Seven Reasons Why I Believe
From the book: CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS
MY SUBJECT IS, “Seven reasons why I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ.” This vital consideration brings us to the fulcrum of the great operation of the Divine Revelation, to the centre of the vast circumference of Divine Redemption and to the very heart of the throbbing purpose of Divine Reconciliation. We come from the shallows of human speculation to the depths of divine revelation when we come to the Blood. We step at this juncture from the shadows of Old Testament typology to the blazing sunshine of New Testament theology. It is here we launch our souls from the shores of man’s estimate into the boundless, tideless, endless sea of God’s ultimate.
THE GEOMETRICS OF THE GOSPEL
No wonder Paul upon his knees longed that the Ephesian believers might know the geometrics of the gospel, the breadth and length, the depth and height. [“To comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.”] Eph. 3:18. The breadth suggests the scope of it and it is broader than all sin, for where sin abounded grace did superabound. It is vaster than the broad horizon’s rim, for it reaches out to the extremity of the ruling sceptre of the Eternal and our Sovereign’s writ runs everywhere. The length proclaims the eternity of it and it is far longer than sin. Sin entrenches over the generations and circumscribes their activities but grace spans the two eternities. The depth describes its power. It’s potential baffles human definition. Thank God it drowns our guilty burdens in its unfathomable deeps. The height speaks of the glory of it. It overtops the topless steeps of the divine and loses itself in the glory of which and by which it was begotten.
A BLOODSTAINED GOSPEL
Ours is a bloodstained gospel. The Blood of the cross is the center, but it flows in mighty torrent out to the circumference. It is the pivot by which and around which the whole revolves. It is the heart but it throbs its incorruptible crimson life into the whole body.
In the Divine eyes the heavens are blood-marked, the earth is blood-marked and the elect are blood-marked. We bow before a Bloodstained Throne, once a fiery throne of judgment, now by blood a mercy seat. The Church is a Bloodstained Church purchased with the price most precious, ’tis the blood of God’s dear Son. Our Bible is a Bloodstained Book. Prick the body of heavenly divinity anywhere and out pours the life tide of Emmanuel. It is a crimson Book. Heaven is a Bloodstained Heaven into which with His own Blood our Redeemer has entered. Our access to God is by a Bloodstained Path, only the Saviour’s blood-marks can guide us to the throne. Our song is a Bloodstained Song, it recounts the emancipating power of Golgotha’s blood-shedding.
NOT WITHOUT BLOOD
What immensity of truth finds expression in the scripture precept “not without blood.” God can pardon but “not without blood.” [“And almost all things are by the Law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission”] Hebrews 9:22. Men can be redeemed, but “not without blood,” [“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin”] 1 John 1:7. Heaven can be gained but “not without blood,” [“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”] Hebrews 10:19, 20. Peace can be enjoyed but “not without blood,” [“And, having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven”] Colossians 1:20. Justification can be ours but “not without blood,” [“Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”] Romans 5:9. Sanctification can be experienced but “not without blood,” [“Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate”] Hebrews 13:12. Glorification can be ours but “not without blood,” [“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of Great Tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them”] Revelation 7:14, 15.
The King’s Highway has been blasted out of the Rock of Ages and cemented together by the Blood of the cross, and it is the only way from the City of Destruction to the City that lies foursquare. Men sail to hell on the Dead Sea of sin; but we sail to heaven on the Red sea of the Redeemer’s Blood.
THE SATANIC COUNTERFEIT
In all our study of the scriptures we need ever to remember that over against the Sovereign Covenant of God there is the Satanic counterfeit of the “god of this world.” For instance, over against the Divine Trinity there stands the satanic trinity, the dragon , the beast, and the false prophet; over against the christ stands the antichrist; over against God’s truth stands the devil’s lie; over against the Mystery of Godliness, the Incarnate Word of God, stands the mystery of iniquity, the incarnate lie of Satan; over against the Only Gospel stand the other gospels and over against the Scripture of Truth stands the doctrine of devils. Hence in this study we must ever keep in mind that over against and seeking to undermine and thwart the Precious Blood of Christ there stands ever opposing the blasphemy of the cults.
THE BIBLICAL IDEA OF BLOOD
It is essential that we grasp the Biblical idea of Blood in divinely appointed sacrifice. A close study of the scriptures unveils a threefold basic fundamental, the foundation of expiating sacrifice by blood-shedding.
1. The Vital Principle — the Blood is the Life
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Leviticus 17:11. This principle brings out the expiating wealth and eternal value of the Blood of the Lamb. The blood equalled the life and the value of the blood was the value of the life.
Notice the different values of bloods contrasted in the law of the sin-offering in Leviticus chapter four. The priest, a public person, must bring a young bullock, [“If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering”] verse 3; the whole congregation must bring a young bullock, [“When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation”] verse 14; a ruler must bring a male kid of the goats, [“Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish”] verse 23; and a common person must bring a female kid of the goats, [“Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned”] verse 28. The blood of the female goat was less valuable than the blood of the male goat; and the blood of the male goat was less valuable than the blood of the young bullock. Well can we repeat —
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb
Takes all our sins away,
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
At the cross it was not pure humanity shedding blood for depraved humanity, but it was Incarnate deity shedding blood for iniquitous dust. The eternal uncreated life of the Godhead flowed from Emmanuel’s veins. [“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood”] Acts 20:28. The life of the flesh is in the blood — the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The blood equals the life, therefore the Blood of Christ equals the life of the Incarnate Deity. According to Colossians 2:9, in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily and that fulness was emptied out in the crimson of the cross. The blood then is the life-tide of the Godhead.
Note the Vital Principle — the Blood is the Life.
2. The Vicarious Principle — the Blood is the Life Given
“I have given it to you upon the altar.” Leviticus 17:11. The blood must be shed, the life must be given. The Blood is sacrificial Blood, in the Bible it is always that.
