Jehovah's Witnesses – Blood Doctrine Refutation
ACTS 15:19-21 – ABSTAIN FROM BLOOD
Jehovah's Witnesses withhold life saving blood transfusions from themselves and their children because they believe the Bible prohibits it and uses Acts 15:1-29 as evidence.
Acts 15:19-21 - 19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."
So here we have, in the verse above, a short list of prohibitions. My first questions that come to mind are:
- Where did this "abstain" list come from?
- Why is this list of prohibitions so short?
Where did this "abstain" list come from?
In the early Christian church (according to Acts 15) they had a lively debate going around. Many Pharisees, turned Christian, demanded that Gentile (non-jew) converts circumcise themselves in order to "keep the Law of Moses." Many agreed with the Pharisees positions and many did not. So Paul and company had a council to settle the debate once and for all. After hard consideration they decided to write a Letter to the Gentiles of the early Christian Church. Here is that letter:
Acts 15:22-29 - 22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Why is this list of prohibitions so short?
This list was a reiteration of the Law of Moses located in Leviticus 17 and 18. These two chapters describe in the same order the offenses mentioned in the Letter to the Gentiles.
Leviticus 17: 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: 3 Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it 4 instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people. 5 This is so the Israelites will bring to the LORD the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the LORD, at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings. 6 The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.'
8 "Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9 and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the LORD must be cut off from the people of Israel.
10 "‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, "None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood."
13 "‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
15 "‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean. 16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.'"
Leviticus 18:6-23 - ([4 ]Unlawful Sexual Relations)
This list is a result of a specific council put together to address the issue of circumcision. First they decided that circumcision not be prohibited (since it is not on the list). They knew the Law of Moses and chose four items to focus on and explicitly prohibit. This was basically telling the Gentiles that remaining uncircumcised was something they could do freely, but that the fact they were allowing them to go uncircumcised did not mean they were to ignore all of the Mosaic Law and gave them examples of what was still be of concern.
Eating blood was among those prohibitions they wanted to keep because there was no reason to abandon a prohibition that preserved the sanctity of life. Evidently, no one would argue it because it was easy to understand, it was a compassionate law as we see when we delve further into Leviticus 17.
Leviticus 17: 13, 14
"Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
This verse describes, metaphorically, the sanctity of all life, even animals. According to the Law of Moses, killing an innocent animal for food was taken very seriously. The blood of the dead innocent was considered its life force and not to be eaten, as consumption of its blood would be disrespectful of the life that was taken.
Blood was chosen as a metaphor for life itself. Blood has no mystical properties (even though the ancient Israelites may have believed so) it is merely the best part of our body to metaphorically represent our whole when we pass away. Modern science has discovered the existence of DNA which resides in all the organic matter that makes us human. If the Israelites had access to information about DNA they might have prohibited eating animals altogether since DNA would most definitely be considered more sacred than blood. It was not what they were prohibiting, the consumption of blood, that was of importance. It was why they were prohibiting it that was so important: the shedding of innocent life should never be taken lightly whereas eating the blood of an innocent animal would be considered so.
The point is, loss of life was the focus of this part of the Mosaic Law. It almost reminds me of more Native American spirituality. Interestingly, never could an Israelite benefit from blood poured out from a source still alive, buttoday we have that scenario.
So in regards to modern day blood transfusions no loss of life is required in receiving one. The donor is still alive and well. So logically, this particular part of the Mosaic law should not rightly be applied to modern day blood transfusions because blood transfusions are about saving life, not taking it.
I think it's important to note that the original writers of this compassionate law would turn in their graves if they knew their words were used to condone the loss of life from thousands.
"WHOEVER LOSES THEIR LIFE FOR MY SAKE WILL FIND IT"
Another common Witness reason to not accept a blood transfusion is through Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 10:
Matthew 10: 37-39
37 Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
This is Jesus describing cause and effect of what happens if you put something before him in your life. If you find something you put in a greater position than Jesus you will lose your life because you will have forsaken your savior. And the exact opposite if you give up your life for Jesus you will find your life through Jesus. That could be talking about figuratively giving up your past life for a Christian life or it could be referring to dying for Jesus and being resurrected.
In any event this phenomenon is only between yourself and your Creator. The only one on earth thatis in a position to quantify your love for your God in relation to other things in your life is you. No outside source will ever know whether something you did happened because of love, or lack of love, for your creator.
Instead of creating a "by the book" Blood Doctrine of which there is zero tolerance for; why not use the spirit of Leviticus 17:14 in that God has a law for the sanctity of life. Restore the concept of the Importance of Life itself no matter how it turns out. Let each member of the Watchtower decide for themselves whether or not they feel blood transfusions violate the sanctity of life. Never push the concept of sacrifice so much on an innocent child. God used blood in the past as a symbol, but should we be over obsessed with the symbolism of blood as to allow our children to die from a position of principle?
Is it really so far as to forsake Jesus' sacrifice to save your child's life from a mortal wound savable by a blood transfusion? Would Jesus applaud you for letting your child die and refer to it as "losing your life for him"?
The Bible tells us why Jesus came to the earth:
John 10: 7-10 - 7 Therefore Jesus said again, "Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; Ihave come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Blood transfusions save the life of innocent children and allow for exactly what Jesus came to the earth for: Life to the full.
Maybe God has a better life in store for us in the future, but right now this life is all we have. I'm sure Jesus was referring to any life imperfect or perfect.
Strong evidence of Jesus' love for imperfect humans is located in the following scripture:
John 8: 51-56 51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep." 53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
The little girl was "asleep" in death awaiting to be resurrected into paradise or heaven, yet Jesus resurrected her back into an imperfect life. Why? After reading the scripture I conclude that it was because of his compassion for the parents of the child. He was moved with pity for the unnecessary sorrow that the parents of the child would go through after the death of their daughter. Jesus doesn't want our children to die needlessly, as they would if they were denied a life saving blood transfusion and died as a result.
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC
It's interesting that Jehovah's Witnesses are asked to sacrifice their children if "time and unforeseen occurrence" puts their children in need of a life saving blood transfusion. The Bible has a very similar account in the Bible where God asked Abraham of just that thing.
Genesis 22: 9-12
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
God directly told Abraham to kill his only son. It was a test that God never intended to see it through to the end. This is a perfect example of how God views the sacrifice of one's children.
"Do not lay a hand on the boy." Under no circumstance would God allow an innocent child to die as a result of the faith of another. Even if that faith came from the child's own father. God was not laying out a model for human obedience… he was showing us all the sacrifice he was willing to make on our behalf.
Would you ask someone to kill their child by their own hands to save the lives of many? No, that's a personal decision that the individual and the child have to make. If such a sacrifice was needed, the reasons for the sacrifice would be presented and anyone brave enough might stand up and die for what they believe in. Can anyone ask that of anyone else? God didn't seem to think so within the Bible account.
The account of Abraham's test is interesting because it non-lethally mimics what God did for mankind through Jesus Christ. He did something that he wouldn't even require from us, to sacrifice his own innocent son.
God wrote it into us to take the bullet for our kids. We go down before them, that's just the way of things. God knows this, that's how he designed us. He would never impose upon us a law that requires us to abandon our original purpose of "To be fruitful and fill the earth" which is hardwired into our all our minds.
Sacrifice is something that must come from within our hearts, not something imposed upon us with misinformation and guilt.
That's why, in the Bible, God offered his son to mankind. He could have created from scratch a perfect human that was designed to atone Adam's sin, but he chose his own son. Why? Because he and his son demonstrated the compassion that is innate within all humans.
Remember it is not for anyone to demand the sacrifice of another. Yet that doesn't mean that humans won't sacrifice it all for a higher purpose. That happens a lot, but in order for it to be real they have to do the sacrifice without coercion. Then it will be remembered forever as an ultimate selfless act.
Accepting a blood transfusion for a Jehovah's Witness is punishable by the brutal shunning arrangement of Disfellowshipping. How grandiose are the Witnesses to demand sacrifice of their fellow members and enforce it with punishment. How far away could a group be from what Jesus said in the Gospel:
John 13:35 - 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
At any moment a Jehovah's Witness child could befall a terrible accident. If the parents of that child choose the sanctity of life over the Jehovah's Witness blood doctrine they will instantly be expelled from the congregation and shunned. How far from "loving one another" can a group be than that?
SO WHY DO JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ALLOW THEIR CHILDREN TO DIE IF THEY NEED A BLOOD TRANSFUSION?
The answer is complicated. Jehovah's Witnesses are constantly put through a rigorous gauntlet of mind control techniques. Their doctrines are zany to say the least so their leaders have developed a strategy to fend off the "nay-sayers." This includes shutting off their mind to truth and replacing it with "buzz terminology" that halts their thought processes.
"Abstain from Blood" is one of those thought stopping terms that have been programmed into their psyche. It almost completely explains this murderous doctrine with three words.
Does that sound like the actions of a sound minds?
The explanations used for the Jehovah's Witness Blood Doctrine are misleading and sometimes outright false. Their blood policy directly contridicts the letter of the law both in the Old Testament and the New Testament which defers to the Old Testament in regards to the consumption of blood.
The bottom line is shedding innocent blood is one of the most serious issues any human can be a part of. I find it shocking that Witnesses use an out of context scripture to defend a policy that condones the shedding of innocent blood. It's one thing to die for something you believe in, I will never question ones actions in that respect. What I will question is the compulsory aspect of the Blood Doctrine and the fact that it is also imposed upon children.
Entities demanding and enforcing sacrifice of it's subjects is not a new concept. It could be argued that all "sinister" entities that have ever existed has had this characteristic. It is a highly dangerous situation if someone or some group demands and enforces sacrifice from others for their vison or agenda. History always proves it a grave scanario.