Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Why Does God Regard Blood as so Important? (GVB)
Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses "Abstain From Blood"? (GVB)
How Important is it for Christains to Abstain From Blood? (GVB)
What is the scriptural basis for the abstinence of blood and is it relevant for Christians today? (SFBT)
If someone you loved needed blood would you let them die because of your beliefs? (jwitness forum)
Is Acts 15:29 only talking about the use of 'ceremonial blood' in pagan rituals? (SFBT)
Is animal bone marrow acceptable to eat? (JWQ&A)
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses allow the use of autologous blood (autotransfusion), such as by having their own blood stored and later put back into them? (SFBT)
Are there any treatments other than blood transfusions for those who suffer from myelodysplastic syndrome? (JWQ&A)
There are different types of treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. (Myelodysplastic Syndromes Treatment; Natl. Cancer Institute)
Do Jehovah's Witnesses accept blood fractions? (jwitness forum)
Should Christians accept bone marrow transplants? (JWQ&A)
The Risks - Useful links (jwitness forum)
Were the commands concerning blood only meant for the Mosaic law? (GVB)
Does God's Moral Principle Concerning Blood Also Apply to Human Blood? (GVB)
Could a Christian Have Any Grounds to Ignore The Prohibition on Blood? (GVB)
Was The Decree to "Abstain From Blood" Only a Temporary Requirement or
Obligation to Christians? (GVB)
Is the Eating or Drinking of Blood Fundamentally Different From Accepting a Blood Transfusion? (GVB)
Should Christians eat red meat since it may contain a trace of blood? (GVB)
Is Refusal of Blood a Form of Suicide? (GVB)
Should Christians Donate Blood? (GVB)
Could God's Moral Principle on Blood be Set Aside in Times of Emergency? (GVB)
Why did the Israelites use blood in sacrifices? (GVB)
Blood as Medicine And The Role of Your Conscience (GVB)
Pages in Defense of Jehovah's Witnesses Stand on Blood
Search For Bible Truths (Blood Category)
Jehovah's Witnesses - Setting the Record Straight
jwitness Forum - JWs and Blood (JWitness Forum)
Legal and Medical Resources Concerning Blood Transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses United)
Blood Transfusion And Outcomes (Medical News Today)
Blood-Related Articles From The Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
Search For Blood-Related Documents From The Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses
Search For Blood-Related Documents From Jehovah's Witnesses United
Blood Transfusions - A Long History of Controversy
Bloodless Medicine and Surgery - Pioneers in Medicine
Bloodless Medicine and Surgery - Some of the Methods
Bloodless Medicine and Surgery - The Growing Demand
Bloodless Medicine and Surgery - The New "Standard of Care"?
Bloodless Surgery-Its Benefits Gain Recognition
How Can Blood Save Your Life?
I Accepted God's View of Blood
Is HIV-Screened Blood Safe?
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Medical Profession Cooperate
Medical Care and Blood
Nonblood Treatment - What Experts Say
Outstanding Conference on Bloodless Surgery in Moscow
SHOWING RESPECT FOR BLOOD; THE ONLY PROPER USE OF BLOOD
Showing Respect for Life and Blood
The Real Value of Blood
Transfusion Medicine—Is Its Future Secure?
What Is the Most Precious Fluid of All?
Links to Information About Bloodless Medicine and Surgery
'Bloodless' surgery avoids risks of transfusion - Techniques first used for Jehovah's Witnesses gaining popularity
Blood Transfusions - Safe Medicine? (Addressing Myths Surrounding Blood Transfusions About Safety)
Blood Transfusions Harmful When Guidelines Ignored
Bloodless medicine and surgery in the OR and beyond
Evidence in favor of bloodless surgery mounts
Jehovah's Witnesses leading education drive as hospitals adjust to No Blood requests
Medicine in a Different Vein: Reducing and Eliminating the Need For Transfusions - University Hospital, Newark, NJ
Meeting Life's Challenges Head On - Krystie's Operation Without a Blood Transfusion
News Video- Bloodless Medicine Makes Doctors More Efficient
The Problem With Transfusions
Treating patients like Jehovah's Witnesses could save lives: expert
Why blood transfusions could be killing patients
Bloodless Medicine and Sugery Hospitals Directory
Network for the Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives
From the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site: "Medical care and Blood" Section.
From the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site: "Bloodless Medicine and Surgery—The Growing Demand"
The University Hospital
Transfusion-Free Cardiothoracic Surgery - University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
Transfusion-free Surgery is a Treatment Plan for All Patients
Swedish Services Bloodless Programs
Video - No Blood - Medicine Meets the Challenge
Video: Transfusion-Alternative Health Care - Meeting Patient Needs and Rights
Video: Transfusion-Alternative Strategies - Simple, Safe, Effective
General Information From the Authorized and Official Websites of Jehovah's Witnesses
Search the Entire Content of Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
Biblical On-line Articles From the INDEX to the Official Jehovah's Witnesses Web Site
Official Jehovah's Witnesses Web Site, On-line Publications and Public Information
View Online Watchtower Articles in Hundreds of Languages
Contact Your Local Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses FAQs
Questions Often Asked By Interested People
Membership and Publishing Statistics
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Later, God's law concerning blood was so important to Him that if an Israelite showed disregard for life as represented by the blood, it was viewed as a most serious wrong. The person deliberately disregarding this law about blood was to be "cut off," executed. (Leviticus 7:26, 27) "This strict injunction not only applied to the Israelites, but even to the strangers residing among them. The penalty assigned to its transgression was the being ‘cut off from the people,’ by which the punishment of death appears to be intended (comp. Heb. x, 28), although it is difficult to ascertain whether it was inflicted by the sword or by stoning." -M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia (1882, Vol. I, p. 834)
But why does God regard blood as so important? In the Bible, the soul is said to be in the blood because blood is so intimately involved in the life processes: "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it." (Lev. 17:11)
God said: "The soul of every sort of flesh is its blood." (Lev. 17:14)
God said: "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." (Gen. 9:4) RSV; Moffatt
The above scriptures do not simply outline a diet restriction. By reasonably examining the above scriptures, it is apparent that God Himself attached a highly important moral principle to blood. God is our Creator and Life-giver. Since He obviously regards life and blood as sacred, He commanded that we view it that way too. By pouring out all the blood that reasonably could be drained out, Noah and his descendants would manifest their regard for the fact that life was from and depended upon the Creator.
God clarified that the same principle would not just apply to animal blood, but to human blood as well...with even stronger force. God said: "Besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. . . . Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man." (Genesis 9:5, 6) If animal blood (representing animal life) was of sacred significance to God, obviously human blood had a sacred significance of even greater value.
"Thus the two prohibitions belong together. They are the most elementary demands of humanity in the literal sense of the word. . . . The permission to eat meat, but without its blood, and the prohibition against shedding human blood indicate the place of man within the world of the living . . . In summary: the reason for the prohibition of blood is of a moral character. . . . Later Judaism regarded this passage as establishing fundamental ethics for every human being." -Genesis (1974), by B. Jacob, edited by E. I. and W. Jacob, p. 64
Andrew Fuller, viewed as "perhaps the most eminent and influential of Baptist theologians," wrote:
"This, being forbidden to Noah, appears also to have been forbidden to all mankind; nor ought this prohibition to be treated as belonging to the ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation. It was not only enjoined before that dispensation existed, but was enforced upon the Gentile Christians by the decrees of the apostles, Acts XV. 20. . . . Blood is the life, and God seems to claim it as sacred to himself." - The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (1836), p. 751.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The applications of the medical handling of blood or blood-derived products has produced questions such as:
"What about accepting small fractions extracted from a primary component of blood, such as serums containing antibodies to fight a disease or to counteract snake venom since some have concluded that such minute fractions are, in effect, no longer blood?"
"What about a Christian's own blood being handled in the course of a surgical procedure, medical test, or current therapy?"
The Jews surely must have faced similar uncertainties with the eating of meat. The Bible is clear that a person obedient to God would not eat unbled meat. Still, questions might have arisen: When an Israelite killed a sheep, how quickly did he have to drain its blood? Did he have to slit the animal’s throat for drainage? Was it necessary to hang the sheep by its hind legs? For how long? What would he do with a large cow? Even after drainage, some blood might remain in the meat. Could he eat such meat? Who would decide? God offered basic guidance on slaughtering clean animals and draining their blood, but he did not go beyond that.—John 8:32.
So how should a Christian who wishes to "abstain from blood" decide the personal medical handling of their blood and/or whether to accept blood-derived medications?
If a Christian who is sincere in abiding by God's moral principle to blood is uncertain about whether to accept certain procedures related to blood-derived medicine or handling, he should learn what God’s Word says and strive to mold his conscience by it. That will equip him to decide in line with God’s guidance rather than asking someone else to make a decision for him. (Psalm 25:4, 5) He would also carefully consider as much accurate information as possible concerning the procedure(s) in question.
Conscience is the inherent ability to weigh and decide matters, often moral issues. (Romans 2:14, 15) But just because something may be a matter of conscience doesn't mean that it is inconsequential. It can be very serious. If your compromise on this issue would trouble your Bible-trained conscience, ignoring it could not only damage your conscience, but also your relationship with God. That relationship is the only one that can lead to everlasting life, based on the saving power of Jesus’ shed blood. Another reason why it is serious is that it can affect others whose conscience may differ. Take for example, Paul’s advice about meat that might have been presented to an idol and was later sold in a market. A Christian ought to be concerned about not ‘wounding consciences that are weak.’ If he stumbles others, he could ‘ruin his brother for whose sake Christ died’ and be sinning against Christ. So personal decisions on this matter should be taken very seriously.—1 Corinthians 8:8, 11-13; 10:25-31
Christians who truly follow God's command to "abstain from blood" do not decline all therapies. They reject just one therapy, which even many experts admit come with dangers.
"In general, refusing medical care is not tantamount to ‘suicide.’ Jehovah’s Witnesses seek medical attention but refuse only one facet of medical care. Refusal of medical care or parts thereof is not a ‘crime’ committed on oneself by an overt act of the individual to destroy, as is suicide." - The American Surgeon, July 1968, p. 542.
Addressing a medical conference, Dr. David Pent of Arizona observed concerning Christians who follow the decree to "abstain from blood":
"Jehovah's Witnesses feel that, should they die because of their refusal to receive a blood transfusion, they are dying for their beliefs in much the same way that the early religious martyrs did centuries ago. If this is passive medical suicide, there are several physicians in the audience right now who are smoking cigarettes, and that probably constitutes just as passive a suicide." -American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, June 1, 1968, p. 395
Should the preservation of life come before any and all principles?
"Human dignity is enhanced by permitting the individual to determine for himself what beliefs are worth dying for. Through the ages, a multitude of noble causes, religious and secular, have been regarded as worthy of self-sacrifice. Certainly, most governments and societies, our own included, do not consider the sanctity of life to be the supreme value." - Rutgers Law Review, Vol. XXVI, 1973, p. 244, Norman L. Cantor, Associate Professor at Rutgers Law School
Monday, August 31, 2009
For instance, suppose you were told by your doctor that you must abstain from alcohol. Would you be obedient if you quit drinking alcohol but had it put directly into your veins?
Or suppose that you have dangerous allergic reactions to a medication, and were warned to abstain from that drug in the future. Would you then rationalize that you would avoid taking the medication orally but could safely inject it into your bloodstream? Of course not. The main point would not be the route of administration, but that you should abstain from that medication altogether.
The exact same principle applies with the decree for Christians to ‘abstain from blood’ whether through the mouth or directly into the bloodstream:
"Those who drag in the use of human blood for internal remedies of diseases appear to misuse it and to sin gravely. Cannibals are condemned. Why do we not abhor those who stain their gullet with human blood? Similar is the receiving of alien blood from a cut vein, either through the mouth or by instruments of transfusion. The authors of this operation are held in terror by the divine law, by which the eating of blood is prohibited."-Thomas Bartholin (1616-80), professor of anatomy at the University of Copenhagen
God required for man to 'abstain from blood' since the days of Noah. The apostolic council (under the guidance of the holy spirit) affirmed this. (Genesis 9:3, 4; Acts 15:28, 29) The early Christians followed this divine and divinely inspired decree and continued to do so down through the centuries. The determination of true Christians today who abstain from blood is based on God’s Word the Bible and is supported by many precedents in the history of Christianity.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Historical evidence is clear and abundant concerning Christians abstaining from blood throughout the following centuries. Note what early Latin theologian Tertullian (c. 160-230 C.E.) stated:
"Let your unnatural ways blush before the Christians. We do not even have the blood of animals at our meals, for these consist of ordinary food. . . . At the trials of Christians you offer them sausages filled with blood. You are convinced, of course, that the very thing with which you try to make them deviate from the right way is unlawful for them. How is it that, when you are confident that they will shudder at the blood of an animal, you believe they will pant eagerly after human blood?" -Tertullian, Apologetical Works, and Minucius Felix, Octavius, translated by Rudolph Arbesmann (1950), p. 33.
And Minucius Felix, a Roman lawyer who lived until about 250 C.E. wrote:
"So much do we shrink from human blood, that we do not use the blood even of eatable animals in our food." - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 192.
"The Primitive Christians scrupulously complied with the decree pronounced by the Apostles at Jerusalem, in abstaining from things strangled and from blood." -The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries (1845), by John Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, p. 146
God said: "Besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. . . . Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man." (Genesis 9:5, 6) If animal blood (representing animal life) was of sacred significance to God, obviously human blood had a sacred significance of even greater value.
To eliminate any doubt, God’s law prohibited consuming "any sort of blood," "the blood of any sort of flesh." (Leviticus 17:10, 14)
Tertullian (c. 160-230 C.E.) wrote: "The interdict upon ‘blood’ we shall understand to be (an interdict) much more upon human blood."—The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 86.
"And on that day they kept striking down the Phi·lis´tines from Mich´mash to Ai´ja·lon, and the people got to be very tired. And the people began darting greedily at the spoil and taking sheep and cattle and calves and slaughtering them on the earth, and the people fell to eating along with the blood. So they told Saul, saying: "Look! The people are sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood." At this he said: "YOU have dealt treacherously. First of all, roll a great stone to me." After that Saul said: "Scatter among the people, and YOU must say to them, ‘Bring near to me, each one of YOU, his bull and, each one, his sheep, and YOU must do the slaughtering in this place and the eating, and YOU must not sin against Jehovah by eating along with the blood.’" - 1 Samuel 14:31-34
Some of the soldiers of Israel became extremely hungry after a long battle and slaughtered sheep and cattle and "fell to eating along with the blood." Their aim was not to deliberately eat blood, but they did end up hastily eating the meat from animals that were not bled properly. Did the fact that this seemed to be an "emergency" excuse their course? No. Their action was labeled as "sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood."
"The soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul [or life] in it."—Leviticus 17:11.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So, according to the scriptural admonition above, the practice of voluntarily donating blood simply to be stored for some future use appears to conflict with the method of handling blood prescribed by the Bible.
The decision was made, and as they themselves stated, was made in accord with God’s holy spirit:
"The holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper."—Acts 15:28, 29.
