THE BLOOD OF CHRIST: HUMAN BLOOD? OR WAS IT HEAVENLY BLOOD RECEIVED FROM HIS FATHER?
By Wayne Camp
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:24).
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Lu. 24:39).
"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. 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" (Lev. 17:10-11).
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).
Historically, there have been many errors concerning the person and nature of Jesus Christ. There have been those who denied his deity, yet worshipped him as a great human example. Others have denied his humanity because they felt that he would have been polluted by taking on him a literal human body like ours. They argued that his human body was a phantom; he merely assumed a human look and likeness. The idea of him going through the embryonic and fetal stages of development was too crude for their thinking.
In our efforts to exalt the deity of Christ, we may sometimes be guilty of another error. We may minimize his humanity and look upon him as a super-human that was very unlike us. That error can lead to many false conclusions about the nature of Christ's humanity.
As we study, please remember that the lesson involves the humanity of Christ. No reader believes more strongly than I in the deity of Jesus Christ. No reader believes more strongly than I that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was infinitely precious. But, I also believe he was perfectly human, a complete human being with flesh, bones, blood, a human soul, with feelings of pain, thirst, hunger, weariness, etc.
AN EXAMINATION OF OUR TEXTS
Our first text (Jn. 4:24) declares that God is a Spirit who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. It is important to keep in mind that God the Father has no flesh but is a purely Spirit Being. And, being a Spirit, God the Father had no blood that could have been imparted to the man Christ Jesus. Blood is a property of the flesh and since, as our second text says, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones," God the Father had no flesh.
Remember, also, the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary was not the result of a sexual act of the Holy Spirit in which a sperm, or seed, was imparted that fertilized the ovum of Mary. The conception was miraculous. He was not said to be the seed of the Holy Spirit, but the seed of the woman. A question. If a seed was imparted by the Holy Spirit in a sex act of some sort, would not the virginity of Mary have been lost and thus the Christ would not have been virgin born?
The mere suggestion that God the Spirit would engage in such an act which would involve the crossing of two different orders of life is unthinkable in view of the boundaries God has set up. Men are not to engage in sex with lower forms of life such as animals. For God the Spirit to engage in such a sex act with Mary would have been a far greater breach of his laws than for man to commit bestiality. Moreover, such an idea about the conception of Jesus humanizes the Holy Spirit, a gross error.
John Flavel wrote, "The human nature was united to the second Person miraculously and extraordinarily, being supernaturally framed in the womb of the virgin by the overshadowing power of the Highest."
John Gill wrote, "And the incarnation of the Word or Son of God, is expressed and explained by his partaking of flesh and blood; and by a taking on him of the nature of man; or by an assumption of the human nature . . . The Son having agreed to it (the covenant of grace), being sent, came in the flesh, by the assumption of it; he took upon him the nature of the children, and partook of the same flesh and blood with them; he took upon him the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man, Heb. 2:14, 16. Phil. 2:7,8. The Holy Ghost had a very great concern in this affair; for that which was conceived in the Virgin was of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:20. not of his substance, nature, and essence; for then he would have been the Father of it, which he is never said to be; Christ, as man, was without Father, and so a proper anti type of Melchizedec, Heb. 7:3. Besides, the body of Christ would have been not human, but spiritual" (John Gill, Body of Divinity, p. 383).
When the Word was made flesh (Jn. 1:14) this necessarily involved his having human flesh and therefore human blood to sustain the life of that flesh. It was also necessary that he, as our Great High Priest have a body and blood to offer up to God as a sacrifice. In his eternal state prior to his incarnation, he had neither a body nor blood. Therefore, that he might have both a body and blood to offer up to God as our High Priest he assumed our nature, partook of our flesh and blood, and was made in all things like unto us except sin. To deny that the blood of Christ is human blood is to deny this aspect of his likeness to us that is affirmed by the Holy Spirit in our third text, Heb. 2:14. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."
Commenting on this verse, A. W. Pink wrote, "The nature of the Divine incarnation is here referred to in the words 'flesh and blood' (Heb. 2:14). That expression speaks of the frailty, dependency, and mortality of man. This is evident from the other passages where it occurs . . . In the words 'He also Himself likewise took part of the same' we have an affirmation concerning the reality of the Saviour's humanity. It is not merely that the Lord of glory appeared on earth in human form, but that He actually became 'flesh and blood,' subject to every human frailty so far as these are freed from sin" (A. W. Pink, Exposition of Hebrews, Pp. 132, 133).
On this verse John Owen wrote, "The Lord Christ, out of his inexpressible love, willingly submitted himself unto every condition of the children to be saved by him, and to every thing in every condition of them, sin only excepted. They being flesh and blood, which must be attended with many infirmities, and exposed unto all sorts of temptations and miseries, he himself would also partake of the same . . . It was only in flesh and blood, the substance and essence of human nature, and not in our personal infirmities, that the Lord Christ was made like unto us" (John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Vol. 3, Pp. 444-445).
Berkhof said, "The pre-existent Son of God assumes human nature and takes to Himself human flesh and blood, a miracle that passes our limited understanding" (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, P. 333).
T. P. Simmons said, "Christ's body and human nature were in all respects like our own, except that there was no taint of sin in Him. He was the flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood" (A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine, P. 86).
"By a true body," wrote Charles Hodge, "is meant a material body, composed of flesh and blood, everything essential like the bodies of ordinary men. It was not a phantasm, or mere semblance of body. Nor was it fashioned out of any heavenly or ethereal substance. This is plain because He was born of a woman. He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, nourished of her substance so as to be consubstantial with her. His body increased in stature, passing through the ordinary process of development from infancy to manhood. It was subject to all the affections of a human body. It was subject to pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, fatigue, suffering, and death. It could be seen, felt, and handled. The Scriptures declare it to have been flesh and blood" (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, P. 381).
Commenting on Heb. 2:14, J. M. Pendleton said, "We could not be taught more clearly than in this verse that the Son of God assumed the nature of those he came to redeem. He partook of their "flesh and blood" (Christian Doctrines, Pp. 200-201).
J. P. Boyce wrote, "These heresies (that Christ did not have a human body) soon disappeared, and it is now no longer disputed that Christ had a true human body composed of bones, flesh, and blood, as are the bodies of other men" (Abstract of Systematic Theology, P. 277).
Commenting on Heb. 2:14, William R. Newell wrote, "The first step of infinite condescension is, He took part in blood and flesh . . . Thus our Lord partook of blood and flesh . . . in like manner as we: how marvelous!" (Hebrews, P. 59).
Commenting on Heb. 2:14-17, I. M. Haldeman said, "From this unequivocal Scripture we learn that He who was the eternal Word of God, personally, actively and in individual responsibility assumed for Himself a human nature of flesh and blood" (The Tabernacle, Priesthood, and Offerings, P. 21).
On this same verse, Thomas Goodwin wrote, "He will take human nature of the same lump with ours, and out of which ours is taken. So here in Heb. 2:14, 'He took part of the same; the same flesh and blood that we have . . . God hath made mankind all of one blood, that so they might love one another; and he will have this man that is to be our redeemer to be of the same blood, that is of seed, which is the blood of man concocted to an height, and therefore he is not only called a man but the 'Son of man,' (Matt. 17:12 . . . 'He took not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham.' And the reason is given in the next verse here, that he might call us brethren, and not be ashamed of us. A brother is more than of the same nature, it notes one made out of the same blood. And God would have the same blood run in his veins that runs in ours. And this fitted him the more to be a redeemer, and to have right to do it by the Levitical law also, for it was proper to a brother to redeem, and a stranger could not: Lev. 25:25, 'If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold' . . . He partakes of flesh and blood, Heb. 2:17; and by flesh and blood are meant infirmities of all sorts, he excepts sin only . . . and so in his text he was 'partaker of flesh and blood,' that is, of the infirmities of man's nature, as well as of the nature; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. If he had not taken this frail flesh, he could not have died . . . As he took the nature of man, not of angels, so he took the seed of Abraham more eminently than of any other nation; although he had by some of his progenitors Gentiles' blood in him, yet he was of Abraham in a lineal descent" (Thomas Goodwin, Christ our Mediator, Pp. 56-61).
Thomas Watson, in his Body of Divinity, asks a question which shows that he believed the blood of Christ to be human blood. He asked, "How could Christ be made of the flesh and blood of a virgin, and yet be without sin?" (P. 193). I am not certain what Watson had in mind when he spoke of the "blood of a virgin" but it is very obvious from his question that he held the blood of Christ to be human blood.
Along this same line A. H. Strong said, "The strong argument against Docetism (the doctrine that the body of Christ was phantasmal and not real, RWC) was found in Heb. 2:14--'Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same'." (A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, P. 670).
Strong favorably quotes Dorner when he says, "Three ideas are included in incarnation: (1) assumption of human nature on the part of the Logos (Heb. 2:14--partook of flesh and blood . . . ." (Ibid. P. 685-686).
Strong uses Heb. 2:14 several times to show the complete humanity of Christ--he partook of the same flesh and blood as his brethren.
Now, someone may raise the objection that the blood of Christ is called the blood of God in Acts 20:28. "Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Because of the hypostatic union of the Divine nature with the perfect and complete human nature of Christ, it is acceptable, and perfectly correct, to call his blood the blood of God. That which was born of the virgin Mary was called Emmanuel, God with us. He is the God-Man. Therefore, every aspect of his humanity is elevated infinitely because of its union with the Divine nature.
In Scripture, because of Christ's theanthropic nature, that which belongs to his Divine nature is sometimes ascribed to his humanity, and that which belongs to his humanity is sometimes ascribed to his Divinity. That does not change the fact that his humanity is still true and complete humanity, and his Divine nature is still true and complete Deity, however. As every serious student of the Bible will agree, you cannot slay the Divine nature of Jesus Christ; eternal God cannot die. Yet Paul, because of the union of the two natures, declares that it was "the Lord of glory" whom they crucified at Calvary (I Cor. 2:8). The Eternal Word who was God was made flesh, and, yet, in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He was eternal, almighty, sovereign God, yet, he became man, and a servant obedient to death, but never lost one aspect of his deity in the process. He is immutable, unchangeable, in his Divine nature, yet in his incarnation a human nature was taken into hypostatic union with the Divine nature. That Holy Person born in Bethlehem's stable and laid in a manger was Emmanuel, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Great God and our Saviour, and yet, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, who learned obedience through his suffering. Truly it must be said, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh."
The Puritan writer, Ralph Robinson, is especially clear in his position on the matter. He wrote, "Take notice of the truth of Christ's humanity. Marcion, Eutiches, Saturnius, Maniches, hold that Christ was man only in appearance. The Scripture doth both assert the Godhead and manhood of Christ. The two natures are personally united, never to be separated. 'His name shall be called Emmanuel,' Mat. 1:23. And the truth of the manhood is asserted in many places. 'The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,' (Jn. 1:14). 'to us a child is born,' (Isa. 9:6). As other Scriptures, so the text (Jn. 6:55) doth clearly assert his humanity, for it makes mention of his flesh and blood. The Godhead hath neither flesh nor blood, but the manhood hath both (Emp. mine, RWC). He is perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting" (Christ All and In All, P. 32).
Consider the words of William Shedd on this matter, "We were born in sinful flesh, but he was born in the likeness of sinful flesh; we were born not only of flesh and blood [human seed]; but also of the will of man [human will], and the will of the flesh [sexual appetite]; but he was born only of flesh and blood [the seed of the virgin], not of the will of man [human will], nor of the will of the flesh [sexual appetite], but of God . . . The Divinity of Christ is as really united with the humanity as the soul with the body; so united that the sufferings of the human nature were the sufferings of that 'Person, and the dignity of the Divine was imputed to the human by reason of that unity of both in one Person; hence the blood of the human nature is said to be the blood of God' (Acts 20:28) (Charnocke, quoted by William G. T. Shedd, Shedd's Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 3, Pp. 393- 395).
Again, Shedd said, "In Acts 20:28, the God man is called 'God,' and human characteristics are attributed: viz., blood, and the pains of death. 'Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' The term 'God' here denotes incarnate God: a complex person, not an incomplex nature. In this used, the ecclesiastical phrase 'God's blood' is proper. so also is the expression, 'God the mighty Maker died;' because 'God' here designates the theanthropic person having two natures --God in the flesh--not one abstract divine nature . . . it would be proper to speak of the blood of Emmanuel. But Emmanuel means 'God with us.' Scripture speaks of 'the blood of God,' because God is united with a humanity that has blood" (Ibid., Vol. 2, Pp. 317-318).
Adolf Saphir, often quoted by A. W. Pink, wrote, "The flesh and blood which the Lord Jesus Christ took shows that He became truly and really man . . . 'In all things he became like unto us.' In everything; in His body, for He was hungry and thirsty; overcome with fatigue, He slept. In His mind, for it developed. He had to be taught; He grew in wisdom concerning the things around Him; He increased, not merely in stature, but in mental and moral strength. In His affections, He loved. He loved the young man who came unto Him, and was not willing to give up his riches. He loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha--the disciple who leaned on His bosom. He was astonished; He marveled at men's unbelief, and said to the Syro-Phoenician woman, 'O woman, great is thy faith.' Sometimes he was glad, and 'rejoiced in spirit;' sometimes angry and indignant, as when He saw the hypocrisy of the Jews, who accused Him of having broken the Sabbath. Zeal, like fire, burned within Him: 'The zeal for the house of God consumed me;' and He showed vehement fervor in protecting the sanctity of God's temple. He was grieved; He trembled with emotion; his soul was straitened in Him. Sometimes He was overcome by waves of feelings when He beheld the future that was before Him. In all things He was made like unto us (Saphir had previously emphasized that the only exception was the sin nature of which Christ did not partake. RWC). Do not think of him as merely appearing a man, or as being a man only in His body, but as man in body, soul, and spirit" (EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, Adolph Saphir, Pp. 150, 151).
Saphir gave many evidences of the complete, perfect humanity of Jesus Christ that I have not given here. There is no doubt that he, along with a host of other recognized scholars, believed the blood of Christ to be human blood.
A LOOK AT THE QUESTION SCIENTIFICALLY
Some years ago Dr. M. R. DeHann released a book called The Chemistry of the Blood in which he took the position that the blood of a child is derived from its father, and, therefore, the blood of Christ was the blood of God and not human blood.
I do not claim to be a scientist nor a medical doctor. I do, however, have resources available in which I can research the matter at hand.
A beloved brother recently said to me, "If it is a scientific fact that the Father gives the child his blood, then the blood of Christ must have been the blood of God the Father." I responded, "Is it a scientific fact?"
I determined to investigate the matter and was surprised to learn that the child does not get its blood from its father or its mother. And, contrary to popular opinion, not even the blood type is always given by the Father. You want evidence? Here it is.
". . . offspring must have the same blood group as one or both of the parents. While it is never possible to prove parentage by a study of the blood types, it can be excluded in almost 45 percent of the cases by the utilization of the newer subdivisions of blood groups" (Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. IV, p. 112, 1967 Ed.).
"Two parents of blood types A and B may have a child of blood type O. It is obvious that each of the parents also had a gene for type O (not detected by conventional tests) and that the child received the genes for type O rather than for A or B" (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 2, P. 52, 1970 Ed.).
"It has been established that the blood groups of children are determined by the genes passed on from the parents. The material that carries the inherited information is contained in the chromosomes. The chromosomes are present in all nucleated cells. In man there are two sets of 23 chromosomes in the ordinary cells, but in the reproductive cells only one set. The double number is restored at fertilization when the egg fuses with a sperm . . . A person having type AB blood has received an A determining gene from one parent and a B from the other . . . If a child receives a dominant gene from one parent this will be expressed in the child regardless of the contribution from the other parent . . ." (Ibid. Vol. 3, p. 804).
No blood is imparted to the human embryo at the time of conception. "The first blood corpuscles of the embryo are manufactured in the yolk sac" (Ibid., Vol. 17, p. 1138). Blood vessels begin to develop in the embryo about three weeks after conception. At about four weeks the heart begins to beat and blood is manufactured by the liver and begins to circulate. This blood was received from neither parent; it was first manufactured in the yolk sac, then by the liver, and beginning about the fifth month, it is manufactured in the bone marrow of the baby and has an individuality that is all its own. (Except in abnormal and undesirable circumstances, the blood of the mother never mixes with the blood of the child (Ibid.).
In more detail we learn, "Prenatally, in the developing organism, they (erythrocytes, or red blood cells) are first produced by the yolk sac and then by the liver in the second to fifth months. During the remaining months the red bone marrow develops and gradually takes over the role . . . The red blood cells, the white blood cells produced by the marrow and the thrombocytes (platelets) develop from common primitive stem cells which differentiate to become either red or white blood cells, or platelets . . . The red bone marrow is a highly vascular hematopoietic tissue contained within the spaces of cancellous tissue. It produces erythrocytes (red blood cells), granular leukocytes (white blood cells) and thrombocytes (blood platelets)" (Medical- Surgical Nursing and Related Physiology, Jeannette E. Watson, R. N, M. Sc.N, Pp. 218, 899).
Each parent contributed 23 chromosomes which carried genes which will determine the blood type of the baby, but they did not carry blood. The baby may have the type of blood of the father or the mother, depending on the genes received. As was seen above, it may have a different type from either, because both may have contributed a recessive type (O is recessive) that was not evident in tests determining their blood type. Thus, a mother who is type A, but carries a recessive type O gene, and a Father who is type B, but also carries a recessive type O, may produce a child who has type O blood. This clearly proves that the blood does not come from either parent, but is manufactured as described above. (Ibid. Vol. 8, p. 362).
"The blood type of a person is determined genetically; a gene received from each parent influences the type of blood of the offspring" (Medical-Surgical Nursing and Related Physiology, Jeannette E. Watson, R. N., M. Sc.N, Pp. 224-225).
In short, the conceived embryo receives no blood from either parent, only the genes which determine the type of its blood. Its first blood is manufactured in the yolk sac which is formed in the placenta after conception. Then, in the latter part of the third week, or the early part of the fourth week, the heart begins to beat and blood is manufactured by the liver from the second until about the fifth month. About the fifth month of pregnancy, the bones and bone marrow of the baby are developed enough that the blood is then manufactured in the bone marrow, as it is the rest of the person's life.
Let me repeat one more time, the baby gets its blood from neither parent. It has blood that is uniquely its own. Thus, even, if as some suppose, the Holy Spirit had planted a seed in the womb of Mary that caused her to conceive, he would not have imparted blood, in that act. The blood of Jesus Christ was uniquely his own blood, not the blood of his Heavenly Father nor the blood of his earthly mother Mary.
THE TRUE AND COMPLETE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
We must remember that a mediator between God and man must be God of very God and also be a complete man. He cannot be only part man; he must fully assume human nature. Now, before someone misunderstand, one must not assume the sinful nature to have the complete human nature. Adam had a complete human nature, was fully and completely man, before he ever partook of the forbidden fruit plunging the race into ruin. Human nature and the sin nature are not synonymous. Nor, does the nature to sin flow in the blood. If it did, then the sin nature would not be passed from father to son for the father does not pass his blood to his son.
Through his miraculous conception through the power of the Holy Spirit Christ assumed a complete human nature. He is declared to be the seed of the woman. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). To my knowledge Christ, as to his incarnation, in never called the "seed of God" or "the seed of the Spirit." He was the seed of the woman, the result of an absolutely miraculous conception with no seed or sperm uniting with the egg of Mary to produce the Holy child, Jesus.
He is "made of a woman." "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal. 4:4). This further demonstrates the miraculous nature of his conception.
Mary conceived in her womb by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit and brought forth a man-child, the man Christ Jesus. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS" (Lu. 1:31). These verses clearly reveal that Christ was truly "made of a woman." Notice the expression "a virgin shall conceive," and "thou shalt conceive in thy womb." No seed was imparted that united with her egg causing conception. It was simply the power of the Holy Spirit that caused the miraculous, spermless conception of Jesus Christ in the virgin womb of Mary. Jesus was not half God and half man. He was a complete human being, the fruit of the womb of Mary. Elizabeth, while filled with the Holy Ghost, said that he was the fruit of the womb of Mary. "And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" (Lu. 1:42). By his being the fruit of the womb of a human being he was a complete man, not just part man.
As A. W. Pink said, "The humanity of Christ was unique. History supplies no analogy, nor can His humanity be illustrated by anything in nature. It is incomparable, not only to our fallen human nature, but also to unfallen Adam's. The Lord Jesus was born into circumstances totally different from those which Adam first found himself, but the sins and griefs of His people were on Him from the first. His humanity was produced neither by natural generation (as is ours), nor by special creation, as was Adam's. The humanity of Christ was, under the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, supernaturally "conceived" (Is 7:14) of the virgin. It was "prepared" of God (Heb. 10:5); yet "made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4) . . . He assumed a complete human nature, spirit, soul, and body. Christ did not bring His human nature from heaven (as some have strangely and erroneously concluded from I Cor. 15:47), but it was composed of the very substance of His mother. In clothing Himself with flesh and blood, Christ also clothed Himself with human feelings, so He did not differ from His brethren, sin only excepted . . . While we always contend that Christ is God, let us never lose the conviction He is most certainly a man. He is not God humanized, nor a human deified; but , as to His Godhead, pure Godhead, equal and coeternal with the Father; as to His manhood, perfect manhood, made in all respects like the rest of mankind, sin alone excepted. His humanity is real, for He was born. He lay in the virgin's womb, and in due time was born. The gate by which we enter our first life he passed through also. He was not created, nor transformed, but His humanity was begotten and born. As He was Born, so in the circumstances of His birth, He is completely human. He was as weak and feeble as any other babe. He is not even royal, but human. Those born in marble halls of old were wrapped in purple garments, and were thought by the common people to be a superior race. But this Babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes and had a manger for a cradle, so that the true humanity of His being would come out" (A. W. Pink, Gleanings in the Godhead, p. 147).
The perfect and complete humanity of Christ is further revealed in inspired declarations concerning his lineage. He is declared to be the son of David and Abraham (Mat. 1:1). Paul says that concerning the flesh he was the son of David (Rom. 1:3). He also declared that he descended from the Israelites concerning his flesh (Rom. 9:4- 5). In his epistle to the Hebrews Paul said that Christ sprang out of Judah. "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (Heb. 7:14).
Of the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, Leonard Woods wrote, "If we take the inspired volume for our guide, we shall be as fully satisfied, that Jesus Christ was a real and proper man, as that Moses or Paul was so. I mean now to be understood in the most obvious and perfect sense. I mean to say Christ was a man in every respect and in every degree. Everything bodily and mental which constitutes a perfect man, belonged to him. there is no danger of our going too far in ascribing real and proper manhood to Christ. And when we assert the manhood of Christ so strongly, we are in no danger of interfering with any other truth. Indeed our admitting the full and obvious sense of what the Scriptures declare respecting the humanity of Christ, will best prepare the way for rightly understanding what they declare respecting the higher points of his character.
"No valid objection against the perfect human nature of Christ can be derived from the circumstance of his miraculous conception. If Adam was a perfect man without either a human father or mother; Jesus surely might be a perfect man without a human father" (Leonard Woods, Woods's Works, Vol. 1, P.284).
It is obvious that Woods believed that Christ was a human being, a real and perfect man, in every way. A complete and perfect man must have human blood to sustain the life in his human body as long as he is in the days of his flesh.
What is a human being, a man? Jesus Christ according to the flesh was made of the seed of David? Was David a man? Was Paul a man? When Scripture speaks of a person as a man it does not mean a body without a human mind. It does not mean a body without a human soul. It does not mean a body without human blood. It does not mean a human mind in a body of some other order of life. it does not mean a human soul in a body of some other species.
When Scripture calls Jesus a man it means that he has every attribute and member that is essential to being a man. Adam was a true and complete man before he sinned. He had a human mind, human soul, human blood, human emotions, etc. A sinful nature was not essential to his being a man. Though Jesus was impeccable in his humanity; he was nevertheless every bit a man with a human body, a human soul, human blood, and human emotions. He hungered, he tired, he thirsted, he needed sleep, he grew in wisdom and stature, he suffered agony in his human soul and died shedding his human blood. As the man, Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit was given to him to qualify him for his work. Isaiah wrote, "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord" (Isa. 11:2-3; See also Jn. 3:34).
I do not mean to run the point in the ground, but if we are to "know Christ" as he is revealed in the Scriptures, we must recognize his complete humanity, as well as his deity. Other evidences that show his complete humanity are revealed in Scripture. He nursed at his mother's breast as any other human baby would (Lu. 11:27). He grew in body and waxed strong in the Spirit (Lu. 2:40). As God he was the very personification of wisdom, but as a human child he increased in wisdom and stature (Lu. 2:52). Ah, great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh of a human being. As God he knew all things, as man he learned obedience. As God he was omnipotent, as man he was crucified in weakness. As God he was all-wise, as man he increased in wisdom. As a man he increased in favor with God.
His complete humanity is obvious in that he appeared to men of his day as just another Jew. When he met the woman at the well in Samaria, she thought he was just a wayfaring Jew who broke convention and asked her, a Samaritan, for a drink of water (JN. 4:9).
As a human being he experienced great sorrow in his human soul. At one point he declares his soul to be exceedingly sorrowful even unto death. "Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Mat. 26:38).
He was subject to bodily fatigue. "Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour" (Jn. 4:6). One of the reasons we grow weary is because we deplete the nutrients in our blood as we use them for energy. The fact that Jesus grew weary is simply another evidence that his blood was human blood, not the very blood of his Father. God does not grow weary. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding" (Isa. 40:28). The fact that Jesus could become weary, and did become weary with his journey is compelling evidence that he was a complete human being with human blood flowing through the human veins in his human body. If God the Father had blood, and if that blood had been imparted to Jesus Christ, such blood would have invigorated his body with such energy that he would never have grown weary, no matter how long or how hot his journey.
Not only did Jesus experience bodily weariness, he needed sleep. Sleep is evidence of his humanity for "he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psa. 121:4). As God he neither slumbers nor sleeps. But, the man Christ Jesus must have sleep as any other human being.
Jesus hungered and thirsted giving further evidence of his complete humanity. "And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry" (Mk. 11:12). On the cross he said, "I thirst" (Jn. 19:28).
He experienced agony. As a man he could experience this emotion and sorrow. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. As man he had no form nor comeliness to make him attractive. There was no beauty that we would desire him.
Before leaving this point I should emphasize that those infirmities of the flesh such as disease did not affect Jesus because he was not tainted with sin, no sin nature. One writer said, ". . . he was made, that is, he took or assumed the true human nature into the unity of his divine person, with all its integral parts and essential properties; and so was made, or became a true and real man by that assumption . . . Christ took a complete and perfect human soul and body, with all and every faculty and member pertaining to it . . . He assumed our nature, as with all its integral parts, so with all its sinless infirmities . . . such as hunger, thirst, weariness, sweating, bleeding, mortality . . . Hence follows, as another excellent fruit of this union, the concourse and cooperation of each nature in his mediatorial works; for in them he acts according to both natures: the human nature doing what is human, namely, suffering, sweating, bleeding, dying; and his divine nature stamping all these with infinite value . . . as Priest, had he not been man, he could have shed no blood; and if not God, it had been of no adequate value for us . . . he is born, not of the blood of nobles, but of a poor woman in Israel . . . " (John Flavel, The Fountain of Life, Pp. 52, 54, 56, 57, 216).
IF, IN ORDER TO SAVE, HIS BLOOD MUST NOT BE HUMAN BLOOD, THEN HIS FLESH COULD NOT BE HUMAN FLESH
It has been reasoned by some that the blood of Christ could not save if it were human blood. If that were true, then it would have been necessary that he have other than a human body and a human soul.
You see, dear reader, Jesus gave his body for us just as he gave his blood. "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Lu. 22:19-20). "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (I Cor. 10:16). "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (I Cor. 11:24-25).
All three of these references put the body of Jesus Christ on the same level in his sacrifice as his blood. He gave his body and his blood for our salvation. If, as some have said, his blood must be the blood of God the Father to save, then the same is true of his body. If the human blood of Christ could not save then the human body of Christ could not save.
Jesus said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (Jn. 6:51). Again our Lord said, "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).
I have emphasized four expressions from this last passage. I am not minimizing the blood of Christ by not emphasizing it; rather, I want it to be seen that Jesus put his body, his human body, on an equal with his blood in our salvation. Therefore, if his blood must be the blood of God, rather than human blood, in order to save, the same must be true of his body.
I think it is rather interesting that Jesus left his blood on Golgotha but took his body to heaven. Once he assumed the human body, he has never divested himself of it. His body was not allowed to see corruption in the grave. I am not suggesting that the blood of Christ saw corruption, I am simply emphasizing that he shed his blood but did not shed his body.
Why is this so? The Scripture reveals that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:50). In his resurrected body Jesus did not have blood, but was flesh and bones. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Lu. 24:39). The glorified body is invigorated and sustained by the Spirit, not by blood as the body is on earth.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BLOOD OF CHRIST AT GOLGOTHA?
"This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Lu. 22:20). The Greek word is EKXIUNOMENON (ekcunomenon) and literally means to "pour out," to "shed." Did Jesus pour out his blood? Now, someone is going to say, "If you pour out something it is wasted." Not so. I often pour out paint and do not waste it. I pour it out of its original container into a roller pan.
Was the blood of the sacrifices commanded under the law wasted when the priest poured it out at the bottom of the altar? "And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering" (Lev. 4:25 and several others). Was it wasted when Hannah "poured out" her soul before the Lord (I Sam. 1:15)? Was the oil wasted when the woman "poured it out" into other vessels (II Kgs. 4:4-4)? Was the wrath and fury of God wasted when it was poured out at various times (II Chron. 34:21, 25 and many others)? Was Jesus wasted? He said, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is melted in the midst of my bowels" (Psa. 22:14)? Jesus prayed for God to pour out his indignation upon some of those who crucified him. "Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them" (Psa. 69:24). Was that indignation wasted? Was the soul of Jesus wasted when he poured it out unto death? Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isa. 53:12)? Was God's Spirit wasted when he poured it out on various people and on the nation of Israel (Ezek. 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-18; 10:45)? Will the vials of God's wrath be wasted when they are poured out at his command (Rev. 16:3?
Did Jesus pour out his blood? Did he shed his blood? If, indeed he did, and he did, it was left at Calvary. It was not wasted, however. The blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground which had received it, and the blood of Christ speaks much better things from the ground which received it, better things than the blood of Abel ever spoke.
The word "shed", as used in Scripture, obviously has the idea of pouring out, sometimes upon the ground. "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar" (Mat. 23:35) "That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation" (Lu. 11:50) "And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him" (Acts 22:20). "Their feet are swift to shed blood" (Rom. 3:15). "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy" (Rev. 16:6).
What happened to the blood of Christ? He shed it. He poured it out upon the rugged brow of Golgotha. His blood ran from the places where the thorns had pierced his brow to mingle with the spit of the soldiers. His blood probably ran from the places where the beard had been plucked from his face. His blood ran down his back from where they had beaten him with the cat-o-nine tails. His blood ran from where the nails were driven in his hands and his feet. When his heart burst and ran into the midst of his bowels, his blood was shed in his bowels. When they thrust the sword into his side, his blood, mingled with water, gushed out upon the ground of Golgotha's brow. No laver was there to catch it.
Jesus Christ is the heavenly mercy seat. It was there, on Golgotha's brow that the heavenly mercy seat, Jesus Christ, was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. It was there that reconciliation was made in the body of flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 1:21-22). It was there that full satisfaction was accomplished. It was there that the propitiatory blood was sprinkled on the heavenly mercy seat, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was there that full atonement was made. It was there that the work of redemption was completed. He offered his blood once, at Calvary. Not once at Calvary and again in heaven.
Jesus Christ was our sin offering. He bore our sins in his body own the tree. What was done with the blood of the sin offering? "And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" (Lev. 4:17). When Christ poured out his blood it poured out on to the ground at his feet, the feet of the true altar. All his blood was poured out at his feet as he perfectly fulfilled the type of the sin offering.
Did he offer his blood on the heavenly mercy seat. Yes! He was, he is, the heavenly mercy seat. We MUST REMEMBER that when "the Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us" (Jn. 1:14), he was "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched" (Heb. 8:2). The true veil was the flesh of Jesus Christ. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20). When his blood flowed over his body to the ground of Golgotha it was flowing over the heavenly mercy seat. That is why the publican cried, "Lord, be my mercy seat." He understood enough to know that the mercy seat of the tabernacle was but a type of the true mercy seat of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Folks, the tabernacle of Moses was a type of Jesus Christ, not a type of some structure in heaven. His blood was offered at Calvary, the work was finished there. He did not have to offer it again in heaven. It was on the basis of his cross work that he entered into heaven, but he left his blood at Golgotha.
His earthly life was ended, the blood, his human blood, which had invigorated and sustained his human body during his 33 or more years on earth would no longer be needed. When he arose from the dead, he would have his body, but not his blood, for he would now return to the glory he had with the Father before the world was. And his glorious body would be sustained by the Spirit, not by blood.
THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF CHRIST'S PARTAKING OF HUMAN FLESH AND BLOOD
It was absolutely necessary that Christ partake of human flesh and blood if he was to be qualified to serve as our High Priest, our Mediator and Daysman, and our Goel, our Kinsman-redeemer. If he would deliver us from the bondage of slavery into which our father, Adam, sold us, he must become our near Kinsman and kinship is established through blood relationship. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14). He was made like his brethren, the children given to him by the Father, the many sons whom he would bring to glory. He partook of our flesh and blood for that and other reasons.
He partook of our flesh and blood in order to die and thereby render null and void him who had the power of death (Heb. 2:14b). Satan thought that he would get rid of Christ at the cross. He thought that he could defeat him. While he was bruising the heel of Christ, the Man Christ Jesus was bruising his head. If he and his henchmen had known the mystery of God they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. By that death the Man, Christ Jesus, delivered "them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:15).
The necessity of his becoming a complete human being is inferred in Heb. 2:16, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Just as God cannot die, angels cannot die. There is no record of angels, good or evil, ever dying. Jesus must assume a nature with the ability to die if he would deliver us from death.
If we are ever to be made like him, he must first be made like us, therefore he partook of flesh and blood. "Flesh and blood" is an expression that is used in Scripture to speak of the frailty of human nature. "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17). "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (I Cor. 15:50). "To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood" (Gal. 1:16). "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood" (Eph. 6:12).
As our great High Priest, Jesus must have a sacrifice to offer up to God. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, so no point in just doing that. He must offer a sacrifice that would forever sanctify his people. He must offer up a sacrifice that would end all sacrifices to God. He must obtain eternal redemption by his sacrifice. He must forever, once and forever, put away sin by his sacrifice. If our great High Priest would make a sacrifice which would accomplish these things, he must have a body and blood and soul to offer up to God. The answer was for him to take on him flesh, blood and soul like ours excepting sin, and that he did in order to lay hold of us. "Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2:17).
He must partake of this flesh and blood of the children if he is to be crucified. As God or angel, he could not be crucified. He must be fully man if he was to have the weakness of flesh and blood that would enable him to die. "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God" (II Cor. 13:4). If his blood had truly and literally been the blood of omnipotent, eternal, ever living God, an aspect of his divine nature and not of his human nature, it would have rendered him immortal in the flesh!
He must have a human soul if his soul is to travail and is to be made an offering for sin (Isa. 53:10-11). He must have a human body if it is to be broken for his people (Lu. 22:19; I Cor. 11:24). He must have human blood if it is to be shed for us (Lu. 22:20). He must partake of the frailty of our nature, signified by "flesh and blood" if he is to be a merciful and faithful High Priest (Heb. 2:17). He must be partaker of flesh and blood if he is to be made perfect through suffering and thereby bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10). He is our Kinsman Redeemer and because of his ability to fulfill that office he is not ashamed to call us brethren. If he would lay his hand on God and lay his hand on man, he must be both God and man. "And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us."
THE WONDER OF THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
Many times as I have studied this matter, I have said to myself, "Oh, the wonder of it all!" That God would so condescend as to take our nature, our flesh and blood in all its frailty, is beyond human comprehension unless the Spirit aid us.
The Chaldeans held that the dwelling of the gods is not with flesh. "And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh" (Dan. 2:11). Solomon marveled at the thought that God might indeed dwell with man in the beautiful temple he had built. "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!" (II Chron. 6:18).
Yet God not only came down to dwell with flesh, he was made flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:1, 14). Wonder of all wonders, he went back to glory in the human flesh which he had assumed. When he ascended he ascended in the same body that he invited his disciples to handle. (Acts 1:9). Today he appears in the presence of God for us, it is the MAN Christ Jesus who appears there as our Mediator, Surety, Advocate, and Intercessor. When he comes again, he will come in flesh and bones to receive us. It is a marvel of grace that he would assume and lay hold of our nature by partaking of our flesh and our blood. It is even a greater marvel that, once he had assumed that body, he will never divest himself of it.
If the blood of Christ were not human blood then he could not call us his brethren. If the blood of Christ were not human blood he could not be the firstborn among many brethren. If the blood of Christ were not human blood he could not be our Goel, our Kinsman Redeemer. If the blood of Christ were not human blood he could not have suffered death in our place. If the blood of Christ were not human blood, then he could not serve as the mediator between God and man. THANK GOD FOR THE BLESSED HUMANITY OF THE MAN CHRIST JESUS!
I know that this message has been longer than some like to read. The reason I quoted so many different men was to show that it is almost the unanimous consent of such men that the blood of Jesus Christ was human blood. In fact, I could not find one scholar in my library that held any other opinion.
Amazingly, it has been suggested to me that if his blood were human blood it could not be considered precious blood. His blood is infinitely precious, and, if you will read another article on this site, WHY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IS PRECIOUS, you will see some of the reasons it is precious.
Go to Table of Contents
Click to return to Central Baptist Church HomePage
Click to go to Table of Contents of This Site
Send E-mail to mailto:email@example.com
Last updated on Saturday, July 30, 2011