Skip to comments.DOCTRINE OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
Posted on 05/27/2006 3:16:13 PM PDT by Cvengr
DOCTRINE OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
Spir Dynamics 827 4/17/96; Eph 284-286 5/11/86; Rev 11/3/82; 1 Jn 11/11/81
A. Definition and Description.
1. While our Lord did some bleeding on the cross, He didn't bleed to death, nor does His literal human blood have anything to do with the phrase found throughout the New Testament, "the blood of Christ."
2. Even Greek lexicons recognize this principle when defining the word HAIMA, the Greek word for blood.
a. The Arndt and Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon, p.22, under HAIMA in the paragraph describing the figurative use of the blood of Christ, says, "blood and life as an expiatory sacrifice; especially the blood of Jesus as the means of expiation."
b. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhardt Kittel, Vol I, p.175, "the ideas which the New Testament links with the blood of Christ, since the latter (New Testament), is simply a pregnant verbal symbol of the saving work of Christ."
3. Since the symbolism of the blood is death, two categories of death experienced by Christ on the cross will be examined in this doctrine. His somatic death refers to what happened to His literal blood; His spiritual death refers to what happened to His figurative blood. The somatic death of Christ looks forward to the resurrection, whereas the spiritual death of Christ looks back to our sins and spiritual death. It is His figurative blood that has to do with salvation.
4. In speaking of the literal use of blood rather than its figurative use on the cross, D. A. Carson in his book, Exegetical Fallacies, p.33-34, says: "A third level of the same problem was painfully exemplified in three recent articles about the blood of Christ in Christianity Today. The author did an admirable job of explaining the wonderful things that science has discovered that the blood can do. What a wonderful picture, we are told, of how the blood of Jesus purifies every sin. In fact, it is nothing of the kind! Worse, it is irresponsible, mystical, and theologically misleading. The phrase `the blood of Jesus' refers to our Lord's violent, sacrificial death. In general, the blessings that the Scripture shows to be accomplished or achieved by the blood of Jesus are equally said to be accomplished or achieved by the death on the cross."
5. In our study of the blood of Jesus, we will note a place for His literal blood in our Lord's somatic death on the cross. However, we will note and emphasize the figurative use of the blood in His spiritual death on the cross, His saving work.
B. The Animal Blood of the Old Testament.
1. The Hebrew word for blood is DAM. It occurs several times in the Old Testament. Two hundred and three times it refers to death and violence. One hundred and three times it refers to animal sacrifices.
2. Animal blood was shed in four out of the five Levitical sacrifices under the ritual plan of God for the Jewish Age.
a. The burnt offering taught propitiation or expiation with emphasis on the work of Christ, therefore, animal blood was used.
b. The food offering taught propitiation with emphasis on the unique person of Christ; therefore, animal blood was not used. Note that blood is not connected with our Lord's living but with His dying. This is the only bloodless offering.
c. The peace offering represented the doctrine of reconciliation based on the work of Christ on the cross; therefore, animal blood was shed at the altar. On the cross, our Lord reconciled man to Himself by removing all the barriers. The removal of the barriers called for His spiritual death; consequently, blood was used.
d. The sin offering taught rebound, emphasizing the forgiveness of unknown sins in the life. Whenever you confess your known sins, simultaneously God forgives all unknown sins in your life. Therefore, animal blood was shed. So the blood of Christ is related to rebound as well as to salvation.
e. The trespass offering taught rebound, emphasizing the forgiveness of known sins and confessed sins. Again, animal blood was shed.
3. Animal blood therefore becomes a major issue in understanding the blood of Christ in the New Testament. Heb 9:22, "And according to the Law nearly all things were cleansed with animal blood. In fact, without the shedding of animal blood, there is no forgiveness." This is a New Testament commentary on the use of animal blood in the Old Testament.
4. There can be no forgiveness of sins apart from the work of Christ on the cross. The animal sacrifices simply depicted that work in anticipation. So the shedding of animal blood represented the efficacious, saving work of Christ on the cross in the ritual plan of God for Israel.
5. The blood of the animal contains the soul or the life of the animal. (Whatever soul the animal has, it is enough soul to be conscious of animals and of human beings. But no animal has God-consciousness in his soul.) Therefore, in the ritual plan of God during the Age of Israel, the blood of the animal sacrifice portrayed the saving work of Christ on the cross; the doctrine of soteriology. So the shedding of animal blood was used to illustrate the various points of soteriology.
6. In the New Testament, four doctrines of soteriology are included in the phrase, "the blood of Christ" or "through His blood."
a. Redemption. Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12; 1 Pet 1:18-19.
