"For we have not a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses; but one having been tried in all respects like ourselves, apart from sin."—Heb. 4:15—Diaglott.
The Apostle Paul here brings clearly to view the effect of the Lord's suffering, the just for the unjust (1 Pet. 3:18), in qualifying him for his work as Mediator, High Priest and Leader. (Heb. 2:10; 5:9; 3:1; 5:5,3; 2:17; 6:20; 8:1; 9:11; 10:21; 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; 1 Tim. 2:5.) Having met trials and temptations of all kinds, apart from those arising through sin, he is able, as well as willing, to succor those who are tried, but who are not in affiliation with sin, and who come in meekness, and yet in boldness, to him. (Heb. 2:18; 4:16.) What a source of comfort and joy it is to realize that our Master knows the power of evil by experience, and so can fully sympathize through knowledge in all our temptations. And what added security we feel when we realize that he who is our strength was able to, and did resist unto blood (Heb. 12:4), laying down his life, shedding his blood—dying—rather than to partake of sin. What love of righteousness and hatred of wickedness!—Psa. 45:6,7; Heb. 1:8,9.
In these last days, when evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:1,13), those who are not ignorant of Satan's ways expect, and find, more subtle snares than ever before laid to entrap them; and, as ever, the Arch Enemy, and his servants—whether wilful or ignorant—in this work are presenting themselves as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:1-15). Of course, the main attack is on the ransom, by which "the man Christ Jesus" bought us with his own precious [R1335 : page 155] blood, shed on Calvary, as "of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:5.) So we find Peter's prophecy of false teachers mingling among the saints and privately introducing destructive heresies, even "the having bought them Sovereign Lord denying" (2 Pet. 2:1.—Diaglott), fulfilled. And doubtless the work will continue and grow. We recently saw an article claiming that as "The blood is the life" (Lev. 17:11-14), "so, as a rule, where the blood of Christ is mentioned (in the Scriptures) it should be understood as meaning life, not death." Let us examine this statement in the light of the Scriptures, and not accept it on a mere assertion. If it is proven true, be thankful for more light, and walk in it; but if untrue, partake of the strong meat presented in demonstrating its fallacy and be strengthened thereby to resist further attacks of the enemy.
We find the Lord's blood first mentioned by the Master himself, in Matthew 26:28, where he says, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for remission of sins." Next, in Matthew 27:4, Judas says, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood." Through him "innocent blood" was betrayed to death. After Judas had suicided, having first thrown the price of the betrayal into the temple, the chief priests could not put the money in the treasury, as it was the "price of blood" shed, or death. (Matt. 27:6.) Pilate proclaimed himself "innocent of the blood" (shed) or death "of this just person," which the people then called down on them and their children. (Matt. 27:24,25.) The "blood of the new testament... shed for many" (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20) plainly presents Christ's death as the means through which he gained ability to benefit many.
The blood mentioned in Acts 5:28, and which the Sanhedrin feared, was blood shed, as evidenced by verse 30 of the same chapter; and Paul's reference to Christ's blood in Acts 20:28 clearly points to his death, as that was the price given for the "Church of God," and also for the whole world. (See also 1 John 2:2.) Paul says in Rom. 3:24-25 that justification is given "freely by his [God's] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [satisfaction] through faith in his blood, to declare his [Jehovah's] righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." (See also Eph. 1:7.) The Scriptural explanation of the "redemption that is in Christ" will explain what signification attaches to "blood" in this text. In Matt. 20:28, the Lord himself settles this by saying that the "Son of man came...to give his life a ransom [the redemptive price] for many." Here again, then, "blood" means blood given, blood shed, or death. In Rom. 5:9, the statement is made that "being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him;" and the preceding verse explains that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Thus again "blood" refers to blood shed as the evidence of death. The "communion of the blood of Christ" (1 Cor. 10:16) is explained in Matt. 26:28 as "the blood of the new testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins," and 1 Cor. 11:25,26 shows that in drinking this cup of the new covenant we show forth the Lord's death till he come; and the context clearly shows that those eating and drinking unworthily are guilty of the body broken and the blood shed, viz., the death of the Lord. The "blood of Christ," bringing the Gentiles near to God and his promises, mentioned in Eph. 2:13, is explained in verses 15 and 16, same chapter, to be the blood of "the cross"—shed blood—death. The "blood" mentioned in Col. 1:14, being redemptive blood, is also explained by Matt. 20:28, and in Col. 1:20 it is emphasised as the "blood of his cross"—death. In Heb. 9:14, we learn that the "blood of Christ," who offered himself "without spot to God," will purge our consciences from "dead works to serve the living God," and verses 11,12 and 13, same chapter, show that this offering of Christ to God was by the shedding of his own blood—death—typed for centuries in the Tabernacle services of the Jews, by the sacrifice of bulls and goats.
