Fundamentalists and the "Incorruptible" Blood of Christ
Its Importance to Fundamentalists
Its Historical Lineage
Fundamental Theological Errors
(1) A Mistaken View of Original Sin
(2) A Misunderstanding Concerning The
(3) A Misguided Appeal to Science
(4) A Bizarre Interpretation of Old
(5) An Obsession With "Hymns"
(1) Leviticus 17:11
(2) Acts 20:28
(3) Hebrews 12:24
(4) I Peter 1:18-19
The Meaning of the Blood of Christ in
The Bible glories in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, in "the blood
of his cross" (Col. 1:20). God "hath set forth [Christ] to be a propitiation
through faith in his blood" (Rom. 3:25). Believers are "justified by his blood"
(Rom. 5:9); we have "redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins"
(Eph. 1:7; cf. Col 1:14; I Pet. 1:17-18); Gentile believers "who sometimes were
afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13); the blood of Christ
"purges the conscience" of the child of God (Heb. 9:14); we "have boldness to
enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19); we were "sanctified
with the blood of the covenant" (Heb. 10:29); we are "sprinkled" (I Pet. 1:2), "cleansed" (I John 1:7) and "washed" (Rev.
1:5) by that same blood. Clearly, the subject of the blood of Christ is
important in divine revelation. However, some, in a zeal which is not according
to knowledge (Rom. 10:3), have gone on flights of fancy concerning the nature
of the blood of Jesus Christ, adopting mystical theories about the blood, which,
not only have no place in Scripture, soberly exegeted, but lead to heretical
views about the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The doctrine we examine in this article is somewhat difficult
to define, as there are different versions of it. In general, however, the teaching is
that the blood of Christ was not truly and fully human, but divine or
"supernatural." Some concede that although it was human blood, it could suffer
no corruption; others say that since Christ is both human and divine, that His
blood must be both human and divine. Others say that it is divine blood. Being
divine or supernatural blood, it is incorruptible and indestructible. Every drop
of blood which Christ shed in His lifetime, and especially the blood shed on
Calvary, was miraculously preserved, resurrected with Christ and is now with
Christ in heaven. Some teach that the blood of Christ re-entered His body during
His resurrection; others believe that the blood exists as a separate entity in
heaven in some kind of vial or bowl. In order to secure redemption, some say, it
was necessary that Christ's blood be literally sprinkled on a divine mercy seat
in heaven. Others maintain that Christ is the mercy seat, so a literal
sprinkling of Christ's blood was unnecessary. All insist that believers must be
washed in the literal blood of Christ to be saved, and they reject any attempt
to explain the blood as a metaphor.1
Even now, these men insist, that precious blood is in heaven and will forever
remain there as the object of adoration and wonder of the saints.
In their assemblies, you will hear prayers in this vein:
"Lord, cover this meeting in the Precious Blood." The idea is that the building
in which the meeting is held is somehow painted over with the red blood of
Christ, as a kind of protection, for, say they, the Scriptures teach that the
saints overcome Satan "by the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 12:11). This prayer to
"cover the meeting in the Blood" is especially important because without it the
devil may be able to enter and do much mischief.2
Members of such churches are told to "exalt the Blood," "to make much of the
Blood" and "to plead the Blood" (the capitalisation of the word "Blood" is
deliberate, to emphasise its importance). They are warned that any denial of
this doctrine is a "bloodless gospel" which leads to modernism and outright
In Northern Ireland, the staunchest advocates of this doctrine
are Ian Paisley and the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Martyrs’ Memorial
Free Presbyterian Church, of which Ian Paisley is the minister, regularly
publicises its meetings in the press, announcing "We exalt the Blood."3
It is certainly biblical to proclaim, "We preach Christ crucified" (I Cor. 1:23)
or to say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ" (Gal. 6:14) or to declare justification in Christ’s blood (Rom. 5:9) but
where in the Word of God are we enjoined to "exalt the Blood"? In the Free
Presbyterian seminary, the Whitefield College of the Bible, this view is
promoted. This would appear to be
the doctrinal distinctive of the Free Presbyterians in Ulster. No other
denomination in Northern Ireland—except perhaps a few independent
Outside of the Free Presbyterian denomination, this view is
held by Fundamentalist preachers such as Jack Hyles, R. L. Hymers, the Bob
Joneses, Rod Bell and others. One can examine Fundamentalist websites and
repeatedly encounter this teaching on the blood. Indeed, in August 1986, the
World Congress of Fundamentalists made an official declaration on this point.
They passed a resolution that
... the precious Blood is incorruptible. It cannot be
anything else because of its intrinsic purity ... the precious Blood is
indestructible. It cannot be anything else because of its permanence. The
Blood is eternally preserved in Heaven ... the precious Blood is invaluable.
It cannot be anything else because of its parentage. It is the blood of God
The Congress went on to declare that it
rejects every attempt either to deny the literalness of the
Blood or to minimise its efficacy and the necessity of its shedding in
Christ's death on the Cross. Such denial is a dangerous and devilish deception
... and [it] calls upon Fundamentalist preachers and God's saints everywhere
to proclaim anew the saving efficacy of the shed Blood of Christ in His death
on the Cross, and to alert the Church in regard to all heretical teaching on
this vital truth.4
Rev. D. A. Waite, pastor of "Bible For Today Baptist Church,"
Collingswood, New Jersey, has made this doctrine of the blood part of the
Articles of Faith for his church, even updating them in November 1997 "to meet
present-day threats to the Faith":
We believe that the doctrine of the Blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ is of great importance in the Bible; that Christ's Blood has been under
attack in centuries past as well as in recent decades by modernist apostates,
Mary Baker Eddy, R. B. Thieme, Jr., John MacArthur, Jr., and others; that
Christ's Blood is not a mere figure of speech or "metonym" to be equal to
"death"; that Old Testament sacrifices had two distinct parts: (1) the death
of the sacrifice; and (2) the application of the blood of the sacrifice;
that death was not sufficient, but the blood had to be applied properly ...
that some of Christ's Blood was taken by Him to heaven and placed on the
heavenly mercy seat thus cleansing the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews
9:12-14, 18-24; 10:19-22); that Christ's Blood is now in heaven as the "Blood
of sprinkling" (Hebrews 12:22-24); that Christ's Blood gives us boldness and
access to the holiest in heaven (Hebrews 10:19); that Christ's Blood makes us
perfect in every good work to do His will (Hebrews 13:21); and that Christ's
Blood overcomes Satan.5
Waite is a rank Arminian and is premillennial
dispensationalist in his eschatology.6
Interestingly, he defines justification as a declaration of God that the
believer is righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ and
this is bestowed "solely through faith in the Redeemer's incorruptible shed
Blood."7 It would appear that to Waite, at
least, this doctrine of the blood is vital. Notice too that John MacArthur, Jr.,
is classified with "Christian science" cultist Mary Baker Eddy as a "modernist
apostate" because he disagrees with Waite on this point. We will have occasion
to examine the Fundamentalists' controversy with MacArthur later.
Do Fundamentalists view Christ's blood as human or divine?
Ian Paisley writes, "His Blood is divine Blood as opposed to human
blood."8 That is an amazing statement. If the blood
of Jesus is divine, it must have the attributes of divinity. It must, to quote
the Westminster Shorter Catechism, be "infinite, eternal and
unchangeable in its being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth"
Clearly, Christ's blood does not possess these qualities.
Not all Fundamentalists agree with Paisley’s assertion that
Christ’s blood is divine, not human. Dr. J. Hymers, Jr., of Baptist Tabernacle,
Los Angeles, California writes,
Everyone I know of teaches that Jesus is the God-man. Jesus
was both human and divine. His Blood, therefore, was both human and divine
Blood. That's the position of every credible fundamentalist on earth today.9
Where does that leave Paisley‘s credibility as a
Fundamentalist with his view of Christ’s divine blood? Furthermore, if
so-called "credible Fundamentalists" had been present at the Council of
Chalcedon (451) and had expressed the opinion that Christ's blood was divine and
not human (Paisley) or both human and divine (Hymers), they would have been
condemned as heretics, as we shall see.
and Waite12 teach that Christ's blood is in heaven as a distinct entity from His
resurrected body, having been sprinkled on the heavenly mercy seat. Rev. John
Greer of Ballymena Free Presbyterian Church and Dr. Alan Cairns of Faith Free
Presbyterian Church, Greenville, South Carolina, both ministers of Ian Paisley’s
Free Presbyterian Church, hold a different view. Cairns writes,
The fact that Christ's blood may be spoken of
metaphorically for His death has led some evangelicals to downplay or even
deny the redemptive virtue of the actual blood of Christ. They do not scruple
to say that Christ's blood perished in the dust of Palestine ... this is
dangerous and without biblical warrant … the incorruptibility of Christ's body
means that it was supernaturally raised from the dead (Acts 2:27, 31-32).
There is no Biblical reason to deny that the incorruptibility of Christ's
blood means that it was raised along with His body ... if the blood of Christ
was preserved and raised incorruptible with His body we would expect it to be
in His body.13
In a sermon entitled "The Blood of the Godman" (2002), Rev.
Greer argues for this position:
... the blood of Christ is sinless.14
You see the whole humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ is a sinless humanity ...
Since the blood belongs to His sinless humanity, that means that His blood is
incorruptible and His blood is indestructible ... No part of the real humanity
of Christ could ever see corruption;15 that
includes the blood ... [in contrast to] the awful teaching of some that the
Lord's precious blood perished in the dust of Palestine ... and I'm not
talking about Liberals, I'm talking about men who say they're evangelical ...
there are evangelical groups that teach that horrendous idea ... the
Resurrection necessarily took place because the humanity of Christ could not
see corruption ... the blood of the Lamb, being part of that humanity neither
saw corruption nor destruction but was actually resurrected along with the
body. There's the simple answer as to what happened the blood. The blood was
raised again ... Where is the blood now? Well, the answer's very simple. It's
in heaven ... We often speak of the blood-stained mercy seat where Jesus
answers prayer, have you never stopped to think (because, you know, all these
hymns are not correct. I need to say that) … there's no mercy seat in heaven,
there's no altar in heaven. Christ has fulfilled all those things ... Christ
is our mercy seat ... if we accept that doleful, morbid heresy that the blood
perished, then my dear friend, lovely gospel verses lose their meaning ...
thank God that the blood lives on in the body of our glorified Christ.16
It ought to be pointed out at this juncture that when David
writes of Christ in Psalm 16:10, "Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One
to see corruption" (quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27), the Holy Ghost does not mean
that he Messiah’s body is indestructible. The fact that the text says "neither
wilt thou suffer" implies that, left to itself, Christ’s body would have
decayed. Christ had a real human nature. Christ’s real human nature would have
gone the way of all human nature, if the Triune God had not ensured that Christ
did not see corruption.
If Christ did not have human blood, His complete human nature
is denied. Disagreeing with Paisley, who, as we have seen, teaches that Christ had
divine, not human, blood,17 Greer and Cairns
recognise the danger of denying Christ‘s humanity. For example, Cairns warns of
On the other hand, it [i.e., Christ’s blood] must not be
deified. It belongs to Christ's humanity, not His deity ... we must never forget
that in the incarnation there was no confusion of natures. Christ's deity was
not humanized nor His humanity deified.18
Greer gives a similar warning to his congregation. In the
aforementioned sermon, he says,
The humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ had a beginning. Now
that may shock you, but it won't shock you when you think about it ... His
humanity began in the incarnation through the virgin birth ... the Holy Spirit
took of the substance of Mary's womb and He created the sinless humanity of
the Lord Jesus Christ ... there are evangelical preachers who will tell you
that the Lord's humanity was brought down from heaven and planted in the womb
of the Virgin Mary and that is absolutely wrong. That would mean that He would
have what they call a heavenly humanity, but that wouldn't be our humanity.19
Such warnings are to be welcomed. However, can this view of
the incorruptible, indestructible blood (even if it is not divine, or divine and
human, blood) really fit with Christ’s true and complete humanity? Consider the
function of the blood in the human body. Blood is that fluid which carries
oxygen (from the lungs to the tissues) and nutrients (from the digestive system
to the tissues) and waste products (from the tissues to the liver, kidneys and
lungs) around the body. Human blood is a very complex substance consisting of
plasma (a pale yellow mixture of water, proteins and salts), blood cells (red
and white) and platelets. That is only a very simple explanation and that barely
scratches the surface of the composition and function of blood. Truly we are
"fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14)! Blood cells die typically every
few months and are regenerated by the liver and bone marrow. If Christ had
incorruptible blood, did His blood corpuscles need to be regenerated regularly?
Did His blood (being pure and untainted, as this teaching goes) need to be
cleansed in His kidneys and liver? If not, He did not have a human liver, human
kidneys, human bone marrow or even human lungs. Surely an indestructible
humanity is not our humanity either. That would make Him a superman! In
contrast, orthodox Christianity teaches that Christ had a weakened human
nature. As the man of sorrows (Isa. 53:3), He experienced the infirmities of our
flesh (Heb. 4:15). He knew what it was to be weary, hungry, thirsty and in pain.
If it is denied that Christ’s blood had the properties of normal human
blood, it is impossible to confess His true and complete humanity.
