A Voice in the
"And the LORD God...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul". (Gen2:7) "But you shall not eat flesh with its life - its blood". (Gen9:4) "For the life of the flesh is in the blood...for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul"(Lev17:11)
What we consider in this lesson (and follow-up commentary) is a subject that, when its Truth hit me, it was of such profundity, I have come to realize it is a major doctrine that SHOULD BE taught more, but isn't. The seed for this discussion came from listening to a sermon tape of a Godly pastor of a church in Madison, Wisconsin. The seeds his message planted, sprouted in my heart as the Holy Spirit flooded me with related Scriptures; thus, I knew what he had proclaimed, although not commonly heard from pulpits, was God's Truth. As I share with you in a small way, here, what the Lord has revealed to my heart, perhaps you who are True Believers will then experience the Holy Spirit opening His Word to you in a similar fashion. This discussion is for blood-bought and redeemed children of God. The unsaved will likely not have a clue.
Medical science understands a partial significance of blood. They can take blood samples and if they conduct all the necessary tests, they can presume to know "everything" about the physical health of the owner of that blood. The blood supplies nutrients to empower the body, oxygen to make those nutrients work, other mechanisms to remove impurities. The blood is the pathway for pathogens which make a person sick. It is also the conduit for chemotherapy which often makes the body well again.
But there is another aspect which medicine has apparently not detected under their microscopes and centrifuges. Life, actual LIFE, is in the blood. No; blood is not merely the conduit of nutrients to keep the body alive; but the blood, -itself-, is-and-contains LIFE. Medical science says a person is dead when the brain waves stop. But when a person has drowned (for instance) and brain activity has ceased, and they are revived, what is the concern about 'time and the brain'? The lack of 'blood' to the brain. You might quickly suggest, "Well, sure... the brain needs its nutrients and oxygen, which the blood -supplies-." True. But 'what' makes the brain work? We have observed in the past how the brain is merely an organic "computer". As with electronic computers, computers don't program and operate themselves; somebody, or some thing, needs to enter commands to make the computer function. We have spoken in the past of demon-possession, and how demons can only enter an "empty house". (Mt12:43-45) How charismania uses Tibetan/Hindu/TM/Yoga type shamanistic "meditation" techniques to empty one's mind in order to become "spirit-filled". But we wonder, when a person is in their 'normal' [non-possessed] state, -where- is that seat of understanding? Where is the soul? Where does the consciousness of a person reside? Where is the "operator" of the "computer"? Well, by the time we have finished here, perhaps we will come to realize that the concept of "-heart-" may not be as far-fetched a concept as we might have thought. "For from within, out of the heart [the 'blood' organ] of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." (Mk7:21-22)
To understand this, we must look at the Hebrew. In our opening passages, the words "soul" and "life" come from the same word, "nephesh" (Strongs 5315) Now, what does "nephesh" mean?
Nephesh == "living being, individual, seat of the appetites, seat of emotions and passions, activity of mind, activity of the will, activity of the character." In other words, one's personality, decision-making, emotions, morality... conscience and knowing what's right and wrong. The N.T. Greek for "soul" (psuche Strongs -5590) has a definition not all that different, in practicality, from "nephesh"; so, for simplicity and consistency, this article will stick with "nephesh".
In Gen2:7, "man became a living soul [Nephesh]". In other words, "man became a living [Life]". Lev17:11 "life [nephesh] is in the blood". In other words, the "[soul] is in the blood".
Before we get along with Scripture, here, let's address some objections that are likely already arising in some minds; food for thought from the realm of life practice and experiences, as we then continue seeing what Scripture says... When people receive blood in transfusions, there is apparently a phenomenon where the recipient often feels as though someone -else- is "with them". They can't explain it, but their thoughts are plagued, and they sometimes have strange dreams they cannot understand. This phenomenon also often occurs for those who receive an organ transplant from somebody else. Also consider the "blood brother" practise where those joining together cut themselves and join their blood with each other's, 'Klingon' style. Where did that concept come from? There is the satanist ritual of drinking blood and all that that entails and signifies. Pagans who conquer others, often drink some of the blood of the strongest members of their enemies, in order to "receive their strength". If one of their enemies was particularly brave and courageous, drinking their blood is supposed to give the recipient some of that person's courage. (Again, like the Klingon "blood wine") Where do such ideas come from? Well... Most perversions come from distortions of Truth, some place... way-back-when.
When Cain killed Abel, what did God say about Abel? "The voice of your brother's -BLOOD- 'cries' out to Me from the ground." (Gen4:10) For years I have looked at that verse 'figuratively'. I mean, how can 'physical' blood make a sound? "Figurative" that Cain's killing of Abel was something he should not have done, and it was displeasing to God, and that such an act required retribution because of its violence and evil.
