I have written an essay that I want to try to get my family to read about what the bible really says about blood. I was inspired by another poster’s essay. Unfortunately, I don’t recall his name so as to give him credit. He helped open up my eyes. Thank you.
If anyone is willing to take the time to read it and give me suggestions on how to improve it, I will greatly appreciate it.
An Examination of the Bible and Blood
The public Watchtower of October 1, 2008 has an article on page31 that explains why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions. After a short introduction the following is stated:
"Their (Jehovah’s Witnesses) stand is based on a fundamental law that God gave to mankind. Just after the flood of Noah’s day, God gave Noah and his family permission to eat the flesh of animals. God imposed this one restriction. They were not to consume blood. (Genesis 9:3,4) All humans of all races descended from Noah, so this law is binding on all mankind. It was never rescinded. Over eight centuries later, God reaffirmed that law to the nation of Israel, explaining that blood is sacred, representing the soul, or life itself. (Leviticus 17:14) Over 1500 years later, the Christian apostles commanded all Christians to "keep abstaining…from blood" Acts 15:29."
The above paragraph briefly explains what I have believed most of my life. My belief in this blood doctrine was so strong that I was willing to die rather than to receive a transfusion. I looked at a transfusion with repulsion. I was taught that a transfusion was so bad that I would be disfellowshipped if I had one. It was something detestable to God.
Over the years the Society has made changes on their stand as far as blood transfusions. Changes that I have found hard to understand (Components verses fractions). So I decided to examine the scriptures and see what God’s word had to say.
As the Society stated above, after the flood Noah was given permission to eat the flesh of animals. Jehovah also commanded him not to eat the blood of the animal that he killed, but to pour it on the ground. This can be found at Genesis 9:3,4. The Society then states above " They were not to consume blood". This statement implies that Noah and his family were forbidden from eating blood of any kind. If the Society is correct then no one on earth today should eat blood, being we are all descendents of Noah.
Centuries later the Israelites accepted a covenant with Jehovah in which they took an oath to follow the laws of the Mosaic Covenant. There were over 600 laws that God expected the Israelites to follow. Some of those laws were so important to follow that the punishment for breaking them was death. The law on blood was one of them, as is pointed out at Leviticus 17:14. " Anyone eating it will be cut off."
These scriptures and events are what the Society uses for their blood doctrine. Is there anything else that we can procure from examining the scriptures?
As descendents of Noah we are under the same law he is, but the law is very limiting and not all encompassing as the Society says it is. How can I say that? Noah was required to bleed any animal that HE killed. He was not allowed to eat the blood of THAT animal. He had taken its life and he needed to show respect for the life taken. What I never realized was that Noah wasn’t forbidden from eating blood. Just the blood of an animal that HE HIMSELF KILLED. He wasn’t forbidden from eating the flesh of an animal that had died of natural causes. He would not have been able to bleed that animal, thus he would be eating the blood with the flesh. . No where in scripture does God forbid Noah from eating a dead carcass. Jehovah did not disapprove of eating blood per say. What was important here wasn’t the sanctity of blood but the sanctity of life. Noah had taken the life of the animal and needed to show respect for that life.
I only realized this after meditating on Deut 14:21. This law given to the Israelites states that if an Israelite found a dead carcass, they were not to eat it, but they may give it to a foreigner and that the foreigner MUST eat it. Jehovah’s standards do not change nor would he insist that someone break his laws. Thus when God states that the foreigner must eat the dead animal, he must be keeping with his own perfect laws. The foreigner is a descendent of Noah as are all people on earth and if the law given to Noah applies to us it surely applied to the foreigner as well. If the foreigner was allowed to eat a dead animal with its blood, and he was, then Noah was allowed to as well. Thus God’s edict to Noah wasn’t all encompassing as the Society teaches. (" They were not to consume blood"), but was limited only to showing respect for the life that Noah had taken. Noah was to show appreciation for the sanctity of life, not the sanctity of blood.
. When looking at Chapter 17 of Leviticus we see verse after verse stating that blood must be poured upon the ground from an animal that had been slaughtered. If one of God’s people ate the blood they were to be put to death. This agrees with Deut 14:21. Does the Mosaic Law forbid Israelites from ever eating blood? Not exactly.
At the very end of chapter 17 of Leviticus, in verse 15 we find the one exception to the Law. If someone eats the flesh of a dead animal that died of natural causes to save his own life, then the only punishment was being unclean until morning. They needed to wash themselves and their clothes. They were not to be put to death as was the punishment for eating blood at any other time.