How much of Christ’s blood has been preserved? Alan Cairns
leaves no doubt where he stands:
When I speak of the blood of Christ, I mean Christ's blood
literally, not figuratively or mystically. When I speak of the blood of
Christ, I mean all of His blood, including every drop He ever shed, from His
circumcision at eight days old to His crucifixion. All the blood of Christ is
precious blood. All the blood of Christ is atoning blood. But, pre-eminently,
when I speak of the blood of Christ, I have in mind the "blood of His cross"
(Colossians 1:20). The whole of Scripture is taken up with this theme.20
The first recorded instance of Christ bleeding was as an
eight day old at His circumcision (Luke 2:21). This blood too must be precious;
this blood must also have been preserved according to Cairns, for, he continues,
"when the blood of Christ was shed, it did not congeal and disappear into the
dust of the ground."21 As mentioned above, human
blood is constantly being regenerated: the cells are regenerated in the
bone marrow and the liquid (plasma) is replaced when fluid is excreted by the
kidneys and water and nutrients are taken in by the digestive system. In a
life-time, a human being goes through a staggering amount of blood. Was it all
preserved? Are we to imagine a huge vat (containing thousands of litres) of
Christ’s blood in heaven?22 If we accept the
explanation of Cairns and Greer that Christ's blood was resurrected and returned
to His body—and yet not one drop was lost—how can all the blood from Christ's
infancy to His death, when aged approximately thirty-three, fit into His body
again? If not all was resurrected with and in His body, are we to imagine
the resurrected and glorified Christ with some of His blood in His body and the
remaining blood in a vial?
If all of Christ's sinless humanity has been preserved, what
about Christ's skin cells, His hair and other bodily fluids (such as sweat)?
Human beings shed billions of skin cells in a lifetime. This makes up the
majority of the dust in our homes (Gen. 3:19). If Christ had an incorruptible
human nature, why have not all His skin cells and shed hair follicles, including
those plucked when He was shamefully treated by the soldiers (Isa. 50:6), been
preserved? All our sweat comes from our blood. Sweating, part of the human
body’s cooling system, is one of the functions of the skin. We secrete water and
salts which come from the plasma in our bloodstream. Christ would certainly have
perspired as He worked as a carpenter or during a day preaching in Israel (Gen.
3:19). Are we to believe that all this sweat has been preserved? Of course not!
There is no need. Why should Christ's literal blood be any different?
Hymers argues that there could
be a bowl of Christ's blood in heaven, since Scripture teaches that there are
"seven golden vials full of the wrath of God" (Rev. 15:7) there.23 However, wrath is not a liquid which can be stored in a literal bowl. Wrath
is the attitude of God in His holiness against sin; it is not a physical
substance. God does not literally "pour" wrath! The things pictured in the book
of Revelation are "signified" as signs (Rev. 1:1). How a supposedly educated man
could utter such absurdities is beyond belief!
If Christ's blood is divine, it must be worshipped. Indeed,
Alan Cairns—who wants us to avoid deifying the Lord's humanity—is nevertheless
bold to write,
Undoubtedly, the blood of Christ is the most precious thing
in heaven, earth or hell. There are sound Biblical reasons for so esteeming
the blood of Christ … Nothing thrills the heart of a child of God more than to
think upon the precious blood of Christ. Even eternity will not exhaust our
praise for the shed blood of the Lamb.24
Its Importance to Fundamentalists
To deny this cherished dogma makes one a heretic in
Fundamentalist circles. John MacArthur, Jr., of "Grace to You" ministries, more
than any other, has provoked the wrath of Fundamentalists because he allegedly
"denies the Blood." He first upset them in the 1970s. Hymers has several
sermons on his website, preached between 2002 and 2005, in which he attacks
MacArthur's alleged heresy. In September 2002, Hymers preached a sermon in
response to a letter which MacArthur had written to clarify his position. In
that letter, MacArthur proves that he holds the historic orthodox Christian
position on this subject:
The literal blood of Christ was violently shed at his
crucifixion. Those who deny this truth or try to spiritualize the death of
Christ are guilty of corrupting the gospel message. Jesus Christ bled and died
in the fullest literal sense, and when He rose from the dead, he was literally
resurrected. To deny the absolute reality of those truths is to nullify them
... Clearly the word blood is often used to mean more than the literal red
fluid. Thus it is that when Scripture speaks of the blood of Christ, it
usually means more than just the red and white corpuscles—it encompasses His
death, the sacrifice for our sins, and all that is involved in the atonement
... We are not saved by some mystical heavenly application of Jesus' literal
blood. Nothing in Scripture indicates that the literal blood of Christ is
preserved in heaven and applied to individual believers. When Scripture says
we're redeemed by the blood (I Peter 1:18-19), it is not speaking of a bowl of
blood in heaven. It means we're saved by Christ's sacrificial death ... It is
not the actual liquid that cleanses us from our sins, but the work of
redemption Christ accomplished in pouring it out. That is not heresy; it's
basic biblical truth.25
However, Hymers is not convinced by MacArthur's explanation.
He urges his congregation to join with him in earnest prayer for MacArthur,
since "nothing short of divine intervention" can change MacArthur's view on the
Blood.26 In another sermon, in September 2002,
Hymers claims that MacArthur's heresy proves he has not even been truly
What's the matter with MacArthur and his Geeks? The answer
is simple: they have never been converted. Having never experienced either
conversion or the new birth, these men simply cannot "see" what is in Heaven.27
Almost two years later, on 27 June 2004, in a sermon entitled,
"Dr. MacArthur's Logical Fallacies on the Blood—a Prayer for the Intervention of
God's grace," Hymers declared that at his midweek prayer meeting the members of
his church still pray for John MacArthur by name. MacArthur's error still
lies heavily upon Hymers' heart:
Untold millions will die the second death, in flames of
torment for all eternity, because this error has been left unchecked. It is a
key evangelical error today—not a side issue.28
In a more recent sermon, entitled "Dr. MacArthur and the
Blood of God" (July, 2005), Hymers warns his listeners that MacArthur is in
danger of falling into the error of Nestorianism.29
If MacArthur denies that Christ had the blood of God, then he is dividing the
two natures of Christ, claims Hymers.30 However,
Hymers is oblivious to the fact that he is confounding or mixing the
natures of Christ, the heresy of Eutychianism or Monophysitism.31
There is a world of difference between saying that Christ had the blood of God
(that is, that the blood of Christ belonged to both His human and His divine
natures [Hymers], or even only to His divine nature [Paisley]) and that the
Person whose human blood was shed was also God.
Belgic Confession 19 gives the orthodox position:
We believe that … the person of the Son is inseparably
united and connected with the human nature, so that there are not two Sons of
God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person; yet, that
each nature retains its own distinct properties. As then the divine nature
hath always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life,
filling heaven and earth, so also hath the human nature not lost its
properties, but remained a creature, having beginning of days, being a finite
nature, and retaining all the properties of a real body.
And though He hath by His resurrection given immortality to the same,
nevertheless He hath not changed the reality of His human nature, forasmuch as
our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body. But
these two natures are so closely united in one person, that they were not
separated even by His death.
Richard Alexander is another victim in the Fundamentalists'
zeal for the literal preserved blood. When he first encountered this theory, he
was astonished. Now he faces ostracism because he dares to challenge the
establishment and attacks a sacred cow of Fundamentalism. Unable to discuss it
within his denomination, he was forced to go to print and has produced an
on-line book on the subject. He tells of his experiences in the introduction:
The preachers will not permit him [i.e., Richard Alexander,
the author] to speak of it to their members, formally or informally, nor will
they answer his arguments themselves. The author does not expect them to read
this book until they must, for they shun hard questions, calling them "vain
babbling" and "division of the brethren." Perhaps if this book were made
available to the general public, fundamentalism would realize that they must
answer these questions when they make claims for the Blood Doctrine.32
Rev. Greer, in the sermon quoted earlier, calls a denial of
this dogma that "awful teaching" and refers to it as "that doleful, morbid
heresy that the blood perished."
Rev. Thomas Martin, minister of Lisburn Free Presbyterian
Church, castigates the "blood deniers" in these words:
There are those who say that Christ's blood perished … that
is heresy; that is bordering on blasphemy against the blood; they're nearly
guilty, only they're saved … they're very nearly guilty of blaspheming the
Holy Ghost who bears witness to the blood. If that ever happened to an
unconverted man, they'd be sure of hell. Remember that: the unpardonable sin.33
Its Historical Lineage
Those who deny this novel blood dogma of Fundamentalism are
accused of heresy. Can such a serious charge be substantiated? Heresy is by
definition an aberration in doctrine from the historic creeds of the church.
However, the creeds breathe not one word in favour of this novel dogma. Indeed
it is ironic that many heretical groups past and present hold views related to
this blood dogma. What do the creeds teach concerning the person of Christ?
Orthodox Christianity has always taught that Jesus Christ is
fully and eternally God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and that in the
incarnation the eternal Word "was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
"Made flesh" means that the Lord Jesus assumed to Himself a real human nature,
"with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof" (Westminster
The early church was plagued by various heretical groups, who
denied either Christ's divinity or His humanity or the relationship between the
two natures. The Fundamentalists' dogma of the blood of Christ is a form of
Gnostic heretics were a mystical group who claimed salvation
by a special knowledge (Greek: gnosis). Among their many heresies, they taught
that matter was sinful and therefore Christ could not have assumed a material
body. It is surely a form of Gnosticism to teach that physical blood is
sinful and therefore Christ did not have real human blood. The Apostle John
warns against Gnosticism in his epistles:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits
whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the
world. Hereby know we the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that
confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:
and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should
come; and even now already is it in the world" (I John 4:1-3).
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess
not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an
antichrist (II John 7).
Therefore, any doctrine which denies the complete
human nature of Christ (by claiming His blood is divine or divine and human) is of
antichrist and his spirit.
The heresy of Docetism arose from Gnosticism. The Docetists
taught that the human nature of Christ was an illusion, that Christ only seemed
to be human. Modern Fundamentalists teach a form of Docetism because Christ only
seemed to have human blood, but it was divine blood, or divine and human
blood, or incorruptible and indestructible blood.
Apollinarianism denies the completeness of Christ‘s humanity.
Apollinarus maintained that Christ had a human body and a human soul but not a
human spirit or rational mind (Greek: nous). He taught that Christ's divine
nature (the divine Logos) took the place of His rational human spirit or mind (nous).
The blood theorists (like the Apollinarians) deny part of the human nature of
Christ: the former deny that the blood is truly human; the latter denied
that the spirit or mind was human.
Eutychianism is the view that Christ's two natures were
mixed together to form one nature (Monophysitism). The Fundamentalists teach a
form of Eutychianism, because they attribute divine characteristics to the human
blood of Christ, so that His blood is neither truly human nor divine, but both,
hence Hymers' outrageous statement that the blood of Christ is "both human and
The church father, Athanasius, who defended the orthodox
faith concerning the doctrine of Christ, expressed the importance of a true
Christology thus, "What He did not assume, He could not redeem." If Christ did
not have human blood, He could not redeem every part of us, and if He did not
redeem every part of us, then He redeemed no part of us. Therefore, we are not
redeemed at all!
The orthodox view of the true humanity of Christ is that He
assumed to Himself at the incarnation a real, complete, sinless and weakened
human nature. Reformed theologian, Herman Hoeksema presents the biblical
A real man is one who partakes of our human nature, soul
and body. Christ must be real man, that is, he must not assume a temporary
appearance of a human being, for then he is not related to us. He must not
come in a specially created human nature, for then he stands outside the scope
of our race. He must be of us. He must subsist in the very human nature that
was created in the beginning ... Even though he was conceived without the will
of man and born of a virgin, his was not a strange or specially created human
nature: but he took upon him our flesh and blood. He was organically connected
with us. As to this human nature, he did not come from without, but was
brought forth by us. He did not stand next to men, but among them, and was of
them. He partook of the flesh and blood of the children. He was flesh or our
flesh, blood of our blood, bone of our bone.34
To ascribe divinity to the blood of the Lord Jesus is
a mixing of the two natures of Christ, something condemned in the early
councils of the church. The Chalcedon Creed (451) affirms that
to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion, without
change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures
being by no means taken away by the union, but the property of each
nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one
To say, as Hymers, supposedly representing all "credible
Fundamentalists," has done, that the blood of Christ is both human and
divine, or to claim, as Paisley has done, that Christ’s blood is divine
and not human, is to confuse the two natures of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and to fail to preserve the property of each nature. This is Christological heresy contrary to the early creeds.
The subject of the blood of Christ was hotly debated in the
fifteenth century. The question was asked "Did the blood shed by the Saviour
during His Passion remain united to the Eternal Word?" This led to a debate
between the Dominicans and the Franciscans in the presence of Pope Pius II
(1405-1464). The Dominicans held that the blood of Christ was an essential part
of His sacred humanity and as such could never be detached from the divine
Logos. The Franciscans argued that Christ’s blood was only concomitant with His
sacred humanity, that is, it existed with it but was not an essential part.
Although Pope Pius II did not decide one way or the other, the trend of Roman
Catholic theological thought, according to the on-line
Catholic Encyclopedia, is in favour of the Dominican teaching.
Accordingly, Rome teaches that the blood shed by Christ during His passion was
"reunited to the body of Christ at the Resurrection, with the possible exception
of a few particles which instantly lost their union to the Word and became holy
relics to be venerated but not adored."35 Apart
from the reference to relics and "the possible exception of a few particles,"
that is almost identical to what many Free Presbyterian ministers, such as
Greer, Cairns and Martin teach.
Rome teaches that "viewed as a part of the Sacred Humanity
hypostatically united to the Word, the Precious Blood deserves latreutical
worship or adoration."36 This is an integral part
of Rome’s idolatry, where she allocates different levels of adoration to various
persons and objects. According to the above classification, the blood of Christ
is to be adored with latria, which is why Romanists worship the bread and
wine (which they believe are transubstantiated into the body and blood of
Christ) in the Mass. Other objects of devotion, such as relics, receive dulia
(supposedly a lower level of worship), not latria.
