2. The Importance of and Uses of Blood
SDA Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, Volume 8, p. 149, 95 says:
“Blood. The Hebrew dam; Greek haina. The vital fluid circulating through the body, carrying nourishment and oxygen to all parts of the body and carrying off waste products to be excreted (Lev. 17:11, 14; Deut. 12: 23). The ancients were unaware of these detailed functions, but they recognized that the blood was closely connected with life. The Law declared, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). The ancients were forbidden to eat blood (Gen. 9: 3, 4; Lev. 17: 10-14; Acts 15: 20, 29). This prohibition doubtless had a hygienic basis, but may have been designed to have instructional value as well. The most significant use of blood in Old Testament times was in the sacrificial services and more largely in the sanctuary services.
The shed blood foreshadowed the blood of Christ, the priceless life of the Son of God that was to be sacrificed as the only hope of a fallen and doomed race (1 Cor. 10:16; Eph. 2:13; Heb. 9:14; 10:19; 1 Pet. 1: 2, 19; Rev. 12:11). Salvation through the blood of Christ is the central theme of the gospel (Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:22; Rev. 1:5, etc).”
“Avenger of Blood. A person (usually the nearest blood relative or next heir of one who had been murdered) who assumed the responsibility of punishing the murderer. The Hebrew word translated ‘avenger’ (KJV frequently ‘revenger’) is go’el, which has the basic meaning of ‘redeemer.’ When coupled with ‘blood’ it has the idea of redeeming the guilt of the murder by putting to death the murderer (see Num. 35: 19, 21, 24, 27, etc.). In a well-regulated civil society, courts of justice and police departments dispense justice and punish offenders, but in ancient Semitic societies the family unit carried the functions later assigned to the state.
The avenger apparently was generally more zealous for revenge than for justice, hence provision was made for establishment of ‘cities of refuge’— Hebron, Shechem, and Kedesh west of Jordan (Joshua 20:7), and Beser, Ramoth-Gilead, and Golan east of the river (Deut. 4: 41-43). To these [cities] the one guilty of manslaughter might flee, and here he could remain until granted a fait trial. Such persons would then not be put to death unless the homicide was intentional (Exo. 21:13; Num. 35: 19, 21, 24, 27). God did not institute the custom of private vengeance. He sought to regulate it so as to prevent abuses. He leads men only as rapidly as they are able to advance, adapting His directions to prevailing conditions.”
Christ is our Avenger, or more accurately, Redeemer! But instead of being vindictive, the Father gave His Son, Creator of heaven and earth, to redeem the guilt of the sins of the world by submitting to the penalty of the law which demanded the life of the transgressors—Adam and Eve and all their progeny thereafter—by “becoming sin for us who knew no sin.” That penalty was paid at Calvary. But the guilt of the sins of the whole world was borne by the divine guilt-Bearer and was redeemed at the Garden of Gethsemane—where He sweated blood—where, for the first and last time, the Father actually shut out His presence from His Son, prompting Jesus to cry out “If it be possible let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not My will but Thy will be done!” It was the Garden of Gethsemane Experience that prepared Him for Calvary.
He died so that man would no longer be under the original automatic eternal curse of the penalty of the “second death” to which there is no resurrection. The blood that He shed, representing His life, if availed of by faith, is sufficient to wash away all sins and purify the sinner. O what wonderful, amazing grace, in the redeeming love of God!
In his treatise “The Gospel in Creation,” p. 5, E. J. Waggoner says:
“Christ is the Redeemer by virtue of His power as Creator. We read that ‘we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins’ because that ‘by Him were all things created.’ Col. 1: 14, 16. If He were not Creator, He could not be Redeemer. This means simply that redemptive power and creative power are the same. To redeem is to create. This is shown in the statement of the apostle that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, which statement is immediately followed by another to the effect that the power of God is seen by means of the things that have been made. Rom. 1: 16-20. When we consider that the works of creation, and the power manifested in them, we are contemplating the power of redemption.
There has been a great deal of idle speculation as to which is the greater, redemption or creation. Many have thought that redemption is a greater work than creation. Such speculation is idle, because only infinite power could perform either work, and infinite power cannot be measured by human minds. But while we cannot measure the power, we can easily settle the question of which is the greater, because the Scriptures gives us the information. Neither is greater than the other, for both are the same. Redemption is creation. Redemption is the same power that was put forth in the beginning to create the
The Scriptures are very clear on this point. The psalmist prayed, ‘Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10). The apostle says, ‘if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5: 17), 0r a new creation. And again we read, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God world and all that is in it, now put forth to save men and the earth from the curse of sin.
