Let’s open our Bible tonight to 1 Peter chapter 1. As you know we’re in a study of 1 Peter on Sunday nights. We have completed chapter 1 through verse 12 and we are set to begin verse 13. That would introduce us into the next wonderful section of this great epistle. But we’re not going to begin an actual exposition of that section tonight. In fact we’re going to postpone that until the summer is over, because I will be gone as you know. And for the next two Sunday nights I want to take just one phrase out of this section and address it.
You will notice in verse 18 that Peter writes, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Now if I may, before going into the details of this particular section, I would like to address the subject of the precious blood. Peter calls the blood of Jesus Christ precious, valuable, expensive, priceless. And rightly so, because He Himself was precious, priceless, valuable, because the salvation He accomplished through His death was precious, priceless, ultimately valuable. And since the blood of Jesus Christ was in fact the blood of Jesus Christ and in fact was shed in His death for us, it is indeed precious.
And there is a negative side to this matter of the precious blood. In Hebrews, if you will open your Bible for a moment to chapter 10, I would point you to a very important verse in this consideration. Hebrews 10 and verse 29 says, “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified.” Peter says it is precious blood; that’s a positive statement. The writer of Hebrews says anyone who tramples it or regards it as unclean deserves severer punishment. So you have a positive statement about the precious blood, and you have a threat about how we are to treat the blood as precious, a serious warning to those who refuse to acknowledge with Peter that the blood of Christ was precious.
Now let me say at the very outset, that we would never treat the blood of Christ as unclean. We would never trample under foot the Son of God and His saving work. We, with Peter, affirm the blood of Christ is precious. The shedding of that blood in death was the price of our sins paid by Christ. And He literally poured out His blood in a sacrificial offering of His life, and in so doing, sealed forever the new covenant and purchased our redemption by paying the price for sin. The blood of Christ becomes then a very important theme in the New Testament. The blood of Christ, as a term or a phrase, is mentioned at least 30 times in the New Testament. It is mentioned nearly three times as often as the cross of Christ is mentioned and five times as often as the death of Christ is mentioned. And I believe that the reason the blood of Christ becomes the most common term to describe His sacrificial atoning death is because of its vivid, violent overtones. The word blood then is the chief term used in the New Testament to refer to the atoning work of Christ.
And when the writer of Hebrews says that anyone who regards as unclean the blood of the covenant is worthy of severer punishment, he means to say someone who treats with disrespect or disdain the atoning work of Christ. Not just the blood as an entity, a physical thing itself, but the atoning work of Christ. And when Peter says it is precious blood, he is talking about more than just the fluid. He is talking about the work of Christ that is indicated with reference to His blood. A bloody death was God’s design for the Old Testament sacrificial animals. And so when God was picturing the death of Messiah, He dramatically pictured it through animals that literally poured out their blood. They were killed. They were slaughtered. Their life was poured out vividly. Christ, being the fulfillment of those pictures, those types, shed His blood, which also was poured out through His wounds.
But we need to add a note at this point. Though Christ shed His blood at the cross, He did not bleed to death. Christ said, “No man takes My life from Me, I lay it down of Myself.” He did not bleed to death. In fact He died at least 3 hours before His side was pierced and the blood flowed out. He had not shed His lifeblood before He died. He did not bleed to death. As I said, in fact He gave up His life. Having said, “It is finished,” He accomplished atonement and died, yielding up His spirit to God. And it was hours later that His side was pierced and His blood flowed out. When He died, there was still plenty of blood to sustain the life in Him, for the wounds of the nails in His hands and the nails in His feet and the whipping lacerations on His back and the thorn punctures in His head would not have drawn enough blood out of Him to cause Him to bleed to death. So He still had enough lifeblood to sustain His life. He makes it clear, He did not bleed to death; His life was not taken from Him; He gave it Himself. So we conclude then that the blood of Jesus is precious. It is precious, not because it alone, as a chemical fluid saves men and women, but because He died as a sacrificial lamb, a sacrificial death for sin.