The offering on the cross was a substitutionary, vicarious “instead of me” sacrifice. It was the blood on the altar, the life given in sacrifice that constituted the expiation. The blood shed was the sacrifice which alone was sin-atoning. The majesty of Calvary’s mystery comes into focus in John 10:18. “No man taketh it from me. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” We need to remember that in the Blood there is not only substitution, He loved and gave Himself for me, but restitution, He offered Himself without spot to God. It takes both substitution and restitution to justify the sinner. Both come flowing to us in the blood of the cross.
That massive Puritan theologian John Owen, exclaims:
“To see the mystery of the love of the Father working in the Blood of the mediator, to consider by faith the great transaction of divine wisdom, justice and mercy therein — how few attain unto it! To come unto God by Christ for forgiveness and to behold the law issuing all its threats and curses in His blood and losing its sting, putting an end to its obligation unto punishment, in the cross: to see all sins gathered up in the hands of God’s justice and made to meet in the Mediator, and Eternal Love springing forth triumphantly from His Blood, flourishing into pardon, grace, mercy, forgiveness — this the heart of the sinner can be enlarged by the Spirit of God.”
Note the Vicarious Principle — the Blood is the Life Given.
3. The Vivifying Principle — the Blood is Life Giving
“It is the Blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11. The law states “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4. Stern justice demands the death of the transgressor but the Blood makes atonement for the sinning soul. By the Blood God is both just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Psalm 85:10– “Mercy and Truth are met together, Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Where? In a fountain filled with Blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. The precious Blood is life-giving for it has opened the grave. The Great Shepherd of the sheep was brought again from the dead by the Blood of the everlasting Covenant. [“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our LORD Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant”] Hebrews 13:20. Through the Blood we shout in triumph “Death is swallowed up in Victory.”
Thank God the precious, precious Blood has also opened heaven. [“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us”] Hebrews 9:12. Christ entered into heaven with His Own Blood. Notice heaven’s ultimate in Hebrews 12:22 and 24, “The Blood of sprinkling speaketh.” [“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels… And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel”]. Death has no right to the Bloodwashed soul, but the Bloodwashed soul has a right to Heaven.
Note the Vivifying Principle — the Blood is Life Giving.
Bearing this three-fold fundamental in mind I come now to the substance of my message. Before proceeding we must emphasize that we refer to the Cross we refer not to the wood of the Cross but to the work of the Cross. The wood corrupted but the work is incorruptible.
FIRST REASON: THE BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF GOD IN THE ETERNITY PAST
1 Corinthians 2: 7, 8. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of the world knew.”
1 Peter 1:19, 20. “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
Revelation 13:8. “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Consider the expressions, “ordained before the foundation of the world unto our glory,” “foreordained before the foundation of the world,” “slain from the foundation of the world,” and learn that the Blood of the Cross had its inception in God’s heart from all eternity before it ever had its reception in the heart of man in time. The Cross is the Transcending Cross for redemption far transcends creation. Creation cost God His breath; Redemption, His Blood. Creation was the pouring out of God’s language; Redemption was the outpouring of God’s Life. The one is God in speech, the other is God in sacrifice. God can and may make more worlds but God can never make another Cross. [“We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).]
The Cross alone can measure the divine attributes and nature of God. Can omnipotence be measured? Nay, not by any measuring rod of man but still it can be measured. How? By the measure of the Cross. The Blood of the Cross is the utmost of omnipotence. Can omniscience be fathomed? Nay, not by any plumline of man, but still it can be measured. How? By the plumline of the Cross. The Blood of the Cross is the ultimate of omniscience.
Can eternal love be circumscribed? Nay, not by any circle of man, but still it can be circumscribed. How? By the perimeter of the Cross. The Blood of the Cross is the ultra of eternal love. On the summit of Calvary Christ overtopped the topless steeps of divine love for me. Hallelujah! All the attributes of God rise to their full level in the life-tide of Calvary. The Cross is the Transcending Cross.
Again, the Cross is the Descending Cross. It was rooted in the heart of God long before it was planted on Golgotha’s hill crag. It was set on the hills of glory long before it was set up by the hand of man on Calvary. The Cross was an outward public demonstration of what took place in the heart of God in eternity, and it is a bleeding heart that is unveiled. This is thrice-holy ground. No wonder the blazing orb refused to light up that sacred scene and nature convulsed at such an unveiling. The Cross is not the progeny of time, it is the offspring of eternity. The Cross is the Descending Cross.
Further, the Cross is the Ascending Cross. If God reached down and saved men by the Cross and He did, then by the Cross men can ascend to God and they do. The arms of the Cross embrace the two eternities and the Top of the Cross reaches the Eternal One Himself. The Holiest of All in the Blessed City of God is the tree of life, a healing tree, the eternal manifestation of the Old Cross of Calvary. The Cross is the Ascending Cross.
The Blood is the blood of a transcending, descending, ascending Cross of a transcending, descending, ascending Christ Who died for us, rose again for us, ascended for us, lives for us, intercedes for us and is coming for us. Bless His Worthy Name!
In Revelation John records his vision of the throne of the everlasting God. “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:3.
The Eternal One, “the Lord God Almighty which was and is and is to come” is here described as “like a jasper and a sardine stone.” The modern jasper stone is opaque but the jasper of the ancients, we are told, was a bright transparent stone, representing to the eye a variety of lively colours. The sardine (translated in the Revised Version margin as “ruby”) is said to be deep red.
To the eye of John through the transparent jasper there appeared right in the heart of the Throne a deep red, for at the heart of the glorious perfections of the everlasting God there lies the deep red of His eternal redemptive purpose.
So I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ because that Blood lies at the heart of God in the eternity past.
SECOND REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF THE WHOLE BIBLICAL REVELATION
Space would not permit us to enlarge upon the irrefutable fact that the Bible Revelation is a crimson revelation, crimsoned by the Atoning Blood of Christ either symbolically, prophetically or specifically.
We can but glance at the first and last books of the whole sublime volume, Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis we have the genesis of blood in sacrificial atonement. Three men, Adam, Noah and Abraham, step on to the page of inspired history in this book. These men are representative men and federal heads of their own particular seeds. Adam is the Father of the race. Noah is the Father of the New World. Abraham is the Father of the Faithful. Each of these historical persons marked a particular epoch in sacred history, each received a particular promise and was favoured by a particular sign. In Adam the race was jeopardized by the Fall. In Noah the race was judged by the Flood. In Abraham the race was justified by Faith.