The 9th and 10th chapters of Hebrews bear unwavering testimony to the efficacy of Christ's shed blood—death—as man's substitute, to bear the sins of many—the world—as a careful reading [R1336 : page 156] of them will plainly show. Again, Hebrews 13:11,12 says, "The bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priests for sin are burned without the camp. Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his blood, suffered without the gate;" on the cross, shedding his blood—entering death. The "blood of the everlasting covenant," mentioned in verse 20, this chapter, is the same shed blood, causing death, from which God brought the "Great Shepherd." The "blood of sprinkling," mentioned in 1 Pet. 1:2 and Heb. 12:24, is clearly the blood of "Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant," explained fully in Matt. 26:28, as "shed for many;" in other words, the evidenced death. "The precious blood of Christ" mentioned in 1 Pet. 1:18-21 as redeeming, was blood shed as that of a "lamb without spot," as typed throughout the Jewish age. And the beloved disciple John joins in the grand song testifying that "the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son [the blood shed on Calvary], cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7.) The real, literal thing having existed and having been shed for many, the Lord explains to us in John 6:53-55 that to appropriate it and its merits to ourselves, we must acknowledge our own helpless and hopeless condition, and rely wholly on him and his work for us, thus appropriating or figuratively eating his body and drinking his blood, or there will be no life in us. As fleshly Israel gained a standing before God through the typical broken body and shed blood of bullocks and lambs, so we obtain "liberty to become sons of God" (John 1:12) in the merit of the sacrifice of our Redeemer.
These texts include all places in the New Testament, exclusive of Revelation, where Christ's blood is mentioned; and thus we learn that in every instance it refers directly to the blood shed, which was given "upon the altar [shed] to make an atonement for...souls." (Lev. 17:10-14.) Hence we find that the statement that, "as a rule, where the blood of Christ is mentioned in the Scriptures it should be understood as meaning life, not death," is wholly without Bible support, being simply the baseless assumption of a theorist, which, as we proceed, we will see is made to do service to set forth Christ's blood as a common, unholy or unclean thing. And all who would be true to the Lord will beware of any sophistry which leads to this fearful apostasy of counting the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing—of no more value than the blood of any member of the condemned race.—Heb. 10:29.
By comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:13), we gain a true understanding both of type and antitype, and learn that those not understanding the Lord's work, and those understanding but perverting it, cannot appropriate it, but remain in their sins. Yet, thank God, the former will have a "due time" to learn of and appropriate the good tidings in Jesus, and escape all evil, if they will. So Christ, the Redeemer and hence the proper ruler or "head of every man," will in the times of restitution give each man full knowledge and ability to come unto him, and only those who will "not have this man rule over them," who will not obey him, shall be cut off—die the second death. We also know from Heb. 6:4-8 and 10:26-31 that during the Gospel age God will "judge his people," and that only those who "wilfully sin" after they "have received the knowledge of the truth" can "tread under foot the Son of God," and "count the blood of the covenant wherewith" they "are sanctified an unholy thing," and thereby "fall into the hands of the living God," who is a consuming fire to any who claim his gift of life, outside of his appointed way—through Christ the Redeemer.