Scripture references to the blood of Jesus encompass His death, His atoning work in its fullness. Now that’s just an initial perception that I want you to have. This has become a major issue today, and I think that for some reason that I don’t particularly understand, although I have my thoughts on it, I can’t be positive, my own ministry and the ministry of Grace Community Church has come under fire because people are saying we deny the preciousness of the blood of Christ. We have answered literally thousands of pieces of mail on this. We have been removed from radio stations because of this. There are people traveling around the country speaking against me on this very subject, who do not by the way understand either what I believe or what the Bible properly teaches. But for some reason we are the focal point of this new attack. And in order to assist you, because I believe that some of you are perhaps having to face this – I was talking to Paul Wright who has just come from Eastern Europe to be here. And he says it is an issue in Ireland, where our church and my ministry is being attacked on this very subject.
So we need to understand what the Scripture teaches. It teaches us that Christ did shed His blood in His death but He didn’t bleed to death. He shed His blood in death, which the animals did, but He didn’t bleed to death, which is different from the way the animals died. The issue was, however, death for sin and the animals did die, and Christ did die as the fulfillment, the anti-type of which the animals were but a picture. Now we believe then that because Jesus died for us and because part of that death encompassed His shedding blood that His blood indeed is precious to us, precious because He is precious and anything that belonged to Him is precious, precious because His death purchased our salvation. We also believe that when there is reference made to the blood of Christ in the New Testament it is more than the fluid that it speaks of, it is the whole atoning work. It is the whole atoning work. Some have a different view and I want you to understand that view. Here is what they are teaching about the blood of Christ. I’m going to give you their view, show you why they believe it, and then we’re going to begin to look at it and see if can’t answer it.
Number one, there are people today who are teaching that the blood that flowed in the veins of Jesus Christ and was poured out in His death on the cross was not human blood. It was the blood of God, they say. Turn with me to Acts chapter 20, which is the Scripture that they choose to use and the only one that they use for this view. In Acts 20:28, Paul says to the elders at Miletus, who were from the church at Ephesus, he says at the end of the verse, “To shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Did you get that? The church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. And they say what that is saying is that the He must modify Go. So the church of God which He, God, purchased with His, that is God, His own blood. So therefore, it teaches that God has blood, because God purchased the church with His blood. That it was not human blood; it was the blood of God. It was preexistent blood. And when you ask them, as I have, where was it before it flowed in the veins of Christ – I posed that to one critic. I said, “Where was it before it flowed in the veins of Christ?” His answer to me was, “See you want to twist the Scriptures. It’s not enough for you to accept it.”
The second thing they say is that this blood of God that flowed in the veins of Jesus Christ was eternal and incorruptible. Since it was the blood of God, they must, therefore, believe that it is eternal. That is to say it is uncreated and as eternal as God is in the past, and it is yet as eternal as God is in the future. And the fact that it is eternal they draw from 1 Peter 1:18, which we just read. “You were not redeemed with perishable things” – or corruptible things – “like silver or gold but with precious blood.” And they say the contrast is between perishable and incorruptible things like silver and gold and imperishable and incorruptible blood of Christ. So they say the comparison there between silver and gold, which is corruptible, and between blood, which is therefore incorruptible by comparison, indicates that the blood of Christ is eternal. That is to say, they believe that the blood of Christ was all out of His body, every drop, and it was fully collected as eternal – never stayed on the cross, never stayed in the ground – was then transported to heaven where it remains now eternally.
The third thing they say, which is a corollary following on that, is that it is preserved in heaven. It is presently preserved in heaven. In Hebrews, you’ll notice – I want to show you the verses that they appeal to. In Hebrews 9:11, “When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation, and not through the blood of bulls and calves” – or goats and calves – “but through His own blood, He entered the holy place.” And they take it that when it says he entered the holy place, that is the presence of God, He entered through His own blood means that He took His blood in there. His resurrection body they believe was bloodless. And that His blood was eternally separated from His body, so He entered into heaven in His glorified body, which is bloodless, carrying His blood in some large receptacle, where it is forever preserved in heaven.