Consider some statements: "Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth, says the LORD.." (2Kg9:26a) "O earth, do not cover my blood, and let my cry have no place!" (Job16:18) "The dying groan in the city, and the souls [nephesh/life] of the wounded cry out.." (Job24:12) "the sorrows of Sheol [place of the dead, grave] surrounded me" (2Sam22:6) "Will they go down to the gates of Sheol? Shall we have rest together in the dust?" (Job17:16) "For You will not leave My soul [nephesh/life] in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption [physical decay]." (Ps16:10) And there are -MANY- more like these.
A medical examiner would be able to see how the 'physical' aspect of blood would decay in the ground as he would analyze its physical components under his microscope. And yet Job speaks of "after my -skin- is destroyed.." in decay (Job19:26) Not blood or [nephesh]. But notice the distinction of the "life" component which is yet in the ground... as other places speak of "death" and the "depths of the earth". (Ps71:20, Eze31:14,16,18, 32:18) Is there a component of blood that they cannot see in their microscopes that is not destroyed? As Christ's [nephesh] was not left in Sheol, notice that Jesus prophesies concerning Himself, "..so will the Son of Man be...in the heart of the earth" (Mt12:40) Where His blood would drip into the ground, that's where He was going. Just as Abel's blood [life/nephesh] cried to God from the ground, that was the same place Jesus went when He shed His blood [life/nephesh].
Those who give their lives in martyrdom during the 70th week are pictured as being "under the altar" and they cry out "with a loud voice" to God about the avengement of their blood [life/nephesh]. (Rev6:9-10) You can be sure their killers assume they are "dead" and now "quiet". But God hears them. This soul [nephesh] life is obviously on a different dimension than can be microscoped. But it is "in the blood". People often say the eye is the "window to the soul". When a doctor shines that light and looks in the eye, what is he looking at? The health of the blood vessels in the eye's retina. You want to know a person's substance? Don't look at body parts... look at the blood. Perhaps this explains Jesus' comment better when He spoke of the eye being "sound/healthy" (Mt6;22) indicating the whole person being "full of light". Perhaps this is where the term "hot blooded" came from to describe a person of quick temper?
Yes, I realize this article is not giving us the "how" in all this. I don't know. And I don't know that Scripture explains it. But it says that it is so. There are many mysteries that we do not yet understand. But we accept them by faith.
So, now that we have a slight 'peek' into the realm of this mystery, so what? Why is this of any kind of significance?
If we remember back to the past series on "Covenants and Dispensations" (in the Library) we considered how that, after Noah's flood, God introduced a new covenant with mankind. While there are many things which reside in man's 'conscience' (Rom2:15), there was ONLY ONE edict upon the human race. As God is changing vegetarianism (Gen1:29-30) into a diet that now also includes meat (9:3), and has just destroyed the corruption (which we will discuss more in-depth later) and is starting fresh, He also stipulates to not eat the blood. (vs4) And He explains, "for in the image of God He made man". (vs6) We'll come back and explain this point more completely in the commentary. [Editor: I know we are starting to get what appear to be a lot of unanswered loose ends. But by the time we finish the commentary, I think they will have all been pulled together for the complete whole.]
There is a passage that has always puzzled me; and any explanations I have ever heard from anybody's pulpit never quite 'witnessed' with my spirit. Now, I believe a window to its Truth has begun to open. It is a controversial passage, as claims are made that part of it doesn't exist in the Greek manuscripts. In 1Jn5:6-8, vs7 is said to not appear in the Greek texts, that's why it's italicized. So, to give the benefit of such doubts, let us look at this with vs6 & 8. As John is speaking, "he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (vs5) he then goes into a description of Jesus. "This is He who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (vs6)
First of all, John is explaining that this is a concept only understood by/through the Holy Spirit, and thus, by those who are indwelt by the Spirit. (Rom8:9, Jn16:13, 1Cor2:9-16) If you are not a Believer into Jesus Christ, don't expect to understand -any- of what we are talking about here. Only the Holy Spirit will open this up into the heart of those He indwells. If you are not a Believer, pardon my bluntness, but may I suggest you stop reading at this point, and go on to something else. The glorious things we are about to discover here are not for you. This is a wonderful "pearl of great price" (Mt13:46) that is only for True Believing Christians.
Jesus came by "water and blood". (vs6) Man, on the other hand, is born "from above" of "water and spirit". (Jn3:5) Man's physical anatomy is -mostly- 'water'. While Nicodemus was trying to figure out how to be born again, physically, Jesus was telling him he needed the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:6-8) But when Jesus came to give life, He came as "water and blood". He came, not only as a human (water), but also as Deity (blood). Remember that God breathed [nephesh] (soul/blood/life) into Adam, as man was made in God's "image". That's the 'blood'.