The Reformed Faith condemns such idolatry. For example,
Calvin dismisses such distinctions as an "inept" and "entirely worthless."37
There really is no difference between religious adoration, veneration or
worship. They all amount to the same thing.38
Furthermore, Rome has among her many idolatries a special
devotion to the blood of Christ. "Confraternities which made it their special
object to venerate the Blood of Christ first arose in Spain," states the on-line
Catholic Encyclopedia.39 In the Romish
calendar, the month of July is dedicated to the honour of Christ’s blood. On 30
June, 1960, Pope John XXIII addressed a gathering of devotees on the eve of "The
Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Most Precious Blood" in these words:
Following our predecessors' example, we have taken further
steps to promote the devotion to the Precious Blood of the unblemished Lamb,
Jesus Christ. We have approved the Litany of the Precious Blood drawn up by
the Sacred Congregation of Rites and through special indulgences have
encouraged its public and private recitation throughout the Catholic world.40
On 1 July, 2000, Pope John Paul II addressing the "Catholic
associations devoted to the Most Precious Blood" exhorted them to think on the
"mystery of the Blood of Christ."41
Jesuit, John A. Hardon addressing a conference on the
"Precious Blood of Christ" (1987) speaks of the blood in these terms:
God took on a human nature so that in that human nature He
could die. In order to die, the soul had to separate from the body. But for
the body to have the soul separate, the body itself had to be deprived of His
Blood … that draining of the human body of His blood was the only way that
Christ, sinless Son of God and Son of Mary that He was, the only way that He
could die … Why does Peter identify the Blood of the Lamb of God as
"Precious?" Well, it is surely Precious because it is the Blood of no human
being. It is the Blood of the living God who took on human nature, capable of
shedding His Blood. Why was the Blood of Christ Precious? Because it is the
Blood of God who took on human nature in order to be able to suffer and to
bleed and, let us add, in order to bleed to death. Why Precious? Because it is
the Blood of the living God.42
Those words would be quite acceptable in many a
Fundamentalist pulpit. Hardon is mistaken. Christ did not die by having the
blood "drained" from His body. There was still blood in His body after His death
(John 19:34). Christ died by an act of His will (John 10:17-18) not from
blood-loss. When He has suffered in body and soul the wrath of God due to God’s
elect, He gave up the ghost (Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).43
Hardon laments that the modern church has neglected devotion
to the Blood. He writes,
I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society
(and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms
of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of
devotion to the Precious Blood … Suppose I picked a thousand Catholics at
random, I mean, believing, Churchgoing Catholics and would ask them: What
litanies has the Church approved for the universal recitation by the faithful?
I honestly doubt if very many out of a thousand would know that one of those
litanies is the Litany of the Precious Blood.44
The Litany of the Precious Blood (which is
particularly to be recited during the month of July) contains lines such as
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
Blood of Christ, courage of martyrs,
Blood of Christ, strength of confessors,
Blood of Christ, bringing forth virgins,
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honour.45
While Fundamentalists would baulk at the idea of worshipping
the blood (although language such as "make much of the Blood," "exalt the
Blood," etc., come dangerously close) and would rightly reject unscriptural
notions such as purgatory, it is noteworthy that they too lament the modern lack
of emphasis and devotion to the Blood. They are the ones who complain about the
so-called "bloodless" pulpits and the "bloodless" hymns of modern
The Anabaptists comprised a number of heretical
sects which sprung up like toadstools at the time of the Reformation. The
Reformers fought for the Word of God and laboured for the Reformation of
Christ’s church on two fronts: against Rome and against the Anabaptists. The
latter group were radicals. Many of them were guilty of fomenting rebellion.47
Mainly for this reason, they were persecuted by the state. They are widely
regarded as the precursors of the Charismatics. The Reformers considered them to
be heretics.48 Some of the more radical Anabaptists
denied the Trinity and claimed direct extra-biblical revelation from God,
claiming to have the Spirit.49 The Belgic
Confession, specifically condemns the errors of the Anabaptists in several
places.50 For example, Belgic Confession
we confess in opposition to the heresy of the Anabaptists,
who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of His mother, that Christ is become
partaker of the flesh and blood of the children.
Article 13 was written specifically to counter the error of a
leading Anabaptist, Menno Simons (1496-1561), who taught the idea of "celestial
flesh." According to an article by Cky. J. Carrigan, Menno derived this view
from Melchior Hoffmann (1495-1543) and Casper Schwenckfeld (1490-1561). He
Our doctrine and belief is that this same Word, Wisdom, and
First-born, as we have confessed, in due time descended from heaven, and that
He became a true, mortal man subject to suffering and death by the power of
the most High and His Holy Spirit, not of Mary but in Mary,51
above all human comprehension.
We confess and say, and that in accordance with the Lord's
Word, that the Scripture exempts none from sin but Him that is free indeed,
namely, Christ Jesus … whereby it is plainly shown that He is not of Mary's
While Menno and other Anabaptists denied that Christ derived
His flesh from Mary, many modern Fundamentalists teach a form of Anabaptism, by
maintaining that Christ did not derive His blood from Mary. Of course,
most modern Fundamentalists are Anabaptistic in other ways, such as their
Arminianism and their denial of paedobaptism.53
A mystical "pleading of the blood" is found among many
evangelicals, especially those of the Pentecostal and Charismatic variety. James
A. Fowler critiques a growing tendency to "plead the blood" in a mystical sense:
This is a popular phrase within some Christian circles.
They ‘plead the blood’ to relieve fears and depression.
They ‘plead the blood’ to cast out demons.
They ‘plead the blood’ to remove a curse.
They ‘plead the blood’ to heal and work miracles.
They ‘plead the blood’ to get what they call the ‘baptism in the Spirit’ and
to speak in tongues.
They ‘plead the blood’ to be delivered from difficult circumstances, and to
keep them from all accidents.
They ‘plead the blood’ to protect their home and family.
They ‘plead the blood’ for revival, for intercessory prayer and for worship.
They go on to say, ‘Since the life of Jesus is in His
Blood, if we plead, honor, sprinkle and sing about it, we actually introduce
the life of God into our worship.’ ‘We sprinkle the Blood with our tongues, by
repeating the word, ‘Blood, Blood, Blood of Jesus.’
‘The more we plead the blood the more power we have, power to
conquer the world for Jesus, power to clean up the church, power against Satan,
as we use the blood as a weapon of spiritual warfare, which fights sinful
infection like our white blood cells fight infection in our physical body.’54
This kind of prayer is not uncommon in Fundamentalist prayer
meetings in Northern Ireland, although most of them prefer the phrase, "cover
the [insert wish] in the blood." The idea is similar.55
An inappropriately named website called "Bible-Knowledge.com"
offers advice on "How to Plead the Blood of Jesus for Deliverance and
Protection." By following the instructions on this site, it is claimed, you can
ward off illness, car accidents, natural disasters, attacks on your family,
bankruptcy, credit card fraud, redundancy and demonic assaults. Disaster will
strike if you do not plead the blood regularly. The warning is given:
I have personally found out the hard way—that if I want
God’s full protection on all of the above—that I have to Plead the Blood on
the night before the beginning of the next month. In other words, if I want
God’s protection for the month of May—then I have to Plead the Blood on all
of the above on the last day of April. I have been burned several times
when I forgot to do this and was subject to several abnormal attacks on the
first day of that new month.56
If you want to protect your property, just apply a "Bloodline," we are told:
You can walk around the entire property Pleading the Blood
as you walk completely around it in a circle. What you are doing is applying a
Bloodline around your property … I have read of cases where Christian farmers
have done this to protect their livestock and flock from attacks from wild
predators. In one case in particular, a farmer was having a problem with some
of his farm animals being killed by a wild wolf. He went ahead and applied a
Bloodline around his entire property. When he woke up the next day, he found a
dead wolf … Pleading the Blood and applying a Bloodline around your house and
property can also help protect you from earthquakes or tornadoes … Another
area in which you can Plead the Blood on is whenever you are getting ready to
get on a train or plane to go out of town. Simply Plead the Blood on the train
or plane either right before you board it – or do it the night before.57
Of course, none of this has any basis in Scripture and is
simply an attempt to manipulate God. Fowler complains of this as the attitude
that "all one has to do is push God's ‘blood-button,’ and God will respond like
a remote-control God." The third petition, "Thy will be done" (Matt. 6:10), is
absent from such prayers.
Fundamental Theological Errors
(1) A Mistaken View of Original Sin
Some Fundamentalists believe that original sin is propagated
through blood. For example, Ian Paisley writes, "Through the veins of humanity
flows a poisoned bloodstream. The life of the flesh is in the blood. The life of
man is totally depraved, therefore his blood is but human depravity in
solution."58 Likewise, Alan Cairns asserts,
"Each of us is naturally corrupt. The poison of sin flows in the veins of every
one of us, and the foul corrupt nature of sin is passed on from father to son."59
Scripture teaches that "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12) and "by
one man's disobedience many were made sinners" (Rom. 5:19). For this reason, the
Psalmist teaches that he was "shapen in iniquity" and conceived in sin (Ps.
51:5) and therefore "the wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as
soon as they be born" (Ps. 58:3). But we reject this idea that sin is passed on
through the blood, and that therefore we all have polluted and sinful blood. Our
blood is not the problem; blood is an amoral substance. Blood in itself, as a
red liquid, which carries nutrients, gases and waste products through the body,
is neither virtuous nor sinful, neither pleasing nor displeasing to God.
The Reformed creeds explain original sin thus:
Man after the fall begat children in his own likeness. A
corrupt stock produced a corrupt offspring. Hence all the posterity of Adam,
Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original parent, not
by imitation, as the Pelagians of old asserted, but by the propagation of a
vicious nature (Canons of Dordt III/IV:2).
Ian Paisley writes of the blood of Christ: "His Blood is
innocent Blood as opposed to guilty blood" and quotes Matthew 27:4.60
However, when Judas Iscariot speaks of betraying "innocent blood" (Matt. 27:4),
he does not mean that the blood of Jesus Christ—His haematology—was pure or
without guilt (for it was amoral), but Judas means that Christ was innocent of
crime. His regret at betraying "innocent" blood is recognition that Jesus was
innocent of the charges against Him and that He was being treated unjustly.61
Nor does a reference to Christ's innocent blood in this text imply that others
have guilty and sinful blood. The term "innocent blood" cannot mean pure and
sinless blood, if we consider other passages. In Jonah 1:14, the sailors beseech
God not to punish them for shedding Jonah's "innocent blood" but nobody
maintains that Jonah was sinless. Indeed, by the reckoning of Paisley and Cairns,
he must have inherited the same "poison of sin" in his veins. Deuteronomy gives
directions to Israel on what to do if a dead body is found in the field "and it
be not known who hath slain him" (Deut. 21:1). A sacrifice is to be offered and
prayer made to God that "innocent blood" be not imputed to Israel. Obviously,
this victim is not sinless either. King Manasseh is said to have shed much
"innocent blood" in Israel (II Kings 21:16), yet every victim of that murderous
king was born with original sin. Jonathan refers to David's "innocent blood" (I
Sam. 19:5). Examples could be multiplied. The term "innocent blood" simply
refers to a person innocent of the crime of which he is accused. Original sin,
then, is not passed on through blood, but is imputed to us as guilt by God, and
passed on to us by human generation.
Therefore, it is not that man has polluted blood. He
has a polluted or totally corrupt nature. The effects of sin are
universal: his mind, his will and his soul are depraved and marred by sin. The
Canons of Dordt express it thus:
revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and
abusing the freedom of his own will, he [i.e., man] forfeited these excellent
gifts; and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible
darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and
obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections (III/IV:I).
Sin is no more carried in blood than in urine or in sweat.62
Blood is simply a bodily fluid. Christ's blood, since it was human blood
(because Christ had a real human nature), had all the properties of human blood.
It was not supernatural blood. The incarnation of Christ involved His taking a
real, complete, sinless and weakened human nature, "with all the essential
properties and common infirmities thereof" (Westminster Confession
8:2) or as the writer to the Hebrews put it,
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh
and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same ... for verily
he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of
Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto
his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest (Heb.
(2) A Misunderstanding Concerning the Virgin Birth
Flowing from a mistaken view of original sin, many believe
that the Virgin Birth was necessary in order to prevent Jesus inheriting sinful
human blood from his parents. Paisley claims this:
If [Christ] had been born by natural generation His blood
would have been poisoned by the universal malady of sin and would have been
absolutely valueless as an atonement for the sinful sons of men ... The Virgin
Birth of Christ, which took place with no male contribution which would
originate the infant's blood in the usual way, but by a supernatural act of
God thus originating supernatural blood, is absolutely essential to the
work of redemption. By such a birth and by such a birth alone could blood be
produced—precious, incorruptible, supernatural and divine, to redeem
the fallen sons of Adam's accursed race.63
The Bible teaches that the virgin birth was both a wonder and
a sign (Isa. 7:14), a wonderful sign pointing to an infinitely greater wonder,
the incarnation of the Son of God: "without controversy great is the mystery of
godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). The idea that
Jesus would have been tainted by sin except He was virgin-born has no basis in
Scripture. The reason why Jesus was born sinless is because He is the Son of
God. It is impossible for Jesus to be tainted with sin! Jesus did not need a
sinlessly perfect mother (as Rome teaches) to be the Lamb without blemish or
spot, nor did He need supernaturally-created divine blood or divine and human
blood. Who can even understand what supernatural, "divine" blood is? Remember
God is spirit and has no blood (John 4:24). The Bible explains how Jesus was
born without sin in the womb of a sinful woman:
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 that holy thing
which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
The reason why the human nature of Christ was free from sin
is because of the power of the Holy Ghost, not because of some quality in
The Heidelberg Catechism too teaches that the blood
of Jesus' human nature (obviously His divine nature had no blood) was from his
God's eternal Son, who is and continueth true and eternal
God, took upon Him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of
the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost; that He might also be the
true seed of David, like unto His brethren in all things, sin excepted (A. 35).