So the divine prohibition against blood applies to Christians today. Throughout human history, God consistently made it clear for humans to abstain from blood. God began with commanding Noah and his family to abstain from blood. (Gen. 9:4) He repeated this through the Mosaic law (Le 7:26,27; 17:10, 11, 13, 14) and He continued to remind us through the pages of the New Testament. (Acts 15:28, 29; Acts 15:19, 20)
"This law [of abstaining from blood] was ancienter than the days of Moses, being given to Noah and his sons, long before the days of Abraham: and therefore when the Apostles and Elders in the Council at Jerusalem declared that the Gentiles were not obliged to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, they excepted this law of abstaining from blood, and things strangled, as being an earlier law of God, imposed not on the sons of Abraham only, but on all nations, while they lived together in Shinar under the dominion of Noah: and of the same kind is the law of abstaining from meats offered to Idols or false Gods, and from fornication." (Italics his) -The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, by Sir Isaac Newton (Dublin, 1728, p. 184)
"It ought to be observed, that this prohibition of eating blood, given to Noah and all his posterity, and repeated to the Israelites, in a most solemn manner, under the Mosaic dispensation, has never been revoked, but, on the contrary, has been confirmed under the New Testament, Acts xv.; and thereby made of perpetual obligation."—Joseph Benson; Benson’s Notes, 1839, Vol. I, p. 43.
"Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU." (Gen. 9:3)
However, God specifically pointed out that the "flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat." (Gen. 9:4)
God commanded that, before eating the flesh of an animal, His people were to pour out its blood on the ground and cover it with dust, being careful not to eat the blood, on pain of death. (De 12:23-25; Le 7:27) The forbidding of the eating of animals strangled or not drained of blood was repeated by the governing body of the early Christian congregation.
So when someone carefully takes the strict precautions that God outlined by making sure that an animal is properly bled before consumption, they would not be breaking God's command of eating blood. Since God Himself has issued these directions, obviously, if properly done, God does not have a problem with eating the meat from "every animal".
However, if someone else had a problem with eating meat, the apostle Paul pointed out that flesh is not absolutely essential to man as food and he said that if his eating of meat was a source of stumbling to other Christians, he would "never again eat flesh at all." -Rom. 14:21; 1Co 8:13
"God and men view things in very different lights. What appears important in our eye is very often of no account in the estimation of infinite wisdom; and what appears trifling to us is often of very great importance with God. It was so from the beginning."—An Enquiry Into the Lawfulness of Eating Blood, Alexander Pirie, 1787.
The above quote can be well illustrated by the opinions of millions of churchgoers. They would probably agree that Christian ethics involves not venerating idols and not sharing in gross immorality. Yet, the apostles put avoiding blood on the same high moral level as avoiding those wrongs.
Also, a closer examination of the wording used at Acts 15:28, 29 shows how important it is for Christians to "abstain from blood":
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials ['these necessary things' - RSV]: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell." [emphasis added] -Acts 15:28, 29 (NASB)
The wording of the scriptures here does not indicate that this is a relatively unimportant commandment. It says it is "essential".
Many view the use of blood essentially as a matter of medical judgment, and there is an increasing number who are concluding that there is much less risk to their health by accepting bloodless medicine and surgery. Yet the stand taken by Christians who are true followers of God is above all a religious one; it is a position based on what the Bible says..."abstain from...blood." (Acts 15:28, 29)
People who recognize their dependence on the Creator and Life-Giver should be determined to obey His commands:
"O man, who, then, really are you to be answering back to God? Shall the thing molded say to him that molded it, "Why did you make me this way?" What? Does not the potter have authority over the clay?" -Rom. 9:20, 21
Christians who are true followers of God are fully convinced that it is right to comply with God’s law commanding abstention from blood even when tested to the limit. They want to live, but they will not try to save their life by breaking God’s laws:
"For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it." -Matthew 16:25.
Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life." -John 11:25
"The judicial decisions of Jehovah are true; they have proved altogether righteous. . . . In the keeping of them there is a large reward."—Psalm 19:9, 11.