So, when Jesus died and the spear was pushed into His side -after- he was dead (Jn19:33-34) [Editor: there is a most damnable heresy going around saying that some "missing verses" indicate that the spear is what killed Jesus, that would seek to undermine this most glorious truth!], it says, "and immediately blood and water came out". When a body is dead, apparently the blood separates in this way.
Before His crucifixion Jesus said, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me". (Jn14:10-11) "I and My Father are one." (Jn10:30) But as Jesus was bearing the sin of the world, the Father turned His back upon the Son, and Jesus cries out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me??" (Ps22:1, Mt27:46) You see, at that very moment, Jesus' blood began separating into "water and blood". That union between Jesus' Deity and humanity were no longer "one". -THAT- was 'how' Jesus died!!
So, what does all this mean to us in any meaningful way? After all, we were saved when we came before God imploring His mercy upon us, as sinners. (Lk18:13) And we received Jesus Christ by faith. (Rom10:17, Eph2:8, Jn1:12) Perhaps it will give us a greater appreciation for exactly 'WHAT' Salvation consists of, and 'HOW' it is that Jesus saved us.
When Israel came out of Egypt, they killed the Passover lamb, and put its blood on their doors, and God's promise was, "And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.." and not destroy. (Ex12:13) I think we typically look at the "death" of the Lamb in that story. When we 'see' them 'slapping' (with hyssop and "-strike- the lintel.." -Ex12:22) that blood on their doors, reminiscent of how Jesus would be whipped to a shredded bloody pulp, we are seeing the blood as a symbol of "death". But remember? The what? The [nephesh] "life" is in the blood!! When the Death angel came over Egypt, he was not looking for death... but Life! The blood on the doors meant "Life" to the occupants of the house.
When Israel made all those thousands of sacrifices all those years, if we remember "nephesh"... "For the life...is in the blood...to make atonement for your LIFE; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the LIFE." (Lev17:11 paraphrased)
Let's look at Jesus again. Peter reminds us that it was "the precious blood of Christ" (1Pt1:19) by which we were saved. That He "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev1:5) And "without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb9:22) Remembering Lev17:11, consider Isa53:10-11: "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul [nephesh] an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days... He shall see the travail of His soul [nephesh], and be satisfied" as in this manner He "justifies many" and "bears their iniquities".
The Gospel states "that Christ DIED for our sins.." (1Cor15:3) The soul that sins must "die". (Eze18:4, Rom6:23) Thus, Jesus paid our "death" -penalty-. But that is only merely a 'part' of what He did. He also needed to provide the "ransom/redemption". He came to "GIVE His LIFE a ransom.." (Mt20:28) "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." (Jn10:18) If Jesus had only "given -UP-" His life, He would have been "dead". But He did more than that. When He shed his blood, He shed His Life. As though to say to the Judge, the Heavenly Father:
See what I mean? If you are not saved, you will not understand this, just like the unbelieving Jews didn't when Jesus told it, and stopped following Him. (Jn6:66) But they are the "words of eternal life"(vs68)
So, what is the nature of this New Life? It is a "mystery" to those who are not saved... "Christ in you, the hope of glory". (Col1:27) Paul explains it as a marriage between a man and his wife. He quotes back to the beginning, "a man shall...be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh". (Eph5:31, Gen2:24)
How do two become one? As we remember the story, Eve was taken from a rib which came out of Adam. (Gen2:21-24) Eve started out having come from the man. She was "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh". (vs23) That's where it started. But how does "two become one" continue through the generations?
When a man enters a woman he gives her part of himself. That "seed" he imparts contains blood plasma. He gives her some of his [nephesh]. His life. Yes... his soul. Remember how we noted, above, how people who receive transfusions or organs often feel another 'presence' with them? When a couple come together, they are becoming "one" with each other. The longer a couple lives together, and they "do not deprive one another" (1Cor7:5a), the more their souls become shared with each other.
[:ADDENDUM (October,2008) When this was originally written over seven years ago, this matter of the "blood plasma" was totally new to me, and hearing it from a 'pastor', I wondered how medically sound it was. At the time nobody from the medical profession contradicted the statement. This year there is a new prime-time TV program "The Doctors" (which I don't watch much because the doctors carry this attitude as a panel of 'pontificates'); during which they discuss all sorts of medical issues. During a particular brief moment where I happened to leave the TV on the channel, in the context of whatever they had been talking about, they made this passing comment, something to the effect that: Whatever diseases that can be transmitted from one person to another through blood contact, can also be transmitted through sexual activity. Thus, confirming to my mind the role of "blood plasma" as stated in the above paragraph.:]
Now, while there is "exchange" between the two, note that it is a primarily 'one-way' transaction. The man's essence goes -to- the woman. Why? Adam was in need of a "helper SUITED TO HIM". (Gen2:20) How is a woman to be best suited to the man, unless she also has some of his soul, to understand him and know him? You see, by design, the woman comes under submission to the man; not the other way around. (1Cor11:3, Eph5:22, Col3:18) Sorry, feminists!!