Rev. Ronald Hanko explains the virgin birth thus:
Christ was born of the flesh and blood of Mary, that he was
a Jew of the line of David, of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. So,
too, he was a true son of Adam, our own flesh and blood. This seems
self-evident, but it has been denied in church history. Some taught that
Christ brought his human nature with him from heaven and that by his birth and
conception he merely passed through Mary's womb like water through a tap. Or
they taught that his human nature was specially created in her womb, so that
he was not genetically and physically her son. This was taught by some
Anabaptists at the time of the Reformation, and more recently by the
neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth. Both Barth and the Anabaptists held such
views in the interest of preserving Christ's sinlessness. If Jesus was not
born of human ancestry, they claimed, then there was no possibility that he
was tainted with human depravity. It is not necessary to hold these views,
however, in order to believe that Christ was wholly without sin. His
conception by the Holy Spirit guaranteed his sinlessness, as Luke 1:35
teaches. Indeed to hold the view of the Anabaptists and of Barth is to deny
that Christ was like us in all things except sin (Heb. 2:14, Heb. 4:15), even
in his conception and birth.64
(3) A Misguided Appeal to Science
One of the main proponents of this doctrine, who has
influenced Ian Paisley in his views, was Dr. M. R. De Haan of Radio Bible Class,
Grand Rapids, Michigan. De Haan, in his 1943 book The Chemistry of the Blood,
asserted, "Not only is it a scientific fact, but it is plainly taught in
Scripture that Jesus partook of human flesh without Adam's blood."65
Let the import of those words sink in! Christ—according to Paisley and De
Haan—did not have Adam's blood. Obviously, nobody literally had Adam’s blood but
Adam himself, but what is meant here by De Haan is that Christ was not in the
"bloodline" of Adam. Therefore, He did not have the blood (was not in the
"bloodline") of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David or any of the others in the
covenant line. How, then, could Christ be "of the seed of David according to the
flesh" (Rom. 1:3)? How can He have taken "on him the seed of Abraham" (Heb.
2:16)? How can it be said that, of the Jews, "concerning the flesh, Christ came"
(Rom. 9:5), if Christ was not in the "bloodline’’ of Adam and the covenant
people of God? De Haan (and Paisley) would grant that Christ was a true
descendant of Adam, Abraham, and David but they insist that Christ had a
different sort of blood.
However, the Bible teaches that Christ had the same sort of
blood we do: human blood! Hebrews 2:14 proves that Christ took part of
the same "flesh and blood" of the children, so that He was "in all things
[sin excepted] made like unto his brethren." De Haan seeks to twist this text
(II Peter 3:16) and Paisley quotes De Haan's Scripture-twisting with approval.66
De Haan wants Hebrews 2:14 to say that "the children take both flesh and blood
of Adam, but Christ took only part, that is, the flesh part, whereas the blood
was the result of supernatural conception" but Hebrews 2:14 does not say that.67
Furthermore, De Haan stated elsewhere in The Chemistry of
the Blood that the blood of Adam was sinful, but not his flesh:
Christ could partake of Adam’s flesh, which is not
inherently sinful, but He could not partake of Adam’s blood, which was
completely sinful. God provided a way by which Jesus, born of a woman
(not man), could be a perfect human being, but, because He had not a drop of
Adam’s blood in His veins, He did not share in Adam’s sin.68
De Haan, who studied medicine nearly a century ago, is still
hailed as an authority by some Fundamentalist preachers who insist that the
blood comes from the father, and never from the mother, and that the blood of
the foetus and the mother never mix. Because of these medical "facts," Ian
Paisley and others believe that Christ's blood came from a different source than
His flesh. However, de Haan's medical "facts" are at variance with recent
medical discoveries. In his book Blood, The Bible and Fundamentalism,
Richard Alexander explodes the treasured theories of De Haan and demonstrates
that the "Blood Indoctrinators," as he terms them, are building on an unsound
foundation: "Doctor De Haan, in many of his writings, constantly displayed
inaccurate ideas that were scientifically naïve."69
Jesus got His flesh and blood from His mother (or to speak more precisely, He
inherited her chromosomes so that the foetus could produce the cells and
tissues, including blood cells, from her) and He was born sinless because He was
conceived of the Holy Ghost. An appeal to science, outdated science at best, is
not only unnecessary, but also foolish and brings reproach on the Christian
Another preacher who appeals to faulty medical science is
Calvin Ray Evans, pastor of Rubyville Community Church, Rubyville, Ohio. In a
sermon preached in 2003 entitled "The Incorruptible Blood," he tells an
anecdote of how he came across an amazing fact about our blood and by
implication astounding facts about Christ’s blood. He starts by making
scientifically credible statements about human blood:
... you know, our blood, if we spill our blood on the sand,
if you bleed and your blood pours out, immediately your blood has a clotting
ability. Coagulates are in your blood. It'll clot. If the blood falls on the
sand, that same ability will cause that blood to dry, and as the blood dries,
it starts a decaying process ...70
After explaining that to the congregation, he relates the story of a man he
visited in the hospital who had almost died from internal bleeding. This man
mentioned something very interesting to Evans which he claims revolutionised his
thinking about Christ’s blood. Having heard this from the patient, he calls a
doctor to check the accuracy of what he has just heard.
The doctor confirms it.
He said, "Preacher, I didn't realise ... when your blood
comes out of your body quickly, that your organs shut down ... all of your
organs immediately stop excreting any kind of fluid in your body, and the
blood pulls the water out of your body" ... so I called a doctor and I said,
"Let me ask you something, Doc" ... he said, "Yes," he said, "that is exactly
what happens" ... and I said, "Well, let me ask you this ... what would happen
if your body lost, or it was absent in your body, the coagulates which cause
your blood to clot" ... he said, "I'll tell you what would happen …
immediately, your blood," he said, "you wouldn't lose blood with a trickle, he
said your blood would pour out or flow out, and because the fluids is [sic]
there, the fluids keep the consistency coming out with the blood that it keeps
pouring out, and he said immediately your organs would shut down and it would
pull all of the fluids out of your organs." And he said, "Basically, what
would happen, your organs would become petrified on the inside."
Evans at this stage is overcome with emotion (he "laid the
phone down and [he] wept for just a minute or two") and presses the doctor for
I said, "Doc, let me tell you what I'm thinking about, I've
heard preacher after preacher after preacher preach about when Christ died on
the cross and they plunged the spear into His side that it punctured the
pericardial sack, the sack around your heart, and the fluids was [sic] there."
And I said, "Doc, do you believe that it was possible since Jesus' blood was
incorruptible, that meant His blood could not rot" [frenzied cheering from the
congregation] and I said, "Since His blood could not rot, that means that you
have to have clotting ability or coagulates to make it dry up to start the
deterioration process. Would that mean that Jesus would have started
bleeding?" And he said ... "That would have meant when they drove nails in His
hands and His feet, it would have become like a fountain that was open" [more
cheering from the audience] ... and he said, "Do you know what would happen if
you did not have that clotting ability?" I said, "What?" He said, "If you
would sweat intensely enough"—we preach that the capillaries broke down. He
said that we're wrong. That's not what it was—He said, "It was the
incorruptible blood of a perfect Savior, that as He sweated, the blood began
to flow, and His sweat became as though it were great drops of blood, because
out of the blood He poured the fluids from His body" [enthusiastic, fanatical
cheering from the audience]. And then it dawned on me: God said in Acts
chapter 2 that He would not allow His Holy One to see corruption, and I said,
"If that was the case, if the blood flowed out of Him in that manner, and the
fountain was opened, and the blood was flowing like a mighty crimson river,
what would that do to the body, would it die?" He said, "It wouldn't rot, not
in three days would it rot" [enthusiastic 'Amen' from the audience] ... how do
they keep you as a corpse from becoming an odour, take the blood out of you, O
glory! and then I went to Zechariah chapter 13 verse 1 and the Bible says in
that day ... and that blood will never decay. This same doctor told me, he
said, "You know if people would just understand; that would mean that the
blood of Jesus was just as fresh today [audience screaming, 'Amen!'] as the
day He died on Calvary."
We must interrupt this fanatical frenzied cheering of
Hallelujahs, into which Evans has whipped his audience, and inject some sober
thinking into this discussion (Acts 26:25; I Thess. 5:6; I Pet. 4:7). If
Christ’s blood had lacked the vital clotting ability, He would not—in a day of
primitive medicine—have lived to thirty three years. He would have died in
childhood, probably shortly after being circumcised, or whenever He suffered a
cut or injury or serious bruise. Moreover, He would have been a haemophiliac and
therefore ceremonially unclean in Israel (cf. Lev. 15). How, then, could He have
been a High Priest unto the people of God?
Assuming that He had survived to adulthood, let us consider
the example that Evans gives. If Christ had started bleeding from His pores in
the Garden of Gethsemane in the way described by Evans (though not in the way
described in Luke 22:44), He would have been dead within a matter of hours if He
had had no coagulates in His blood. He would not have been able to walk the way
to Calvary or even stand up at His trial. In the unlikely event that He had
survived the arraignment before the Sanhedrin, the scourging by the Romans (John
19:1) would have brought a swift end to His life. It was not unknown for people
to die from scourging, and certainly a haemophiliac would have stood no chance.
Laying aside all this nonsense, we ought to note that
Scripture makes it clear why Christ died so quickly on the cross—a death which
ordinarily could take days. It was because Christ was completely in control. He
gave up His spirit to the Father at the appointed time (Luke 23:46; quoting
Psalm 31:5) for no man took His life from Him (John 10:18). Pilate marvelled at
the swiftness of Christ’s death (Mark 15:44) but God was in control of all
events (Acts 4:27-28), making sure that Christ’s bones would not be broken (John
19:36), which would have happened if Christ had died as slowly as those who were
crucified with Him. The reason why Christ’s body did not decay in the grave was
not because His body was drained of His special non-coagulating blood, as Evans
surmises, nor because He had an incorruptible humanity, as Greer and Cairns
teach, but because God preserved Christ’s corpse in the grave miraculously. It
was God’s purpose that Christ rise again for our justification (Rom. 4:25).
Death could have no power over Christ (Rom. 6:9), because He has vanquished
death by His own death on the cross.
(4) A Bizarre Interpretation of Old Testament Typology
Since Fundamentalist preachers like Paisley believe that the
blood of Jesus Christ is incorruptible and indestructible, they teach that it
has been preserved in heaven. Every drop of Christ's blood, they claim, has been
resurrected, gathered and brought to heaven, where it pleads for blood-bought
souls before the Father. Paisley excoriates those preachers who dare to oppose
such a teaching:
Into the pulpit of the churches there has come a new breed
of men who sail under the flag of Evangelicalism and some of whom even dare to
hoist the flag of Fundamentalism. Their message is void of the "blood evangel"
and destructive of the Rock granite of accomplished redemption ... the
bloodless track of these preachers is a road of impossibilities, the cul de
sac of Bible rejection.71
Paisley teaches that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament types
and shadows (such as the sacrifices of Leviticus) when He made atonement on the
cross. With this we agree (Belgic Confession 21, 25). The book of Hebrews explains at length that Jesus
Christ fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system, superseding it. However,
some believe that in order properly to fulfil the types Jesus had to die and
then present His blood in heaven, where the divine mercy seat is said to be
situated.72 This is unnecessary to fulfil the
type because Jesus Christ Himself is the Mercy Seat; there is no separate ark of
the covenant with a mercy seat in heaven.73 Such
Fundamentalist preachers confuse the types and believe that Jesus had to do more
than die on the cross to secure our redemption. As A. M. Stibbs writes,
There is in heaven no blood ritual such as there was in the
Levitical tabernacle. For, in the fulfilment of these divinely-ordained
"figures of the true," Christ Himself does not do things after His sacrifice
with His blood, as something material and outside Himself, which He comes
before God to minister. He entered in not with, but "through his own blood"
that is, by means of, or because of, His death as Man, when His human blood
was shed. So, in the heavenly glory, He does not sprinkle, and never has
actually sprinkled, blood upon some heavenly mercy-seat. Rather He is Himself,
so to speak, the mercy-seat or propitiation, being Himself sufficiently "blood
stained" by reason of His death on the Cross.74
Some "Blood Indoctrinators" (to use Richard Alexander's term)
see in the events after the resurrection proof for their theory. In the garden,
Mary Magdalene was not permitted to touch Christ: "Jesus saith unto her, Touch
me not; for I am not ascended to my Father" (John 20:17). In chapter 14 of his
book The Church, Dr. Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond,
Indiana, until his death in 2001, offers this highly speculative explanation:
When Jesus was resurrected, and Mary Magdalene saw him,
Jesus said, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father." He was the
High Priest. He was taking the blood He had shed as the Lamb of God to the
Mercy Seat in Heaven, to sprinkle it there. Between the time the High Priest
took the blood in the basin and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat, nobody could
touch Him. That is why He told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him.
Later He told Thomas to put his hands into His side. Why
could Thomas touch Him when Mary Magdalene could not? Because when Thomas saw
Him, He had already been to Heaven, sprinkled the blood, and the blood was
already talking to the Father.75
According to this view, Christ had two bodily
ascensions. Christ ascended soon after His resurrection to sprinkle the blood on
the heavenly mercy seat, came back down to earth, appeared several times to His
disciples over the space of 40 days, and then made a second ascension from the
Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9). However, there is no biblical evidence to support
this idea of two bodily ascensions of Christ, and the church has never
held such a view.
