I recently wrote a four part article titled “Why Jesus?” In that teaching series, we went into some detail on what sets Jesus Christ apart from any other proclaimed great teacher, prophet, or messiah. In this series of articles, I will deal with the subject of the “Blood” of Jesus. Although I do not intend the teaching materials to be exhaustive, I pray that it will help us get a deeper understanding of what makes the Blood of Jesus unique, in fact, irreplaceable when it comes to the fallen condition of the human race.
In John 14:6, Jesus made this amazing statement: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In Hebrews 9:11-15 we find these words:
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (NKJV)
Why is it that the Bible makes blood such an important and integral part of the solution for man’s fall from grace with his Creator? What is it that sets the blood of Jesus Christ apart from all others?
The word “blood” appears 346 times in the Old Testament (Old King James Version), and 101 times in the New Testament. This is 447 times throughout the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures. Because there is so much taught about the importance of blood in Scripture–as well as the details about animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, many unbelievers mock both Christianity and Judaism as the “slaughterhouse religions.” Christ-followers have been singing hymns about the Blood of Jesus since the Church was birthed. Many of us remember some of the hymns that have been sung in churches for well over a century now; songs like “There is power in the Blood” and “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus”. So, what is the real meaning behind all this “blood?”
The first time the word “blood” is used in the Scriptures is in Genesis 4:10 after Cain killed Abel. When God asked Cain where his brother Abel was, Cain lied, saying, that he did not know. He then sarcastically questioned God, saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God’s response was, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”
This is a good time in this study, to bring into our discussion a covenant that Almighty God made with Abram (whose name God later changed to Abraham). This important covenant was a blood covenant and followed the customs of the culture at the time. The passage giving us these details starts in Genesis 15:
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans,to give you this land to inherit it.” And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
So He (God) said to him, “Bring Me a three-year old heifer, a three-year old female goat, a three-year old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age, but in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘to your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates–the Kenites. the Kenezites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” (NKJV)
This passage of Scripture is important for many reasons, one of them being the promise GOD made to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and then through Jacob and his descendants. This is confirmed in Genesis 17:21 when God made it clear it was to be through Isaac, born of Sarah, and not Ishmael, born of Hagar, Abram’s household servant, that the covenant included. This passage however, especially for our study, is also an example of a “blood” covenant; this covenant being between the man Abram and Almighty GOD Himself.
What was a common covenant scene during Abram’s time would have an ominous look to most anyone from Western culture today. Picture five bloody animal carcasses on the ground, three of them split in half, with the halves separated a short distance from each other. In ancient Near Eastern royal land grant treaties; in fact, other important “covenants”, marriage for instance, this type of ritual was quite common and didn’t upset anyone’s stomach, like it might those who have a Western culture mindset.
It was traditional during these ancient times for both parties of the contract, or “covenant”, to physically walk between the bloody halves of the slain animals, by action saying, “May this be done to me if I do not keep my oath.” We find an example of this in Jeremiah 34:18-19:
And I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it, the princes of Judah, the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf–… (NKJV)
There was a major difference between the method of fulfilling the contract or covenant between Abram and GOD, and what was typically done in the traditional ritual. In Genesis 15, in the covenant between God and Abram, Abram fell into a deep trance. God showed up and walked between the divided animals by Himself without waking Abram up. In this covenant, God was making it clear that no part of this covenant depended on Abram. God swore upon Himself, since there was nothing or no one greater to swear upon, that Abram (Abraham) and his descendants could trust, count on, and believe in everything God promised. This specific blood covenant is known as the Abrahamic Covenant. The blood involved in this covenant, as with any blood covenant, signifies the life from which the blood comes.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11, NKJV)
As we can clearly see, the blood covenant was seen and recognized as a very serious binding agreement. This is very important for us to see if we are ever to really understand the blood covenant our Sovereign Creator made with us, the human race, when He came to us as Jesus Christ and sacrificed Himself on the cross at Calvary, two millennia ago. The way God caused Abram to experience the covenant arrangement through a trance, making it impossible for him to participate in it physically, shows God’s amazing grace. God knew that it was impossible for man to fulfill his half of the covenant. God, by walking through the split carcasses by Himself, was saying that He would see the covenant through to its fulfillment, no matter how badly man failed to hold up his end of the covenant. God’s plan was to bring redemption to the human race, and only He Himself could see it all the way through, because in the end, only the Blood sacrifice of the Messiah could atone for the fall of mankind. Everything to do with our relationship to God, both now and throughout eternity, will be based upon what the blood represents.
Because so many Christians don’t really understand the real meaning of the Blood, they miss out on enjoying the blessings attached to it that God has provided. They do not experience its power and yet, the Blood is meant to continue its work throughout the life of a believer, gradually bringing the believer closer and closer to the perfection that God had originally intended. We must never underestimate the importance that the blood occupies in the heart of God.
There are two things that the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross accomplished:
- The “fall” did not originate in the Garden of Eden. It originated with the fall of Lucifer. The Bible tells us that a third of the angels followed Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty. The fall in the Garden of Eden happened some time after Lucifer’s fall. We have no knowledge of how long this was. It may have been eons later, for all we know. However, when it happened, the heavens were defiled and it would take the Blood of Jesus to cleanse them. Here is how Isaiah described Lucifer’s fall:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most high.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15, NKJV)
- The second thing that was accomplished was that the sacrifice of Jesus, the sinless Messiah, God in the flesh, provided the way for a truly acceptable relationship between fallen man and his Creator for all of eternity. One of the best known Scriptures, but also vehemently rejected by some because of its exclusivity, is Jesus’ words in John 14:6:
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.
The Blood of Jesus guarantees that there will never be another rebellion and fall. The Bible makes it very clear that the Blood of Jesus was necessary in order to cleanse things in the heavens. Below are two Scriptures saying exactly that.
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the most Holy Place every year with blood of another–He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Hebrews 9:22-26, NKJV)
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight…(Colossians 1:19-22, NKJV)
The subject of the Blood of Jesus is much deeper than most realize. Blood is given an importance by our Almighty Creator that is unrecognized by most people on this earth, with the exception of those who are worshippers of the fallen Lucifer. Virtually all ancient paganism exalted the letting of blood, including animal and human sacrifices. It is imperative that we see that paganism has counterfeited and badly twisted a principle that was taught by God Himself after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
The great fall of Lucifer and his fellow angelic co-conspirators and the later fall of the human race required a purifying substance much stronger than anything known to man. Without it, the heavens would stay contaminated, and the human race was doomed. This is where the Blood of Jesus comes into the picture.
To Be Continued in Part 2