Eph 1:7 In1722 whom3739 we have2192 redemption629 through1223 his846 blood,129 the3588 forgiveness859 of sins,3900 according2596 to the3588 riches4149 of his846 grace;54
Col 1:14 In1722 whom3739 we have2192 redemption629 through1223 his846 blood,129 even the3588 forgiveness859 of sins:266
Heb 9:12 Neither3761 by1223 the blood129 of goats5131 and2532 calves,3448 but1161 by1223 his own2398 blood129 he entered in1525 once2178 into1519 the3588 holy place,39 having obtained2147 eternal166 redemption3085 for us.
Heb 9:13 For1063 if1487 the3588 blood129 of bulls5022 and2532 of goats,5131 and2532 the ashes4700 of a heifer1151 sprinkling4472 the3588 unclean,2840 sanctifieth37 to4314 the3588 purifying2514 of the3588 flesh:4561
Heb 9:14 How much4214 more3123 shall the3588 blood129 of Christ,5547 who3739 through1223 the eternal166 Spirit4151 offered4374 himself1438 without spot299 to God,2316 purge2511 your5216 conscience4893 from575 dead3498 works2041 to serve3000 the living2198 God?2316
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know1492 that3754 ye were not3756 redeemed3084 with corruptible things,5349 as silver694 and2228 gold,5553 from1537 your5216 vain3152 conversation391 received by tradition from your fathers;3970
1Pe 1:19 But235 with the precious5093 blood129 of Christ,5547 as5613 of a lamb286 without blemish299 and2532 without spot:784
b. Reconciliation is related to the blood of Christ in Eph 2:13 and Col 1:20.
Eph 2:13 But1161 now3570 in1722 Christ5547 Jesus2424 ye5210 who sometimes were5607, 4218 far off3112 are made1096 nigh1451 by1722 the3588 blood129 of Christ.5547
Eph 2:14 For1063 he846 is2076 our2257 peace,1515 who hath made4160 both297 one,1520 and2532 hath broken down3089 the3588 middle wall3320 of partition5418 between us;
Eph 2:15 Having abolished2673 in1722 his848 flesh4561 the3588 enmity,2189 even the3588 law3551 of commandments1785 contained in1722 ordinances;1378 for to2243 make2936 in1722 himself1438 of twain1417, (1519) one1520 new2537 man,444 so making4160 peace;1515
Eph 2:16 And2532 that he might reconcile604 both297 unto God2316 in1722 one1520 body4983 by1223 the3588 cross,4716 having slain615 the3588 enmity2189 thereby:1722, 846
Eph 2:17 And2532 came2064 and preached2097 peace1515 to you5213 which were afar off,3112 and2532 to them that were nigh.1451
Eph 2:18 For3754 through1223 him846 we both297 have2192 access4318 by1722 one1520 Spirit4151 unto4314 the3588 Father.3962
Col 1:17 And2532 he846 is2076 before4253 all things,3956 and2532 by1722 him846 all things3956 consist.4921
Col 1:18 And2532 he846 is2076 the3588 head2776 of the3588 body,4983 the3588 church:1577 who3739 is2076 the beginning,746 the firstborn4416 from1537 the3588 dead;3498 that2443 in1722 all3956 things he846 might have1096 the preeminence.4409
Col 1:19 For3754 it pleased2106 the Father that in1722 him846 should all3956 fullness4138 dwell;2730
Col 1:20 And,2532 having made peace1517 through1223 the3588 blood129 of his846 cross,4716 by1223 him846 to reconcile604 all things3956 unto1519 himself;848 by1223 him,846 I say, whether1535 they be things3588 in1909 earth,1093 or1535 things3588 in1722 heaven.3772
Col 1:21 And2532 you,5209 that were5607 sometime4218 alienated526 and2532 enemies2190 in your mind1271 by1722 wicked4190 works,2041 yet1161 now3570 hath he reconciled604
Col 1:22 In1722 the3588 body4983 of his848 flesh4561 through1223 death,2288 to present3936 you5209 holy40 and2532 unblamable299 and2532 unreprovable410 in his sight:2714, 848
c. Propitiation (or expiation) is related to the blood of Christ, Rom 3:25, where Jesus Christ is said to be our mercy seat.
Rom 3:22 Even1161 the righteousness1343 of God2316 which is by1223 faith4102 of Jesus2424 Christ5547 unto1519 all3956 and2532 upon1909 all3956 them that believe:4100 for1063 there is2076 no3756 difference:1293
Rom 3:23 For1063 all3956 have sinned,264 and2532 come short5302 of the3588 glory1391 of God;2316
Rom 3:24 Being justified1344 freely1432 by his848 grace5485 through1223 the3588 redemption629 that3588 is in1722 Christ5547 Jesus:2424
Rom 3:25 Whom3739 God2316 hath set forth4388 to be a propitiation2435 through1223 faith4102 in1722 his848 blood,129 to declare1519, 1732 his848 righteousness1343 for1223 the3588 remission3929 of sins265 that are past,4266 through1722 the3588 forbearance463 of God;2316
Rom 3:26 To4314 declare,1732 I say, at1722 this3568 time2540 his846 righteousness:1343 that he846 might be1511 just,1342 and2532 the justifier1344 of him3588 which believeth1537, 4102 in Jesus.2424
d. Justification is related to the blood of Christ.
