…what Post Observers say about Pleading the Blood of Jesus

Introduction

Thanks so very much for your continuous interest in this blog. In the last two posts, we have been considering the topic, “pleading the Blood of Jesus”: A Common Error   in Prayer. We thank God for the education and blessing that this topic has been to us. We want to specially thank those of you dimmed it fit to drop a comment or two on the post. We have seen those some comments as very valuable especially to our subject of discussion. So, to round-up this topic, we felt it will be good to let you read some of these comments:

Toyosi Awesu, Canada, April 27, 2010 at 4:13am

Hi my brother, just read a few of your articles and I must say that I’m impressed. You are doing a great job educating people (especially African Christians) about biblically sound theology. I applaud your efforts in speaking on these issues. God bless you.
Harunah Tukurah, Kenya, April 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm
I appreciate your courage in discussing the wrong usage of the blood of Jesus that I hear a lot from Christians especially some respected men and women of God. You quoted two passages that some are backing up their usage of the blood but I think the Bible itself is more inclined to the use of blood for cleansing and not for protection. Time is not on my side to support my position with scriptural passages at the moment. God bless you.
Saul Mulama, Kenya, April 27, 2010, at 12:21 noon
The name of Jesus is sufficient for the christian. Christians must learn what it means to call on the name of Jesus and the Bible has guaranteed victory when we call in the name of Jesus. Christians are also called upon to live their lives just as Jesus did. Pleading the blood has no biblical backing. Thanks for these reflection and I have no doubt that Christians that get the chance to read it will find it helpful.
Dele Adeniyi, Nigeria, April 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm
The blood of Jesus as atonement for our sin the bible made clear, pleading it unending is an act of over religious activity to appear an authority on our own. You will be hearing “I plead the blood of Jesus” that “I” before the congregation send a lot of message especially now that christian always want some body to be “doing” prayers for them. But more importantly that we ALL get to heaven at the end.
The Berean Girl, USA, April 24, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hi Moses,

Thank you for this article, I agree call upon His name, Jesus! I read another article about this same subject, which gave many scriptures to support the truth and by reading them for myself I have found that the erroneous use of Jesus’ blood as a “talisman” for protection from danger to be just that – a grievous error. And to my shame I have been so guilty of using it and have since asked God for forgiveness in applying this error to my life- Thanks be to God He is faithful and just to forgive us from all unrighteousness and for Jesus who ever makes intercession for us. By “pleading” the blood of Jesus for protection we are profaning it by making it not only common but using it for the wrong purpose for which it was intended – not a small thing to God – just ask the guy who “saw the writing on the wall”. (read the account of which I refer to in Dan. 5)Satan wants to profane Jesus’ blood which was shed for the remission of our sins not our protection, the name of the Lord is called upon for protection – look it up, do a word study and you will find that even then protection is iffy. For example, if the blood was truly meant for our protection then why did all the apostles suffer great bodily harm and die martyr’s deaths? Paul lists the many things he suffered for Jesus in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles – did Paul or the rest of the apostles not know about the “power” of pleading the blood of Jesus’ to save them from these calamities and certain death? The only apostle that escaped martyrdom was John, yet he suffered for the gospel as well, he never mentions pleading the blood for protection, why did these men of God suffer so much for the gospel of Jesus? Jesus said we would suffer these things because the world hated Him and it will hate us … any good soldier will tell you that war is hell and to get stronger you will have to go through some “stuff”. Back to John, he was the apostle of love… does that mean the other apostles did not walk in love ?- no. I just believe that John had the greatest revelation of love – get it – “revelation”! Whenever the Bible, New or Old Testament, speaks of blood it is in relation to sin and cleansing – it is used for atonement – look it up, do a word study on “blood” – it is easy. Why isn’t that good enough for some people? It is good enough for God. As for the account in Exodus – the blood on the door posts was contingent upon their obedience, if they were to disobey His command, they were dead meat – thankfully all of Israel obeyed. This account – the passover, is a symbol and foreshadowing of salvation, not protection. I urge all who call themselves Christians to wake up and read the Bible for themselves and not just read, but dig, and study, question, seek and you will find- do not just take what is spoon fed to you – be a Berean! Paul commended them for searching the scriptures, which was to them the Old Test. If you are not reading and studying the Old Test there by laying a firm foundation for the New Test, you will be easily duped- Paul did not condemn the Bereans for searching scripture to see if his teachings were Biblical and then scream – “Thou shall not touch God’s anointed!” as some wolves do when their doctrines are second guessed these days. And when we do read the Bible we need to take it in context, do not chop it up, but read the whole chapter go get the full meaning and study it – thanks to the dumbing down in America and elsewhere the art of reasoning and logic are fast disappearing. My friends – God is not some “cosmic genie” that hearkens to His word, spoken out of our mouths to get him to bend to our will, if we do this we are guilty of witchcraft, and do not think we can command God to do our bidding in His son’s name either – Jesus shed His blood once for the forgiveness of our sins, to be reconciled to Him, we can take it or leave it. He is the Almighty God, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient – big words, please look them up. We are at His mercy, He is the King of His universe, in case we have forgotten this God provided for us Job 38 – 41. Then, if we still feel like pleading the blood and walking around acting like a “little god” after His dissertation in these chapters – Lord help us all, but thankfully Job got the message, let us be like him – repentant (Job 42). And when you study and show yourself approved, be ready to slaughter some sacred cows- be ready to accept His Truth. Jesus warned us over and over of some things – His sheep hear His voice, men lie, there would be false messiahs or “anointings”, false teachers in the last days, and things will get worse and worse – not better, so sheep beware – ravenous wolves are amongst the flock and they are dressed up like sheep!

