The Bible speaks about the significance and the role of blood and God clearly defines His Will regarding blood. It can be summarized in the following points:
1.God forbids the consumption of blood.
“Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” Gen 9, 3-4
“But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.” Deut 12, 16
“But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat.” Deut 12, 23
a) God forbade the consumption of blood as an ordinance for generations to come.
“This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood." Lev 3, 17
b) Whoever broke that law was to be cut off from the people.
“And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people.” Lev 7, 26, 27
c) This law applied to all aliens living in the land.
“Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood--I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people.” Lev 17, 10
In Acts of the Apostles, at the time of the dispute between Paul and Barnabas about the circumcision of converted pagans, brothers were to make a decision on this issue. The apostles and the elders decided that pagan believers should refrain from eating anything with blood in it and sent the following message to Antioch, Syria and Sicily with Barnabas, Paul, Judas and Silas:
“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.” Acts 15, 28-29
The Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, showed, right at the foundation of the church, that refraining from consuming blood applies to every believer.
d) God also said why the consumption of blood is forbidden:
“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Lev 17, 11
“…because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.” Lev 17, 14
2. The blood of animals was used on the altar to make atonement for life and to cleanse from sins.
“I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.” Lev 17, 11
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Heb 9, 22
3. God forbade the shedding of another person’s blood.
“And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” Gen 9, 5-6
4. God’s curse falls on those who shed an innocent person’s blood.
“Cursed is the man who kills his neighbor secretly. Then all the people shall say, "Amen!”
“Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!”
5. God hates those who shed innocent blood.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,…” Prov 6, 16-17
6. As a result of the shedding of blood, the land is polluted.
“Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.”
7. God Himself will punish the inhabitants of the land for the shedding of blood.
“See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.” Isaiah 26, 21
“You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble. The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” Obad 1, 14-15
In II Samuel 21, 1- 14 we read that as a result of Saul’s guilt of the shedding of the blood of the Gibeonites, there was a famine in Israel. David, when seeking God’s face, received that answer to the question of why there was famine. He summoned the Gibeonites and asked how he could make amends and bless the Lord’s inheritance. The Gibeonites demanded 7 male descendants of Saul be put to death on a hill before the Lord at Gibeah. David took the bones of Saul and Jonathon and those who had been killed and buried them in Zela in the land of Benjamin. From then on, God answered prayer of behalf of the land. It can be seen that the guilt of the shedding of blood was forgiven through the shedding of the sons and grandsons of those who originally shed the blood. This story shows us that the responsibility for the shedding of blood falls even on the second generation. The number seven is the number of fullness, which is why that number had to be exposed for the forgiveness of sins. This can be compared to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the Cross, which was perfect and complete and only through His blood can there be atonement for the guilt of the shedding of innocent blood.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2, 2
The Lord Jesus is our advocate for every sin committed by human kind, and this included the sin of the shedding of blood. For the cry and the call of innocent blood ever shed, He Himself makes intercession in Heaven with His blood and asks His Father for forgiveness. We have a perfect High Priest in Heaven whose blood is living hope for us.
“O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.” Job 16, 18-19
“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence.” Heb 9, 24
8. God describes Himself as the avenger of blood
“For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.” Psalm 9, 12
9. Blood can speak and cry out.
Cain, who killed his brother Abel, first shed innocent blood.
“The Lord said, What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.” Gen 4, 10
We can see that the blood of Abel calls out to God. Cain was weighed down by the blood of Abel, which cried out to God for judgment and God’s justice.
God did not remain indifferent to the voice of this blood crying out to Him. He Himself showed Cain his guilt who was then cursed on the Earth- this means the blood of Abel caused judgment and cursing of Cain’s earthly life. Cain’s life was to be cursed for the shedding of his innocent brother’s blood. The blood of Abel cried out for judgment and cursing of the one who shed his blood and it can do nothing else for it is innocent blood.
In the former Nazi German concentration camp KL Auschwitz Birkenau, the words are written in Hebrew and Polish on the walls of block 27.
“Your brother’s blood calls out to me from the ground.“ Gen 4, 10
Visitors to the former camp remember those who were murdered and their innocent blood which was shed. This blood calls out just as Abel’s. During March of the Living the names of the dead are read out, in so doing the blood of Abel is continually recalled along with its voice which demands judgment, justice and cursing. As a result, the land and those who shed innocent blood are under a curse. We, as we go to places like Auschwitz- Birkenau, remember that the blood of those murdered here speaks with the same voice as Abel. In the face of this, we are helpless and see no way out. The Holocaust is a hopeless situation. There is only one solution to be found in the Bible. Just as the blood of the one who shed blood had to be shed for the forgiveness and cleansing, so Jesus made atonement with His innocent blood for the sin of the shedding of innocent blood, including His own. It is written in Hebrews that the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel:
“… to the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Heb 12, 24.
