Purchased with blood

by Leon King 

"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." -- Revelation 19:13.

    This is the last place in the Bible where the word "blood" occurs. The scene in Revelation 19 is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The vesture dipped in blood suggests that the blood is his own or typical of the blood of his enemies that will stain his clothing as he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. If the blood on the vesture were his own, then the blood was in heaven before his return to earth. We are left to wonder and study.

    During a recent study of the fifth chapter of Revelation, I noticed anew this expression: "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain," ó Revelation 5:6a. This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as the lamb of God which took away the sins of the world. But, what is the scene which presents him as a Lamb slain? A slain lamb suggests the marks of his slaughter and blood.

    John Gill had this observation about the passage. "though now alive; and he appeared to have the marks of his sufferings and death upon him, as he had after his resurrection the print of the nails and spear, in his hands, feet, and side; and he was as a lamb that had been newly or lately slain: and it may denote the continued efficacy of his blood, to cleanse from all sin, and of his sacrifice to take it away; he was as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, with respect to the continual virtue of his blood and sacrifice;" (Exposition of the Old & New Testaments, Vol. 9, Galatians to Revelation, published by The Baptist Standard Bearer, page 726.)

    We all know our Lord ascended back to the father in a resurrected body with the marks of his crucifixion. He had invited Thomas to "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." -- John 20:27. These were the marks of slaughter on the Lamb of God.

    ē Reason for the study.  Why bother with this question anyhow? Is it important to our learning and growth in the Lord?

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." -- 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

    I believe this topic is an important part of scripture.  Most people agree that the Bible is a bloody book. We also agree that every sacrifice in the Old Testament pointed to the one bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. While none of the sacrifices in the Old Testament took away sins, the need for them was to present pictures of the genuine sacrifice which was made by Jesus Christ, once for all..

"For <it is> not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." ó Hebrews 10:4.

    ē Shedding of blood is required. Let us notice that God required the shedding of blood in the sacrifice of beasts and birds. The shedding of blood was part of the sacrifice. Though blood is implied in earlier passages, its first mention in Scripture in connection to sacrifice is found in Exodus 12:1-7.

 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, {2} This month <shall be> unto you the beginning of months: it <shall be> the first month of the year to you. {3} Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth <day> of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of <their> fathers, a lamb for an house: {4} And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take <it> according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. {5} Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take <it> out from the sheep, or from the goats: {6} And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. {7} And they shall take of the blood, and strike <it> on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it."  -- Exodus 12:1-7.

 "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I <am> the LORD. {13} And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye <are>: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy <you>, when I smite the land of Egypt." -- Exodus 12:12-13.

    We can readily see from this passage that the mere death of the animal was not sufficient. The Israelites used the blood to identify those who were safe from the death angel. They applied the blood to the houses where the Israelites dwelled. Blood was shed and blood was applied. Applied blood of the slain animal was the token which allowed the death angel to pass over the house. This is a picture of our salvation and security from eternal damnation. We cannot establish doctrine on pictures, but we know this picture finds its fulfillment in the once-for-all offering of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the first Passover which pictured Christ as our Passover Lamb. Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year, which was the time for the killing of the Passover Lamb. He fulfilled the Old Testament type entirely.

    In the 24th chapter of Exodus, Moses built an altar and sent young men to offer burnt-offerings and peace-offerings of oxen to the LORD. He put half of the blood in basons and half he sprinkled on the altar. Finally, he sprinkled the blood on the people as the blood of the covenant at that time. This was the Old Covenant, or Law Covenant. Death of the animals was not sufficient, it required shedding of blood and application of the blood.

"And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. {5} And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. {6} And Moses took half of the blood, and put <it> in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. {7} And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. {8} And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled <it> on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words."  -- Exodus 24:4-8.

    Next in order comes the offerings for consecration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. Each sacrifice required shedding of blood and the application of it. We notice these passages from Exodus 29 which are connected to the consecration.

"And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar." -- Exodus 29:12. 

"And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. " -- Exodus 29:16.

"Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. "  -- Exodus 29:20

"And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sonsí garments with him." -- Exodus 29:21

    The book of Leviticus lists the various sacrifices imposed on Israel under the Law Covenant.  Included are the burnt offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. The law or commandment for each offering is likewise listed. These are listed in chapters one through seven. Chapter eight speaks of the offering of consecration for the priests. Chapter fourteen speaks of the offering for leprosy, chapter sixteen of the day of atonement, and chapter seventeen of the place of sacrifice. In all instances, there was the death of the sacrifice but also the shedding and application of blood.

    We know all these things are shadows and types. Every one of them point to the one sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the sacrifice that took the sins of His people away once for all, removed their guilt, and continually cleanses them.

bulletFulfillment of the types in bloodshed.

    An excellent way to see the necessity of shedding the blood of Christ comes in studying the book of Hebrews. In this book, we read of how the new covenant and all things pertaining to it is better than the old. If I counted correctly, the word "better" is used thirteen times in connection to this better covenant. The better covenant demanded a better sacrifice. That involved the death and blood of Jesus Christ. Notice -

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope <did>; by the which we draw nigh unto God." -- Hebrews 7:19.

"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."  -- Hebrews 7:22

"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." -- Hebrews 8:6.

"<It was> therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." -- Hebrews 9:23.

"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than <that of> Abel." -- Hebrews 12:24.

