I have been doing a lot of mind searching on the issue of blood. Like so many others who at one time or currently considered themselves a Jehovah Wittiness this subject has touched my life in profound ways. Being a history nerd I could not help but let my mind wander back in time and envision the writers of the bible sitting in their homes taking down these divine prophecies and instructions from what they thought was a greater force. Why do I term it that way “what they thought was a greater force”? Because the process of divine inspiration would in modern day constitute a mental disorder along the lines of schizophrenia (hearing voices and having multiple personalities that at times mysteriously break through)… but that is another topic altogether.
The men who wrote the bible and more specifically wrote the scripture in Acts instructing people to “abstain from blood” could not have possibly known that at some point a few thousand years in the future a common medical practice would be to transfuse one human’s blood with another in an attempt to save a life. Common medical practices of the time included draining ones blood as a cure to many common ailments; he was familiar with the exact opposite practice! He also could have had no way of knowing that also several thousand years in the future vaccines and other drugs could possibly be derived from blood cells. In fact, explaining to the writer of Acts what exactly a “cell” is would be quite impossible. The notion of blood “fractions” would be as likely to be taken seriously as a man walking on the moon.
Another disturbing thing to think about is that at this time Gladiators and Sacrifices of Blood were very common place, eventually coming to their climax during the Roman Empire. Blood was used for everything from casting out evil spirits to assisting in fertility. A Gladiator’s sole purpose in life was to bring honor to his master and to the people by spilling blood and eventually having his blood spilled. These games were often accompanied by other acts of false worship that undoubtedly included human sacrifice and always included some level of sexual perversion. These sacrifices and offerings of blood were made to false gods, something the ancient Israelites and the early Christians would later give their lives over.
I propose the following:
What is more likely… The person writing the book of Acts somehow knew that over the course of the next few thousand years, through all the twists and turns of the human condition we would eventually end up with the medical knowledge to transfuse not only a person’s blood.. but also his organs…and make medicines using extracts from the blood? Highly unlikely. One can argue that this was device prophecy however if that was the case would there also not be a scripture warning of the evils of online pornography? Perhaps god would also warn us of the dangers of radiation… driving too fast… global warming…global cooling… yet he did not.
What I find more likely would be the following:
The writer of the book of Acts knew of the abhorrent behavior of the nation’s surrounding his people. The Israelites and early Christians alike would have needed warnings and strict instructions so not to fall into false worship and lose their favored position with god (see: The Golden Calf). Would it not be more likely the warning “abstain from blood” would mean: Abstain from blood sacrifices, abstain from the blood of the arena, abstain from idolatry, abstain from human sacrifice, and abstain from demon worship by abstaining from blood…
If find this much more likely that this scripture was penned for the benefit of those peoples living in that time dealing with those very real issues, as opposed to the WTBTS’s spin on it.