So we start with the fact that it is the blood of God. It is therefore eternal. It is therefore preserved forever in heaven. And the question comes – why? The answer is because it is eternal. It has to be forever. And the reason it is preserved in heaven takes us to the fourth point in their view and it is this point. That it is still being poured out on the heavenly mercy seat. That there is in heaven some kind of mercy seat, as there was in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, and that blood is still being poured out. For that they go to Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 24 where it says – speaking of heaven, “You come,” verse 22, “to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” and when you come to the heavenly Jerusalem, you come to myriads of angels, you come to the general assembly, the church of the firstborn, you come to God, the Judge of all and, “You come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and you come to the sprinkled blood.” So they say the sprinkled blood is still in heaven still being sprinkled. And as one man said to me, “My sins were literally washed away by the pouring out of the literal blood of Christ on the literal mercy seat in heaven.” So the blood is still being poured out in heaven. And every time a person is saved, in some way their sins are washed away by the pouring out of that blood on a heavenly mercy seat.
The fifth and final point that they make is that because of this, when the Bible speaks of the blood of Christ it is never speaking symbolically – it is never speaking symbolically. The actual fluid is meant in each case and does have saving properties, saving capabilities. They go back to chapter 9 of Hebrews and verse 13, “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works?” So they see, here it is, the literal blood of Christ is literally cleansing the conscience from dead works. Now do you have it? Let me review it. They say the blood of Christ was not human. It was divine. It was the blood of God. As the blood of God, it was eternal and incorruptible. Since it is eternal and incorruptible, it is preserved forever in heaven. In its preservation in heaven, it is still used by being poured out a heavenly mercy seat to wash away the sins of those who are being saved. Therefore, when we look at the blood of Christ in the Scripture and we see it referred to, it is that actual literal blood which is being referred to not a symbol for death.
Now all of those views, may I say, are non-factual and non-biblical and they represent a misunderstanding of those passages. This is not new. I want to give you a sense of history. The source of much of this thinking was generated by a man named J.A. Bengel, B-E-N-G-E-L. He was born in 1687 and he died in 1752. He originally propounded what has become known as the Bengelian theory of the blood of Christ. He propounded the theory that in the suffering and death of Christ, His blood was totally poured out so that not one single drop remained in His body. And he taught that this blood was then eternally preserved from all corruption. And the passage he used to defend his view, 1 Peter 1, the precious blood. He further taught that this blood shed from Christ totally – so no drop was left in Him – was never restored to the vascular system of Christ’s resurrected body. So he had a bloodless resurrection body. “But rather,” he says, “at the ascension, the blood that had been shed and preserved was carried by Christ outside His body into the heavenly sanctuary, and there it was deposited.” And he uses Hebrews 9:12. In fact, quoting from Bengel, he says, “Christ kept his blood apart from his body. His body was bloodless but living.”
How can he prove that Jesus had a bloodless resurrection body? Well he mentions the vision of the heavenly Christ in Revelation 1:4. Do you remember that vision? The vision of Christ in Revelation 1:4 and following? Describes Christ as the one who stands ministering in the church and John sort of unfolds that vision. And he sees Him and he sees in verse 14, an interesting statement, “And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow.” And Bengel says the whiteness of His head describes Him as bloodless. Others have said, trying to help Bengel make his point, that there is a passage in Luke 24 verse 39 Jesus said after his resurrection, “See My hands and feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And they say, you see it says flesh and bones. Jesus says, touch me, feel Me. A spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones. But he didn’t say flesh and blood, so by silence He is saying that He is flesh and bones and no blood. That’s a silly way to reason, by the way. He didn’t say He had hair either. He had that. He said flesh and bones. He didn’t mention hair, he didn’t mention nails, he didn’t even mention skin. And by the way normal flesh and normal bones exists because in them both is what? Is blood.
And Bengel also taught that in heaven the blood is perpetually being sprinkled there for the removal of sin. Perpetually, perpetually, perpetually. Because if it’s sprinkled out every time someone is saved someone is being saved every moment of the clock, so it’s perpetually being poured out. And the current movement is Bengelian theory revisited. It’s an echo of this fantasy and fetish about the blood. Now listen, nowhere in Scripture does it say that Christ’s blood was drained from His body, every drop – nowhere, nowhere. Even when they pierced His side and blood and water flowed out there is no reason to believe that all the blood in His body flowed out. When He was dead and His heart had ceased to pump, there would be blood yet in the capillary system and the lower part of His anatomy, if not other places, in His extremities, for the wounds in His hand and feet would have clotted by the time He was dead. There’s nothing to indicate that every drop drained from His body. Furthermore, nowhere in Scripture does it say He had the blood of God. In fact, it is never called the blood of God. It is always the blood of Christ. Nowhere does it say that the blood of Christ somehow participated in the ascension by being carried up. And nowhere does it say it is being sprinkled perpetually in heaven. This bizarre and untenable perspective is the real error and not what we affirm and espouse in the great tradition of Protestant theology. The bizarre deduction from Luke 24:39 that flesh and bones means that He was bloodless cannot stand.