This may seem contradictory to God’s law on blood but it is not. The only reason an Israelite would be allowed to eat a dead carcass would be if their life was in danger of starvation. Other then this one exception they would be required to eat only a properly bled animal. To Jehovah the person’s life was more important then the animals blood. Again, sanctity of life is more important than sanctity of blood. Jehovah wasn’t providing a loophole for his law on blood. His righteous standards are always the same. He has never made the sanctity of blood higher than the sanctity of life. Rather, as this scripture shows, God puts life above blood. If Jehovah allowed a person while under the strict Law Covenant to eat blood to save his life, then how can the Society say that we cannot accept a transfusion to save our life? How can it be said that God condemns it when the scriptures clearly show that he does not?
The Bible shows us that there were two different laws about blood for mankind before Jesus’ death. The one to all mankind stemming from Noah and the one the Israelites were under. After Jesus’ death we were no longer under the Mosiac Law Covenant, but we are still under the law given to Noah.
At Acts 15:17-20 it states " abstain from blood". At the time of this commandment we were no longer under the Mosaic Law and there were those who were still pushing for the Law to be followed. Some Jews wanted the newly converted Gentiles to be circumcised as if they were under Law. It was realized at the meeting at Jerusalem that only the necessary things would be mandated. Thus Paul says "Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God". Jehovah was not giving a new command at Acts 15. The new converts came not under the Mosaic Law but under the same laws that had been around for thousands of years. They were to abstain from things polluted by idols, fornication, things strangled and from blood. All of these laws were in effect before Jehovah gave Israel the Mosaic Law. Isn’t this the very reason that circumcision is not binding on us? Remember the Golden calf, remember Joseph and Pontiphar’s wife, remember the law on blood given to Noah? God did not ask anything more than the necessary things.
If as the bible shows, Jehovah allows for people to eat the blood of a dead animal to sustain their life, then how can it be said that God condemns a blood transfusion? No life has been taken. Only a life saved. I find no basis for the condemnation of a blood transfusion.
Over the years the Society has used the illustration of a man going to the doctor and being told that he should not drink alcohol anymore. Then the Society asks if the man were to put the alcohol in his veins would he still be doing what the doctor told him. The answer of coarse is no. This illustration is a false comparison. In the illustration the alcohol would have the same results. Thus eventually killing the man.
However, the same is not true with blood. If a person eats blood it goes through their digestive tract and nourishes the body. A blood transfusion does not nourish a body. If someone was starving to death and you gave him a transfusion or even many transfusions, he would still die of starvation because blood does not nourish the body. A blood transfusion is actually a transplant. It works the same way as any other transplant.
Blood doesn’t nourish the body and that is how doctors view it. It is a transporter. It carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body. It also carries away the waste of the cells. It carries out many other functions as well. The cells of our bodies do not nourish off of blood cells. Rather blood cells bring nourishment to our cells. So it can not be said that having a transfusion is the same as eating blood. They are not similar.
My personal belief is that Jehovah has no qualms against a transfusion. In fact I find just the opposite to be true. Jehovah wanted a person in danger of starving to death to eat the blood in the dead animal to sustain his own life. The person’s life was what was important to God, not the blood.
The Society’s current stand on blood is hard to understand. They say that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t accept transfusions and yet there is a whole list of fractions that we can decide if we want to take or not. It is just as confusing for the medical profession. The Society has broken down blood into four components and has forbidden anyone from taking these four components as well as whole blood.
Today doctors do not transfuse whole blood. It is broken down into various components such as albumin or hemoglobin. The Society distinguishes between components and fractions, but the two words are interchangeable. The Society forbids the use of platelets, which are only half of a percent of whole blood, and they allow hemoglobin, which is 14 percent of whole blood. I don’t get it.
They also are against plasma, which they call a component but they allow all of the so-called fractions of plasma. Plasma happens to be 91 percent water. So the only thing the Society is forbidding is the water.
I can’t see how the Society can say we don’t accept transfusions and yet we do. If someone accepts one of the fractions and you walk in the hospital bed while they are receiving it, you will see a bag filled with a red fluid going into the person’s arm ( Just like the picture that accompanies the article in the Watchtower). That bag will have in it blood. Not all components but at least one. It is still a transfusion of blood by everyone’s definition but the Society’s. The doctors and nurses will consider it a transfusion. How can the Society say that God doesn’t?
The bottom line is that the Society’s stand on blood doesn’t hold water. I am fully convinced that there is no indication that Jehovah is against blood transfusions. As pointed out in Lev 17:15, Jehovah allows us to use blood to save our life.
For ten years the Society condemned transplants. During those ten years if someone believed in their heart that a transplant was ok in God’s eyes and received one they would have been disfellowshipped. If they didn’t have it they would have died. There were some who died because of this teaching. Was the person who had the transplant wrong in God’s eyes?
If their conscience was clear and they did what they knew was ok to do, what bible law did they break?. The rules the Society gives to us are rules from man not from God.