the animal and the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar was sufficient for God for the atonement of sin or to bring reconciliation between sinful man and a holy God. Additionally the sacrifice of a pure and spotless animal served as a shadow of what was to come concerning the shed blood of Jesus for the sin of the world. The sacrifice was completely and totally innocent in every area and did not deserve to die. Instead the converse is true because of the spotless nature of the sacrifice.
The fact is that Jesus was incarnated for the specific purpose of allowing Himself to be sacrificed. This is the reason that Jesus had to be pure and without blemish. There could be no spots on Him or He would not have qualified to be a sacrificed. Further, Christ had to come through a pure vessel. This is the reason that His earthly birth had to be from a virgin. Moreover Christ could not be tainted with the sinful blood of man. Because of that Jesus was not conceived of in the normal fashion rather the Holy Spirit moved upon Mary and she impregnated with a Pure Vessel so that the blood to be shed would be able to atone for the sin of man.
There is great familiarity with the Passion of Christ. After His false conviction Jesus was whipped, beard pulled and had a crown of thirty-two thorns placed on His head. Even more after He was beat with the cat-of-nine tails a purple robe was placed on His back to mock Him. Later the robe was pulled off. All this meant that there was blood spilled in a number of places. Then a purple robe was placed on His back to mock Him. Later the robe was pulled off. All this meant that there was blood spilled in a number of places. Going down the Via Dolorosa likely meant that more of His blood was spilled. This is not to mention the fact that Christ was nailed to the cross and then pierced in the side to confirm His death.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
With this we can see that the blood of Jesus was spilled in two senses. The first is noted in our first definition of blood in that Jesus lost His physical life thereby His blood was spilled. Additionally the physical blood of Jesus was poured out from His body. This is evident especially in the fact that He was beat with thirty-nine stripes, one less than the legal limit of the day. The blood of Jesus, though, was not ordinary blood rather the blood of Jesus was pure and had not been marred by the sin of man. His blood did not come through Joseph who was born with a sin nature.
This is why the sacrifice of Jesus is so significant. He was able to be the propitiation because of the pureness of His spilled blood. Further, because Jesus voluntarily placed His life in jeopardy His death becomes extremely significant. Not only does His spilled blood appease the Father but that Jesus yielded His life in death (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Romans). This is to say that being temporarily separated from His Father He surrendered His life to the Father (Luke 23:46).
Still the death of Jesus was not the end of what was required to atone for the sin of mankind. It was still necessary to sprinkle the blood on the altar in keeping with the law and set precedent. The fact is that that the blood of bulls and goats provided only a temporary covering for sin. This is the reason the high priest went into the Holy of Holies yearly to sacrifice. Jesus went into the holy place once and for all to atone for the sin of all. Hebrews 9:11-13:
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 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:
I Peter 1:18-19:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.