The Fall was the great epoch in Adam’s life. The promise immediately after the Fall in Genesis 3:15 has been rightly called the first gospel. [“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.”] The bruising here spoken of necessitates the bleeding, and so the Redeemer’s Blood lies at the heart of the first gospel. The sign to Adam was the cherubim with flaming sword beyond which lay the tree of life. The cherubim in scripture are always related to the mercy seat, and symbolise the mercy of God; the flaming swords symbolise the justice of God, and both in Adam’s sign stand before the tree of life. Thus we have anticipated the great meeting of the justice and mercy of God in the Bloodstream from the Cross of Christ.
To approach the tree of life meant death from the flaming sword which “kept the way.” That flaming sword was plunged into the bosom of Christ and its flames were eternally quenched for the people of God by the precious blood. Through His death Christ has “opened the way.” The sword of the king has a two-fold purpose. It can smite in justice or elevate in grace. The flaming sword which once would have run us through in wrath, now quenched in the blood of the Lamb, elevates us in grace. By a touch of this Bloodstained sword sinners arise sons of God. Through the Atoning Blood of Christ God is just, yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
Adam’s sign has an eternal manifestation. In the actual heavens the cherubim cover the mercy seat, the symbols of the Mosaic Tabernacle being “figures of the true.” [“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us”] Hebrews 9:24. In heaven, as in the Tabernacle’s Holiest of All, there is no flaming sword because the mercy seat is sprinkled by the blood. The tree of life in this eternal setting is free to all. “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse.” Revelation 22:2, 3.
The Flood was the great epoch in Noah’s life. Immediately after the flood God entered into a covenant with Noah and in that covenant gave him the great promise of preservation. The covenant is recorded in Genesis 9:9-11. “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” In the final verses of the previous chapter the reason for the covenant is given. “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:20-22.
The bloodshedding was the basis of the blessing. The altar of sacrifice alone averted the further judgment of God. The curse is not repeated for its fury is quenched in the bloodstream of the burnt offerings. This bloodstream of Noah’s altar was but a type of the greater Bloodstream from the Cross of Christ.
From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord! was charged on Thee?
Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid,
Whate’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room, endured
The whole of wrath Divine;
Payment cannot twice demand—
First, at my bleeding surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.
The sanctity of the blood is also emphasized to Noah and his family. “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Genesis 9:4-6.
God’s distinct command concerning the sacredness of the blood is repeated to all people of all ages. All peoples of all ages can be summed up under three Biblical designations.
1. Without the Law. “For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law.“ Romans 2:12.
2. Under the Law. “The law was given by Moses.” John 1:17. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law,“ Romans 3:19.
3. Under Grace. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17. “For ye are not under the law, but under grace.“ Romans 6:14.
Now to Noah the representative of those without the law God commanded, “Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat,“ Genesis 9:4.
To Moses the representative of those under the law God commanded, “Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.” Leviticus 7:26, 27.
To the apostles the representatives of those under grace God commanded, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well,” (Acts 15:28, 29).
This is the unalterable law of the immutable God. Men are in no wise, whether without the law, under law or under grace, to eat blood. Human life which resulted from the impact of God’s breath upon Adam’s nostrils is not in the flesh and bones, but in the blood. The life of the flesh is in the blood and that life in man, the result not of God’s creating but of God’s breathing, is sacred.
God in His infinite condescension chose that animal blood should be used in sacrifice until the coming of the great sacrifice for sin. It’s only divinely permitted use was as a sacrificial offering and to put it to any other use was to violate the direct command of the Eternal and thus to sacrilegiously destroy it as a type of the precious Blood of the Lamb of God. As a type it was sacred, for it typified the most sacred thing God ever produced, the precious, supernatural, divine and incorruptible Blood of Christ.
The sign to Noah was the bow in the cloud. “And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” Genesis 9:12-17.
We have in Noah’s sign a parallel to Adam’s. In both, mercy and justice symbolically intermingle. The colours of the rainbow are seven. The three upper colours are red, orange and yellow. These colours are all indicated by different degrees of heat and can be seen in any fire. The lower colours are blue, purple and indigo. These are royal and heavenly colours. The central colour is green which is brought about by the intermingling of the blue and the yellow. The symbolism is plain. The fiery colours — red, orange and yellow — typify God’s justice, and the heavenly colours — blue, purple and indigo — God’s mercy. Green, resulting from the intermingling of the justice colours and the mercy colours, symbolises salvation accomplished when “Mercy and Truth met together and Righteousness and Peace kissed each other” at the Cross.
When we turn to the last book of the Bible we come across the rainbow again. Of the throne of the eternal God we read, “There was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Revelation 4:3. In this bow the central colour, green, has overspread the whole. Here a perfected salvation is manifested and it is significant that the seats of the twenty-four elders, twelve representative of the Old Testament saints and twelve representative of the New Testament saints, are said to be in the same position as the rainbow, “round about the throne.” [“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”] Revelation 4:4. They sit in the glory of the rainbow of a complete salvation. Only on redemption ground dare they occupy such an exalted position. Only through the everlasting covenant of grace can they come to such a place. Through the Blood alone in which justice and mercy embrace they wear their white robes and golden crowns. In this rainbow the other colours are lost in the one all-pervading emerald green, for in salvation the attributes of God find their fullest and final harmony. In the blood of Christ the operations of the divine attributes are blended in glorious solution, a solution which solves the great question of sin.