Moreover, this highly speculative interpretation does not
accord with other material. For example, after Mary Magdalene finds the empty
tomb (Matt. 28:1) and meets the Lord (John 20:16), Christ appears to His
disciples (Matt. 28:9). This is after the women had fled (Matt. 28:8). Christ
greets His disciples with "All hail." The text goes on to say that the disciples
"came and held him by the feet and worshipped him" (Matt. 28:9). However,
Christ did not rebuke His disciples for holding him. About a week later, Christ
appeared again and this time Thomas (who previously had been absent) was also
permitted to touch Jesus. Hyles wants it to appear that about a week elapsed
between Mary's being forbidden to touch Jesus and Thomas being allowed to handle
Him. He needs this time for his fanciful blood-sprinkled-in-heaven theory.
However, the time between Mary being forbidden to touch Jesus and the disciples
(excluding Thomas) touching Him was probably very short indeed, as indicated by
More serious than that objection is that Hyles contradicts
the Saviour's words on the cross: "It is finished" (John 19:30). If Hyles is
right, Jesus ought not to have uttered those famous words. He ought instead to
have said, "It is almost finished. Once the blood has been gathered and
sprinkled in heaven, then it will be finished." He did not say that. He did not
even hint at such a thing. The very idea is foolish.
Rod Bell, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Virginia
Beach, Virginia, and often a guest speaker in Paisley’s Martyrs’ Memorial
Church, utters the same nonsense:
Atonement, my friends, cannot be completed at the cross,
but at the altar and upon the mercy seat. Neither the Old Testament nor the
New Testament leaves us in any doubt on this matter ... just as the High
Priest in Old Testament times took with him into the holiest the blood of
animal sacrifices. Christ our High Priest entered heaven with His own precious
blood. He took His own precious blood into the holy place to obtain eternal
redemption for us. Now, Christ our High Priest entered into heaven with His
own precious blood. Where is the blood of Christ now, today? It is in heaven,
because it is indestructible blood.76
Notice that Bell emphatically denies that atonement was completed on the
cross. He appeals to Hebrews 9:12 where it says that "by his
own blood he entered in once into the holy place" and argues that "by" should be
translated "with" so that Christ brought His own blood into the holy place.
Notice too his misquoting of the text. Hebrews 9:12 does not say "to obtain
eternal redemption for us" but "having obtained eternal redemption for
us." Redemption was accomplished before Christ ascended to heaven. George
Smeaton is just one of many Reformed writers who explode this theory:
To suppose, as we must do in that case, that Christ's
priestly action began in heaven,—that is, that He sprinkled the mercy-seat,
and completed the atonement only when He entered on the mediatorial exaltation
or reward,—seems to confound everything … A few words will suffice to prove
that He entered within the veil and sprinkled the mercy-seat at the moment
when He commended His spirit into His Father's hand ... When did the true High
Priest sprinkle the mercy-seat?—which was a propitiatory act in the course of
averting wrath—we must emphatically answer, At the moment of death … it is
incongruous and absurd to hold, then, that the sprinkling of the mercy-seat
and the purifying of the heavenly things (Heb. 9:23) took place only after His
A. W. Pink too disagrees with Bell and others. On Hebrews
9:12, he writes,
It was by virtue of the blood of these animals that Aaron
entered so as to be accepted with God. The reference here is not directly to
what the high priest brought with him into the holiest—or the "incense" too
had been mentioned—but to the title [or right] which the sacrifices gave him
to approach unto the Holy One of Israel.78
John Owen calls the idea that Christ brought His own
"material blood" into heaven "vain speculation." In commenting on Hebrews 9:12,
It is a vain speculation, contrary to the analogy of faith,
and destructive of the true nature of the oblation of Christ, and inconsistent
with the dignity of his person, that he should carry with him into heaven a
part of that material blood which was shed for us on the earth. This some have
invented, to maintain a comparison in that wherein is none intended. The
design of the apostle is only to declare by virtue of what he entered as a
priest into the holy place. And this was by virtue of his own blood when it
was shed, when he offered himself unto God. This was that which laid the
foundation of, and gave him right unto the administration of his priestly
office in heaven.79
Herman Bavinck explains at length:
One should note, however, that the author of this letter
nowhere says that Christ entered heaven with
his blood, the way the Old Testament high priest on the
great Day of Atonement entered the holy of holies with
blood to sprinkle it on and before the mercy seat. He
only says that Christ once for all entered the sanctuary
through his blood (9:12). He did not take with him the
blood that was shed on the cross to sprinkle it in the
heavenly sanctuary, thereby to bring about atonement.
But by means of his blood, on the basis of the sacrifice
made on the cross, he secured for himself the right to
enter heaven to appear in God's presence on our behalf.
In the Old Testament, after the sacrifice had been
brought, the high priest still had to take some of the
blood, enter the holy of holies with it, and offer it
for both his own and his people's misdeeds. But that was
still a part of the imperfect system of the Old
Testament. This showed that the way into the sanctuary
had not yet been disclosed so long as the first
tabernacle was still standing (9:7-8). This, however,
did not apply to Christ. He brought a unique and perfect
sacrifice on the cross. he did not take his blood with
him to heaven to offer it there, but through the tent of
his own body and the curtain of his flesh (9:11; 10:20),
he entered once for all into the true sanctuary and to
that end received the right and the power by his own
blood that he had shed on the cross (9:12). His blood
had that power because it was his own, because through
the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God without
blemish (9:14). That blood, to be sure, had been shed
only once, and that sacrifice had taken place only once
at a specific moment in time; yet this event was
not—like the sacrificial cult of the Old
Testament—temporary, passing, transient. On the
contrary, the sacrifice on the cross was the sacrifice
of One who was the Son, Creator, and Heir of all things,
who also became human, perfected himself by his
obedience, and proved by the shedding of his blood that
the eternal Spirit dwelt in him. It, therefore, has
eternal, spiritual significance. Christ was high priest
already on earth (7:27; 9:11, 14, 25, 28; 10:10; 13:12),
but he was that not in the way of Aaron's high
priesthood, but according to the order of Melchizedek,
eternal and unchanging.
It is for this reason, however, that the Letter to the
Hebrews so strongly stresses Christ's entry into the
true sanctuary. He entered it by the power of his own
blood, not to sacrifice himself again in a different
manner, for he did that once for all, and by that
sacrifice acquired all the benefits of the covenant of
grace (9:26-28; 10:12, 14; etc.).79a
(5) An Obsession With "Hymns"
Fundamentalist churches most often sing "hymns," uninspired
human compositions, instead of the God-breathed Psalms (I Pet. 1:21). One of
the signs of modernism in the churches, they claim, is that the "hymns" about
the blood have been removed from modern hymnals.80
Modern apostate evangelicals no longer like to sing about the blood of Christ,
they say. Proud of their perceived separatism from apostasy, Fundamentalists
unashamedly and enthusiastically sing "hymns" about the blood. So ingrained is
"hymn" singing in these churches that it is not uncommon for "hymns" to be
quoted in sermons and other literature which promote their peculiar blood
doctrine. Alan Cairns quotes five times from "hymns" in his pamphlet,81
and Ian Paisley's Christian Foundations is peppered with quotes from
Elsewhere Paisley complains about modern preachers in these
They call their congregations to sing in their evangelistic
services such hymns as "There is a fountain filled with blood," "There's power
in the blood" and "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb" ... they say with
great fervour that, while we ... sing about the blood in our hymns and preach
about the blood in our sermons, there is no blood today ... they give out the
invitation hymn, "I am coming Lord, Coming now to Thee, Wash me, Cleanse me in
the Blood, That flowed from Calvary." Thus they invite sinners to an empty
fountain and to a washing in the blood which no longer exists.82
It is not wrong to quote from uninspired writings, but it is
a mistake to take "hymns" literally, if the "hymn" is erroneous or the words are
not intended to be taken literally. The "fountain filled with blood" (possibly a
reference to Zechariah 13:1) of William Cowper’s song is not literal. The blood
was not "drawn from Immanuel’s veins;" it was shed. Sinners are "not plunged"
into the blood of Christ; they are sprinkled (Isa. 52:15; Eze. 36:25; I Pet.
1:2), although not literally. Many of the "hymns" of this type are
characterised by symbolism and stirring devotional language which is not meant
to be taken literally. That many such "hymns" were penned by Arminians ought to
make them doubly suspect, for what qualifications do Arminians have to write
about the atonement? The Canons of Dordt speak of the Arminian doctrine of
universal, ineffectual atonement in these words:
This doctrine tends to the despising of the wisdom of the
Father and of the merits of Jesus Christ and is contrary to Scripture … these
adjudge too contemptuously of the death of Christ, do in no wise acknowledge
the most important fruit or benefit thereby gained, and bring again out of
hell the Pelagian error … these ... seek to instill into the people the
destructive poison of the Pelagian errors (II:1, 3, 6).
Popular "hymns" mould the thinking of the worshipper (often
teaching him lies about God). Carried away by his emotions, the hymn-singer
often fails to sing with understanding (Ps. 47:7; I Cor. 14:15) and forgets that
"hymns" are not the Word of God and are therefore not authoritative. They cannot
be quoted to prove a theological point! Many are so accustomed to hymns nowadays
that they can automatically quote from a hymn in a theological controversy.
Sadly, many who have memorised the words of countless uninspired odes are
woefully ignorant about the contents of God's inspired hymnbook, the Psalter.
Even John Greer in the sermon quoted earlier reminds his
congregation, "you know, all these hymns are not correct. I need to say that."
Indeed he does, but the question should be asked, why do Fundamentalists sing
"hymns" which are not correct? Is singing erroneous human, "hymns" what Jesus
had in mind when He said that the Father seeks worshippers who worship "in
spirit and in truth" (John 4:23)?
James A. Fowler rightly points out that "fanciful language
concerning the blood of Jesus can be seen in many hymns" and adds that whereas
"most people take these phrases as but the symbolism of 'poetic license' there
are some who take them quite literally."83
In order to have even a semblance of credibility,
Fundamentalists need to prove their bizarre doctrine of the blood from
Paisley claims to stand on the Word of God when he teaches
that the blood of Christ has been eternally preserved:
I am not concerned what the scholars say on this subject;
my only concern is what the Scriptures say. My appeal is not to the word of
the scholars either in consensus or in controversy but to the Word of the
Spirit of God. My rule is not any textbook of biology but the truth of the
Bible. I care not how unpleasing God's revelation is to the natural man, no
matter how educated he may be; I care not how unlikely the doctrine of the
Bible may appear to the majority of men—that matters not: all that matters is
the plain teaching of God's infallible Book.84
Those are laudable sentiments. Would to God that all who call
themselves Christians were as bold to defend what they believe the Scriptures
teach! The question is, however, do the Scriptures appealed to by Paisley and
others in this controversy actually teach what is claimed?
We have examined Hebrews 9:12 already and seen that it does
not teach that Christ entered Heaven with His blood, but by His
blood, which He had shed on Calvary, having obtained
eternal redemption for us. What are the main texts Fundamentalists appeal to for
proof of their doctrine about the blood of Christ?
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given
it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the
blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" is the testimony of Leviticus
17:11. From this verse, De Haan maintained that the very essence of life is
blood. What makes a person, or an animal, alive, above everything else, is
blood. He even goes so far as to claim that when God breathed into Adam the
breath of life, causing Adam to become a "living soul" (Gen. 2:7), this
refers to the addition of blood to the lifeless body of Adam, a sort of blood
The breath of God put something in man that made him alive.
That something was blood. It must have been. It could be nothing else: for we
have already shown that the life of the flesh is in the blood and so
when life was added by the breath of God, He imparted blood to that lump of
clay in the shape of a man, and man became a living soul. Adam’s body was of
the ground. His blood was the separate gift of God, for God is Life and the
Author of all life ... Adam’s body was of the earth, but his blood was
directly from God. God demands that we respect this fact, since it was God’s
own breath which filled all flesh with blood. To eat blood, therefore, is to
insult the life of God for the life ... is in the blood.85
Paisley agrees with De Haan's ludicrous interpretation of
Genesis 2:7. In a sermon in March 2002 entitled, "The Blood! The Shed Blood! The
Precious Blood of Jesus!" he asserted, "The moment God breathed into Adam,
his bloodstream was created and his substance physically was tied into the
mystery of his spiritual being."86 Furthermore, he
agrees with De Haan on Leviticus 17:11:
The blood equals the life, therefore the Blood of Christ
equals the life of Incarnate Deity. According to Colossians 2:9, in Him dwelt
all the fulness of the Godhead bodily and that fulness was emptied out in the
crimson of the cross. The Blood then is the life-tide of the Godhead.87
How could Christ, in shedding his human blood, empty out the
"fulness of the Godhead"? The blood is the life "of the flesh" (Lev.
17:11), not of the Godhead. The Son of God has life in Himself, "for as
the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in
himself" (John 5:26). When Christ died, He died in His human nature; He did not
die in His divine nature. Christ can never
die in His divine nature, and it is difficult to imagine how He could have
suffered and died in the incorruptible, indestructible human nature which is
imagined by Fundamentalists!88
Christ’s human blood was not deified at the incarnation; His
human nature was able to sustain the wrath of God because it was united to (not
mixed with) His divinity. Lord’s Day 6 of the Heidelberg Catechism
explains the necessity of the incarnation of the Son of God. Firstly, the
Saviour must be human because "the justice of God requires that the same
human nature which hath sinned should … make satisfaction for sin" (A.
16). Secondly, the Saviour must be divine "that he might, by the power of His
Godhead, sustain in His human nature, the burden of God’s wrath" (A.
17). Quite simply, if Christ’s human nature differed from ours, He could not
In Leviticus blood stands for life, because when blood is
shed (of a man or of a beast) life is violently taken away. However, the fact
that the "life of the flesh is in the blood" does not prove that Christ's blood
is divine, supernatural, sinless or eternally preserved in heaven.
(2) Acts 20:28
Another text appealed to by Fundamentalists is Acts 20:28:
"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." From this text, some infer that Christ had God's
blood, the blood of Christ was divine. It speaks of "the blood of God" does it
not? Ian Paisley writes, "His Blood is divine Blood as opposed to
human blood," and cites this text.89
Calvin comments on this text:
Surely God does not have blood (Acts 20:28), does not
suffer (I Cor. 2:8), cannot be touched with hands (I John 1:1). But since
Christ, who was true God and also true man, was crucified and shed his blood
for us, the things that he carried out in his human nature are transferred,
improperly, although not without reason, to his divinity.90
In theology this is known as the communicatio idiomatum
or the "communication of properties." Calvin explains:
Thus, also, the Scriptures speak of Christ: they sometimes
attribute to him what must be referred solely to his humanity, sometimes what
belongs uniquely to his divinity; and sometimes what embraces both natures but
fits neither alone. And they so earnestly express the union of the two natures
that is in Christ as sometimes to interchange them.91
Acts 20:28, then, does not teach that Christ had divine
blood, but that Christ's human nature is inseparably united with His divine
nature in one divine Person forever, as orthodox Christianity has always
(3) Hebrews 12:24
Ian Paisley insists that this text ("and to the blood of
sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel") teaches that the
blood of Christ (again he means the red liquid in Christ's veins which was shed
on the cross) is literally sprinkled and literally speaks:
You cannot sprinkle blood that has congealed. You cannot
sprinkle blood that has perished. You cannot sprinkle blood that is lost. You
cannot sprinkle blood that has corrupted. You cannot sprinkle blood that is
extinct. The continuing characteristic of the blood of Christ in the New
Testament is the fact of the sprinkled blood! The apex of the glory in
Emmanuel's land is the blood of sprinkling. If Christ's blood had not been
preserved and sprinkled on the mercy seat of the Triune Jehovah, in no way
could sinners be reconciled to God.92
But the question must be reiterated: Is the blood
literally sprinkled on souls? Again, we return to the true humanity of
Christ. When blood comes into contact with air, it clots. If Jesus' blood had
not clotted like normal human blood, He would have bled to death as an eight-day-old
child when He was circumcised. Jesus had real human blood. The efficacy of
Christ's sacrificial death continues, although His physical blood perished in
the dust (Luke 22:44). Incidentally, you cannot literally sprinkle blood which
has returned to Christ's resurrection body either, as Paisley's colleagues,
Greer, Cairns and Martin teach.
A second claim from Hebrews 12:24 is that for Christ's blood
to speak (literally) it has to have been preserved. Again, we will let Paisley
explain himself: "Did the literal blood of Abel cry to God? Yes. The Holy Ghost
recorded it to be so. Does the literal blood of Jesus speak today? Yes. The Holy
Ghost has recorded it to be so."93
The author to the Hebrews is obviously using figurative
language. Blood does not speak. That is figurative. Christ's blood does not
literally speak, and neither did Abel's in Genesis 4:10. It is a figure of speech. That should
be obvious from the context. If the blood of sprinkling "speaketh better things
than that of Abel" does that mean that Abel's blood is also preserved?
Some Fundamentalists have even appealed to Calvin's commentary on Hebrews,
showing that they can no more differentiate between the literal and the figurative in his writings than they can in Scripture.94
Calvin comments on Hebrews 10:19 ("having, therefore, brethren boldness to enter
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus"):
He afterwards marks the difference between this blood and
that of beasts; for the blood of beasts, as it soon turns to corruption, could
not long retain its efficacy; but the blood of Christ, which is subject to
no corruption, but flows ever as a pure stream, is sufficient for us even
to the end of the world. It is no wonder that beasts slain in sacrifice had no
power to quicken, as they were dead; but Christ who arose from the dead to
bestow life on us, communicates his own life to us. It is a perpetual
consecration of the way, because the blood of Christ is always in a manner
distilling before the presence of the Father, in order to irrigate heaven and
You see, say the Fundamentalists, Calvin taught that Christ's
blood was "subject to no corruption, but flows ever as a pure stream." The
highly figurative language ought to be an indicator that Calvin should not be
taken literally here, but such men are undeterred. In the same commentary on
Hebrews 13:20 ("through the blood of the everlasting covenant"), Calvin writes,
Christ so arose from the dead, that his death was
not yet abolished, but it retains its efficacy for ever, as though he
had said, God raised up his own Son, but in such a way that the blood shed
once for all in his death is efficacious after his resurrection for the
ratification of the everlasting covenant, and brings forth fruit the same
as though it were flowing always.96
Ian Paisley teaches that the blood of Christ is one of seven
things in heaven and he lambastes those who disagree:
[This new brand of preachers say that] all that are
mentioned above [in Hebrews 12:22-24] are real except the blood. God places it
at the apex. They displace it altogether. There is no blood in Heaven, they
affirm. There is no blood-sprinkling there. There is no speaking blood there.97
How can Christ's shed blood (a created substance) be at the
"apex of heaven"? The saints of God celebrate the fact of the accomplished
redemption of Christ. Their song is "Worthy the Lamb who was slain" (Rev. 5:12);
not "Worthy the Blood that was shed." Is there much difference between Romanists
worshipping what they think is Christ's blood in the Mass, and Fundamentalists
exalting the literal blood of Christ as they imagine it to be in heaven?98
Charles Spurgeon denies that this text is referring to the
literal material blood:
What is this "blood of sprinkling?" In a few words, "the
blood of sprinkling" represents the pains, the sufferings, the humiliation,
and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, which he endured on the behalf of
guilty man. When we speak of the blood, we wish not to be understood as
referring solely or mainly to the literal material blood which flowed from the
wounds of Jesus. We believe in the literal fact of his shedding his blood; but
when we speak of his cross and blood we mean those sufferings and that death
of our Lord Jesus Christ by which he magnified the law of God.99
Paisley does not even attempt an exegesis of Hebrews 12:24.
He just makes the bold assertion, "The Blood is in heaven" and attacks all who
disagree. What is the correct interpretation of this passage? First, the context
describes a contrast between the church under the law and the church of the new
dispensation with the coming of Christ. That is one of the themes of the epistle
to the Hebrews. In Hebrews 12:18-21, the apostle gives a graphic account of the
church (Acts 7:38) at Sinai. New Testament believers have not "come unto"
that mount. Hebrews 12:22-24 is not a description of heaven. John Owen's
commentary sheds a lot of light on this subject:
The apostle intends a description whereunto believers are
called by the gospel. For it is that alone which he opposeth to the state of
the church under the old testament. And to suppose that it is the heavenly,
future state which he intends, is utterly to destroy the force of his argument
The realities described in Hebrews 12:22-24 are spiritual.
Mount Zion, the city of the living God (Rev. 21:10), the heavenly Jerusalem
(Rev. 21:2), the general assembly and church of the firstborn are all names for
the church. There is no mountain called "Zion" in heaven. Zion is a type of the
church. Through the gospel we have an interest in all the spiritual blessings of
Christ. Owen writes,
This is the first privilege of believers under the gospel.
They "come unto mount Sion"; that is, they are interested in all the promises
of God made unto Sion, recorded in the Scripture, in all the love and care of
God expressed towards it, in all the spiritual glories assigned unto it.101
Through Christ, elect believers have communion with the
saints and angels, because Christ has gathered and reconciled "all things" unto
Himself (Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20). The saints and angels are in one mystical body;
angels and the saints are fellow worshippers (Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:11); angels are
interested in the affairs of the church (I Pet. 1:12), rejoice over penitents
(Luke 15:10) and serve the church (Heb. 1:14). We have been reconciled, not only
to God, but also to the angels (Col. 1:20) who, being holy (Matt. 25:31), could
have no fellowship with us in our sins. Through Christ, our relationship to the
angels has been radically transformed. Writes Owen,
Wherefore by Jesus Christ we have a blessed access unto
this "innumerable company of angels." Those who, by reason of our fall from
God, and the first entrance of
sin, had no regard unto us, but to execute the vengeance of God against
us, represented by the cherubim with the flaming sword, (for "he maketh his
angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire,") to keep man, when he had
sinned, out of Eden, and from the tree of life, Genesis 3:24; those whose
ministry God made use of in giving of the law, to fill the people with dread
and terror; they are now, in Christ, become one mystical body with the church,
and our associates in design and service. And this may well be esteemed as an
eminent privilege which we receive by the gospel.102
In a very real sense, the church militant on earth is one
with the church triumphant in heaven. God has "made us to sit together in
heavenly places with Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6); we have "access by one Spirit
unto the Father" and are "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household
of God" (Eph. 2:18-19), and "our conversation [i.e., citizenship] is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20),
although we are still on the earth. This is part of what the creeds call "the
communion of saints"—not that believers on earth pray to or seek the
intercession of the glorified saints in heaven—but that all the elect (past,
present and future) are "in Christ" who is the head of the body (Col. 1:18).
The elect, of whom are "the spirits of just men made perfect"
(Heb. 12:23), who comprise "the church of the firstborn, which are written in
heaven" (Heb. 12:23; cf. Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3) have access through "Jesus the
mediator of the new covenant" (Heb. 12:4; cf. I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6) to "God the
Judge of all" (Heb. 12:23). The means whereby they have access to angels,
departed saints, the holy God and judge of all, is through the "blood of
sprinkling" (Heb. 12:24). This "blood of sprinkling" speaks better things than
that of Abel. It is said in Genesis 4:10 that Abel’s blood "crieth" unto God:
that is the blood of Abel is witness against his brother, and cries out for
justice and the divine punishment of Cain. As indicated earlier, this is a figure
of speech: blood does not speak. The blood of Christ "speaketh" too, but it does
not cry out for vengeance; it cries out, "Atonement has been made." God forgives
guilty sinners on the basis of what Christ did by shedding His blood. The
justice and vengeance of God against the sins of God’s elect has been satisfied.
God hears the cry of the blood of the Lamb and the elect sinner is pardoned. The
elect are "sprinkled" with (not plunged beneath) that blood spiritually. As Owen
says, "It is the expiating, purging efficacy of his blood, as applied unto us,
that is included therein."103
Paisley complains that you cannot sprinkle blood that has
been lost. That is not the issue. The idea of sprinkling the blood of Christ in
Scripture is not a literal sprinkling of the material blood, so it is not
necessary that it be preserved. As Stibbs writes,
"The sprinkling of the blood" in the case of Christ’s
sacrifice means the extension to the persons sprinkled of the value and the
benefits of the death of which it is token. So the phrase and the idea
continue to be a metaphorical way of referring to the application of, and the
participation in, the saving benefits of the death of Jesus. This efficacy of
the one sacrifice already made is continuous and all-sufficient. So
Christians can still prove, as they walk in the light, that the blood of Jesus
cleanses them from all sin; that is, that Christ’s death avails to purge away
any and every fresh defilement.104
(4) I Peter 1:18-19
Perhaps the text most appealed to by the proponents of this
doctrine is I Peter 1:18-19 where we read,
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; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a
lamb without blemish and without spot.
It is argued that silver and gold are corruptible, but the
blood of Christ is incorruptible, meaning that it can never congeal, perish, be
lost or corrupt. Paisley writes, "The blood that coursed in the blood vessels
of the holy incorruptible body of God Incarnate while He was on earth was as
holy and incorruptible as the flesh of the body itself."105
That statement is heresy. It may sound pious to claim that
Christ had incorruptible flesh, but it is the heresy of the Docetists. Because
the Docetists believed, like the Gnostics before them, that matter is sinful,
they believed it was more honouring to Christ to confess that He did not have a
real human nature; that He only seemed to be human. The early church
condemned the Gnostics and Docetists and the church has always rejected any
denial of Christ’s true humanity. Incorruptible flesh and incorruptible blood do
not constitute a real and complete human nature. Rather, such an assertion is a
denial of the incarnation.
Returning to I Peter 1:18-19, we should mention, first of
all, that the text does not say that Christ's blood is incorruptible; it says
that gold is corruptible, and Christ's blood is precious. The value of
Christ's blood is contrasted with the value of gold, and Peter affirms that
Christ's blood is infinitely more valuable than gold. What Paisley and others
have to prove is, not even that Peter means that the "blood of Christ is
precious and incorruptible" but that the blood of Christ means that red liquid consisting of blood cells, platelets and plasma.
By the blood of Christ
the apostle means that the saving virtue of the bloody, sacrificial, atoning
death of Christ is incorruptible, still as effective as it was when He died
approximately 2,000 years ago. The power of the bloody, sacrificial, atoning
death of Christ never decays, never ceases, is always effectual unto the
salvation of every elect sinner. There is not one sinner for whom Christ died
who will ever say, "Christ died for me, but I was damned. Here I am in hell, and
although Christ's blood was shed for me, and although Christ put away my sins by
His death, yet I did not make it to heaven."106
Christ will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied (Isa. 53:11) or, as
Calvin expresses it: "Christ so arose from the dead, that his death was
not yet abolished, but it retains its efficacy for ever.107
The bloody, sacrificial, atoning death of Christ is eternally
present in the mind and decree of God Almighty, for Christ is the ''Lamb
slain from the foundation of the world'' (Rev. 13:8). It is not that two
millennia have passed since the death of Christ and it has "gone stale." It will
never go stale! The effects of the atonement are everlasting! When Christ
appears before His Father on behalf of His elect (cf. John 17:9), He (as it
were) reminds God of His work of redemption. He is always interceding and the
ground of His intercession is His blood (the bloody, sacrificial, atoning death
of Christ). God does not need to see material blood all the time. The blood was
shed once, and since it was human blood (not divine blood or blood with divine
and human attributes), it was finite and not eternal. That does not take away
from its value: it is valuable (Peter says "precious") because it is Christ's
blood. It is valuable by virtue of the Person whose blood it is, and the eternal
redemption for which it was shed.
The Meaning of the Blood of Christ in Scripture
The problem with the "Blood Indoctrinators" (again to borrow
the term from Richard Alexander) is that they insist on an absurd literalism.