When the Lord Jesus was being crucified, His blood was shed for all sins for their forgiveness and justice.
“And Jesus cried, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23, 34
At the crucifixion of Jesus, as His blood was shed, it received the power to forgive through the declaration of Jesus. This bloods pleads for justification and forgiveness of all sins, it pleads freedom from judgment and is a blessing for every person. The blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses us from all sin as we confess them and then justified, we have a testimony to His blood in our inner being.
We can confess that we have forgiveness through the blood and as we break bread and take the cup, we remember the blood of Jesus and declare His blood, which speaks a better word. This is precisely why God told us to break bread at the Selection Site and declare the blood of Jesus speaks a better word over the blood of Abel. We want the blood of Jesus to speak to the history of this Auschwitz- Birkenau, to its present and future. We want it to speak to the past of forgiveness and righteousness, to the present of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation, to the future of living hope and blessing. This place can only be a place of blessing through the blood of Jesus and its voice.
We will continue to declare the blood of Jesus over this place so that it will receive living and eternal hope. Our responsibility as the church is to restore the correct significance of the blood of Jesus concerning Israel, to repent of the guilt of the shedding of innocent blood, and to declare the power of His blood over the blood of Abel.
The Jewish People have been blamed for centuries for the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and the shedding of His blood. This led to hate, suffering and eventually to the Holocaust. It is a tragedy that because of mistaken theology and misunderstanding of the significance of the blood of the Lord Jesus the Jews were blamed and persecuted for shedding of Jesus’ blood. In so doing, the blood of Jesus became the blood of Abel. It is the theology of replacement of the blood of Jesus which has been made into a curse. However, the blood of Jesus has never been and will never be a curse, and will never call out for revenge as the blood of Abel does.
“All the people answered, “Let His blood be on us and on our children!” Matt 27, 25.
When the people of Israel said these words, they thought that they were taking the blame for the shedding of innocent blood, Abel’s blood. They were not aware that the blood of Jesus is not the same as the blood of Abel. They called on themselves the blood of Jesus, which, in contrast to the blood of Abel, cries out for forgiveness and justice and in so doing is stronger than the blood of Abel. The people called down forgiveness and blessing. When we declare the blood of Jesus over us, our children, we always call for protection, forgiveness, victory and blessing. It is our responsibility as the church to restore the correct significance of the blood of Jesus. We turn away from the sin of blaming the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus and the shedding of His blood. Jesus came to die and willingly laid down His life as an atonement for our sins.
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” John 10, 18
Ultimately, it is God who takes responsibility for the death of the Lord Jesus, He saw our poverty and sin and sent His only beloved Son through the nation of Israel- a nation loved on account of the forefathers. God, in His love, took on that responsibility when He sent His Son to die for our sins at Golgotha. We can see, in these last days, that God is being gracious and giving the church the chance to turn from all falsehood and to preach the truth about the blood of the Lord Jesus. We may no longer blame the Jews for the killing of Jesus and Christ into Abel, and Israel into Cain. Israel, like Cain, is stigmatized, blamed for the death of Christ. We must free this nation from this stigma through our attitude of humility before God and confessing our sin in this in the past and the present. We must release Israel through our proclamation in the Name of Jesus at the Selection Site and confession that Israel is not responsible for the shedding of Jesus’ blood. We need also to confess that the blood of the Lord Jesus is a blessing to them and their children. It is our responsibility as the church. Let us as the church from many nations restore the correct understanding of the blood of Jesus. May the voice of His blood speak a better word and free this place from cursing and judgment. May it bring freedom and blessing for this city and this land.
We in Oswiecim feel the stigma of the shedding of innocent blood in Auschwitz- Birkenau. The innocent blood, the blood of Abel shed here has scarred this city, which is why it needs a release from the guilt of the shedding of innocent blood. This can take place when we repent of our guilt and declare the blood of Jesus.
Oswiecim needs this declaration, the nations at the Selection Site need this declaration, and Israel needs this declaration. It is our vision and living hope to declare the blood of the Lord Jesus over the blood of Abel on the Selection Site. The blood of Jesus has victory over cursing and it brings blessing. Only it is able to turn a place of cursing into a place of blessing.
Translated by Karen Forth