And today's "church" is like feminism. It is like the predominance of "matchmaker" ads one might read. The "church" is looking, like a preponderance of today's females, for somebody to 'pamper' them and make them "feel special". So many of today's "christian" songs are "love songs" where the singers swoon and 'strain/rasp' their voices in love-making kinds of sounds, "mmmy hhhAdonaaaiii". They want their "knight in shining armor" to come along and "sweep them off their feet". They do not seek to "receive" Christ's [nephesh], and become WHAT HE IS. They do not seek to become LIKE HIM as they submit to Him. Today's female generically does not submit to her husband, and neither does the "church" (small "c") to Jesus Christ!
Perhaps this also explains today's epidemic of wives who leave their husbands in order to "find themselves". The new "spirituality". It is satan's attack on God's design of 'Life'! "..she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.." (1Tm5:6) Perhaps this also explains the abortion epidemic. That which the man gave into the woman is rejected by her. She does not want to submit to the man's [nephesh], and as such...God's Life. Let's just have the momentary "passing pleasures of sin" (Heb11:25), without the rich fullness of "two become one" as God intended it.
Eve was brought to Adam as one "suited" -to- him. In the same manner, Christ is not "for" the Church, but the Church is for Christ. He is the "Head". The Church is His "body", and is -His- "fullness" (Eph1:22-23) It is our duty to grow in maturity to become "suited" -to- Him.
So, do we now begin to understand how that when Christ is "in you" (Col1:27) we then grow in our "knowledge of Him". (Eph1:17) as we "grow up in all things into Him" (4:15) and our "unity" is based on the "knowledge of the Son of God" (vs13) as we become mature. Our lives are not "our own". (1Cor6:19) We are not striving for "what -I- want", but what Christ -IS-. As we mature we should not be growing up into "better SELVES" ...but "of the stature of the fullness of Christ". (Eph4:13)
The longer a couple lives together, it is noticed the more they "look alike". The longer they are together, the more they think alike. If they are conversing with others, they often finish each other's sentences because they know each other's thoughts. As Christians we "have the MIND OF CHRIST". (1Cor2:16)
Does this explain why the union between a husband and his wife is not -just- "sex", but is often called, "knowing". Because it is an example of the Believer's union with Christ, where we come to "know Him". (Phil3:10)
Jesus knows us intimately, the division between our soul [nephesh] and spirit. As He is in us, and we have His [nephesh], He knows our "thoughts and intents". (Heb4:12) And just as a wife receives of her husband's [nephesh] and becomes more "suited" to him, we are to be "conformed to the image of His Son". (Rom8:29)
How do we become like Christ? What do we "do" to become like Him? Well, how does the wife become "suited" to her husband? By submitting to him, and receiving his [nephesh]. In the same way we must submit to Christ and receive His [nephesh]. When we do so, by nature of the fact that we have His soul, we become characterized by His: "seat of the appetites, seat of emotions and passions, activity of mind, activity of the will, activity of the character." His character fills us. And this He does by the Holy Spirit. (Jn16:13-15, Rom8:9) Thus, His desires are our desires. His passions are our passions. His holiness is our holiness. His purity is our purity. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Cor5:17)
Right now we are "flesh and blood" (1Cor15:50) and cannot get into Heaven. Before He gave Himself, Jesus also "shared" in man's flesh and blood-ness. (Heb2:14) But notice, after He rose from the dead, and is calming the fears of the disciples, He says, "Handle Me and see, for a spirit [ghost] does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." (Lk24:39) There is a well-known teacher who proclaims from this that Jesus, in resurrected form, no longer has blood...and suggests that when we are "changed" from "corruptible" into "incorruption" (1Cor15:53), that we will no longer have blood, either, since it is the case that, when we see Him, "we shall be like Him.." (1Jn3:2) However, just because Jesus only mentioned "flesh and bones" does not indicate that He did not have blood. The need of the moment was to show them that He had an actual "body" that could be felt; not a 'ghost'. Flesh is something one can feel, and bones gives structure to the body.
If the "life is in the blood", and we have "everlasting life" (Jn3:16), it somehow seems unlikely that we would cease to have blood. But that is a mystery, yet for the future. Whatever the case, we know we will be "like Him"... whatever that is.
But with all this knowledge of just "what" Jesus did for us, and now a little better idea of "how" He did it, and knowing that as we are presently coming to "know" Him more and more as He is "in" us, anticipating the hope of being "like Him"...
"..everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn3:3)
The "Blood" Series: