On The Blood

John David Clark, Sr. - January, 1989

Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood
dwelleth in me and I in him."

Jn. 6:53-56

Upon hearing these words, a sizable group of Jesus’s followers stormed away from him in "righteous indignation". How could he so blatantly contradict the unequivocal commandment of God, found Leviticus 17:10: "And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people." The offended disciples reasoned, "God said that eating blood was punishable by eternal death, but Jesus says that eating blood is the only way into eternal life!" Because they were thinking of blood in a natural, or carnal sense, they altogether missed Jesus's point. To them, this teaching seemed clearly heretical. Jesus tried to explain, "It is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life] the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life", but talk of the Spirit was meaningless to them. Blood was blood. Drinking it was forbidden, and "from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

These disciples failed to understand that Jesus wasn't referring to his natural, human blood when he said that we must drink blood. Natural blood, either human or animal, was the kind of blood which God had forbidden the Jews to drink. Jesus would never have told men to disobey God and drink that kind of blood. Jesus was trying to communicate the LIFE-GIVING QUALITY of the Spirit. The Jews knew what God had said about blood, in Leviticus: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood." So, Jesus called the holy Ghost "real blood", because it is life of the body of believers. Jesus knew that drinking his natural blood would do no spiritual good. He said so. His human blood was just that--human! The blood that flowed in Jesus's veins was human blood, just as his hands were human hands and his feet were human feet. Physically, Jesus had a corruptible, a human body. But there was a life-giving, incorruptible "blood" (the Spirit of God) in his body, and it was this "blood" of which Jesus spoke when he said "Whoso drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." It was this "blood", the Spirit of God, to which Paul referred in his first letter to the Corinthian church, when he wrote, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" (10:16).

Now, neither Paul nor the Corinthian church ever drank the human, corruptible red fluid that fell from Jesus's dying body. For them to have done so would have been a gross violation of the commandment of God. Further, no one even so much as collected that blood as it fell on Calvary's hill to drink at a later time. Being filled with the holy Ghost is to drink the blood of Christ and to experience true communion with Christ. Being filled with the holy Ghost is partaking of the true blood of Christ. As Paul noted again to the Corinthian believers, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to DRINK of one Spirit" (12:13).

To suggest that drinking of the Spirit is the true communion of Christ may not raise any eyebrows, but to suggest that drinking of the Spirit is the ONLY communion acceptable to God, now that causes some to "walk no more with us." But can't you see that if fellowship, or communion, is in the Spirit, then that's the only place it is? If drinking of the Spirit is real, then drinking symbols of the Spirit is worthless. If drinking the true "blood of Christ" is available, then drinking a symbol of it is unreasonable.

Just as some disciples failed to understand what Jesus saying about his blood because of their carnal way of thinking, many are now missing out on true communion with the Father and the Son because when "communion" is mentioned, they think of earthly wine and bread. It is the holy Ghost that gives life to the body of Christ! Yet, even after all this time the Church, having been confused by Christian teachers, does not know this and carries on the worthless symbolic "last supper" ritual, as if it had not been fulfilled when the holy Ghost came.

Jesus said, when he offered his disciples the cup of wine, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it NEW with you in my Father's kingdom." Or, as Luke has it, ". . . until the kingdom of God shall come." And what, Paul, is the kingdom of God? "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the holy Ghost" (Rom.14:17). Friends, do you really get the message? Communion with Christ is not in earthly bread and wine but in Spirit.

Then, why do so many continue to re-enact the last supper scene, as if Jesus instituted a ritual for his followers to observe? I think it is because men are still trying to understand Christ with the carnal mind. Although Jesus was speaking spiritually--and said so-- many who follow him still are thinking on an earthly plane. To the mind of Christ the blood of Christ is the holy Ghost, and unless you drink that blood, you have no life in you. It is that blood, the incorruptible blood of Christ, that redeems from sin. Jesus had to shed his natural blood in order for the true blood of Christ to be shed upon men. And on the day of Pentecost, that is exactly what Peter said happened.

The disciples were speaking in tongues and magnifying God, staggering no doubt under the power of the holy Ghost. A crowd was gathering to see what this noise was. All were amazed at what was happening. Some in the multitude of observers laughed and ridiculed the happy disciples, saying that they must have drunk too much wine that morning. The people in Jerusalem were seeing the work of God and hearing the voice of the Spirit speak through the men and women it was baptizing into the real Church of God. Then Peter boldly stood forth and began to explain to the people what they were witnessing. "God hath raised uop Jesus, whereof we are all witnesses! Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted . . . he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:32-33).

The point of Jesus dying was not merely that he die. The whole point of his dying, his very reason for submitting to the abuse of men and death on the cross was to pay the price for us to receive life, the eternal life of God, the holy Ghost. And because there is no hope of eternity without it, Jesus compared that life to blood, which gives life to human flesh. It is only by receiving into our being that holy Spirit of life for which Jesus died that we eneter God’s family, the Church, and share in true communion with Christ and the Father. That experience may be called "drinking blood" or "being filled with new wine", being "filled with the Spirit", or "baptized with the holy Ghost", but whatever it is called, without it a man is spiritually dead.

If the blood that flowed in Jesus' natural body had not been normal, human blood, if his bodily blood were incorruptible, then where is it? "Incorruptible" means "cannot decay." So, where is that blood that flowed out at Calvary? John wrote that we are washed from sin in the blood of Christ (Rev.1:5). Was John teaching that one could have stood beneath the cross and been washed from sins? Was he teaching that the physical blood of Jesus cleanses the invisible souls of men? Even the Old Testament prophets mocked the idea of giving "the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul" (Micah 6:7).

There was a sixth century cult called the "incorruptibles." They held that not only was Jesus's blood incorruptible, but that his body was incorruptible too. And since incorruptible means "eternal", they held that Jesus only appeared to suffer. An incorruptible body cannot suffer, cannot experience pain, hunger, or distress. Obviously, that is nonsense. But that is how the carnal mind seeks to honor the Lord, by making things spiritual that are not.

The references to Jesus’s natural blood are obvious and clearly distinct from references to his spiritual blood. For example, in Jn.19:34, it was human blood which came out when the soldier pierced Jesus' side with a spear. The blood that gushed out fell to the ground and returned to the earth from whence it came. Another reference to Jesus's natural blood is in Col. 1:20, "the blood of his cross." And there are others. But some important references to his blood plainly point to the Spirit. For example, in Revelation 7:14, the saints wash their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, a clear reference to the Spirit, the true blood of Christ. Peter's mention of being "sprinkled" with the blood of Christ (1Pet.1:2) uses Old Testament imagery, as does the author of Hebrews (9:13-24). Peter wasn't close enough to the cross to have been sprinkled with Jesus's human blood. He is simply continuing the tradition, begun by Jesus himself, of calling the holy Spirit the blood of Christ.

If this all seems foreign to you, just take time to let it "soak in." Get alone and meditate on it. Let the Lord minister to you his love and wisdom. As we come into his presence, the "wisdom that is from above" becomes the norm, the standard by which all other things are measured. The Church becomes a living body of cleansed people by the power of the blood of Christ. Indeed, the blood of Christ is life itself, the very life that raised up Jesus from the grave (Heb. 13:20). The Spirit is the life that gives those who possess it the hope of also being delivered from death to live forever with the Lord.

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