From the Spirit of Prophecy we obtain some of the following precious truths regarding blood:
- The use of animal blood as food:
Diseased blood is caused by eating the blood of animals (CD 393-4). This abominations considered a delicacy in many cultures and countries, using even the blood of unclean animals—a double curse! Unless prepared Kosher, all meat has blood and fat marbled into its tissues. God expressly forbade its use as an article of food, whether by Jew or Gentile (PP 624; AA 195; MH 312). And we wonder why all kinds of diseases, cancers and tumors in particular are increasing in pandemic proportions?
- Christ’s blood:
Even as “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11), the shed blood of Christ represents His priceless life sacrificed as the only hope of a fallen and doomed race.
Thus forgiveness of sins is only possible through His blood (7BC 983) for it alone atones for sin (PP 372). All souls are precious because all have been bought by Christ’s blood (SD 224). However, it avails only for persons who believe and feel the need of cleansing (5T 219; GW 162). It can cleanse the foulest stain of sin and all uncleanness (LS 246; AA 193). Man’s pardon and elevation of character is secured by (MM 127). Repentant souls are released from the condemnation of the of God’s law by (PP 357). Christ pleads His blood before the Father in the sinner’s behalf saying, “My blood, Father, My blood.” (GC 428; EW 38). It is called the “never-failing passport to God’s throne” (FE 252). Even the spilled water we drink is purchased by Christ’s blood (DA 660).
The everlasting covenant deed is ratified by the blood of Christ (Ev 276). It was faith in this blood that holy men of old were saved (AA 424). Justification (forgiveness) by faith is offered through the blood (TM 197). Man’s whole being has been purchased by Christ’s blood (TM 130). The efficacy of this blood needs to be applied continually, kept ever in view, and presented to the people (4T 122; SD 226; TM 192). The living water flowing from the rock at the wilderness for Israel symbolized Christ’s blood (PP 411). The sacrifice of the red heifer typified (4T 122).
In the daily ministration of blood, sin was not cancelled by blood (PP357). It was only removed and blotted out during the day of Atonement (1844 and onwards till close of probation (GC 421-2). The tree of life is once more made accessible by the blood of Christ (8T 288).
What does it mean to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ?
“To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Savior, believing that He forgives our sins and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. . . . A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.
It is not enough even that we believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through His word. . . . ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.’ Jesus accepted His Father’s law [John 15:10], wrought out its principles in His life, manifested its spirit, and showed its beneficent power in the heart. . . The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the Word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ they must be changed into His likeness, and reflect its divine attributes.
It is by receiving [and assimilating] the life for us poured out on Calvary’s cross that we can live a life of holiness. And this life we receive by receiving His word, by doing those things which He has commanded. Thus we become one with Him.”- My Life Today, p. 275.
“A table set before us.”—John 6: 54, 55. “Eternal life is the receiving of the living element in the Scriptures—the doing of the will of God. This is what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. It is the privilege of all to partake of the bread of heaven by studying the Word, and thus gain spiritual sinew and muscle.
Each one must appropriate the blessing to his own soul, or he will not be fed. . . . You know you would not be nourished by [merely] seeing a well-spread table, and by others eating. We would starve if we would not partake of physical nourishment, and we shall lose our spiritual strength and vitality if we do not feed on spiritual bread. . . .
The table has been spread, and Christ invites you to the feast. Shall we stand back, refusing His bounties declaring, ‘He does not mean this for me?’
We used to sing a hymn that described a feast where a happy household gathered to partake of the bounties of table at a kind father’s invitation. While the happy children gathered at the table, there stood a hungry beggar child at the threshold. She was invited to come in; but sadly she turned away, exclaiming, “I have no father there.”
Will you take this position as Jesus invites you in? Oh! if you have a Father in the courts above, I entreat you to reveal the fact. He wants you to be a partaker of His rich bounties and blessings. All who come with the confiding love of a little child will find a Father there! Come to the water of life, and drink! Do not stay away and complain of thirst! The water of life is free to all.
Those who eat and digest this Word, making it a part of every action and of every attribute of character, grow strong in the strength of God. It gives immortal vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience and bringing joys that will abide forever.” – The Faith I Live By, p. 22. (to be continued)