Monday morning men's bible study. Where every week is a fiasco and this week was no different as it initiated with:
"What does pleading the blood mean?"
It should have been subtitled,
“Why we don't do this anymore.”
Thank God we don't.
The so-called Bible study took a broad swath through the Old Testament as the substitute leader tried desperately to find and then create scenarios from the law and other examples. Since that failed miserably, he sought to get us to consider the children of Israel, in bondage, under Egyptian rule. He said, "putting the blood on the doorposts, not only demonstrated the power of God but also showed God's mercy, for anyone could receive that mercy by entering in under the roof of that house." [ Go read about the Passover in Exodus 12.]
While there is some truth in what he said, it is twisted, and the implication takes God instructions far beyond the context of bringing Egypt to its knees. When you consider the nature of the angel that passed over the land, you see that it had one purpose, kill every first born. Unfortunately, the command was a blanket statement meant to force Israel into compliance as well. Painting the blood of the lamb on the door posts caused the angel to move on.
Within seconds someone said, “that mercy could have applied to the Egyptians as well.” I responded with a loud yes. The ancient one and overseer of the group gave me an odd look, so I began to elaborate. Caleb!
Caleb was not a Jew (think about why a man was a Jew), in fact, Caleb was a descendant of Esau, an Edomite, and they, in time, gave Israel a tremendous amount of grief through their descendants. And yet, Caleb attached himself to Israel in such a way, as to be one of the spies that went into the promised land and eventually received a portion of that land as an inheritance. So, yes, those Israelis could have invited any or all the Egyptians to join them under the covering of the blood because this night is going to be a bad one. We know that Caleb took advantage of that protection and never left their side. Why he even became a valiant warrior for Israel.
There are a thousand sermons one could preach on the blood. How difficult can that be when the Bible has absolutely no inference of "pleading the blood?" Yes, it is true, there is nothing in the bible about pleading the blood (assuming Jesus blood) over a person or demonized thing, which is how I primarily heard the phrase used.
If there were a moment in time where “pleading of the blood” might have come in handy would have been the time that desperate father brought his demonized child to Jesus; but, we did not see that happen. Note: The father said, I brought him to your disciples, and they could do nothing. Isn't that odd? Look this up in Matthew's Gospel chapter 17 verses 14-18.
How does one spend that much quality time with God and not have some rub off on you? But it did rub off; we know this because eventually, Jesus sent them out in pairs, giving them specific instructions, saying, pray in my name – Jesus name. When they came back, they were excited because even the demons responded to them in your name. So what was going on with the man and his son? Consider the number of people that followed Jesus and deemed themselves disciples, around 120. Pick one. I don't see Judas Iscariot healing anyone, but then who knows.
As for “pleading the blood”, staying focused on ritualistic practices is nothing more than legalism, and Paul preached in opposition to that. Take the time to read Paul's letter to the Jewish converts of the Galatian province. Here is a small portion.
Galatians 3:10-13 KJV For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (12) And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them. (13) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:
So, what does Scripture say about the blood?
- Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
- Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
- Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
- Hebrews 10:19 "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,"
- Hebrews 12:24 "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,.."
- 1John 1:7 "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 cleanses us from all sin."
When it comes to the wild idea of pleading the blood, here is the closest thing I see:
Rev_12:11 "..they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." Since the passage gives us nothing in explanation, it is foolish to make assumptions - that will only get you into false teaching.
Overcome = subdue
by = through the channel of an act
blood = literally of men or animals. Since sacrifice does nothing and is a merely legalistic ritual, then this has to be their blood being spilled.
If you read this in the Amplified, you get this: And they have overcome (conquered) him as a result of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony.”
Many people struggle with the Revelation; maybe it is our traditions that feed into this fight. Let me explain. One of the theories I hear, speaks of the Holy Spirit being removed from the earth along with the church. Two reasons why that cannot possibly be: 1. They, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, and you are not removing God from the picture, no matter how things look. 2. It is the Holy Spirit that draws all men to the Father, and John tells us that the number of martyred for their testimony will be uncountable.
So, tradition, as in “pleading the blood” might be how they overcame. At this point, you would be making the assumption that they successfully withstood the beast. But where do you see these? In heaven among the martyred, so that did not work. Well, logic tells us that overcoming is to win against an enemy. The problem with that is you are not asking God what winning looks like, and to him, these slaughtered like lambs, they won.
Another aspect of understanding is not to overlook simple words. An example of that comes from the word "by." When you look that word up in the Greek, you find that it means through the channel of an act. The act, in this case, would apparently be their defiance by saying NO!
Since Ephesians 6:11-18 was thrown into the mornings teachings, let's look at that for a moment.
I suspect he brought it up because it mentions blood. So, let's look at this together.
Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Okay, this is one of those context things. In the statement, Paul says, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood." Since, in truth, we fight every day, and those opponents, especially those with big mouths, look like humans it is easy to lose focus and think that your enemy is people. They are not, our battle is entirely spiritual as you stand against highly active fallen angels, who are motivating people to do evil.
I think the second reason he tossed this out is that he believes that "the blood" should be part of our spiritual arsenal. While that might seem reasonable to you, it is not unless Scripture teaches on it or demonstrates it in use. Without either of those things happening in scripture, this concept of pleading the blood of Jesus is nothing more than a fairy tale and a tradition.
There could be a third reason. However, it is purely emotional. For a variety of reasons I left the Assemblies of God in my early twenties, and none of them were because I hated it. Consider that if you are brought up in an atmosphere, you will either despise it someday or always have some fond emotional attachment to it. So, as a young man, I frequently heard things like “pleading the blood;” although this may have been mostly at home, there is still a familiar comfort associated with the phrase. Does that make the saying right, healthy, or godly? No, it just makes it familiar.
If you understand the concept of brainwashing at all, then you know that creation of a perverted familiarity is a very useful tool for getting people to adjust their “normal” behavior. An example: violent, gory, war games. They are one of the tools used to get young men prepared to kill the enemy, especially when the enemy looks like a human being with thoughts, feelings, and family like yours. If you make them nothing more than a target with no consequence, then it is easy to treat others without regard. What do you think motivates gang mentality?
No doubt, Jesus blood was spilled at the cross, and there is no question that the same blood was splashed upon the heavenly altar and utensils, but it also brought cleansing and atonement for our sins, just as the lambs that were slain under the Old Testament law. When Jesus came, with him came forgiveness - a making of all things right in God's eyes. What Jesus did in His death and resurrection, paved the way for our return to fellowship with the Father, but do we do that? No, most do not, but the number that does is uncountable.