First Corinthians 15:50, it says, “Now I say this brethren, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of God. Now if that means what we make flesh and bones mean in Luke 24, where we say Christ was flesh and bones but no blood and now he says flesh and blood can’t inherit my kingdom, we not only have to be bloodless but we also have to the fleshless. You understand that? By the way, the Socinian errorists came to that view. They came to that belief. If flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom, and that means specifically flesh and specifically blood, then when we go into God’s kingdom we’ll not only be bloodless we’ll be fleshless, which leaves us with nothing but what? Bones. If you’re going to be a literalist. No, when the Lord said flesh and bones, he meant physical form and body. And when he says flesh and blood here, he means physical form and body, two ways to say the same thing. Easy understanding. Both are simply descriptive of the whole body. So a new Bengelian theory is about, and what makes it so insidious is that those who don’t hold to it are called heretics by those who do.
I want you to look at the support text that these people use. Okay? We’re going to work our way through these, some tonight and some next week. Let’s go back to Acts 20. Now let me answer each of these points with a biblical understanding. This is fascinating and very important for us. They say that the blood of Christ was not human blood, but that the blood of Christ was the blood of God. Acts 20:28, “The church of God, which He” – they say refers to God – “purchased with His own blood.” Now may I ask you to think through this with me? This is not to emphasize that God has blood. It doesn’t say that. That is an utterly impossible notion. If you say that Jesus possessed the blood of God you have now convoluted the nature of God. John 4 says God is a – what? – spirit. Jesus said in the Luke 24 passage, “You know that a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have.” God is a spirit and God has no blood. God doesn’t need blood. God has no physical form.
And I ask the question, if this is the blood of God where was it? Where was it before it flowed in the veins of Christ? Was it somewhat amorphously floating around in the universe? Did God, who was a spirit, have it in a bottle somewhere? Where was it? Furthermore, are you saying to us that when Jesus died He didn’t shed His own blood, but He shed the borrowed blood of God? Now you have really added a new dimension to the New Testament. I’m not sure what you’ve done to the atoning work of Christ. And if Jesus did not have human blood then was He human? And if He was without human blood, I submit to you, that He could not have been human and if He was not human then He was not the God man and if He was not the God man, you have just destroyed the atonement.
Well you say, why does it say the church of God which He purchased with His own blood? To emphasize the deity of Christ as the head of the church. Jesus can be called, God but there is no blood apart from Christ. The church of God, which He purchased with His own blood, does emphasize the fact that Jesus is the head of the church, does affirm that Jesus is God. We know the church is the church of Christ from Matthew 16:18, Peter’s conversation with the Lord there and he says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus says, “Upon this I will build My church.” It is the church of Christ. It is the church of Christ. But it’s also the church of God. It’s also, if you want to stretch the point, the church that belongs to the Holy Spirit.
But in the New Testament the church of Christ is often called the church of God, I grant you that. Look at 1 Corinthians. Let me just give you a few Scriptures quickly. Write them down rather than try to follow me. Paul writes and he says, “I’m writing to the church of God which is at Corinth.” In 1 Corinthians 10:32, “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.” Chapter 11 verse 16, “We have no other practice, nor have the churches of God. Verse 22, it says, “Do you despise the church of God?” – by how you take communion. Chapter 15 verse 9, “I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle. I persecuted the church of God.” And then in 2 Corinthians 1:1, again the same thing, the church of God at Corinth. Look at 1 Thessalonians 2:14 – 1 Thessalonians 2:14, it says, “For you brethren became imitators of the churches” – here it is – “of God in Christ Jesus.” Now that really sums it up. The churches of God in Christ Jesus.
