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“Only flesh with its life—its blood—you must not eat”

(Genesis 9:4)


Jehovah God prohibits consumption of blood, either as food or for medical or therapeutic purposes. From the time after the flood, the prohibition with respect to the blood was repeated in the Mosaic Law: “If any man of the house of Israel or any foreigner who is residing in your midst eats any sort of blood, I will certainly set my face against the one who is eating the blood, and I will cut him off from among his people” (Leviticus 17:10).

The Atonement Value of the Blood

After repeating this ban, Jehovah God explained the reason of this Act on the blood: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have given it on the altar for you to make atonement for yourselves, because it is the blood that makes atonement by means of the life in it. 12 That is why I have said to the Israelites: “None of you should eat blood, and no foreigner who is residing in your midst should eat blood” (Leviticus 17:11,12).

The blood has an Atonement Value that could be used, in the biblical time, in the framework of sacrifices of animals as symbol of necessity of Atonement for the forgiveness of the sins; in this case, the blood was put at the foot of the sacrificial altar. This restitution of life of the animal, to God, was symbolized by the shedding of blood of the animal that would be eaten: “You and your households must eat there before Jehovah your God and rejoice in all your undertakings, because Jehovah your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 12:7).

The Christians Respect the Sacred Atonement Value of the Blood

The sacred value of the blood (especially the human blood), would be understood better by knowing how the atoning value of the blood of Christ saves us. And of course, this prohibition of the consumption of blood has been repeated at the beginning of Christianity in the time of the Apostles of Christ:

“Therefore, my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20 but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood (…) For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you except these necessary things: to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!”” (Acts 15:19,20,28,29).

The Christian must eat only the meat of a properly bled animal. He must not eat the meat of a strangled animal which blood has remained its body. He should not eat black pudding, stew of meat with blood (civet), industrial foods that contain blood, like plasma.

As well, this Christian law about the blood, prohibits that a human being spills the blood of another human being by killing him. The human blood belongs to God and not to the any “Homeland” (or a nation), in the framework of any patriotic human cult. God forbids spilling human blood in the name of the “homeland” or in the name of God: “Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). “They said: “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God” (Matthew 22:21). Jehovah God forbids the vengeance of the blood, because henceforth, this vengeance belongs to Him: "They shouted with a loud voice, saying: “Until when, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10). "Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah"" (Romans 12:19). God will avenge innocent blood, in the great tribulation, through the King Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-21) (The End of Patriotism).

Blood and Medicine

According to the Apostolic Decree, the prohibition of the consumption of blood was repeated (Acts 15:19,20,28,29). This decree applies directly to the prohibition of food with blood and also to the therapeutic use of blood: such as blood transfusion, or the transfusion of plasma, platelets, red or white blood cells. Are there medical alternatives to transfusion? Yes, there are. Nevertheless, these products must be available in the part of the world you live. For this, you must talk to your doctor, your surgeon or anesthetist, who may help you in this way. You can get help from a mature Christian in the congregation, who can give the list of blood transfusion substitutes available where you live. He may be able to help you prepare for your interview with the anesthetist who should be involved in the surgery. If the anesthetist or surgeon refuses to operate without a blood transfusion, the mature Christian may be able to give you the name of a surgeon, anesthetist, or a hospital who would accept to operate without transfusion of blood.

There are other medical therapies, which are personal decision-making based on discernment, wisdom and soundness of mind. It is important to talk to your doctor, the surgeon or the anesthetist (in the case of an operation). If you need spiritual help in connection with medical treatment, do not hesitate to consult a mature Christian who will try to bring out the biblical principles. Pathologies and corresponding therapeutic possibilities, are so numerous that they can not be presented in detail in this article. Searching the Internet can be a great help. Information, communication and consultation, all with the help of God, asking for with prayers, are the main points that will enable you to take the best decision to respect the biblical principles regarding your medical treatment: "But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong" (Hebrews 5:14). "When there is no skillful direction, the people fall, But there is success through many advisers" (Proverbs 11:14). "So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him.  But let him keep asking in faith, not doubting at all" (James 1:5,6) (The Spiritual Maturity).

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