Rom 5:8, "God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then being now justified by His blood."
7. Animal blood was literally and actually shed on the altar, causing the physical death of the animal. The physical death of the animal on the altar, then, was a shadow portraying the spiritual death of Christ on the cross for our sins. Therefore, a representative analogy is established. The physical death of the animal was not efficacious; it is the saving work of Christ on the cross that is efficacious. Therefore, the physical death of the animal pointed toward the reality.
a. The Levitical priest would receive the animal at the brazen altar and tie it to the horns of the altar.
b. The priest would place his one hand on the animal and his other hand on the kneeling person who brought the animal. The person mentions or names his sins, which are, as it were, transferred to the lamb.
c. Once the person's sins are transferred to the lamb, the priest would lift up the animal's muzzle and cut his carotid artery with a sharp knife. And every time the animal tries to breathe, he pumps blood out of his body. It was an extremely violent death! That's why the animal was tied to the altar.
8. Likewise, the violent death of our Lord on the cross was not His physical death, but His spiritual death, which caused Him to scream out time and time again, "My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?" His physical death was peaceful and easy. The violence was in His spiritual death. In coming into contact with all the sins of the world and being judged for them, He experienced the worst violence the world has ever known.
9. Different animals could be offered. The red heifer offering was related to rebound. Also offered were bulls, lambs, goats. But in every case, the animal was without spot and blemish, a very beautiful creature. As the person watched this horribly violent death of the animal tied to the altar, it taught of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. There was a great deal of struggling in this death. For every time the creature would breathe, he would pump out of his carotid more blood. It was a reminder of what the Lord Jesus Christ would do for us when He went to the cross.
10. This ritual was a representative analogy. For the animal on the altar was a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ being judged for our sins. The violent physical death of the animal depicted our Lord's violent spiritual death. Hence, it is not a literal analogy, but a representative analogy. Everything related to our salvation - redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, justification - these were accomplished by His violent spiritual death, called "the blood of Christ." The physical death of the animal was not efficacious, but rather the saving work of Christ to which it pointed.
11. Lev 17:10-11, "Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood, I will judge that person who eats blood and cut him off from the people. For the soul of the animal is in its blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for yourselves; for it is the [animal] blood that makes the atonement [propitiatory covering] for one's life."
a. Animal blood isn't the basis for salvation, but represents what Christ would do on the cross in the fullness of time.
b. Eating animal blood brought the most severe penalty. "Cutting off" here refers to capital punishment. Why? The animal's life resides in his blood, while human life resides in the human soul. Therefore, you do not eat animal life, even after it's been shed. This was a very strong prohibition because the analogy had to be maintained. Since the animal dies by the shedding of blood, such a ritual portrays the spiritual death of Christ on the cross providing our so-great salvation.
c. Atonement means a propitiatory covering of blood. Atonement, expiation, propitiation are actually synonymous terms.
(1) To teach propitiation, the blood of the animal was taken into the Holy of Holies where there was the mercy seat, a solid gold throne. On each side of the throne was a cherub, one representing the righteousness of God, the other representing the justice of God. The combination of these two cherubs represented the holiness of God.
(2) Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would slay a lamb without spot and without blemish on the altar. The altar was outside, since Christ was crucified outside the gate. The animal's blood was caught in a basin. Then the high priest alone would carry it into the Holy of Holies; no one else could enter the Holy of Holies.
(3) Under the mercy throne was the ark of the covenant, a box made of acacia wood and gold-plated. The wood represented the humanity of Christ; the gold represented the deity of Christ. The box itself represented Christ in Hypostatic Union.
(4) There were three items in this box or ark.
(a) Aaron's rod that budded.
(b) The tables of the Law.
(c) A pot of manna.
(5) Each item represented some aspect of sin. Aaron's rod that budded represented sin as rejection of divinely-appointed human authority. The tables of the Law represented personal sins in rejection of human freedom. The pot of manna represented sin in the sense of rejection of divine logistical provision.
(6) So the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the lamb over the top of the mercy seat. The righteousness of God the Father looks down and is satisfied with the work of Christ as portrayed by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. The justice of the Father looks down and is also satisfied. Satisfaction is called both propitiation, expiation, and atonement. Atonement means covering, i.e., that the blood covered the sins of the people.
d. Note the analogy between the literal and real blood in the animal sacrifice and the figurative blood of Christ which represents redemption, reconciliation, propitiation and justification. Hence, the representative analogy is one in which the physical death of the animal on the altar portrays the spiritual death of Christ on the cross. Since the animal dies by the shedding of His blood, such a ritual portrays the spiritual death of Christ, providing eternal salvation through redemption toward sin, reconciliation toward man, propitiation toward God, and justification toward perfect righteousness.