Now listen to that. It is the church that belongs to God, the God who is in Christ Jesus. Did you get that? That’s vital. The God who is in Christ Jesus. Boy what a great statement of the deity of Christ. And it shows that the church of God is the church of God because it is in Christ Jesus and because God is in Christ Jesus. There is no other way to see the blood than being the blood of Christ. It cannot be the blood of God. It must be the blood of Christ. It is the church of God, because it is God in Christ Jesus purchasing the church with His own blood.
Back to Acts 20:28 for just a moment. The His here must be the same as the He. This is just a grammatical thing. But it says, “The church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” The His and the He have to be the same. So His own blood belongs to whoever He is and to know who He is all we have to see is what He did and what He did was purchase. And I ask you the question, who purchased the church? Christ. Christ. Who paid the price? Christ. There’s no question about that. No question about it. So whoever paid the price purchased the church. Whoever purchased the church purchased it with His own blood, not someone else’s blood, His own blood. It must be Christ. It is the church of God, because God has given the plan and the purpose. But it is the church of God in Christ Jesus. God alive in Christ Jesus and He purchased it with His own blood. You cannot say it is the blood of God unless you are going to say that God purchased it and the Scripture is very clear that it was Christ who paid the price for sin. He purchased it with a price.
Now furthermore, never is there a reference in the Bible to the blood of God. Never, never, never is there a reference to the blood of God. God has no blood. First Corinthians 10:16, when we come to the Lord’s table, “We bless sharing in the blood of Christ.” Thirty times in the New Testament, never the blood of God, thirty times the blood of Christ. It’s very clear. And you have to interpret Acts 20:28 in the light of all the other Scriptures. Ephesians 2:13, “Now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Always the blood of Christ. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 13 and 14, “How much more will the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience?” And we saw it, didn’t we, in our text? First Peter 1:19, “The precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, namely, the blood of Christ.” Even in 1 John, that wonderful epistle, first chapter seventh verse, “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” How in the world can anyone take an obscure jump at Acts 20:28 and come up with the idea that it’s the blood of God, some kind of transcendental blood? Not so – not so. It is the blood of Christ clearly. And any other view is a concoction and a fancy of some men’s minds. For what reason I cannot understand – I cannot understand.
I was thinking of Isaiah 53:10, “The LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied. By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, He will bear their iniquities.” He will bear their iniquities ... “Because He poured out” – here it is – “Himself to death.” It was Him Himself. He Himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors. He was not some kind of container for the blood of God. It was His own blood. He poured Himself out. It cannot be any other thing.
Matthew 20:28, “The Son of man didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.” He gave His life. He gave His blood. The life of the flesh was in the blood. He poured out His blood. He poured out His life. Then in Matthew, listen to 26:28, when He took the cup He said, “This is My blood.” How clear is that? This is My blood – My blood. What did He mean? Is that mystical to you? What did He mean? He meant it was His blood. Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus who gave Himself for us.” It was Him. It was Him. It just goes on and on like this. Colossians 1, “For He delivered us from the dominion of darkness, transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption.” It’s in Him. It’s in His sacrifice. It’s in what He did.
Listen to Revelation 5:9 – Revelation 5:9. You remember the scene? Four living creatures, twenty-four elders fall down before the lamb. They each have a harp, golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. “They sang a new song” – and listen to this – “Worthy are Thou to take the book and break its seals; for Thou was slain, and did purchase for God with Thy blood” – you see it? Wasn’t God’s blood. You purchased for God with Your blood – “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” It is clearly not the blood of God. It’s not some supernatural fluid floating around, existing, and then sort of coming into Jesus.
I want to follow that up. Can I for a minute? You say, well where did Jesus’ blood come from? Well where does your blood come from? Where does His hair come from? Where’d His fingernails come from? Where’d His skin come from? Where did His internal organs come from? Where’d His bones come from? Where’d His eyes come from, His tongue, His teeth? He was as human as you are. Now let me give you a little bit of medical perspective. Blood is not inherited from your father. That’s one of the theories. It was floating around a number of years ago that M.R. DeHaan espoused. Blood is not inherited from your father. You produce your own blood. People misunderstood, I think, what he was saying, but you produce your own blood.
Let me give you a little description. The largest single portion of what is called whole blood – because blood is a composite of many things. But the largest single portion of whole blood is composed of erythrocytes, or we know them as red blood cells. They are derived from the liver initially. The liver produces them initially and then eventually from the bone marrow. A smaller component of whole blood is made up of white cells. White cells are manufactured in the lymphoid tissue. That’s why lymphoma or cancer of the lymph system is so serious, because that’s the white cell producing part of the blood, and of course when it’s cancerous it sends that everywhere, and it is also produced in the bone marrow. So the liver produces red cells, the lymphoid system produces white cells, the bone marrow produces both. The red cells sustain life and the white cells fight infection. There are many other portions of whole blood. There are platelets, clotting factors, immunoglobulins, albumin. Those are proteins that are made in the liver, the lymphoid tissue, and the bone marrow. And all of this is being generated inside that little fetus as it grows producing its own blood. It doesn’t have the blood of its father. It doesn’t have the blood of its mother. It produces its own blood supply. And while it is true that the blood of the mother passes through the fetus no blood is really directly derived from the mother. What is fascinating is that the blood of the fetus and the blood of the mother exchange oxygen, exchange nutrients, and exchange waste, but it’s the little life that produces its own blood.
Christ’s blood was Christ’s blood. He grew from being in His mother’s womb for nine months into a person who had His own blood supply. Hebrews 2:14 says of Him, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself also partook of the same.” The same flesh and blood that people have. Wasn’t the blood of God. There isn’t any mixture in the human body of Jesus. It isn’t human flesh, human bones, and divine blood. That’s not a man. It is medically impossible to think of Christ’s blood as divine. It is theologically impossible to think of Christ’s blood as divine. It is scripturally impossible to think of Christ’s blood as divine. He would be less than man. His blood is human blood. And He was 100 percent man, and to be 100 percent man you have to have 100 percent human blood. This is an age-old issue that the councils in the early years of the church settled long ago, that Jesus was fully God and fully man. And to be fully God you can’t have blood, because God is a spirit. And to be fully man you must have blood, because man is human.
Let’s take a look at the second thing that they bring up, and probably we won’t get past this one. They say that it was eternal blood and thus incorruptible. Let’s look at our text, 1 Peter. First Peter 1:18, “Knowing that you are not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold ...” verse 19, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” Now listen, the parallel here is not between perishable silver and gold and imperishable blood. That’s what was told to me in a very interesting conversation I had with a man who was calling me a heretic. He said, “Well it says right there that you weren’t redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold and so what He’s implying is you were redeemed with imperishable blood.” No, it doesn’t say that. His contrast is between perishable silver and gold and precious blood. He says it. Don’t put words in His mouth. There’s nothing in there that says the blood of Jesus is eternal. There’s nothing that says it is incorruptible. He is emphasizing the value, not the eternality of it. Silver and gold, because it’s perishable, has no value. The blood of Christ has eternal value. It isn’t the blood that is eternal it’s the value of what He did that’s eternal. The work of Christ is eternal; the blood is not. There’s absolutely no place in the Bible that says every drop of Christ’s blood was drained out of His body. Just doesn’t say that.
By the way, perhaps I should mention to you that there is in the Roman Catholic Church a very strange view of this. There is, in the Roman Catholic view, a belief that all the blood of Christ was captured, with the exception of the blood on the nails and the spear, which became holy relics. And the rest of the blood was captured and somehow preserved. And the preservation of that blood of Christ, which is a very bizarre belief, has led some in the Roman Catholic Church to a sort of cult of the blood. The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology says, “Since the council of Trent, it has been held by the Roman Catholic Church that the blood shed during the passion was united with the blood at the resurrection, save for those few particles which became holy relics, namely the blood that adhered to the spear, the nails, the scourging post, and the cross.” Such blood, it is said, is worthy of worship. And did you know this, that in the Roman Catholic Church they have appointed the feast of the most precious blood and they worship the blood? When? The first Sunday of July. It has to do with being dated in sequence after Lent, the feast of the most precious blood. And the various orders within the Catholic Church that are into this cult of the blood devote themselves to meditate on Christ’s blood and pray for souls in purgatory.
