Recently, a friend of mine told about observing someone praying to God “by the blood of Jesus” that a fight between two people would be stopped. I understand that praying this way for any number of things is a common practice among some people. This set me to question the justification, rationale, and basis for using the blood of Jesus this way. And so the purpose of this article is to examine the legitimacy, according to the Bible, for the use of this term when praying to God for something.
Leviticus 17:11 teaches “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for the soul.” The blood that was spilled upon the altar signified death and thus made atonement.
BLOOD, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
There are many passages that refer to blood in the New Testament and a review of each such passage reveals that, in general, when we see blood it stands for death. For example, in Matthew 23:30,31 Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they were hypocrites because they say “if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them that killed the prophets.”
In Matthew 26:26-28, we read, that as they were eating, “Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for the remission of sins.”
Pilate is recorded as having washed his hands, saying “I am innocent of the blood of this just person,” referring to the fact that he was not responsible for the death of Christ. Then, all the people answered Pilate, “His blood be on us, and on our children,” referring to their gladly taking responsibility for the death of Christ (Matt. 27:24,25). These are but a few examples of how blood refers to death in the New Testament.
JESUS CHRIST’S BLOOD BOUGHT OUR REDEMPTION
When someone invokes “the blood of Jesus” in their prayers for something they believe should be done, they are actually invoking the sacrificial death of our Lord for their purposes. However, a review of the references to the blood of Jesus in the New Testament reveals that the death of Christ has no relation to supplications for such things. And so, to what does the blood of Jesus refer?
First of all, the blood of Jesus, that is, His death, opened to us the way of salvation from our sins. His blood redeemed, or purchased, our salvation. Romans 3:24,25 tells us “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past.”
Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Romans 5:9 informs us, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” I John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” See also I Peter 1:19 and Hebrews 2:14.
Paul teaches that we share with other believers the remembrance of Christ’s death until He comes for us when we partake of communion (I Cor. 11:23-25). It was our Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood, His death, that saved us from sin and gave us eternal life with Him.
JESUS CHRIST’S BLOOD GIVES US ACCESS TO GOD
Secondly, His blood, that is, His death, has provided us an access to God that mankind never had before. Ephesians 2:12,13 teaches, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Hebrews 10:19 reads, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”
Before Christ’s death, Gentiles had no hope of access to God. The Jews did have access, but then only by and through their high priest. And he could enter into the holy of holies in the temple only once a year, and then with the blood of animals for the remission of sins for himself and the people. Now, by the blood of Jesus, that is, after His death, we all, both Jews and Gentiles, can have direct access to God.
The blood of Christ has redeemed us from sin and given us access to God. We can thank God that we have access to Him through or by the blood of Christ, but our prayers should be made in His Name, and not by His blood (Eph. 5:20).
THE MISUSE OF GOD’S WORD
The Word of God becomes distorted if terms and expressions from it are misunderstood and misused. This causes confusion among God’s people and takes their minds from the truth. The plan of Satan has always been to twist God’s Word and make it mean something it does not in an attempt to make people stray from the truth. We see this in his first recorded contact with mankind in Genesis 3:1-5. There we read that Satan approached Eve. She told him what she heard from Adam; what God had said about eating the fruit of a particular tree in the garden. This had been God’s Word to Eve at the time, which she was to have taken by faith.
Satan did not deny outright what God said. Instead, he brought into question the interpretation of God’s Word. He told her she would be as gods, knowing good and evil, if she ate of the fruit that God had forbidden. And so it has been ever since that people have followed Satan’s lead and have misused the Word of God for their own purposes.
Whereas at the very beginning of the Bible we observe the misuse and abuse of God’s Word by Satan, it is interesting that at the end of the Bible we find a clear message as to the penalty for such misuse and abuse. God has let us know His will regarding how His Word is to be used many places in the Bible. But, through the Apostle John in Revelation 22:18,19 He reveals: “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
These words may be written directly in reference to the Book of Revelation, but their application cannot help but extend to the entire Word of God. At any rate, they remind us to be very careful of how we use His Word, how we interpret it, and how we teach it.
From Moses we learn the lesson that Jesus Christ was to be struck but once, that is, He was to suffer and die once. In Exodus 17:6, Moses was instructed by God to strike the rock in Horeb and as a result life-giving water would come out for the children of Israel to drink. The rock was a type of Christ in that Christ was to be struck only once. “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). Moses sinned, as recorded in Numbers 20:8-12, when he disobeyed God by striking the rock a second time, instead of speaking to it as commanded. As a result, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to pray for things by the blood of Jesus. To do so is a misuse of a wonderful truth. Jesus, the perfect man (For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Col. 2:9), died on the Cross carrying all our sins on Himself. The work of that death and His blood was carried out then and we are forever grateful for what His precious blood did for us. It redeemed us from our sins and so bought our salvation, and it allowed us to have access to Almighty God.
But, thank God, our Lord Jesus Christ is dead no longer. He is risen triumphant and He sits at the right hand of God making intercession for us at this present time (Rom. 8:34). In fact, it is through Him that we have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18). He is the Head over all things and we believers are His Body (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-19). We are to pray directly to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t, as Moses did, strike the rock the second time by praying to God by the blood of Jesus that long ago completed its wonderful work. We pray to God in the name of the risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Praise God!!! See also Philippians 4:6,7; I Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 7:25.