I am one of those people who gets queasy at the sight of blood. I remember when my wife and I had our blood tests before we got married. I sat down and made it through my procedure fine but when they started drawing her blood, I almost passed out. It was embarrassing because I thought I was the big strong man. The sight of her blood changed that quickly.
Leviticus 17:11 makes an interesting truth concerning blood by stating, Life is in the blood. Until fairly recently the medical community didn’t acknowledge this. Our nation’s first President, George Washington, likely died from being bled to death. Suffering from possible pneumonia, he was bled a total of 4 times before he died in an attempt to cure him.
It was a common practice for centuries to treat illnesses by bleeding the patient to rid them of what was thought to be bad blood. If the patient didn’t improve, maybe it was because they didn’t get out all the bad blood. Maybe the patient should be bled some more. One can see how this could lead to death or at the very least add to the health problems.
The study of blood is an interesting Bible topic. The word blood is found 424 times in the NKJ. It is found 19 times in the book of Hebrews. Chapter 9 of Hebrews makes for a good study since 10 of the 19 times in that book are found in this one chapter.
With our modern medical advances, we now appreciate that physically speaking, there is life in the blood. A study of the Scriptures will reveal there is life in the blood spiritually speaking as well.
GOD chose to make a connection between blood and cleansing. In the garden we learn that sin brings death (Genesis 2:17). After the fall of man, Adam and Eve, realizing their nakedness, covered themselves with fig leaves. The text says GOD clothed them with skins from an animal (Genesis 3:21). One of GOD’S creatures had to die to provide this skin. So we see from the very first sin, a shedding of blood was required.
That there is a connection between blood and the forgiveness of sin is confirmed in Hebrews 9:22 as we read, without shedding of blood there is no remission.
The 5th chapter of Romans speaks of blood and sin. We read that we are justified by His blood (v9) and we are reconciled to GOD through the death of His Son (v10). It is clearly taught that our forgiveness is tied to the blood of Christ.
I’d like to suggest that just as there is a connection between the forgiveness of sin and the blood of Christ, there is also a connection between baptism and His blood.
Saul was told in Acts 22:16, Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Even though Saul was a penitent believer, he still had his sins. The reason was because he had not yet come into contact with the blood of Christ.
The word baptize comes from the Greek word, baptizo. The meaning of this word is to dip, to immerse, or to submerge. Being immersed in water is a beautiful representation of being buried with Christ (Romans 6:4). One comes into contact with the cleansing blood of Christ in the burial waters of baptism.
The English word baptize is not found in the Old Testament. Yet when the New Testament opens we find John baptizing in the wilderness. Even though the word is not found in the Old Testament, the idea of baptizing is not totally foreign to the Old Testament.
The Hebrew word, tabal, is a word with a very similar meaning to that of baptism. The meaning of the word tabal is to dip, plunge or immerse. This word is found 16 times in the Old Testament. The first usage is found in Genesis 37:31. In this passage Joseph’s brothers dipped his coat in the blood of the animal. It is interesting that the first usage of this Old Testament equivalent of baptism is directly involved with blood. In fact most of the usages of tabal involve blood.
I don’t think it is by coincidence that tabal, baptism, and blood are all linked. They all play a role in the plan for man’s salvation.
The sight of blood might make me queasy but I am oh so thankful for it. The blood of my Savior shed on the cross of Calvary many years ago cleanses me from the stain of sin. It gives me hope in heaven. Amen!