Of the harmony of the divine attributes displayed in the blood, Ralph Erskine, the old Presbyterian seceder quaintly said:
“Mercy cannot be vented without blood; Truth cannot be cleared without blood; Righteousness cannot be vindicated without blood; and Peace cannot be purchased without blood; ‘Without shedding of blood there is no remission’; no mercy to be vented, no peace to be proclaimed; ‘Christ hath made peace by the blood of the cross,’ Col. 1:20. ‘A bloody husband hast thou been unto me,’ said Zipporah; but O how much more may Christ say, A bloody meeting hath this been unto me! ‘Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozra?’ Isaiah 63:1. Why, what is the matter that his garment is dyed with blood? Why? When Mercy and Truth meet together they pressed to be so near one another in him, that they pressed the blood out of his veins; and so it was a bloody meeting; And when Righteousness and Peace kissed each other, it behoved to be in Christ, and so the sword of justice behoved to pierce him through and through; that so these sacred lips might meet and kiss each other in his heart; and so it was a bloody kiss; They kissed each other with such good-will, that Christ was, as it were, bruised betwixt their lips, that the blood might cement and glue them together. One would think, such a bloody kiss would be no pleasant kiss; nay, but, ‘It pleased the Father to bruise him’: They met together on a sea of blood. — Thus it was a bloody meeting.”
Green is also the colour which symbolises perpetuity, the evergreen. “The fashion of this world passeth away” — “But the word of the Lord endureth forever.” 1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Peter 1:25. Salvation is eternal, it never withers or decays. It is the timeless salvation of the Great I AM.
The rainbow as viewed by the Apostle John was a complete circle. Now the rainbow is in reality a complete circle and can be seen as such “if the eye of the observer is in an elevated situation and the sun at a low altitude. The complete circle can often be seen therefore on elevated ground or from an aeroplane. On favourable occasions both primary and secondary bows have been observed as complete circles.”
As Noah viewed the rainbow from Mount Ararat which is 16,696 ft. above sea level, he must have viewed it as a complete circle. Just as in the first book of the Bible the rainbow circle, speaking of justice meeting mercy was displayed, so in the last book of the Bible the rainbow circle again appears but now it is all of green, for salvation is perfected. The full circle symbolises eternity for it never ends. Thus the token to Noah has its eternal manifestation in the emerald circle round about the throne. This, none other than a further symbol of expiation by blood shedding, has, like Adam’s sign its fullest manifestation in eternal glory.
The Call was the great epoch in Abraham’s life. “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” Genesis 12:1. The call was accompanied by a covenant of grace. This covenant of pure grace is stamped with perfection’s number, seven. Its promise is sevenfold.
1. “I will make thee a great nation.”
- “I will bless thee.”
“And make thy name great.”
“And thou shalt be a blessing.”
“And I will bless them that bless thee.”
“And curse him that curseth thee.”
“And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Three, the divine number, is also manifested in the three great “I will’s.” Grace is sovereign grace, the sole prerogative of the Triune God.
The promise to Abraham was the promise of a glorious seed, but before Isaac was begotten, God gave Abraham a sign. The sign was two-fold, the change of name and the token of circumcision. “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” Genesis 17:4, 5. “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” Genesis 17:11-13.
Again, this sign is paralleled to those of Adam and Noah. The change of the name is an evidence of the grace of God. Seven, the perfect number, is four plus three. Four terminates the first part, and five opens up the second part. Therefore five is four plus one. One is the number of the Creator and four is the number of the world. Five speaks of Divine government. As God governs the world in might and mercy, five is the number of grace and power. When God blessed Abram He took the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet He, which equals five, and put it into Abram’s name which is spelt with four Hebrew letters, thus changing it to Abraham which is spelt with five Hebrew letters. in this way the token of grace was given with the blessing of grace.
Circumcision was a type of the justice of God. It involved severe pain with the shedding of blood and the cutting off of the foreskin. (See Genesis 34:25) [“And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males”]. Even in circumcision, however, mercy is manifested. By right the whole man should be smitten, but instead the foreskin is cut off and the flowing of blood stops any further smiting. [“And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.”] Exodus 4:24-26.
Abraham’s sign has also an eternal manifestation. Christ was circumcised in order to fulfill all righteousness. [“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”] Luke 2:21. In Galatians we read: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Galatians 5:3. Now, Christ has absolutely kept the whole law impeccably, and justice is completely satisfied with His perfect obedience. In this connection it is interesting to note that by the shedding of blood at His Cross, Christ voluntarily on our behalf paid the debt of the whole law. Ferrar superbly comments:
“As the East catches at sunset the colours of the west, so Bethlehem is a prelude to Calvary and even the Infant’s cradle is tinged with a crimson reflection from the Redeemer’s Cross.”
The eternal manifestation of Abraham’s sign as with the others is an emphasis upon the grace of God. Abraham’s name was the token of grace. Of Christ we read: “And he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” (Revelation 19:12-13).
Now, the Greek for “word” is logos, having five letters. Its numerical emphasis, like Abraham, is grace.
So we find that these three early signs have their final expression in eternity. There the symbol of justice is lost in the symbol of mercy because of the Blood of the Cross. The cherubim have no flaming sword because the Blood is sprinkled on the mercy-seat. The rainbow round about the throne is an emerald and has no judgment colours because, “Lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,” Revelation 5:6.
The Name stands alone in isolation from the circumcision because He who bears it has “a vesture dipped in blood.”
In heaven, because of the precious Blood of Jesus, Mercy rejoiceth against Justice and Sovereign Grace reigns supreme.
The emphasis on the Blood is carried all through the Bible. Each book unfolds a little more of what Genesis first records and Revelation finalises all that has gone before.
When the Atonement story first began
A lamb was sacrificed for every MAN.
And then when Israel was in Pharaoh’s land,
This sacrifice could for a HOUSEHOLD stand.
Later, a Lamb at the Atonement feast
Was offered for the NATION by the priest.
But last, on Calvary’s Hill, the Lamb of God
Shed for a sinning world His precious Blood.
A Lamb before the world’s foundation slain,
And in the farthest future just the same!
For in the Revelation we are shown
A Lamb, “that had been slain,” amidst the Throne.
“A Lamb,” the pivot of earth’s history —
God’s great, impenetrable mystery.
“Thou has redeemed us by Thy precious Blood,
“And made us kings and priests unto our God.”
“Worthy is the Lamb that once was slain”will be
Our theme of praise throughout eternity.
Hence I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ because that Blood lies at the heart of all the Biblical Revelation.
THIRD REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF THE PURPOSE OF THE INCARNATION
The Birth of Christ was in order to the Bleeding of Christ. With the shadow of the Cross athwart His Person and the cries of the infuriated mob thirsting for His Blood resounding in His ears, Christ said to Pilate, “To this end was I born for this purpose came I into the world.”
From His birth at Bethlehem Christ set His face to go to the Cross. His was ever the Calvary Road. In the Gospel of John the great hour when the tremendous power of the Blood would be released, is continually anticipated. To that hour all the miraculous events of Christ’s life advanced and in that same hour all the purposes of heaven and the counter-purposes of hell converged. The march of the great redemptive purpose of the ages culminated in
The fountain filled with Blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins.
At the commencement of His public ministry just before He miraculously turned the water into wine, Christ exclaimed to Mary, “Mine hour is not yet come.” John 2:4. Is it not significant that His first miracle was to create a symbol of His Blood? As the wine of this miracle was not produced by the usual fermentation, so the precious Blood of Christ was not produced by the usual generation. Both were miraculous products. Through the wine thus created the marriage supper proceeded with joy.
There is, however, another great marriage supper which can only proceed with joy because of that which the wine symbolises, the precious Blood of Christ. Of this supper John records, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:7-9. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14.
In the seventh and eighth chapters of John’s gospel we read: “His hour was not yet come.” John 7:30 and 8:20. This had reference to an attempt of the Jews to kill him. Now the Jews never put to death by blood-shedding. They executed capital punishment by stoning. Christ was not to be killed by stoning. His was to be a death of bloodshedding. His hour was to be an hour crimsoned by the life Blood of His veins. To the enquiring Greeks Christ said, “The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Now is my soul troubled and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour but for this cause came I unto this hour. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me. This he said signifying what death he should die.” John 12:23, 27, 32, 33.
Here again the hour is associated with the death of the cross. The death He should die was the bloody death of crucifixion. With the emblems of the living God, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13, before Him, Christ’s last great discourse commenced with the assurance that He “knew his hour was come.” John 13:1. These discourses, covering chapters thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen of John’s gospel conclude with another reference to the hour. “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32, 33.
From that crucial hour to the believing soul there issues forth in the Bloodstream peace and power. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:20. “And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb,” Revelation 12:11.
It is quite evident that the great object of the incarnation was the Bloodshedding of Calvary. Its blessed culmination was the bloody cross. Daniel defines the incarnation’s mighty purpose thus: “To finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” Daniel 9:24. John declares that the Son of God was manifest —
(a) To challenge and conquer Satan. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8.
(b) To carry and cleanse away sin. “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5.
(c) To commend and convey the love of God. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9.
All these objectives were accomplished when the life-tide of Incarnate Deity was released in the Death of the Cross. The torrent from Calvary’s hill-crag generated sufficient power and to spare, to achieve the great goal of God’s redemptive purpose. I therefore believe in the Atoning Blood because that Blood lies at the heart of the purpose of the Incarnation.
FOURTH REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST
The Blood of Christ is nothing less than the whole redeeming work of Christ in concentrated form. In the crimson gore of Golgotha’s agony comes flowing all the passion of the Substitute for sinners.
Every symbol of Scripture typology and every prediction of Scripture prophecy relating to the sufferings of Christ refer to the Blood.
- Abel’s blood in Genesis has its New Testament counterpart in “the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel,” Hebrews 12:24.
- The passover in Exodus has its New Testament counterpart in “Christ our passover sacrificed for us,” 1 Corinthians 5:7.
- The sin offering in Leviticus has its New Testament counterpart in the One “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24.
- The red heifer which was offered outside the camp in Numbers has its New Testament counterpart in “Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate,” Hebrews 13:12.
- The chosen place of sacrifice in Deuteronomy has its New Testament counterpart in “the place which is called Calvary,” Luke 23:33.
- The scarlet thread from the harlot’s house in Joshua has its New Testament counterpart in the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
- The peace-offering in Judges has its New Testament counterpart in Christ who “made peace for us through the blood of his cross,” Colossians 1:20.
- The redemption in Ruth has its New Testament counterpart in “redemption through his (Christ’s) blood, even the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7.
- The suckling lamb sacrificed in Samuel has its New Testament counterpart in “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29.
- The many offerings in Kings have their New Testament counterpart in “Christ once offered to bear the sins of many,” Hebrews 9:28.
- The altar in Ornan’s threshing floor in Chronicles has its New Testament counterpart in the “altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle,” Hebrews 13:10.
- The continual offerings in Ezra have their New Testament counterpart in the “one sacrifice for sins forever,” Hebrews 10:12.
- The cleansing in Nehemiah has its New Testament counterpart in “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7.
- The lesson of Esther has its New Testament counterpart in the life of the One, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2.
- The intense sufferings of forsaken Job has its New Testament counterpart in the more intense sufferings of Job’s Redeemer who cried out on the bloody tree, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.
- The anticipations in the Psalms have their New Testament counterpart in the propitiation of the Cross. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.
- The wisdom of the Proverbs has its New Testament counterpart in the wisdom of the Cross. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.
- The preaching of Ecclesiastes has its New Testament counterpart in “the preaching of the cross.” “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 and 21.
- The bride in the Song of Solomon has her New Testament counterpart in the Church. “As Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27.
- The sacrificial predictions of Isaiah have their New Testament counterpart at the Cross. “And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” John 19:16-18.
- The outpoured wrath of God in Jeremiah has its New Testament counterpart in Christ crucified “which delivered us from the wrath to come,” 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
- The sorrow of Lamentations has its New Testament counterpart in the Passion of the Christ Who exclaimed, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death,” Matthew 26:38.
- The vision of Ezekiel has its New Testament counterpart in the apocalyptic vision, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth,” Revelation 5:6.
- The great prince of Daniel has its New Testament counterpart in “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen,” Revelation 1:5, 6.
- The love of Hosea has its New Testament counterpart in the great Lover of souls Who, “having loved his own, loved them unto the end,” John 13:1.
- The day of blood and darkness in Joel has its New Testament counterpart in the darkness of the crucifixion. “From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” Matthew 27:45 and 51.
- The mountains which drop sweet wine in Amos have their New Testament counterpart when we come to the “Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel,” Hebrews 12:22-24.
- The deliverance of Obadiah has its New Testament counterpart in the great gospel deliverance. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8, 9.
- The question of Micah, “Is the spirit of the Lord straitened?” has its New Testament counterpart in the exclamation of Christ, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50.
- The gazing stock of Nahum has its New Testament counterpart in the uplifted Christ. “And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.” Luke 23:48.
- The victory of God in Habakkuk has its New Testament counterpart in the victory of the Cross. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:15.
- The Lord’s sacrifice in Zephaniah has its New Testament counterpart in “the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God,” Hebrews 9:14.
- Zerubbabel in Haggai has his New Testament in the Lord of glory, “which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory,” 1 Corinthians 2:8.
- The smitten shepherd in Zechariah has his New Testament counterpart in the One who “by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh,” (Ephesians 2:16, 17).
The common denominator of all this tremendous testimony of the typical and prophetical descriptions of Christ’s sufferings and their actual fulfillment, is the blood. To reject the atoning Blood is to reject the vicarious sufferings of the Incarnate Son of God and to reject these sufferings is to leave mankind hopelessly stranded in the fogs of rationalism and irretrievably wrecked on the reefs of infidelity.
Therefore, I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ because that Blood lies at the heart of all the sufferings of Christ.
FIFTH REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF THE THREE-FOLD WITNESS ON EARTH
“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” 1 John 5:8, 9.
The witness of God on this earth to the fact that His Only Begotten Son, the Eternal Word, has come into the world, is the Spirit, the Water and the Blood. It is the reception of this fact that brings eternal life. Commenting on this verse Bishop Westcott remarks:
“The three personal witnesses are turned to the one absolute end, to establish the one truth (the one, not simply one) that definite Truth which is everywhere through the epistle. The idea is not that of simply unanimity in the witnesses, but that of their convergence (so to speak), on the one Gospel of ‘Christ come in the flesh’ to know which is eternal life.”
Now the Spirit here spoken of is the Spirit of God. The Water is the Word of God. (“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3. “The washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26.) The Blood is the Blood of God. “Feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.
Professor B. B. Warfield comments:
“The reading ‘God’ is as F. J. A. Hort says, ‘assuredly genuine’ and the emphasis upon the Blood being His own is very strong. There is no justification for correcting the text conjecturally as Hort does to avoid this. If reading ‘Lord’ were genuine, the meaning would be precisely the same. ‘Lord’ is not a lower title than ‘God’ in such connections. 1 Corinthians 2:8, ‘They would not have crucified the Lord of Glory’ is an exact parallel.”
The blood of God outpoured upon the tree!
So reads the Book. O mind, receive the thought,
Nor helpless murmur thou hast vainly sought
Thought-room within thee for such mystery.
Thou foolish mindling! Do’st thou hope to see
Undazed, untottering, all that God hath wrought?
Before His mighty “shall,” thy little “ought”
Be shamed to silence and humility!
Come mindling, I will show thee what ’twere meet
That thou shouldst shrink from marvelling, and flee
As unbelievable, — nay, wonderingly,
With dazed, but still with faithful praises, greet:
Draw near and listen to this sweetest sweet, —
Thy God, O mindling, shed His blood for thee!
Now, the Spirit of God is both living and life-giving; the Word of God is both living and life-giving and the Blood is both living and life-giving. Their witness is not a dead witness but a living and life-giving witness.
The blood in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament had a two-fold aspect, death, the slaughter of the victim, and life, the release of the blood which is the principle of life. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Leviticus 17:11.
The shedding of blood was death, the sprinkling of blood was life. In the sacrifice, death resulted in life, i.e., the blood. Death was thus the gateway to life. The blood shed in sacrifice, is always treated as living and active even after the death of the animal sacrificed. For example, on the day of atonement the blood was active in its sprinkling of the mercy seat after its shedding at the altar.
What is true in type is even more so true in what is typified. The Blood of Christ shed in death was the release of the divine Life of Christ and the making available of that Life for the sinner. In the shedding of His Blood Christ offered up His Life to God as an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. In the sprinkling of His Blood Christ offered His life to men as salvation from sin. The Blood shed is the sacrificed Life of Christ propitiating Deity. The Blood sprinkled is the saving Life of Christ regenerating humanity.
The apostle John records concerning Christ’s death a remarkable phenomenon. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” John 19:34, 35.
Bishop Westcott says:
“It has been argued (with the greatest plausibility and authority by Dr. Stroud, ‘The physical cause of the death of Christ,’ that this is a natural phenomenon. The immediate cause of death was (it is said) a rupture of the heart, which was followed by a large effusion of blood into the pericardium. This blood, it is supposed, rapidly separated into its more solid and liquid parts, which flowed forth in a mingled stream, when the pericardium was pierced by the spear from below. But it appears that both this and the other naturalistic explanations of the sign are not only inadequate but also inconsistent with the real facts. There is not sufficient evidence to shew that such a flow of blood and water as is described would occur under the circumstances supposed, and the separation of the blood into its constituent parts is a process of corruption, and we cannot but believe that even from the moment of death the Body of the Lord underwent the beginnings of that change which issued in the Resurrection. The issuing of the blood and water from His side must therefore be regarded as a sign of life in death. Though dead, dead in regard to our mortal life, the Lord yet lived; and as He hung upon the cross He was shewn openly to be the source of a double cleansing and vivifying power, which followed from His death and life.”
This divine paradox, life issuing from death, is emphasised by the Apostle Paul. Writing to the believers in Rome he says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.“ Romans 5:8-10.
Here we have the two aspects of the Blood. Justification in the eyes of God by the Blood shed and salvation from sin by Christ’s life, i.e., the blood sprinkled. “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” Hebrews 10:22.
The uniqueness and vitality of the blood is taught by the writer to the Hebrews when he defines the Blood as “a new and living way.” “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.” Hebrews 10:19, 20. The Blood of Christ is unique, it is new. Never before in the history of man has such Blood been produced. It is unparalleled in haematology.
Again, this Blood is living, it is the fulness of the Godhead in solution. As the living waters bring forth life to the country through which we pass, so this living stream brings God’s life to the wilderness of the world. Itself the vehicle of uncreated life, it creates life in its flow. It is, as we have already seen, living and life-giving.
Stretched on the cross, the Saviour dies,
Hark! His expiring groans arise!
See from His hands, His feet, His side,
Runs down the sacred crimson tide!
But life attends the deathful sound,
And flows from every bleeding wound;
The vital stream, how free it flows,
To save and cleanse His rebel foes!
Now as the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices is represented as being active even after its shedding, so the incorruptible Blood of Christ has been active to the cleansing of sin since it was shed over nineteen hundred years ago. The Blood keeps on cleansing. Its life is unabated; its power is undiminished; its merit is unimpoverished and its value is unlessened.
Dear dying Lamb! Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved to sin no more,
Unlike, however, the blood of the types, the Blood of Christ is not only active after its shedding but it was active long before its release at the cross. Stephen Charnock, the great puritan theologian states:
“Many were delivered from their bonds by God before the payment made by Christ, but not before the payment promised by Him. The blood of this sacrifice as shed reaches us through sixteen hundred years since it was poured out; but the blood of this sacrifice promised by the Redeemer, and receiving credit with God, reached Adam four thousand years before it was shed. God imparted the virtue before Christ actually merited, and freed the captive before the ransom was paid; yet upon the account of the promised merit and contracted ransom, natural causes must be before the effect, moral causes may be after the effect. The blood of Christ cleanseth not as a natural, but as a moral cause. He was in this respect a ‘Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,’ Revelation 13:8; slain federally, though not actually; imputatively, though not really; sententially in the acceptation of the judge, though not executively in the enduring passion; and therefore he was a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world efficaciously, by whose blood the ancient believers were sprinkled, as well as those of a later date.”
Now it is this Blood, living and life-giving, which unites with the testimony of the Spirit of God and the Word of God as the divine witness on earth of the Christ of God. Without the Blood witnessing to the heart of the believer, the witness of the Word and the Spirit would be of none effect. The Blood is necessary to both the witness of the Spirit and the Word. To reject the Blood is to reject the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
So I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ for that Blood lies at the heart of the three-fold witness on earth.
SIXTH REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD LIES AT THE HEART OF THE CHURCH’S MEMORY OF HER LORD
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 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. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
One reason why the Lord’s Supper was instituted was to stir the Church’s memory in order that Calvary in all its solemn significance might be unforgettable. “This do in remembrance of me.” And as the Church participates in this act of remembrance she also proclaims the act of redemption. “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do shew forth (or proclaim) the Lord’s death till he come.”
In the broken bread we have an emblem of the Broken Body. That breaking was in order to the bleeding.
In the poured-out wine we have an emblem of the poured-out blood resulting from the breaking of Christ’s body on the Cross. In the cup we have an emblem of the everlasting covenant, for as the cup holds the wine so the covenant holds out to us all the merits of the precious Blood of Christ. The Blood of the Eternal Christ is the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant. So Christ could say, “This cup is the new testament (or covenant) in my blood.”
The covenant is a covenant in Blood. In the Blood the covenant blessings are secured and sealed to the covenant people. Hence the breaking was in order to the bleeding and the bleeding in order to the blessing. Therefore Paul could say, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 10:16.
The whole centre of the supper is the typifying of the Blood. The broken bread speaks of the Body of Christ stained with the Blood. The broken Body was a bleeding Body. The wine speaks of the Body of Christ drained of every life-drop of Blood. The cup speaks of the Blood preserved, for the benefit of the believing soul.
The Lord’s sacrifice was a crimson sacrifice and the Lord’s Supper is a crimson supper. The Lord’s death was dominated by the Blood. The supper is dominated by that which typifies the Blood.
The Shorter Catechism in answer to the question, What is the Lord’s Supper? states:
“The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.”
The catechism guards against both the Romish and Lutheran errors regarding the ordinance. Rome teaches the transubstantiation of the elements into the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Luther taught the reception of Christ’s real Body and Blood along with the elements. This is called consubstantiation, signifying that the Body and the Blood of Christ is in, with and under the substance of the elements. The Reformed view which I believe is the scriptural one is that the soul alone at the supper partakes by faith of the Body and Blood of Christ. The believing communicant takes by faith the benefits of the Blood and by the act of partaking physically of the bread and wine he proclaims the Lord’s death to his soul, conscience and heart. There is no transubstantiation or consubstantiation here but an appropriation, not in the physical sense but in the spiritual sense only, of the benefits of the Blood shed and sprinkled on our behalf. This appropriation by faith, however, is not confined to the Lord’s Supper. It takes place whenever faith in Christ is exercised. It is in this spiritual sense that we sing as we approach the table —
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.
Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with Thee the royal wine of Heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.
Mine is the sin, but Thine is the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace —
Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God.
To reject the Blood is to destroy the meaning of the sacrament. Hence I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ for that Blood lies at the heart of the Church’s memory of her Lord.
SEVENTH REASON: THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST LIES AT THE HEART OF HEAVEN’S GLORY
In the last book of the New Testament we have the Revelation, the Unveiling, of Jesus Christ. As the curtain is drawn aside in the prologue of chapter one, there is a doxology which sums up the reason for our inheriting heaven. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen,” Revelation 1:5, 6.
We come to heaven through the Blood of the Redeemer.
Revelation places a new and unique emphasis on Christ as the Lamb. Christ crucified is called “the Lamb that was slain,” Revelation 5:12. Christ’s indignation is called “the wrath of the Lamb,” Revelation 6:16. Christ’s union with the Church is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” Revelation 21:9. Christ’s apostles are called “the apostles of the Lamb,” Revelation 21:14. Christ’s record is called “the Lamb’s book of life,” Revelation 21:27. Christ’s Blood is called “the blood of the Lamb,” Revelation 7:14.
