The Voice of the Blood
From the beginning blood has been regarded by God as a most precious thing. In Genesis we read where God spoke to Cain, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (4:10). Note these three things from this first mention about blood.
- Blood has a voice.
- Blood has a loud voice—it cries!
- Blood has a loud voice that God heard.
Next notice the intriguing, instructive, and significant words in Hebrews. “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 than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22,24).
In Genesis Abel’s blood cried. In Hebrews the blood of Christ speaks. Indeed, there is a voice in the blood!
- Abel was a shepherd. Christ is the good shepherd who gave His life for the sheep.
- Abel died a violent death at the hand of a relative. Christ died a violent death at the hand of His own nation.
- Abel’s blood cried and God heard it. Christ’s blood speaks and God hears it.
- Abel testified of the righteousness of God. Jesus was the righteousness of God!
- Abel died by force. Christ died willingly.
- Abel died because of his sacrifice. Christ died as the sacrifice.
- Abel’s blood cried for revenge. Christ’s blood cries for remission.
- Abel’s blood polluted the ground. Christ’s blood is preserved in heaven.
From the shedding of blood in Eden to clothe our first fallen parents to the great throng in Revelation who sing of the blood of the Lamb, the Bible is a book of blood. The beginning and the end, and everything in between, unfolds the imperative of the blood.
When Abel died, a mysterious voice went up beyond the skies and moved the heart of eternal justice. Abel’s blood spoke against Cain, but the blood of Christ speaks for us. Christ’s blood pleads before the eternal throne and it speaks better things than that of Abel!
The Blood Speaks Of Sacrifice
The blood of Christ is the center of the gospel.
The blood of Christ is the pivot of God’s plan of salvation.
The blood of Christ is the great heart of gospel revelation.
“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold …, But with the precious blood of Christ, Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet.1:18- 20).
Christ didn’t just die; He was slain. Jesus died a vicious and cruel death. He was the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world. Ian Paisley said there was a conception of the Cross in the mind of God long before there was a reception of that Cross in the heart of man. Christ was born to bleed. From His birth in Bethlehem, Christ set His face toward Calvary. The great hour when the tremendous power of the blood was to be released is anticipated continually throughout Scripture.
- In Genesis Abel’s blood cried from the ground, but in Hebrews we read the blood of Christ “speaketh better things.”
- The Passover in Exodus has its New Testament counterpart in 1 Corinthians 5:7 where Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
- The sin offerings in Leviticus have their New Testament complement in Christ, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).
- The red heifer offered outside the camp in Numbers has a New Testament realization in “Jesus … that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12).
- The chosen place of sacrifice in Deuteronomy has its New Testament counterpart in the place called Calvary (Lk. 23:33).
- The scarlet thread from the harlot’s house in Joshua has a New Testament correspondent in 1 Cor. 6:11, “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.”
- The Redemption in Ruth has its New Testament parallel in Christ through whom “we have redemption through his blood” (Eph. 1:7).
- The numerous offerings in Kings have their New Testament counterpart in Christ who “was once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28).
- The intense sufferings of Job are merely a foreshadow of Job’s Redeemer who cried on the bloody tree, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46).
- The outpoured wrath in Jeremiah has a New Testament complement in Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:10).
- The three days Jonah spent in the belly of a great fish has a New Testament counterpart in the “Son of man who spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).
- The smitten shepherd in Zechariah has its New Testament counterpart in the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep (John 10:11).
John the Baptist cried, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” Where among sons of men could blood be found that was:
- rich enough to pay the tremendous debt of sin?
- precious enough to satisfy divine justice?
- strong enough to cancel our appalling debt?
- pure enough to usher in the reign of righteousness?
- powerful enough to crush the devil?
What voice is that which speaks for me
In heaven’s highest court for good,
And from the curse has made me free?
Tis Jesus’ precious blood.
Christ lived a sinless life. He was a spotless example. With perfect consecration He preached righteousness. But only His blood could save!
“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. . .but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb.9:22-23,26).
Christ’s blood speaks of an acceptable sacrifice.
The Blood Speaks Of Substitution
In Leviticus 16 we find the unique and interesting teaching of the “scapegoat” which is not found anywhere else in the Bible. Aaron, God’s high priest, would take two goats, one for the Lord as a sin offering, and the other for a scapegoat.
“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat … And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited” (v. 21).
When Aaron put both his hands on the head of the scapegoat, He would then transfer man’s guilt to the animal by confessing the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of the Israelites. The scapegoat, the sinbearer, was then banished from Israel. Someone had to bear the sins of the people, either the individuals themselves, or a substitute.
Isaiah, the evangelical prophet, foresaw the substitutionary death of Christ as he wrote, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows … he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:3-4).
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).
The blood of the sacrifice was given that the life of the offerer might be preserved. The sacrificial system meant death for the sacrifice, but life for the sacrificer.
When many think of Christ’s blood, they think only of death, but Christ’s blood also speaks of His life. Jesus’ death was the gateway to life. Christ’s death strangled death and put death to death. He was raised by the power of His own blood. And because He lives we shall live also! His was not only a life given for men but also a life given to men. This wonderful truth of substitution is also pictured in the Passover.
There was a dreadful night coming in Egypt—the destroying angel would go all through the land to destroy God’s enemies. In preparation for this terrible event, imagine the Jewish father who takes his firstborn son by the hand, and walks down to his flock. There the father picks out a little lamb and says, “We are going to keep this lamb for 14 days.” The little boy says, “Why, Daddy?” The father replies, “Because that little lamb is going to die for you. If the lamb is not killed, you will be killed.” When the 14th day came, the father took his firstborn and he slaughtered the lamb and preserved its blood. He put it in a basin. Then he took a piece of hyssop and dipped it in the blood and struck the sideposts and top of the door. He then took his son by the hand and walked through that crimson archway into their house and shut the door and ate the roasted lamb. Can you imagine the little boy saying, “Daddy, what is going to happen at midnight?” The father replied, “Every firstborn son who has not walked through the blood-stained doorway will die.” The little boy is frightened, “Daddy, will I die?” “No, son, you will not die because that lamb has died for you,” his Dad replies.
The death angel couldn’t enter some houses. It was not the type of dwelling. It was not the type of people in the dwelling. One was no better than the other. The difference was not on the inside, but on the outside! It was the blood on the lintel that caused God to pass over. “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” The blood was for God! The lamb had died in place of the firstborn. When Jesus died, there was not only substitution, but also restitution, or satisfaction.
The Blood Speaks Of Satisfaction
The constitution of God’s moral government demands that sin be punished. “The wages of sin is death.” “The soul that sins shall die.” Death is the penalty for sin. God’s truth had to be honored. God’s holiness had to be vindicated. God’s justice had to be satisfied.
Under the Old Covenant Israel met with God on His terms in the Tabernacle. There were vessels of ministry in the tabernacle: the altar, the laver, the candlesticks, the incense altar, the veil, the Holy Place, the Ark of the Covenant, and the mercy seat. The High Priest alone was allowed inside the veil once a year. And he could only enter the Holy Place with a bowl of blood. Once inside the priest would take the blood and sprinkle the Mercy Seat. This Mercy Seat was a sacred place. It was where God’s presence dwelt. And this sprinkling of blood was a moral necessity to restrain the righteous wrath of God against sin. It took blood to propitiate (appease) God’s holy anger. The Old Testament shedding and sprinkling of blood is the shadow, but Christ is the substance!
All that man had done to offend God finds an answer in the blood of Christ. The demands of Holy God are fully satisfied in Christ’s death. “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin … He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isa. 53:10-11). Our guilty shame, tremendous debt, hellish thoughts, hideous past, and sinful nature are fully, totally, and absolutely satisfied by the blood of Jesus. He has made full restitution for my soul!
But the cost was not cheap. Jesus bore the pain; Jesus bore the penalty; Jesus suffered the torment; and Jesus suffered the separation. He was even forsaken by God the Father, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat.27:46). Then He cried, “It is finished!” The price had been paid. The work was done and the proof that God was satisfied is the resurrection.
But the blood not only speaks Godward, it also speaks manward. Christ’s blood was shed, then it was sprinkled! “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb. 9:22). Here is a New Testament reference to an Old Testament incident! Just like the blood was applied to the doorpost, so our own hearts are sprinkled by the power of Christ’s blood!
Whenever there is a guilty conscience and a believing mind, the blood speaks with a tender, sweet, and inviting voice. What does the blood say? It speaks, “Your sins are forgiven. You are reconciled. You are accepted in the beloved. You shall never perish.”
There is no sound more piercing, more potent, and more prevailing than the voice of Christ’s blood. It satisfies both the justice of God and the guilt of man!
The Blood Speaks Of Cleansing
Charles Spurgeon said, “There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus.”
The blood is still active in cleansing from sin for, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The life of the blood is unabated. The power of the blood is undiminished!
- The blood redeems.
- The blood justifies.
- The blood sanctifies.
- The blood cleanses!
The blood is central in the Word of God. The blood is central in the mind of God. The blood is central in the church of God.
In Genesis how did God clothe our first fallen, shamefaced, naked parents in Paradise Lost? He shed blood and made coats of skin to clothe them.
In Revelation there is a great company around the throne. Who are they? These are those who have “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14). In Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained there are garments of Blood. Someone said blood was characteristic of heaven’s dress. What is heaven’s dress code? “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!” The great truth taught here is that we enter heaven in the garments of our Substitute, clad in the righteousness of Christ! This ought to make your heart leap!
We read forty-one times in the Old Testament that the lamb used in the Levitical sacrifices was to be “without blemish.” In the New Testament we read of our Lamb: “In Him was no sin” (1 Jn 3:5); “Who did no sin” (1 Pet. 2:22); and “Who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21).
No wonder we find such power in the sinless, spotless Lamb who “washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).
If the blood of bulls and goats sanctified the unclean under the Old Covenant, “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).
The Blood Speaks Of Peace
“Having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). Christ’s blood is peacekeeping blood as opposed to enmity-arousing blood. It speaks better things than that of Abel.
Abel’s blood for vengeance pleaded to the skies.
But the blood of Jesus for my pardon cries.
Abel’s plea prevailed; Cain was punished. But Christ’s blood pleads for mercy!
The blood has always precious been,
‘Tis precious now to me;
Through it alone my soul has rest,
From fear and doubt set free.
Spurgeon said, “The wounds of Jesus have become doors of grace through which divine love comes forth to the vilest of the vile.” Does the blood of Christ speak peace to your heart? “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!” Do you hear the voice of the blood?
There is no mercy to be vented without blood. No righteousness to be vindicated without blood. And no peace to be purchased without blood!
The Blood Speaks Of Victory
Have you ever noticed that all the hymns about the blood are songs of victory? The blood also provides an inexhaustible subject for eternal praise in the heavens.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy … for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). The blood is victory over Satan. The Enemy of our souls is called, “Adversary”, “Angel of Light”, “Father of lies”, “Accuser of the brethren.” In Revelation 12 “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (vs.11).
Throughout history Satan has sought to cast doubt upon the character of God. Back in Eden he questioned Eve, “Hath God said?” In the wilderness temptation the slanderer questioned Christ, “If thou be the Son of God?” Thank God, while Satan is not yet silenced, we have victory over all doubts and hard thoughts toward God because, “The prince of this world has been judged”!
Victory over the world! Victory over death! Victory over hell! Victory over sin!
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.
Oh, what a sweet exalted song
Shall rend the vaulted skies
When shouting grace, the blood-wash’d throng
Shall see the Top Stone rise.
Yes, the blood speaks! It speaks to God. It speaks to the guilty conscience of man. This is not a superstition, or mere theory, or philosophical escape, or mystical daydream. This is the voice of the blood. And it speaks better things than that of Abel! Do you hear the voice of the Blood?
Editor’s Note: Much of this material was taken from Ian R. K. Paisley’s Expository Sermons and the sermons of Charles Spurgeon.