Hi Everyone, below is some research on the understanding of blood that is interesting once again showing that the WTBTS is not interested in what the bible really says, but is interested only in what they the GB determine for the rank and file.
The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn NY 11201-2483, USA
I am one of Jehovah?s witnesses. In 2000, I started to suspect that our understanding of the prohibition against blood may not be correct. I had discussions with the elders _______, _______ and ____________ here in (my country) , but no conclusion could be reached. I then wrote to your offices in Brooklyn.
There followed an exchange of letters with the Writing Department at Patterson. Their view was that there is no difference between the blood of a living and of a killed creature. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that such view is not in line with the accurate biblical symbolism of blood.
I therefore went to your offices in Brooklyn to request that you personally hear the case, as the Bible provides for the Governing Body to hear "big" and "hard" cases. (Exodus 18:22,26) I was received by _________ and __________, who told me that you do not hold hearings. I gave them a letter explaining my suggestion that you can read below, and flew back to Brussels. I later insisted in further letters, but the answer remained the same. Yet, I do believe that there is sound reason to persist in my request. I am making it public because of my conscience.
You know what the Bible commands in Genesis 9:2-6:
"Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you... Only flesh with its life ?its blood? you must not eat. And, besides that, your blood of your lives shall I ask back ... for in God?s image he made man."
Our teaching on the prohibition can be summarized this way:
Blood = Life
Life = Sacred
Blood = Sacred
My suggestion is based on the fact that God keeps an account of killed lives, that are to be paid back ?life for life?, or ?blood for blood?:
The life is
Killed lives are
Blood shed in death
is asked back
The passage above would have been God?s way to allow the slaughter of animals without giving life away: 'Just pour the blood of the animal on the ground, and I will not ask it back ?but human blood will always be asked back?.
If that suggestion were correct, the "blood" that Christians should abstain from would be what that word most commonly designates in the Bible: blood shed in death, like in the biblical expressions "The avenger of blood" or "I am clean of the blood of all men."
Below is a more detailed development of the two interpretations.
Argument in favor of our teaching:
It seems natural.Arguments against our teaching:
The principle of life (Psalm 36:9)
The animate existence of a creature
A creature to whom God gave life = The sacred life = What the blood represents
What is vital to humans is said to be their chayim. (Deuteronomy 32:47; Proverbs 4:30; etc.) If the emphasis were on the sacredness of life, we would naturally expect to read that "Blood is the chayim of the creature." But the Bible never said such a thing. Instead, we read that "The nephesh is in the blood."
Contrary to chayim, the nephesh can be counted. (Genesis 46:27, where "nephesh" may be translated "person") It can be alive or dead. (Genesis 2:19; Leviticus 21:11) Actually, the symbolism of blood and nephesh is found hundreds of times in the Bible, and the represented nephesh is always a killed one, or one in danger to be killed. Please consider these comparisons between a few related verses:
|Psalm 72:14: "From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, and their blood will be precious in his eyes"||Psalm 116:15: "Precious in the eyes of Jehovah is the death of his loyal ones"|
|Romans 5:9: "we have been declared righteous now by his blood "||Romans 5:10a: "we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son"|
|Hebrews 9:18: "neither was the former [covenant] inaugurated without blood "||Hebrews 9:16: "For where there is a covenant, the death of the covenanter needs to be furnished"|
|We cannot mix up the notions of chayim and nephesh.|
All right, you may say, blood represents the nephesh, not the chayim. Since Jehovah says that all nepheshim belong to him, it should justify the prohibition against blood, should it not?
However, the nephesh belongs to God, not in the sense that we cannot eat blood, but in the sense that we cannot shed blood in death without God?s permission. (Exodus 20:13)
killed without God's permission >Blood cannot be
shed without God's permission
That does not tell us why we cannot eat blood.