    With these better things promised to us under the New Covenant, the Hebrew writer declares the shedding of blood as a necessity. The blood is not that of bulls and goats, but the blood of the beloved Lamb of God. It is the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

    Jesus took the likeness of sinful flesh to become our sacrifice. He did not have the sin nature that we have which was passed on to all of Adamís posterity.  Why?  He was virgin born, conceived of the Holy Ghost. He was both very human and very God in one body. This is a great mystery, but not one in which we need be perplexed. We believe the testimony of Scripture. A body was prepared for him to offer the one sacrifice for all time and shed his precious blood. Notice:

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou has had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." -- Hebrews 10:4-10.

bulletDivine or Human Blood? 

    There are heated debates about whether or not the blood was divine or human blood. I believe his blood was human blood, for he was fully human. The beginning of the life blood in a conceived child  is connected in some way, with conception. It seems to be produced in the infant himself apart from the mother, but it is done in a way still above my comprehension. I have been unable to find an acceptable explanation for the origin of blood from those who study such things.  Medical Science tells us that the bone marrow produces blood. Is the bone marrow in place before blood is produced in an unborn child?  I do not know. None of us know how the bones are formed in the womb.

"As thou knowest not what <is> the way of the spirit, <nor> how the bones <do grow> in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." -- Ecclesiastes 11:5.

    With all this information, we still are shut up to the fact that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost and was a divine person because of that fact. His body was sinless. His blood was sinless. He came to break that sinless body and shed that sinless blood for his people.

    There are many mysteries about the blood and the sacrifice of Jesus.  He is Godís Lamb which was pictured by all the slain lambs of the Old Testament. He is Godís altar pictured by all altars erected to God. He is the morning and evening sacrifice pictured by all such sacrifices. He is the sin offering, burnt offering, peace offering, trespass offering, offering of consecration, and every other offering pictured in the Old Covenant. His body is the vail which was pictured by the vail in the temple that was rent at his death. He is the fulness of the Spirit, the light of the world pictured in the lampstand of the tabernacle in the wilderness. He is the bread of life pictured in the shewbread placed on the table of that tabernacle. He is the place and means of Godís propitiation pictured in the mercy seat. All of those pictures became real at Golgotha when Jesus bled on the cross for his people.

    Yes, it was necessary that he shed his blood. As he hung on that cross, the blood flowed from the wounds made by the crown of thorns; the blood flowed from his back which was flayed and torn by the flogging; the blood flowed from his hands and feet. That blood flowed on him - the mercy seat; the altar of sacrifice. God provided himself a lamb. Jesus was the lamb and Jesus was the altar. His own blood flowed on him - the mercy seat. It was necessary that his blood be shed. His blood was the payment for our sins! It was the price of our redemption.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, <as> silver and gold, from your vain conversation <received> by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: {20} Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, {21} Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." -- 1 Peter 1:18-21

bulletAtonement Made in Heaven?

    So, then we ask ourselves the question, "Did Jesus take his blood into heaven and make the atonement? Is it still there? This is an area where people are likely to get into serious trouble with others. Words need to be carefully chosen here because they can be misunderstood easily. The following verse has been the basis for my thinking that Jesus took his blood into heaven in the years past. It is not the only thing that caused me to think that way. I will explain the other things after I quote the verse.

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." -- Hebrews 9:11-12.

    The scripture does not say in Hebrews 9:12  "with his own blood." It does say "by his own blood."   This verse, coupled with the fact that Jesus had forbidden Mary Magdalene to touch him, then later inviting the ten (and later, Thomas) to handle him, seem to suggest his ascension to the Father before he met the other disciples. Notice these two verses:

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." -- John 20:17.

"And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." -- Luke 38-39.

        Jesus Christ is prophet, priest, and king. We all believe that and know that from the scriptures. As he came to the cross, he had ended his role as prophet.  At the cross, he assumed the role of priest for it was there he offered himself.  He began to fulfill the role of our great High Priest at the cross. As he hung on the cross, he offered himself. That is what priests do - offer sacrifices. As he hung on the cross, God slew his lamb and sprinkled his blood on the mercy seat. The lamb was Jesus. The lamb's blood was Jesus' blood. The mercy seat was Jesus. The father looked on the travail of his soul and was satisfied,  The Heavenly Father was propitiated. Jesus' soul had been made an offering for sin. His blood poured down his body; stained the cross, and lay on the dust at the bottom of the altar. It was finished. This scene, in my understanding, is the atonement.  So, the atonement was made on earth as Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth on the tree.  It was here that he sprinkled blood on himself - the mercy seat.

    After his burial, resurrection, and his forty-day appearing to the disciples, he ascended to the right hand of the Father to continue the role of High Priest until he comes again as King of kings and Lord of lords. 

bulletLife in the Blood.

    To say there has never been other blood like that of Jesus is a true statement. It is precious blood because it is the blood of God's lamb. His blood is sinless and incorruptible. We know from the scripture that blood is the life of the flesh. His blood was the life of his flesh.

"But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall he not eat." -- Genesis 9:4. 

    Jesus had a body of flesh and blood just as we have bodies of flesh and blood. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" -- Hebrews 2:14. As a partaker of flesh and blood, we know that Jesus was just as much human as he was divine.

    I have to stop at this point daring not to intrude beyond the statement of the scriptures. Brother G. E. Jones warned the preachers he taught many years ago to learn not to think above that which was written. When we intrude into those things which are not specified in scripture, we move to quicksand. We do not know the mechanics of the conception of Jesus Christ. We know the Holy Ghost was instrumental in the conception, but we know not every jot and tittle of the process.

"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." -- Luke 1:34-35.

    We do not need to know it. Let it suffice us to know that Jesus was very human and very God. Suffice us to know that his blood was precious and that it was necessary that his blood be shed for our sins. We were bought with it!

 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." -- Acts 20:28.

    Who purchased it? Jesus did. What was the price or means of the purchase? His own blood - not just his death, but the shedding of his precious blood.