12. Lev 17:12, "Therefore, I communicate to the citizens of Israel, "None of you may eat animal blood, nor may any alien living among you eat animal blood."
a. Note that animal blood was prohibited for food, but not animal meat. The blood was to be offered as a sacrifice, but it was never to be used for food.
b. Since God has assigned animal blood to the altar and the sprinkling over the mercy seat, it was absolutely forbidden to be used for food.
c. Therefore, there can be no literal analogy between the blood of animal sacrifices and the blood of Christ. Because Christ did not bleed to death on the cross; therefore, a representative analogy exists between the literal, physical death of the animal and the literal, spiritual death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
d. When Christ had finished His saving work on the cross, He was still physically alive; not dead. But when the animal finished his "work," as it were, on the altar, he was physically dead. Therefore, the physical death of Christ cannot be part of the analogy. There is no analogy between the physical death of the animal and the physical death of Christ.
e. However, remember that Christ died twice on the cross. This is taught in Isa 53:9, "While His burial would be assigned with criminals [obscurity], nevertheless He would be associated with a rich man [Joseph of Aramathea] in His deaths." The Hebrew noun MUTH is plural. Heb 9:16-17 also says there were two deaths, "for a covenant is valid upon deaths."
13. Lev 17:13, "Therefore, any Israelite or alien living among you who hunts any wild animal or bird that may be legitimately eaten shall first drain its blood and cover it with earth."
a. In other words, this was a burial for the animal, since its life was in its blood. Before you eat the body, you must bury the real animal, its blood. For the life of the animal is in its blood.
b. In worship, domestic animals were sacrificed and their blood was used for atonement. While in hunting, game animals and birds were killed, but their blood was buried, never eaten. What God sets aside as sacred is not to be made common by eating.
c. The life of the animal is in its blood; the life of man is in his soul. The shedding of animal blood on the altar was the shadow and analogy to the spiritual death of Christ on the cross.
d. Jesus Christ is our substitute. When He received the imputation of all sins on the cross, God the Father judged every one of them. After Christ finished this spiritual death, He said, "It is finished." He could not have said anything if He were dead physically. Again, there is no analogy between the physical death of the animal and the physical death of Christ. The analogy exists between the physical death of the animal and the spiritual death of Christ. If Jesus had died physically for our sins, He could not have said TETELESTAI in Jn 19:30, "It has been finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever."
14. Lev 17:14, "Because the life [soul] of every animal is in its blood. That is why I said to the Israelites, `You must not eat the blood of any animal, because the life of every animal is in its blood. Whoever eats it will be cut off.'"
15. The representative analogy is completed in Heb 13:12, "Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate to make the people holy through His blood." Just as Golgotha was outside the gate of Jerusalem, so the brass altar was outside the gate of the Tabernacle.
16. The New Testament commentary on all of this is found in Hebrews 9:11-28.
a. Heb 9:13 speaks of the various categories of Levitical sacrifices: "For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of the red heifer [rebound offering], sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctifies for the cleansing of the flesh,"
(1) In other words, they could actually have ritual cleansing from an animal sacrifice after they had named their sins.
(2) This is the same as our rebound passage of 1 Jn 1:9. Of course, you can't have 1 Jn 1:9 without 1 Jn 1:7, "If we walk in the light as He was in the light [divine dynasphere], we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin." This is a rebound reference, as was the red heifer offering.
b. Heb 9:14, "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through His eternal spirit [God the Holy Spirit] offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
(1) One of the biggest problems of Christians today is that they have a conscience of dead works. They are constantly performing works because of their conscience. Their ignorance of the protocol plan of God leads them to develop a very tender conscience, along with the help with a lot of ignoramus preachers who do not know doctrine. So their conscience is filled with dead works.
(2) This is how human good is developed, which is just as repugnant to God as sin and evil, and often leads to moral degeneracy. If you're involved in dead works, you can't serve God.
c. Heb 9:18, "Therefore, even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood."
(1) The New Covenant to the Church is in effect because of the blood of Jesus Christ, His spiritual death on the cross. The old covenant, the Mosaic Law, was put into effect with animal blood since Christ had not yet died.
(2) The animal blood was a prophecy, looking forward to the spiritual death of Christ on the cross, providing redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation.
d. Heb 9:20, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded you."
e. Heb 9:23-24, "Therefore, it is necessary for the copies of things in heaven [rituals, mercy seat, tabernacle, etc.] to be purified with these [animal sacrifices], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices [work of Christ] than these. For Christ did not enter a holy of holies made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God as a substitute for us."
(1) The work of Christ is called "better sacrifices," because in receiving the judgment of our sins on the cross, our Lord accomplished everything mentioned in the various categories of offerings, whether it is the red heifer offering for rebound or the burnt offering for propitiation. All the sacrifices had a purpose, and our Lord accomplished them all.