When the blood is mentioned in the Bible, they always read it literally,
except when it speaks of the Lord's Supper. Then they rightly eschew the error
of Romish transubstantiation. Thus according to the "Blood Indoctrinators" we
are literally "washed in the blood" (Rev. 1:5), the blood is literally
sprinkled on our souls (I Pet. 1:2), the blood literally
speaks in heaven (Heb. 12:24). To say that the blood of Christ is theological
shorthand for the bloody, sacrificial, atoning death of Christ is anathema to
the "Blood Indoctrinators."
The Scriptures plainly teach that Jesus Christ died and was
buried (I Cor. 15:3-4), and that as part of His dying, He shed real, literal
blood, but we do not believe that every New Testament reference to the blood of
Christ is a reference to the red liquid which flowed in His veins and arteries
when He was on earth. How can a physical
substance (blood) be applied to a spiritual soul? When the Bible speaks
of us being washed in blood, it means that our guilt and pollution are removed
by virtue of His atoning death; it does not mean that we are
literally washed in blood.
John Calvin explains it well when commenting on Romans 3:25:
A propitiatory through faith in his blood, &c. I
prefer thus literally to retain the language of Paul; for it seems indeed to
me that he intended, by one single sentence, to declare that God is propitious
to us as soon as we have our trust resting on the blood of Christ; for by
faith we come to the possession of this benefit. But by mentioning blood
only, he did not mean to exclude other things connected with redemption, but,
on the contrary, to include the whole under one word: and he mentioned
"blood," because by it we are cleansed. Thus, by taking a part for the whole,
he points out the whole work of expiation.108
A. W. Pink agrees (quoting John Owen with approval):
The blood of Christ is comprehensive of all that He did and
suffered in order unto our redemption, inasmuch as the shedding of it was the
way and means whereby He offered Himself (in and by it) unto God.109
In a few instances the word blood, in reference to Christ, is
His literal physical blood. John 19:34 ("and forthwith came there out blood and
water") would be a good example. In other places, the word blood has the idea of
guilt, of bearing the responsibility for the death of another. For example,
"Behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this
man's blood upon us" (Acts 5:28) and "His blood be on us and on our children"
(Matt. 27:25). In other instances, blood is a reference to Christ’s violent
death on the cross for the redemption of God's elect. For example, concerning
Ephesians 1:7 ("in whom we have redemption through his blood"), Calvin comments,
St. Paul speaks here expressly of his blood, because we are
obliged to resort to his death and passion as to the sacrifice which has power
to blot out our sins ... Now it is true that Jesus Christ not only shed his
blood, even in his death, but also experienced the fears and terrors which
ought to have rested upon us. But St. Paul here under one particular
comprehends the whole, in the manner common to holy Scripture.110
Elect sinners are saved by virtue of the redeeming work of
Christ. The Bible uses various terms to refer to that work. Sometimes, the word
"blood" is used; sometimes the word "cross," and on other occasions the word
"death." For example, Paul writes, "if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved
by his life" (Rom. 5:10). Elsewhere, Paul writes that we are reconciled by
Christ's death (Col. 1:21-22).
Let the Fundamentalists cavil that you cannot wash in blood
(Rev. 1:5) that perished in the dust; that you cannot have faith in His blood
(Rom. 3:25) if it no longer exists; that you cannot be cleansed in blood (I John
1:7) that has passed away. They refuse to understand. The Bible uses figures
of speech to represent a glorious reality. The redemption accomplished on
the cross is eternal in its effects which will never perish. We could pose
similar questions: How can the believer glory in the cross (Gal. 6:14) if that
piece of wood rotted away two thousand years ago; how can the believer suffer
because of the offence of the cross (Gal. 5:11), when it no longer exists; how
can the cross be preached (I Cor. 1:18), if it has passed away; why does Paul
weep over men who are enemies of a decayed piece of wood (Phil. 3:18); and how
can that cross be anything but "of none effect" (I Cor. 1:17)? The answer is
simple: by the "cross" here is meant the redemptive sufferings and death of the
Lord Jesus, not the piece of wood on which Christ was put to death.111
It is a similar case for the term "blood." There was no need for the literal,
physical blood of Christ to be preserved.
The Heidelberg Catechism
explains what is meant by being "washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ":
It is to receive of God the remission of sins freely, for
the sake of Christ's blood, which He shed for us by His sacrifice upon the
cross; and also to be renewed by the Holy Ghost, and sanctified to be members
of Christ, that so we may more and more die unto sin and lead holy and unblamable lives (A. 70).
Reformed writers in the past have eschewed the fanciful
interpretations so popular with some modern Fundamentalists.112
For example, Robert Traill writes,
But His entering in with His own blood is spiritually to be
understood; that Christ's appearance in heaven, is to bring up a memorial
continually before God, of the virtue and savour of that sacrifice he offered
without the gates of Jerusalem: Eph. v. 2. Christ hath loved us, and given
himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling
savour. This savour never spends or wears out. The blood of Jesus, in the
virtue of it, is as fresh this day, as in the day it was shed on the cross.113
Notice that Traill teaches that the virtue of the
blood, the efficacy of the atonement, is the emphasis of Scripture, not the
physical substance. Traill goes on to condemn the viewpoint of those who
emphasise the physical over the spiritual virtue of the blood, calling them the
But what is the sprinkling of this blood of Jesus? The
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ is nothing else but this, the
spiritual application of its power and virtue. It is an old doting dream of
the Antichristian party, to make a great deal of noise about the material
blood of Christ; it is probable that the natural blood of Christ sprinkled the
garments of many of his murderers, who were never a whit the better for it;
and that the earth drank it in, like the blood of another man; but the
spiritual heavenly virtue of it is quite another thing.114
As Traill rightly points out, if a person washed their
garments in literal blood they would not come out white. The Bible is not
speaking of washing in literal blood. A spiritual application of "its
power and virtue" is what Scripture means.
Ralph Erskine writes forthrightly, calling a material
consideration of the blood of Christ "vain, vile, useless and imaginary." Blood,
Erskine insists, is sprinkled spiritually. Only when "morally considered"
can blood be said to "cleanse." Otherwise it "bespots anything whereon it is
Hence learn the great need of spiritual discerning for
taking up spiritual things under outward signs; and spiritual mysteries, under
common metaphors: for, here the clean water represents, as in baptism, the
pure and precious blood of Christ; and the blood of Christ is not to be
considered materially, but morally: even so the sprinkling here, is a
spiritual sprinkling; and the cleansing a spiritual and moral cleansing. The
blood of Christ, materially considered, as it ran from the veins of his body,
though Papists pretend to have enough of it in reserve, this is a vain, vile,
useless, and imaginary conception of it; this corporal and carnal
consideration of it, is of no more avail than the corporal and carnal
application of it; for, as Christ says, "The flesh profiteth nothing"; so, in
this sense, the blood profiteth nothing. The proper use of blood is not to
cleanse; for it defiles and bespots anything whereon it is dropt; but morally
considered, as the shedding of blood implies loss of life and punishment for a
crime; so blood is the expiation of a crime, and a satisfaction to the law for
the offence committed against it.115
Alexander Stewart denies that the literal blood of Christ is
the emphasis of Scripture. He trusts that none are "so ignorant" as to imagine
otherwise. What would he have thought of modern Fundamentalism?
We trust none are so ignorant as to imagine that it means
literally the red fluid that flowed in the Saviour's veins—that this is the
blood of Christ which can cleanse the conscience. God would not mock us by
telling us of a way of cleansing beyond our reach. And if in this literal
sense, the blood of the holy Son of God is of no avail to cleanse the
conscience, what a conclusive argument is it against all Popish relics, of
what ever character!116
William Symington thought it "almost unnecessary to remark"
that the literal material blood is not carried into heaven. Because of the error
of Fundamentalism in our day it is very necessary that Symington’s remarks are
By his blood and sacrifice, represented in these passages
as carried by him into heaven, it is almost unnecessary to remark, we are not
to understand the material blood which flowed in the garden and on the cross,
but the merit of his suffering and death; the virtue of his atonement, the
substance of his sacrifice, the whole essence of his passion. The intercession
is founded on the oblation.117
We have seen that the Bible does not teach that Jesus
Christ's shed blood was literally preserved in heaven to be revered by
Christians, either in His body (for it could not all fit) or in a vial. When
Scripture teaches us to have faith in His blood (Rom. 3:25), it means we must
trust in the finished work of Christ as the ground of our acceptance with God.
Our focus should be on what He accomplished by His death. When we say, "My hope
is in the cross," we do not mean the actual wood that Christ was nailed to, nor
do we need the actual wood to be preserved (like a popish relic) for our salvation
is assured. Rather, we mean what the cross represents. The blood of Christ
represents all that Christ did in suffering and dying for His elect on the
One final irony needs to be pointed out. A large number of
Fundamentalists, who trumpet about the preciousness, efficacy and
incorruptibility of the blood of Jesus Christ, are Arminian in their theology of
the atonement or engage in ecumenical relations with Arminians.
The Revivalist, the magazine of the Free Presbyterian
Church of Ulster, reports regularly on the World Congress of Fundamentalists. For
example, the December 1980 edition reports that Ian Paisley addressed the
opening meeting. That Congress made a number of resolutions, one of which is
especially of interest:
While recognising that great pastors, missionaries,
evangelists and revivalists, such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon, William Carey,
George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards aligned themselves with the
theological system known as Calvinism, we reject a hyper-Calvinism which
negates or eliminates human responsibility in either the proclamation or
reception of the Gospel message as destructive to a Biblical evangelism which
would offer the Gospel freely to all men. On the other hand, we equally
deplore and condemn hyper-Arminianism which refuses to recognise the total
corruption of fallen man including his will and by high pressure techniques
and worship of statistics would make man his own saviour, thus denying the
free grace of Almighty God and the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in
the salvation of the soul. Calvinists and Arminians, though they differ on some
points of interpretation, are agreed on the great fundamentals of the faith
and should join together in the battle against the end time apostasy.118
We too oppose Hyper-Calvinism, and we, unlike the
Fundamentalists, oppose Arminianism in all its forms. But how disgraceful that
in a zeal to "protect the Blood," some supposedly Calvinistic Fundamentalists,
including Free Presbyterians, who have subscribed to the Calvinistic and
anti-Arminian Westminster Confession (which teach "neither are any other
redeemed by Christ … but the elect only;" 3:6), can join together with Arminians to "battle against the end time apostasy."119
Arminianism is part of the end-time apostasy!
Hyper-Arminianism is here defined as that which "refuses to
recognise the total corruption of man including his will." That is not Hyper-Arminianism:
that is Arminianism! The
Canons of Dordrecht, the original "Five Points of Calvinism," do not look
so benignly on the Arminian heresy. The fathers at Dordt said of Arminianism
(not just "Hyper-Arminianism") that it "bring[s] again out of hell the Pelagian
Arminian Fundamentalists who harp on about the blood being
incorruptible in heaven, and yet teach that Christ died for all men without
exception, are the real insulters of Christ's blood. John Wesley, the Prince of
Arminians, taught that the blood of Christ can go to hell:
What! Can the blood of Christ burn in hell? … I answer ...
one who was purchased by the blood of Christ may go thither. For he that was
sanctified by the blood of Christ was purchased by the blood of Christ. But
one who was sanctified by the blood of Christ may nevertheless go to hell; may
fall under that fiery indignation which shall for ever devour the adversaries.120
Obviously, Wesley did not believe that some of the
material blood shed on the cross went to hell; he meant that those for whom
Christ died could go to hell. Wesley denied the efficacy
of the atonement. All Arminians deny the efficacy of the atonement, for they
teach that Christ shed His blood in a vain attempt to save the entire human
race, but whether a person is saved or not depends on whether he chooses to
accept the sacrifice made on the cross. The blood can plead (literally) all it
wants before the Father on a (literal) mercy seat, but if the sinner refuses to
accept Christ, all is in vain. That is the true blasphemy, and one against which
few voices today (even many professing Calvinists) are heard to thunder!
1 For example, Alan Cairns writes, "Washed in the blood is certainly a
figure of speech, but the figure is in the washed not in the blood" (Dictionary
of Theological Terms [Belfast: Ambassador, rev. 1998], p. 66; italics
2 There is much anecdotal evidence
that in such prayer meetings members offer such petitions as "cover my car in
the Blood" (to prevent traffic accidents) or "cover the police in the Blood"
(asking God to protect the police force in their duties). Examples could be
3 Paisley exalts the blood, by praising the attributes of the liquid blood
that flowed in Christ’s veins. He exalts the blood, by teaching heresy about the
blood. The doctrine of incorruptible, indestructible, divine blood is a form of
Euthychianism, a heresy which was condemned in the early ecumenical creeds, most
notably that of Chalcedon (451). See the section entitled "Its Historical
5 www.biblefortoday.org/bft_articles_faith.htm#V.%20THE; italics mine.
6 In his Articles of Faith,
Waite states that Christ died for all without exception (Article 7), that the
new birth occurs after faith and repentance (Article 18), that national Israel
will be singularly blessed during the millennium (Article 28) and that there
will be a premillennial, pretribulational rapture of the church (Article 29).
7 Article 19; italics mine.
Ian Paisley, Christian Foundations
(Belfast: Ambassador, repr. 1996), p. 57; italics Paisley's.
9 "Dr. MacArthur's Logical
Fallacies on the Blood—a prayer for the intervention of God's Grace" (www.rlhymersjr.com/Online_Sermons/2004/062704PM_DrMacarthur.html).
