What is blood?

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary – “The red fluid circulating in the body that takes nourishment to the body parts and carries away waste.”

New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (College Edition) – “The fluid that circulates in the arteries and veins or principle vascular system of the vertebrates, in man being of a red color and consisting of a pale-yellow plasma containing semisolid corpuscles, some red and some white; the vital fluid as shed from a wound.”

1828 American Dictionary of the English Language – “The fluid which circulates through the arteries and veins of the human body, and of other animals, which is essential to the preservation of life.  This fluid is generally red.  If the blood of an animal is not red, such animal is called exsanguious, or white-blooded; the blood being white, or white tinged with blue.”

These references have determined that blood is essential to our ability to “be/exist.”  But what does blood really do?  What makes blood so essential to the human body?

  • The average adult body consists of approximately five (5) liters of blood.  One liter equals 0.264172052358148 of a gallon.  So, five (5) liters would equal 1.32 gallons.
  • Blood completely circulates the entire body approximately every 23 seconds.

Blood has five (5) main functions in the body.  Let’s look at each of them specifically.

Continuously works in & for our bodies

  • When the blood stops flowing, we cease to live.
  • It never tires or takes a break.
  • Its work is essential for our health and well-being.

Feeds/Provides for our bodies

  • Carries nourishment to the cells and tissues when we eat.
  • Transports oxygen throughout the body, which sustains life.

Removes waste/cleanses our bodies

  • Blood removes waste and poisons from our system.
  • Blood removes the carbon dioxide from cells and tissues.

Provides protection/defense for our bodies

  • Platelets from “clots” to help stop bleeding.
  • White cells attach germs, infections, and disease.

Provides life to our bodies

  • Blood is the fluid of life.
  • It is not life itself.
  • Blood has to reach the cells in order for life to continue.

Biblical definition

Leviticus 17:11  NKJV  “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.”

Why blood?

Perhaps the easiest way to answer this question is to quote the previous verse.  God has always demanded blood for the atonement (Ole Testament) and remission (New Testament) of sins.  Yes, there is a subtle indication of the difference in these two terms.  However, the bottom line is that God Almighty has always demanded blood for cleansing.  Perhaps now, after going through the initial five characteristics of blood, we now know or at least partially understand why blood was used.  It is the carrier of life.

  • Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament – The word “atonement” from Leviticus 17:11 is defined as, “to make expiation for an offender; to free him from a charge.”
  • Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language – The definition of “expiation” is, “The act of atoning for a crime; the act of making satisfaction for an offense, by which the guilt is done away, and the obligation of the offended person to punish the crime is canceled; atonement; satisfaction.”
  • Strong’s Concordance – “Atonement” is defined as follows:  atonement  H3722 kaphar  (kaw – far’)  A primitive root; to cover.

Hebrew 9:12 states, “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.”  The key word in this verse is “redemption.”

  • Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language – defines “redemption” as, “Repurchase of captured goods or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent; ransom; release; as the redemption of prisoners taken in war; the redemption of a ship and cargo.”  Also, “In theology, the purchase of God’s favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ.”

The difference between Old Testament and New Testament terms is that, as we have just seen, the Old Testament refers to the covering of sins.  The Old Testament boldly prophecies that Messiah will erase or eradicate our sins, removing them from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  They now have not been covered, but totally removed.  That is how we have become justified to God.  (Justified = just if I’d never sinned.)

  • Psalm 103:12  NKJV  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

The use of blood.

The Passover (while still in bondage as slaves in Egypt.)

  • Jews were to put blood on the door posts and lintel of their doorway to indicate the residence was that of God’s chosen people.
  • The blood was to come from a lamb, spotless and without blemish, a male of the first year.

The Day of Atonement

  • Happened once a year.
  • The high priest made atonement for all people behind the veil in the Holy Of Holies.
  • It was a very impersonal thing.
  • Only made atonement for unintentional sin.

Consecration of the Altar

  • Exodus 29:12  NKJV  “You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour all the blood beside the base of the altar.”
  • Exodus 29:16  “and you shall kill the ram, and you shall take its blood and sprinkle it all around the altar.”