Now somebody says, well when He came out of the grave and He was in His resurrection body was He bloodless? There is nothing in Scripture that says He was bloodless. I know He could eat and I know He must have been able, therefore, to take food in and somehow digest that food in His glorified body, His resurrection body. He ate with them; He drank with them; He walked with them; He talked with them. He said, “Touch Me. Feel My flesh, My bones, the wound in My side.” I believe He had a glorified body that was distinct from ours now, and yet it was visible, it had flesh, it had bones, and I would conclude that it had blood of some kind or something that made it work. You can ask the same question, did he have kidneys and lungs and a stomach and a throat and an esophagus and a brain and a kneecap? Why you want to get into that I don’t know. He could be touched and felt and He could walk and He could drink and He could eat and He could speak. There is no virtue either in the view that He had the blood of God or in the view that somehow His blood was captured and taken to heaven where it is eternally preserved. There’s no reason to believe that. Nothing says every drop was preserved, nothing says it was taken to heaven. You say, what do you believe happened to it? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. It is of no consequence to the scriptures. It is therefore of no consequence to us. What is of consequence to us is that He died for our sin. Right? As man, as God, the perfect God-Man.
The third point that they want to make is that it is still being poured out on the heavenly mercy seat. Is that true? Come back next week and find out. We’ll also talk about whether it’s preserved and we’ll talk about whether the blood is symbolic. And dear friends, the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come. In conclusion let me say this. This is an unusual message for me to give. You know that. It’s unusual for me to devote my attention away from the text to address an issue. But you have to understand that the reason I’m doing this is because this has become so compelling that it must be addressed. It just isn’t going to go away until I say this, we put it on tape, and send to some people so they understand that ours is not the deviation from Scripture, but theirs is. If they will buy into this...a lot of people are so unwitting. All you have to do is go down the pike and say, “John MacArthur denies the blood of Christ.” If they hear that they think, “That’s the end of him.” I do not deny the blood of Christ. I believe it’s precious. I would never treat it as an unholy thing, as an unclean thing. The blood of Christ is precious blood and He shed His blood in paying the price for our sins. But I do not believe that it was the blood of God, and I do not believe that it is eternally collected and carried into heaven and there it continues to be poured out to atone for sin.
In fact, what I’m going to tell you about that very thing next week is shocking. If you believe that, that is shocking. If you really believe that, in my judgment, you are akin to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the perpetual sacrifice of Christ, where He is killed again in every mass, and you’re attacking the once for all sacrifice, and you’ve got Him pouring out blood perpetually forever and ever and ever. That is a frightening theory. Well we want you to understand what the Scripture teaches. But most of all we want you to rejoice in your salvation. Amen? The Lord Jesus Christ has saved us through His atoning death. We praise Him for that. Well, let’s pray.
Father, thank You again tonight for this refreshing time in Your Word, for these precious folks who’ve come together with us. Bless them Lord and I just pray that You’ll reward them for their faithfulness and their diligence and their love of Your truth. Father, may we recognize that what really matters is not this fain speculation, not these silly musings of men. What matters is that we recognize the perfect saving work of Christ and embrace Him as Lord and Savior.
Father, I recognize there are many people who would cast dispersions against us because they’re jealous, out of selfish ambition. Out of competitive spirit they would desire to invent falsehood. And we ask, Lord, that You would protect us from that, so that no one would think that we misrepresent Christ and no one would think that we would treat the blood as an unholy thing and no one would think that we do not deem it precious. Protect us Lord and even as the psalmists prayed, we pray that You would silence the enemies, silence the detractors, silence those who speak evil against Your people and Your truth, silence those who attack Your word, silence those who bring forth falsehood. Lord, it seems that the church does not need to endure this; it does not seem to benefit us; it seems so much to confuse. We would ask somehow Lord that you would silence those who speak error and those who attack those who teach Your truth, and vindicate the truth and the righteous teachers of it.
We praise You, Father, for the worthy lamb Christ, who gave His life for us. May we rightly understand that You want us to focus on His sacrifice, His gracious, loving, merciful sacrifice and not become preoccupied with things that have no redeeming virtue, cannot edify, but only confuse. I would pray, Lord, that You’d make the atonement real to all of us, that you’d make us grateful that indeed we were purchased through the precious blood of Christ in His sacrificial death. We pray in His name. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.