The death of Jesus—his shed blood—was paid to God's exact justice for the debt incurred by Adam in his wilful sin, and now Adam and all in his loins when he sinned—the entire human race—belong to him who redeemed them; and when the work of "taking out a people for his name" is ended, the highway of holiness will be opened up and the redeemed of the Lord will walk in it, until all shall know the Lord from the least even unto the greatest.
Pending this time those who understand Christ's mission and its various phases can consecrate [R1336 : page 157] to God in him, and become Christians—Christ's followers—learn the "fellowship of his suffering" and become "conformable unto his death." Others may make claims and criticise unsparingly the saints who refuse to fellowship as Christians with those denying "the having-bought-them Sovereign Lord," but the injunction to have "no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11) is plain. Besides, the loyal bond-servant, who willingly and gladly enters the service of the one having bought him, has no basis for fellowship with one who denies that the price paid—the ransom, the blood shed, or death—has any merit, and who counts the "blood of the Covenant" an ordinary or "unholy thing." We find ourselves out of harmony with such teachings and without basis for fellowship with the teachers and holders of such false doctrine.
A few moments study of the Bible, with a Concordance as a guide, will convince any one that the animal used as a typical sacrifice represented the man Christ Jesus, who redeemed us with his "precious blood...as of a lamb without blemish and without spot," by the sacrifice of himself and not by having a sinful nature and overcoming it—which could not in any sense redeem Adam or any of his condemned posterity. To support this false theory and to offset the scores of plain Scriptural statements to the contrary, the poor translation of Rom. 8:3 is made to do service. A literal translation would read, "God, sending his own son in the likeness of the flesh of sin [by a sacrifice for sin], condemned sin in the flesh." Then again, by artful adulteration, 2 Cor. 5:21 is made to represent a sinner, instead of a sin-offering. Read the Diaglott rendition and foot note, for full explanation. Besides, the text and context in the king James version (especially verses 14 and 15) show plainly that Jesus was made a sin-offering for us, and not a sinner or sin.
Trusting in him who "knew no sin" and who as our substitute suffered death, the "just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18), and in his precious blood shed for many for the remission of sins, we will surely escape the "snare of the fowler," and continue to abide in "the secret place of the Most High."—Psa. 91.
In justice, our place was in unending death, the wages of sin. But for our substitute, "the man Christ Jesus," there could have been no escape: to be our Redeemer, this and no less was the price; yet it pleased God to lay on him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:4-10), and he obediently consented to the plan. (John 10:17,18.) He does not, and never again will, exist as the man Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:16,17): he is now the "express image" of the Father's "person," being "made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Heb. 1:3,4; 2:6,7.) Having laid aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world began, where he existed in the form of a God (a mighty [R1337 : page 157] one), and having taken the form of a servant (an inferior one) in which he suffered death, it pleased the Father to raise him from the dead and give him that grand name (nature) which is above every name. (Phil. 2:6-11. See also Heb. 10:5 regarding the inferior one). Thus the human nature remains forever dead, and mankind, having a substitute in death, can justly be brought forth from death, and will be, in due time—the Millennial or Restitution Age; and only those who then fail to obey the Great Prophet, then ruling, shall be cut off from among the people. (Acts 3:19-23.) Owning by purchase the issues or escapes from death, he will daily load the obedient with benefits, only wounding the head of his enemies—those who still go on in their trespasses.—Psa. 68:20,19,21.
Praise God for such a full and free salvation, which in due time shall be witnessed to every individual, to equip them for a full escape from death. To the overcoming saints of the Gospel age, who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, are given the exceeding great and precious promises, whereby they may, in their due time, become partakers in full of the divine nature.—1 Tim. 2:4-6; 4:10; 2 Pet. 1:4.
[The strength of the error lies in the fact that many who trust in the "precious blood" have never philosophized on the subject sufficiently to see that blood (shed) always represents death, a life given up.—EDITOR.]