(2) Note that the blood of Christ is a better sacrifice than the blood of animals. Therefore, Heb 9:23 says that we have a representative analogy between the blood of animals and the blood of Jesus. There is no analogy between the physical death of the animal and the physical death of Christ. His physical death has nothing to do with His sacrifice at all. When the animals shed their blood on the altar, it was called a sacrifice. The blood of Jesus represents the sacrifice of Christ in bearing our sins. His physical death is never called a sacrifice.
(3) Spiritual death looks backward to the judgment of our sins and forward to the calling of many sons into glory. Physical death looks forward to resurrection. He had to die physically or there could be no resurrection. His physical death was not a sacrifice. The sacrifice was in His spiritual death. It is mythology that Christ died physically for our sins.
(4) The holy of holies on earth was an empty room from the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchanezzer.
f. Heb 9:25-26, "nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as a high priest enters into the holy of holies year by year with blood not his own. Otherwise, He would need to have suffered often since the foundation of the world; but now once by [literally--the accomplishment of the ages] the juxtaposition of the extended dispensations from creation to the final event He has been revealed for the purpose of obliteration [invalidation, removal] of sins by His sacrifice."
(1) God placed all the dispensations side by side for comparison.
(2) Since there was a completed efficacious sacrifice for sin, there was no ark, no mercy seat, nothing in the holy of holies except an empty room with a large stone.
C. The Literal Blood of our Lord's Physical Death on the Cross.
1. The literal blood is associated with our Lord's somatic death, Jn 19:30,33,34.
a. Jn 19:30, "Therefore, when he had received the wine, Jesus said, `TETELESTAI' [It has been finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever] Then He pushed His head forward and exhaled His breath."
(1) The perfect tense of the Greek word TELEO is a dramatic perfect; it happened in the past and the results go on forever.
(2) He exhaled and simply never inhaled again.
(3) He had to push His head forward in order to push His body into a certain position, leaning far forward. This was so that the blood in His body could pool in the ventricles of the heart.
(4) This was very significant. Generally when people died by crucifixion, they either slumped to the right or left, or just sagged down, depending on how they were nailed. But Christ actually pushed His body forward and held that position in physical death.
b. Jn 19:33, "Coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs."
(1) The Romans always had twenty-four hours off after a crucifixion, and so they were anxious to start their leave. Therefore, they would find those hanging who were still alive and would practice crurafragum, in which they would take the butt of their spear and strike the thigh muscles of the victim, and break the femur bone. As a result, the victim's death would be hastened so that the soldiers could go home. When they went by to look at Jesus, he was already dead.
c. Jn 19:34, "But one of the soldiers pierced his chest cavity [PLEURA] with a spear, and immediately there gushed out blood clots [red blood cells] and serum [white blood cells or platelets and plasma]." Thank God for this Roman soldier! He did us the greatest favor in the world, and clarified once and for all the issue of the blood of Christ. Plasma or serum looks like water, but it's not. So John called it as he saw it: water. John was not a medical doctor.
2. So what happened? By pushing his head forward at physical death, our Lord prepared His body for the thrust of the Roman spear. He knew this spear was coming, and it was very important; one of the most important things that happened on the cross outside of salvation itself. For it revealed the true humanity of Christ. It proved He was flesh and blood (as denied by contra-gnosticism).
3. There was another reason. This demonstrated the fact that Jesus Christ did not die physically by bleeding to death - that's a false doctrine!
4. The arrangement of the aorta, the pulmonary artery, the diaphragm, and the various veins were such that, because our Lord pushed His head forward, a large amount of the blood in His body settled in the left and right ventricles of the heart. That was the reason why he did it. Gravity causes the blood to go to the dependent parts. This made our Lord's blood vulnerable to the spear thrust after physical death. But blood did not come out of his body until after He was dead and the Roman soldier thrust the spear into His chest cavity.
5. Remember that certain things happen immediately after death.
a. First, the body cools off.
b. Secondly, rigor mortis occurs. So His body became rigid in that forward position.
c. Then the blood in the ventricles begin to coagulate, and the various components of the blood layer out. For blood is made of several components: red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, plasma. Because they all have different weights, gravity has a different effect on each of them. Being heavier, the red blood cells clotted at the bottom of the ventricles. The platelets and the plasma, being lighter, layered on top.
d. So when the spear thrust came, the platelets and serum especially looked like water, HUDOR, to John, and the blood clots looked like HAIMA. So the translation "blood and water" referred actually to blood clots and serum.
6. All this indicated that Christ's blood was still in His body. He did not bleed to death. For most of His blood was still in His body and was not released until the Roman spear, after His physical death. When the soldier's spear penetrated the chest cavity, the PLEURA, of our Lord's corpse, what gushed out was blood clots and serum. Again, not being a medical doctor, John called it as he saw it, "blood and water."