Arguments in favor of my suggestion:
When a human nephesh, or "breather", has been killed, God remembers it and demands an accounting. This principle is stated this way in Deuteronomy 19:21: Life ("Nephesh") for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc. The same principle is expressed this way in Numbers 35:33:
|"For the land there may be no atonement respecting the blood that has been spilled upon it except by the blood of the one spilling it."|
We clearly see that the equation ?blood = nephesh? places the ?life for life? accounting in the blood. This symbolism is found about four hundred times throughout the Bible, from Genesis 4:10 through Revelation 19:13. Blood shed in death is counted ?blood for blood? just the way the killed nephesh is counted ?nephesh for nephesh?.
|The life is|
in the blood
is counted 'life for life' >Blood shed in death
is counted 'blood for blood'
Take a life, and you are indebted with blood. Unless another life is offered in atoning sacrifice, you may have to pay with your own blood.
|The blood that represents|
a life taken
is a debt
The debt is
(Le 17:11; Eph 1:7) <<The blood that represents
a life offered in atonement
redeems the debt
The Bible presents another fact: The accounting for a killed life is upon the drinker of its blood:
|The Biblical symbolism of blood drinking|
The best way to understand why something is forbidden is to consider what that thing accomplishes.
When the drinking or use of the blood is intentional:
- Rejoicing in killings, rightfully or not: Ps 58:10; Rev 17:6. The innocent blood is asked back from the drinker: Re 18:24; 19:2
- Sharing in the execution of Jehovah?s enemies: Ez 39:17-19 (compare Jer 12:9); Nu 23:24 (see Mic 5:8; w63, 157)
- Sharing in the blood of a sacrifice: 1Co 10:16
- Proclaiming the death of a nephesh: 1Co 11:26
- Approving a sacrifice: 2Sa 23:15-17; 1Ch 11:17-19
- Accepting that the redeeming value of a sacrificed nephesh be put on our personal account, to make atonement (John 6:53; Re 7:14 ?see Eph 1:7) or to pay the price of admission into the new covenant (Mt 26:27-28 ?see Re 5:9-10)
When the drinking is forced:
- Being charged with the debt for murdered lives: Ex 7:19-21 (see Ex 1:22); Re 16:3-7
All in all, the symbolism of blood drinking looks like this:
Drinking the blood that represents
a life taken
> Sets the debt for that life
upon the drinker
Drinking the blood that represents
the life Christ offered
> Redeems the drinker from
his debt for a life
When the Bible says that ?blood is upon someone?, it means indebtedness with blood shed in death. If one drinks such blood, he has to pay it back. But Christ?s true atoning blood is a redeeming credit. Bloodthirstiness is recommended in that sole case.
If drinking shed blood means indebtedness with a life, Genesis 9:2-6 would naturally mean:?You may kill animals for food ?only, do not eat the blood, and I will not ask it back from you. But human blood will always be asked back, for man is made in my image.?
In the context of that passage, Noah and his sons are authorized to kill animals for food. But they know the account about Abel's blood shed by Cain, and how God kept an account of it. (Genesis 4:10) Will not the blood of a slaughtered animal be counted likewise? Noah and his sons could think so, for they offer animal sacrifices in atonement for their own lives.
The law on blood would be God's way to allow the slaughter without giving life away: the debt for the animal blood can be avoided simply by shunning that blood. On the other hand, a human life is of higher value because of being made in God's image. This blood will always be asked back.
Of course, if no life is taken, there can be no debt for a life. Accepting a blood transfusion is not bloodthirstiness.
The arguments in favor of this interpretation are:
- It is in harmony with the Biblical symbolism of life and blood;
- It is simple and makes sense. God authorized us to kill animals provided that we are not bloodthirsty ?We cannot kill for fun or just sports. (Compare with Genesis 10:9)
- It harmonizes with Leviticus 17:10-14. That passage would have been a warning that, if any blood, even animal, could atone for a human life, the same blood could also justify the cutting off of a man. (See verses 3-4)
- It plainly explains why we are ordered to drink Christ?s blood, for we are to accept the true price of our redemption. This we do when we dedicate our lives to the provider of that price.
Just as Canaan, for example, would have been charged with the debt of a blood that he would have drunk but not personally shed, so are Christians credited with the redeeming value of a sacrifice that they did not personally provide. The law on Blood would be the answer to N. H. Barbour?s objection to the ransom.Arguments against my suggestion:
When I unsuccessfully went to Brooklyn to request a hearing, I gave your helper Brother________ a letter explaining my suggestion. I later received the following reply:
|Dear Brother ___________:Thank you for the letter that you delivered personally to Brooklyn Bethel. We have read it over along with the accompany-ing information. Be assured that the points you bring up have been discussed many times. However, the "faithful and discreet slave" feels that it would be gross disrespect for Jehovah's command to "abstain from blood" if a Christian abstained from the blood of dead animals or humans while partaking of the blood of living things.-Acts 15:20, 28, 29.While many of the points that you present are correct, it is good to remember that our reasoning can be dangerous if it leads us to disagree with a simply stated divine command. It is true that in the first century it might not have been the custom to partake of the blood of living things. Still, the wording of the decree circulated by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem was not restricted. If we 'abstain from blood,' we do not par-take of blood whether the donor is living or dead.|
As there had been no hearing, I could not draw your attention to the fact that the apostles had not our physiology manuals, where we see blood circulating from heart to lungs to kidneys. To those first-century men, "blood" was the mark of a slaughter. (Acts 20:26; Hebrews 12:4; etc.) Throughout the Bible, when some "blood" represents a life, that word always designates blood shed in death (possibly in anticipation). If in Acts 15:29 the word "blood" had to be read according to the modern definition, that would be quite an exception. How would the apostles relay the Genesis prohibition against shed blood (blood pudding for example) and the unbled flesh of animals strangled in a trap? They would say: "abstain from blood and things strangled" -precisely what we read. In the context no more precision was needed. Maybe we should not try to make the apostles answer a question they were not asked.
Besides, understanding should come before reading. Please remember how the Pharisees erred when they relied on the wording of the prohibition against "any work" on the Sabbath.
With respect, I believe that my request for a hearing before you was:
- Scriptural: Please see Ex 18:22,26; Nu 27&36; De 17:8-9; 1Sa 7:16; 2Sa 8:15; 15:2; 1Ki 3:16-28 and Ac 15:1-31. The conditions set in Ex 18:22,26 and De 17:8-9 are evidently met. Matthew 24:45-47 has been used to justify your refusal, but I sincerely do not see how those verses would invalidate the scriptural provision of last-instance hearings before the Governing Body. Christ, who is the same as God's word the Bible, is our leader.
- Reasonable: This case is about Christ?s blood and the lives of our brothers and sisters in the faith, and their children. If king Solomon took the time to hear the case of two prostitutes, I am confident that you will accept to hear this one.
- Justified: You erred in the past when you forbade vaccinations and organ transplants. You published an article in the Watchtower of April 15, 1983, page 30, to address an issue related to this one. It contains a confusion between the prohibition against blood and the ceremonial uncleanness of corpses, despite claims that you made a "close" and "careful examination." (This sentence is erroneous: "if guilt resulted only if blood was from a creature killed by man, then Deuteronomy 14:21 and Exodus 22:31 would not have forbidden Israelites to eat unbled flesh from animals that were not killed by men") This sort of error clearly illustrates the need for a real discussion. -Proverbs 18:17
- Fair: The US Supreme Court, although being made up of only eleven Justices for 280 million people, took the time to hear you. You also were appointed as a Supreme Court. The Golden Rule is also a foundation for my request.
- Legitimate: You tell me that "The points that you bring have been discussed many times." I have been one of Jehovah's witnesses since 1990, and I did not know that there was any such discussion. I am sure that you agree that there can be no secret discussions on a question pertaining to our salvation and life. It is to all of us that Paul said "Make sure of all things." Christ gave no one a monopoly on Bible study. I trust that you would not behave like a clergy.
Please understand that I am making my request public, not in defiance of your authority, but because of my conscience. I do appreciate your oversight of the congregation. Simply, the Bible is an open book that does not hide anything, and I believe that such a fine pattern should be followed, especially when Christ?s blood and human lives are concerned. I invite all readers to write to you to support my request that you personally hear the case.
Brother Wants the Truth