Well might Rutherford say:
The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil, is seen:
It were a well-spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between;
The Lamb, with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand;
And glory — glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze on glory,
But on my King of Grace —
Not at the crown He gifteth,
But on his pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.
Now four things are revealed about the Blood in heaven.
1. The Blood is the centre of heaven’s throne.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain (or a newly-slain Lamb), having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Revelation 5:6.
At the centre of the Throne in the eternal heavens is the Blood of our redemption. The Blood is central in the plan of salvation. The Blood is central in the work of redemption. The Blood is central in the Word of God. The Blood is central in the Church of God. The Blood is central in the Mind of God and the Blood is central in the Throne of God in heaven. Around this redemptive and regal centre all God’s purposes revolve. By the blood of Christ in the Throne we are lifted up onto the throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Revelation 3:21. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death,” Revelation 12:11.
2. The Blood is the characteristic of heaven’s dress.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,” Revelation 19:11-14. “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” Revelation 7:13, 14.
Christ’s garments are white, dipped in Blood and the saints’ garments are white being washed in the Blood. Here is taught the great truth that we enter heaven in the garments of our Substitute and Saviour. Clad in the righteousness wrought out by the obedience and Blood of Christ we are acceptable, and not only acceptable but well pleasing to the eye of God. In this wedding garment our hearts shall be as pure as the unstained wool, as spotless as the dew of the morning; no wrinkles upon the brow; no sin upon the soul.
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
This spotless robe the same appears
When ruin’d nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.
3. The Blood is the theme of heaven’s song.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” Revelation 5:9. The Blood provides an inexhaustible subject for the eternal praise of the redeemed in glory. The Blood throughout all eternity has power to awaken in the whole host of heaven an overflowing of joy and thanksgiving. It remains forever the source of heavenly bliss.
The blood has always precious been
‘Tis precious now to me;
Through it alone my soul has rest,
From fear and doubt set free.
O wondrous is the crimson tide,
Which from my Saviour flowed!
And still in heaven my song shall be
‘The precious, precious blood!’
4. The Blood is the apex of heaven’s glory.
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel,” Hebrews 12:22-24.
On the great day of atonement under the Mosaic economy there were seven sprinklings of the blood. At the end of the day there was a bloodmarked way straight from the door of the tabernacle through the two veils into the Holiest of All, and right on to the mercy seat.
1. At the foot of the brazen altar. [“And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”] Leviticus 4:18.
2. Round about upon the altar. [“And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.”] Leviticus 16:19.
3. On the horns of the brazen altar. [“And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.”] Leviticus 16:18.
4. On the horns of the golden altar. [“And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.”] Exodus 30:10.
5. Before the veil. [“And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail.”] Leviticus 4:17.
- Before the mercy seat. [“And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.”] Leviticus 16:14.
On the mercy seat. [“And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.”] Leviticus 16:14.
Now the furniture of the Tabernacle were patterns of the things in the heavens, and the writer to Hebrews reveals what this sprinkling signified. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,” Hebrews 9:11, 12; 22-24.
The Blood opens the door of heaven and leads the way to the throne of heaven, and the Blood is the highest revelation in heaven of the glory of the Lord. The glories of heaven are listed and the final glory is the blood of sprinkling. Finality in the tabernacle on earth was the blood on the mercy seat and finality in the tabernacle in heaven is the Blood. As the glory which overshadowed the camp of Israel arose from the blood-sprinkled mercy seat, so the glory of heaven radiates from the Blood of the Lamb. The Blood is the foundation and finish of heaven’s glory.
Therefore I believe in the Atoning Blood of Christ because that Blood lies at the heart of heaven’s glory.
Sing, O ye sinners bought with blood,
Hail the great Three in One!
Tell how secure the covenant stood
Ere time its race begun.
Ne’er had ye felt the guilt of sin,
Nor sweets of pardoning love,
Unless your worthless names had been
Enroll’d to life above.
O what a sweet exalted song
Shall rend the vaulted skies,
When shouting grace, the blood-wash’d throng
Shall see the Top Stone rise.
Seven Reasons Why I Believe
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley
“The more I study the calamity which follows the rejection of the Bible the more I am convinced that the Bible is the in-breathed Word of God. In view of this impregnable fact, surely we need to get back to the Bible, back to Bible preaching, back to Bible praying and back to Bible practicing. A revival of Bible Christianity alone can save the situation. A rediscovery of the Word of God brought about the glorious Reformation of four-hundred years ago and thank God the Bible dynamite is just as potent today. Let us then let the Bible rule our hearts and homes and refuse to support those who dare to trifle with it in the pulpit. Above all things, let us seize the unfailing promises of the Book and never rest night nor day from prayer until the God of the Bible visits us with a gracious revival.”
Seven Reasons Why I Believe in
THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST
by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley
“When human impotence bows to that answer of divine omnipotence the Miracle of the Virgin Birth can be whole-heartedly accepted. He who questions the Virgin Birth challenges the almightiness of God. To discredit the Virgin Birth is not only to strike at the nature of Christ but at the very power of God.”
Seven Reasons Why I Believe in
THE FULL DIVINITY OF CHRIST
by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley
“Our Lord Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh. God tabernacling in human form. When I say I believe in the full deity of Christ, that is what I affirm. At His birth our Lord Jesu Christ did not begin to exist. He was before all worlds Very God of Very God. Neither did He cease to be God, He was, is and always shall be the Mighty God, the Father of Eternity. At the incarnation God the Son took on another mode of existence by taking into union with Himself an impeccable human nature.”
Seven Reasons Why I Believe in
THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
by Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley
“The Resurrection is essential to Christianity, for by it alone can Christianity be confirmed. The Resurrection is the great corroborator of the Christian gospel. Remove this keystone and the goodly temple crashes into ruin. As life is essential to living so the Resurrection is essential to a living Christianity. Take away the Resurrection and Christianity becomes a dead letter, but another contribution to the world’s Pantheon.”