7. When the blood in the corpse separated into its parts, it was proof that our Lord did not bleed to death. If a person dies from excessive loss of blood, there can be no clotting of the blood, no layering out of its various components. Whatever blood is left remains in whole red form (no layering). Therefore, when the spear plunged in, nothing would have gushed out; only a little thin trickle of blood, no blood clotting or serum. Such was not the case.
8. Whenever a person dies apart from bleeding to death, this process of blood layering out into its component parts is called autolysis, or the breakdown of the cells.
9. In somatic death, these irreversible changes begin at various rates after respiration stops and cardiac action ceases. These changes include the cooling of the body, muscular rigidity, and then autolysis. Autolysis, plus the gravitational pull of blood to the dependent parts of the body, caused what resulted in our Lord's death. This could not have occurred unless most of His blood was in His body. So Jesus did not bleed to death or even bleed excessively.
10. Therefore, the literal and real blood in our Lord's body has no direct relationship to His provision of our salvation. He did not bleed to death when He experienced somatic death. So the literal blood of Christ refers to His physical death on the cross once His work was finished. The figurative blood of Christ on the cross refers to His saving work. Eph 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace."
D. The Figurative Blood of Christ.
1. The figurative blood of Christ refers to His spiritual death on the cross, which is tantamount to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ during the First Advent.
2. The literal blood of Christ refers to His physical or somatic death on the cross, because the work of the First Advent was finished.
3. Christ died twice on the cross, so that we might be born twice. The first birth is the imputation of human life to the soul at physical birth. The second birth is the imputation of eternal life to the human spirit at regeneration. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life.
4. The spiritual death of Christ relates to salvation, while the physical or somatic death of Christ relates to resurrection.
5. The spiritual death of Christ looks backward to sin and forward to the calling of many sons into glory, Heb 2:10.
6. The physical or somatic death of Christ looks backward to His finished work on the cross and forward to His resurrection, ascension, and session.
7. The figurative blood of Jesus Christ is associated with several categories of His saving work on the cross.
a. Redemption is toward sin. Redemption means someone paid a ransom for your freedom. You were freed from the slave market of sin through the ransom called the blood of Christ.
(1) Eph 1:7, "By whom [Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood [figurative], the forgiveness of sins." The verb has a double accusative: redemption and forgiveness. So the phrase "the forgiveness of sins" is in apposition to "redemption through His blood." This means the blood of Christ is figurative, referring to His redemptive work.
(2) 1 Pet 1:18-19, "Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life, inherited from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without spot and without blemish."
(a) This is the figurative use of His blood, referring to His spiritual death, as per 1 Pet 2:24, "He carried our sins in His own body on the cross."
(b) A "lamb without spot and without blemish" emphasizes the representative analogy between the literal blood of the sacrificial animal on the altar and the figurative blood of Christ in being judged for our sins.
b. Reconciliation is toward mankind. Man is reconciled to God because Jesus Christ, in being judged for our sins, removed all the barriers between us and God.
(1) Eph 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away [before salvation] have been brought near [reconciliation] by the blood of Christ."
(2) Col 1:20, "And through Him [Jesus Christ], to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross."
c. Propitiation is toward God. God the Father is satisfied or propitiated with the death of our Lord.
(1) Rom 3:24-26, "Receiving justification without payment by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God has publicly displayed as the mercy seat [place of propitiation] by His blood through faith. This is a demonstration of His righteousness because of the clemency of God in passing over previously committed sins."
(2) In the Old Testament, the sprinkling of the blood over the mercy seat indicated that God was holding back judgment of sins until the cross. For Jesus Christ is called the mercy seat, and God publicly displayed Him. The mercy seat in the Holy of Holies was the demonstration of God's propitiation or the saving work of Christ on the cross, related to the blood of Christ.
(3) Propitiation is sometimes called expiation. Expiation means to make complete satisfaction, to purify, and is synonymous with propitiation.
d. Justification is directed toward the perfect righteousness of God. Rom 5:9, "Much more therefore, having been justified by His blood, we shall be delivered from judgment through Him."
e. Sanctification is related to the blood. Heb 13:12, "that He might sanctify the people through His own blood." Through the judgment of His blood we are set apart to God. Sanctification means relationship with the integrity of God. The justice of God judged our sins on the cross and we receive perfect righteousness from the justice of God forever.