10 Paisley writes, "If His blood
was lost at the cross and not preserved and presented in the temple in heaven,
of which the temple on earth is but a type, then redemption remains forever
unaccomplished … The blood is just as real in heaven as God, the Lord Jesus, the
angels and the saints. That is what the Bible states, and I believe it" ("Ten
Impossibilities if the Blood of Christ Perished" [United Kingdom: British
Council of Protestant Christian Churches, year of publication not given], pp. 4,
11 Hymers declares, "the Bible plainly tells us that ‘the blood of
sprinkling’ is there (Hebrews 12:24). We are not told how it got there, in this
verse. We are only told that it is there" ("Dr Bengel vs. Dr MacArthur on
the Blood of Christ," July 2005,
12 Article VI of the Waite’s
Articles of Faith states, "Christ’s blood is now in heaven as the Blood of
13 Cairns, Dictionary of Theological
Terms, pp. 66-67; italics Cairns’.
14 Blood is not a moral or immoral substance; it is amoral.
15 Does that mean that Christ’s
humanity was incorruptible? That would include Christ’s skin cells, His hair,
His toenails etc? We speak reverently, but the points are serious ones, as we
hope to demonstrate.
17 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
18 Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 67.
19 This was the view of the
Anabaptists, notably Menno Simons, and is specifically condemned in Belgic
Confession 18. See the section entitled, "Its Historical Lineage."
20 Alan Cairns, "The Precious Blood of Christ"
(place, publisher, and date of publication not given), p. 2.
21 Cairns, "The Precious Blood of Christ," p. 8.
22 An adult male has about 7
litres of blood, which is replaced through natural processes approximately every
two months. That works out as 7 x 6 = 42 litres per year x 20 years = 840
litres. If we halve the amount for a child (say about 420 litres) we have a
total of approximately 1260 litres of blood in about 30 years (about 333 US
gallons or 277 UK gallons). That is a very conservative estimate, but serves to
make the point.
23 "Answering a Preacher Who Doesn’t Believe Christ’s Blood Exists"
24 Cairns, "The Precious Blood of
Christ," pp. 11, 14.
25 Philip R. Johnson, "What's All
the Controversy About John MacArthur and the Blood of Christ?" (www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/blood.htm).
27 "MacArthur, the Greek Geeks
and the Blood"
(www.rlhymersjr.com/Online_Sermons/09-08-02AM_ GeeksAgainstThe Blood.html).
30 Nestorianism is the heresy that Christ existed as two persons.
The Nestorians denied the unity of Christ‘s person, the eternal Son of God. The
Athanasian Creed expresses it thus, "Although He [i.e., Christ] is God and man,
yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into
flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God, one altogether, not by confusion
of essence, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one
man, so God and man is one Christ."
31 See the section entitled, "Its
32 Richard Alexander, Blood, the Bible and
33 "And the blood shall never lose its power" (February, 2006) on
(www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sid=21906152345). In the same sermon,
Martin also claims that all the blood of Christ was resurrected, "Where is the
blood of Christ today, from His circumcision as a child of 8 days to His
crucifixion whenever He was about 33 years of age, where is the precious blood
of the Lord Jesus Christ ... Christ's blood is in Heaven ... every drop of
royal, crimson blood was resurrected ... I believe the blood of Christ is in His
34 Herman Hoeksema,
(Grand Rapids, MI: RFPA, 2005), vol. 1, pp. 499,
37 John Calvin, Institutes of
the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (USA
& GB: The Westminster Press and S. C. M. Press, 1960), vol. 1, p. 118 (I:xii:2).
38 Cf. "Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 3:8).
39 www.newadvent.org/cathen/12373b.htm. A confraternity is defined
as "a voluntary association of the faithful, established and guided by competent
ecclesiastical authority for the promotion of special works of Christian charity
or piety" (www.newadvent.org/cathen/04223a.htm).
43 Hardon disagrees with
particular redemption, for he teaches, that Christ died for all men without
exception, "The Precious Blood of Jesus obviously belongs to all men inasmuch as
for all men without exception It was poured out on Calvary"
capitalisation of the pronoun "It" referring to Christ’s blood is Hardon’s).
Rome teaches a universal, inefficacious atonement: "The Church following the
apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: There is not,
never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not
suffer" (Catechism of the Catholic Church [Veritas: Dublin, 1995], p.
137 [Paragraph 605]). The Reformed creeds, following the Word of God, teach that
Christ died for His elect church only (cf. John 10:11, 26; Acts 20:28; Eph.
5:25; Isa. 53:8, 11), not merely making salvation possible for whoever will of
their freewill accept it, but actually securing salvation for as many as were
given Him of the Father. Universal redemption is therefore a Romish, not a
46 We insist that the doctrine of
the powerful, efficacious, particular atonement (Canons II) is
faithfully proclaimed, and the heresy of universal redemption is opposed, and we
do not sing "hymns" ("bloodless" or otherwise) as there is no scriptural warrant
for doing so; we sing the God-breathed Psalms (Ps. 105:2; II Tim. 3:16).
47 For example, the Münster
Rebellion (1534) was an attempt by radical Anabaptists to establish a theocracy
in Germany. The Belgic Confession condemns such behaviour, "we detest
the Anabaptists and other seditious people, and in general all those who reject
the higher powers and magistrates, and would subvert justice, introduce
community of goods, and confound that decency and good order, which God hath
established among men" (36).
48 Calvin, who married a former Anabaptist, "refuted them with sound
doctrine or converted them to the Reformed faith" (David J. Engelsma,
Covenant of God and the Children of Believers: Sovereign Grace in the Covenant
[Grand Rapids, MI: RFPA, 2005], p. 45).
49 Luther rebuked them with the
words, "I slap your spirit on the snout."
50 It was very important for the
authors of the Belgic Confession that they distance themselves from the
radical Anabaptists. "Under Philip II, of Spain, an ally of the Romish Church,
the Reformed believers in the Lowlands were sorely persecuted as
revolutionaries. This Confession was written primarily as a testimony
to the Spanish king to prove that the Reformed believers were not rebels, as was
charged, but law-abiding citizens who professed only those doctrines which were
the teachings of Holy Scripture. In 1562 a copy was sent to the Spanish king,
accompanied by a petition for relief from persecution, in which the petitioners
declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things,
although they would ‘offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives,
their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to fire,’ rather than deny the
truth of God's Word" (www.prca.org/bc_index.html).
Cf. Ronald Hanko: "Some taught that Christ brought his human nature with him
from heaven and that by his birth and conception he merely passed through Mary's
womb like water through a tap" (Doctrine According to Godliness [Grand Rapids,
2004], p. 135).
52 "Menno Simon’s Incarnational
53 Belgic Confession 34: "We detest the error of the
Anabaptists, who are not content with the one only baptism they have once
received, and moreover condemn the baptism of the infants of believers, whom we
believe ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as the
children in Israel formerly were circumcised, upon the same promises which are
made unto our children." The Anabaptists, like
the modern Baptists, denied that God makes His covenant with believers and their
children (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; I Cor. 7:14).
Many Fundamentalists in Northern Ireland are especially fond of invoking the
power of the blood of Jesus to protect their homes and family, and they plead
the blood for revival.
58 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
59 Cairns, "The Precious Blood of
Christ," p. 6.
60 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
p. 57; italics Paisley's.
61 However, Judas’ regret was not
repentance. He was "the son of perdition" (John 17:12). "Perdition" is from
"perish" and the perishing here is that of hell.
Cf. Louis Berkhof: "This pollution is not to be regarded as a substance infused
into the human soul, nor as a change of substance in the metaphorical sense of
the word. This was an error of the Manicheans and of Flacius Illyricus in the
days of the Reformation" (Systematic Theology [Edinburgh: Banner, repr.
2003], p. 246).
63 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
pp. 58-59; italics mine.
64 Hanko, Doctrine According to
Godliness, p. 135.
65 Quoted in Paisley,
Christian Foundations, p. 59.
66 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
67 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
71 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood of Christ Perished," pp. 3, 10.
72 This is the view of Paisley
and Waite, as we have seen.
73 Paisley’s colleagues Alan
Cairns and John Greer rightly point this out.
74 A. M. Stibbs, The Meaning of the Word
''Blood'' in Scripture (London: Tyndale, repr. 1958), p. 18.
75 "The Price of the
76 Rod Bell, "The Precious Blood of
Christ," The Cutting Edge, vol. 3, 1989 (
George Smeaton, The Apostles' Doctrine of the Atonement (Edinburgh: Banner, 1961), pp.
78 A. W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, repr. 1989), p. 489.
79 John Owen An Exposition of the
Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, repr. 1980), vol. 6, pp. 280-281.
79a Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, ed. John Bolt, trans. John Vriend, vol. 3
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006), pp. 477-478.
80 Rev. Thomas Martin complains
of this in his sermon: "We're living in times when many are taking the hymnbook
and any mention of the blood in the hymnbook, they're taking them out
completely... that's why it is amazing when a man professes to be a Christian
and comes into the pulpit and never preaches upon the blood ... take the blood
out of preaching and you will have, my friend, a lifeless pulpit and a lifeless
congregation; take the blood out of our praise, and all you are left with is
ritualism ... there will be no one saved in any church, this church included, if
the blood is not preached" (www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sid=21906152345).
81 Cairns, "The Precious Blood of
Christ," pp. 4, 13, 20, 22-23.
Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the Blood of Christ Perished," p. 3.
83 James A. Fowler, "The Blood of Christ"
84 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood Perished," p. 1.
85 M. R. De Haan, The Chemistry of the Blood
(www.knology.net/~byrdland/blood.html; italics mine).
87 Paisley, Christian Foundations,
88 Cf. Paisley: "The blood that coursed in the blood vessels of the holy
incorruptible body of God Incarnate while He was on earth was as holy and
incorruptible as the flesh of the body itself" ("Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood of Christ Perished," p. 8). See also Greer’s sermon: "You see the whole
humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ is a sinless humanity ... Since the blood
belongs to His sinless humanity, that means that His blood is incorruptible and
His blood is indestructible ... No part of the real humanity of Christ could
ever see corruption"
89 Paisley, Christian Foundations
p. 57, italics Paisley’s.
90 Calvin, Institutes, vol. 1, p.
91 Calvin, Institutes, vol. 1,
pp. 482-483 (II:xiv:1).
92 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood of Christ Perished," p. 6.
93 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood of Christ Perished," p. 7.
Cf. Hymers: "During the Reformation this great truth was re-emphasized by John
Calvin" and he quotes from Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews 10:19
95 John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, repr. 1993); p. 235, italics mine. Notice, by the way,
that Hebrews 10:19 (as well as Hebrews 9:12) could not be rendered "with the
blood of Jesus" because neither we, nor the Lord Jesus, enter Heaven "with"
the blood, but by virtue of it.
Commentary on Hebrews, p. 357; italics mine.
97 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities if the
Blood of Christ Perished," p. 10.
98 Cf. Richard Alexander:
"Another problem is that the Blood Indoctrinators are very close to producing
another member of the Godhead. It is no longer Christ who saves us; it is His
blood. The difference may seem slight, but it is not. Would we think a woman
normal who ignored her wounded child in favor of the blood that he left on a
sidewalk? The blood is an extension of the individual; by itself, it does not
have any significance. It is only in connection with the person from whom the
blood came that it has any significance"
99 Charles Spurgeon, "The Blood of Sprinkling"
100 Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews,
vol. 7, p. 330.
101 Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, vol. 7, p.
102 Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, vol. 7, p.
103 Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, vol. 7, p.
104 Stibbs, The Meaning of the Word
"Blood" in Scripture, p. 25.
105 Paisley, "Ten Impossibilities of the
Blood of Christ Perished," p. 8.
106 The tragedy is that many are
teaching that God loves everybody and Christ died for everybody. The natural man
logically infers from this that God would not damn a person for whom Christ
died, and is given a false sense of security, so that he sees no need to repent
from his sins and be converted. Such lying prophets "strengthen the hands of the
wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life"
Commentary on Hebrews, p. 357; italics mine.
108 John Calvin, Commentary on Romans
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1948), p. 143.
109 Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, p. 492.
110 John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians
(Edinburgh: Banner, 1979), p. 53.
111 Even Paisley acknowledges
this: "When we refer to the Cross we refer not to the wood of the Cross but to
the work of the Cross. The wood corrupted but the work is incorruptible" (Christian
Foundations, p. 98).
112 Quotes from various
theologians on this subject, including John Calvin, Theodore Beza, Richard
Alleine, Samuel Rutherford, John Owen, David Clarkson, Matthew Poole, Philip
Henry, Robert Traill, Thomas Watson, Ebenezer Erskine, Ralph Erskine, Robert
Haldane, Alexander Stewart, William Symington, Charles Hodge, Patrick Fairbairn,
Robert S. Candlish, J. A. Alexander, Andrew Bonar, George Smeaton, C. H.
Spurgeon, John Macleod, Lorraine Boettner, John Murray and Kenneth Smith, can be
found on-line (www.loughbrickland.org/articles/quotes.shtml).
113 Robert Traill, Works
(Edinburgh: Banner, 1975), vol. 1, p. 106.
114 Traill, Works, vol. 1, p. 36.
115 Ralph Erskine, Works (Glasgow: Free
Presbyterian Press, 1991), vol. 4, pp. 134-135.
116 Alexander Stewart, The Mosaic Sacrifices
(Edinburgh: publisher not given, 1883), pp. 275-277.
117 William Symington, The Atonement and
Intercession of Christ (Edinburgh: publisher not given, 1834), p. 361.
118 Cf. "Regarding
Hyper-Calvinism, and Hyper-Arminianism," Resolutions of the World Congress
of Fundamentalists, 12-19 November, 1980, in Manila, Singapore, reported in The
119 There is a lot more material
in the Westminster Confession than the Pope is the Antichrist (25:6)
and "the Popish sacrifice of the mass" is blasphemous (29:2).
120 The Works of John Wesley
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996), vol. 10, p. 297.