Consecrating the priests

  • The high priest had to be anointed with blood in order to be consecrated and sanctified to minister on behalf of the people (Exodus 29:20).
  • Aaron’s sons had to also be anointed with blood to do the work of a priest in the Holy Place, on behalf of the people.

The sealing of a covenant with God.

  • Noah – After the flood, Noah built an altar and offered blood sacrifices to God, sealing the covenant.  The earth has never again been destroyed by flood and while the earth remains, there will always be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night (Genesis 15:1 – 8)
  • Abram – At the age of 75, God spoke to Abram and said that he would be the father of many nations.  Again, this was followed by the building of an altar and the sacrifice of blood of sacrificial animals (Genesis 15:1 – 8).
  • Abraham – God instructed him to take Isaac (the son of promise) and offer him as a sacrificial offering.  As Abraham raised the knife to kill Isaac, God provided a sacrificial ram.  The built an altar and sacrificed the ram and now we celebrate the covenant of God’s love (Genesis 22).
  • Solomon – When he finished building the Temple of God, he offered a peace offering, sacrificing 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep.  Then he and the people of Israel made burnt offerings, grain offerings, and peace offerings before the Lord (1 Kings 8:62 – 63).

In all situations where animals were sacrificed, they had to be clean and without defect.  Guilt for the people’s sins was transferred symbolically to the animal through the laying on of hands by the one making the offering.

The New Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Jesus (Yeshua) is our  Messiah, High Priest and sacrificial lamb.

  • The death of Jesus was much more than a man crucified upon a cross.  Jesus was the New Testament picture of a sacrificial lamb being offered for the forgiveness and remission of sins.
  • Done this way so that the Jews might understand the correlation.
  • The New Testament difference is that our sins are now removed from us, not just covered.
  • Now, we have a personal High Priest that we are able to approach boldly (but humbly), no longer needing an earthly intercessor on our behalf.
  • The veil which separated man from the Holy of Holies was torn in two, from top to bottom, opening the throne room of God to all who are called by His name.
  • All sin, when repented of, is forgiven and forgotten (cast into the sea of forgetfulness), not just unintentional sin.  (Matthew 12:31 declares that all sin is forgiven except one; blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.)

Living victoriously through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are now able to live a victorious life.   Here are a few verses that speak of our victory in Jesus.

  • Hebrews 2:14  NKJV  “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
  • Revelation 12:11  NKJV  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the world of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57  NKJV  “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Romans 8:16 – 17  NKJV  “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
  • Romans 8:31  NKJV  “What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  • Romans 8:37  NKJV  “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
  • Philippians 4:13  NKJV  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • John 10:10  NKJV  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

In closing, let us look at the original five points made about blood and how they also correlate to the blood of Jesus Christ.

Continuously works in & for our bodies.

  • The blood of Jesus Christ works all the time.
  • 1 John 1:9  AMP  “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”
  • According to this verse, He will continuously cleanse us.  Under the Old Testament covenant, people were cleansed once a year, on the Day of Atonement and only for unintentional sin.

Feeds/Provides for our bodies.

  • John 6:35  NKJV  “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
  • Each time we take communion, we feed upon the body and blood of Jesus.
  • Each time we take communion, we are reminded of Jesus’ death and are to look forward to His imminent return.

Removes waste/cleanses our bodies.

  • 1 John 1:7  NKJV  “But it we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
  • Strong’s Concordance – cleanse = G2511  katharizo  (kath-ar-id’-zo)  to cleanse (literally or figuratively): – (make) clean, purge, purify.
  • Psalm 51:7  NKJV  “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
  • Psalm 103:12  NKJV  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Provides protection/defense for our bodies.

  • Our covenant with God is sealed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Psalm 34:7  NKJV  “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”
  • Psalm 91  NKJV
  • Psalm 46:1  AMP  “GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”

Provides life to our bodies.

  • Jesus’s blood speaks of eternal life.
  • Hebrews 12:24  NKJV  “to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
  • Colossians 1:13 – 14  NKJV  “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
  • Revelation 12:11  NKJV  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”  AMP  “And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing].”  MSG  “They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness.  They weren’t in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.”
  • John 6:53 – 57  NKJV  “Then Jesus said to them, “most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

There is no greater mystery in the Christian life than the worth and power of the blood of Jesus Christ!