9. In Heb 9:13-14 is a picture of the representative analogy in the blood. "For you see, if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of the red heifer [rebound offering], when sprinkling one who has become ceremoniously unclean, continues purifying with reference to ceremonial cleaning of the flesh [and it does]; how much more, then, shall the blood of Christ, who through His eternal spirit [the essence of God, therefore His volition] has offered Himself to God without blemish, purify by an expiatory offering our conscience from dead works to serve the living God."
a. In the Old Testament, under the ritual plan of God, the sprinkling of blood was the means whereby the person who had sinned was ceremoniously unclean and he was cleansed by a ceremony, which was the shedding of the blood after he rebounded.
b. What the literal blood of the animal sacrifice accomplished under the ritual plan in the Old Testament is now accomplished by the figurative work of Christ, or His saving work on the cross in the protocol plan.
10. The figurative blood of Christ equals redemption plus reconciliation plus propitiation, and/or the saving work of Christ.
E. The Testimony of the (Two) Bloods to the Person and Work of Christ, 1 Jn 5:6-9.
1. The testimony of the literal blood of Christ is given in vs 6. "This one, Jesus Christ, is He who came by water and by blood [serum and blood clots]; not by serum alone, but by serum and blood clots."
a. Water and blood actually refer to serum and blood clots, as explained in point 3. The articular aorist active participle of the Greek verb ERCHOMAI means "He who came," refers to the First Advent of Christ with emphasis on His saving work on the cross.
b. The literal blood of Christ, or His somatic death, looks backward to His finished work on the cross and looks forward to His resurrection, ascension, and session. He did not bleed to death, proven by the blood clots and serum which came out of His chest after the spear thrust. Christ's literal blood testifies to the fact that He was true humanity in the Hypostatic Union (contra docetic gnosticism), and that He died of His own free will and did not bleed to death on the Cross.
c. He had to die physically before He could have a resurrection body. He had to have a resurrection body before He could ascend. He had to have a resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of the Father before He could receive His third royal warrant, without which we could not become the body of Christ, the church, the royal family of God. So the uniqueness of the Church Age is directly related to the literal blood on the cross.
2. The second testimony is that of the Holy Spirit in verse 7. "Furthermore, it is the Spirit [Holy Spirit] who testifies, because the Spirit is truth." This verse explains Jn 19:35. After John saw the blood clots and serum gush out of our Lord's chest cavity, he said, "And he [apostle John] who has seen the water and the blood has testified, and his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth so that you also may believe."
a. In other words, what John described in Jn 19:30-34 is completely accurate and becomes a testimony to the importance of Christ's physical death, followed by His resurrection; the importance of His true humanity; the importance that just as Christ had that resurrection body with remarkable mobility, so we too will one day have the same resurrection body as He has.
b. By comparing Jn 19:35 with the corrected text of 1 Jn 5:7, we have a perfect picture of plenary verbal inspiration of the Scripture. 2 Tim 3:16 says "all Scripture is THEOPNEUSTOS," which does not mean "inspired" or breathed-in. It means "God-breathed." This connotes both inhale and exhale. God the Holy Spirit breathes in to the writer, as it were, so that he in turn exhales in writing what was inhaled in his own vocabulary and according to his observation.
c. The definition of inspiration is that God so supernaturally directed the writers of Scripture that, without waiving their human intelligence, their individuality, their literary style, their personal feelings, or any other human factor, God's own complete and coherent message to man was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship.
d. This is pertinent to John's use of the words "blood and water." The Holy Spirit did not make him write "blood clots and serum." He did not waive John's human intelligence, nor His individuality, nor did He tamper with His literary style. The Holy Spirit did not dictate to John. John was permitted to record, with perfect accuracy, what he observed, as recorded in the Greek of Jn 19:30-35. And "blood and water" was all John had to see; it was perfectly accurate, and God the Holy Spirit let it stand that way! We understand that this was a sign that our Lord did not bleed to death; anyone would have known that, even if they didn't understand it was blood clots and serum. And all that blood couldn't have gushed out if He had bled to death.
e. So the testimony of the Spirit is 1 Jn 5:7: the inhale of what John recorded in Jn 19:30-35. In other words, 1 Jn 5:7 is the inhale of what John recorded; Jn 19:35 is the exhale of what John saw.
3. The third testimony is in 1 Jn 5:8, the testimony of the figurative blood of Christ. "Because there are three who testify: the Spirit [verse 7], and the water [Word of God], and the blood [figurative]; and furthermore, these three witnesses are all in agreement."
a. Water is a reference to the Word of God, as in Eph 5:26, "being sanctified by the water of the Word." Tit 3:5; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23.
b. Water is used in several ways. We've already seen it used for serum. It's also used many times in the Bible for literal water.
c. Water is also used in figuratively for the Holy Spirit, Jn 7:37-39, "`Out of His innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.' This spoke He of the Spirit, but the Spirit was not yet given because Christ was not yet glorified."
d. Water is used for the concept of salvation in Isa 55:1. "Ho, everyone that thirsts. Come to the water and drink." Rev 22:7. Drinking is a picture of faith, because both drinking and faith are non-meritorious functions, of which everyone in the human race is capable.
e. Water is used to represent the Gospel, Jn 3:5.
4. Verse 9 is the testimony of God the Father. "If we receive the testimony of men [and we do], the testimony of God is greater because this is from God [Father], because He has testified concerning His Son."
F. The Application of the Blood of Christ.
1. The blood of Christ applies at salvation according to Rev 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ, the dependable witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of planet earth [Second Advent and Millennium], to Him who has loved us and has released us from our sins by means of His blood [spiritual death]." So the application is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Every animal sacrifice of the Old Testament was fulfilled at the cross when Jesus Christ received the imputation of our sins and was judged for every one of them.
2. The blood of Christ has application in rebound. 1 Jn 1:7, "If we keep walking in the light [divine dynasphere] as He is in the light [prototype divine dynasphere], we keep on having fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." 1 Jn 1:9, "If we acknowledge [admit, confess] our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
3. The blood of Christ has application in the Eucharist, the Lord's table. Mt 26:26-28, "And while they were eating [Passover], Jesus took bread, and having blessed it, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, and He said, `Take, eat; this represents My body.' And then He took the cup and gave thanks, and He handed it to them, saying, `Drink from it, all of you. For this represents My blood of the covenant which is shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.'"
a. The bread was used in place of the lamb, now representing the body or humanity of Christ, being impeccable.
b. The cup represented the saving work of Christ on the cross. As used in the Passover, it contained unfermented grape juice. The cup represents the sins of the world. Jesus Christ drank the cup, as it were, on the cross. He received these sins and their judgment in our place. This is called the blood, referring to the blood of Christ, i.e., the saving work of Christ on the cross.
c. Eating and drinking are both non-meritorious functions in life which all kinds of people can do. So eating the bread and drinking from the cup represent faith in Jesus Christ.
d. This is explained in greater detail, including the purpose of the Eucharist, in 1 Cor 11:23-26. "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, `This represents My body which is a substitute for you; keep doing this in memory of Me.' In the same way, after supper, He took the cup, saying, `This cup represents the new covenant of My blood; keep on doing this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes [Second Advent]."
e. The application of the Eucharist is to remember Christ, to focus your attention on Him, to concentrate on His person, from the privacy of your own priesthood.
R. B. Thieme, Jr. Bible Ministries 5139 West Alabama, Houston, Texas 77056 (713) 621-3740
(c) 1995, by R. B. Thieme, Jr. All rights reserved.
IMHO, both pastors in preaching to their flocks are well gifted by the Holy Spirit and provide proper guidance to their ministries. The other thread being highly critical, even labeling them as heretical in many cases had been so accusatorial, that I found it difficult to read the criticism in one sitting without becoming distracted by the attacks being made.
As with any study into Scripture, let the reader first return to God through faith in Christ by a their own personal confession, naming of sins to God in prayer and returning to Him, thereby allowing a state to exist where the teaching of faith is provided by the Holy Spirit to the student of Scripture. As always, through faith in our lord, Savior, Christ Jesus, so I believe it.
Ping to read later. Thanks for posting it, Cvenger!
For your reference.
Some copies from my notes, I may have added some E-sword verses for reference.
The Biblical meaning of "the blood of Christ" isn't this complicated.
"IMHO, both pastors in preaching to their flocks are well gifted by the Holy Spirit and provide proper guidance to their ministries. The other thread being highly critical, even labeling them as heretical in many cases had been so accusatorial, that I found it difficult to read the criticism in one sitting without becoming distracted by the attacks being made."
This is a HUGE clue. When a writer cannot/will not word their "speech" so the reader does not get spittin' mad and/or insulted, you know you've stumbled onto a piece of TRASH...
BTW, excellent post(3 cheers and a brownie button for you).
No, but is that beautiful and even moreso.
Wow, that's a lot of words!
In speaking of the literal use of blood rather than its figurative use on the cross, D. A. Carson in his book, Exegetical Fallacies, p.33-34, says: "A third level of the same problem was painfully exemplified in three recent articles about the blood of Christ in Christianity Today. The author did an admirable job of explaining the wonderful things that science has discovered that the blood can do. What a wonderful picture, we are told, of how the blood of Jesus purifies every sin. In fact, it is nothing of the kind! Worse, it is irresponsible, mystical, and theologically misleading. The phrase `the blood of Jesus´ refers to our Lord´s violent, sacrificial death. In general, the blessings that the Scripture shows to be accomplished or achieved by the blood of Jesus are equally said to be accomplished or achieved by the death on the cross."
I guess people love their amulets.
Where is the link?
Hey thanks, My post was from his notes a couple of decades ago. I hadn't seen the updated website.
John MacArthur spoke at Moody Bible College last week. Her is a link to listen to his talk.
I believe that Fundamentalists are rather confused about the Blood of Christ:
I wrote this in-depth critique of the view that Christ had supernatural blood which was preserved in heaven. Read my article here!
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