Thank you again Moses

Conclusion

Thanks for your interaction and I am looking forward to your comments as well as meeting you again in our next post.

“Pleading the blood of Jesus”: A Common Error in Prayer – 2

Introduction

This is a continuation of our last post, and I wish to seize this opportunity to heartily appreciate those of you who  found time to interact with the post, and especially those who went a step further to drop their opinions on our subject of consideration. By the grace of God, we shall show some of these comments in our next post as I personally find them very valuable to this subject. In the meantime, you are welcome again  to this edition of our post!

The Blood of Jesus and the Christian Faith

According to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cult, Sects and World Religions, “Blood in Christianity is the heart and soul of the faith. It is the blood that issues life (Lev. 17:11). The shedding of blood was the basic activity of the priests and the temple in the Hebrew religion of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus is the great high priest who shed his blood for the remission of sins (Romans 3: 21-24).”[1] So, the supreme purpose of the blood of Jesus was for the remission of our sins. This is exactly the biblical concept that was described in the Old Testament through the sacrifices of animals picturing what will come to be in the New Testament through the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Peter 18, 19; Hebs. 9: 24-26; 1 John 1:7). This shows that Jesus paid for our sins through his shed blood and death on the cross and that was according to Hebrews 9: 24-26, once and for all. In essence, there is no single scripture in the Bible that supports the pleading of the blood of Jesus for our protection or any kind of continuous religious rituals for that matter.

Those who advocate pleading the blood of Jesus often use Leviticus 17:11 and Revelation 12:11. To use these scriptures as biblical evidences for pleading the blood of Jesus is completely misleading and unscriptural. For instance, David J. Stewart argues that, “this Scripture [Leviticus 17:11] speaks of the blood of animals, which were sacrificed to temporarily cover the sins of the people in the Old Testament, until the Messiah would come and offer the perfect Sacrifice of Himself to God the Father.   We read in Hebrews 9:12 concerning Jesus, ‘Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood had he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.’” [2] Stewarts explain further that “Jesus’ blood didn’t (only) atone for our sins; but rather, took them away forever!”[3] Besides, the account of Revelation speaks of the sacrificial work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary as the means of victory over the dragon for every believer. On the other hand, the Exodus 12:7 account speaks as an analogy of the work which Christ shall come to do later. That tells the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. The New is a continuation of the Old. Again, God himself told the descendants of Jacob to apply the blood on their door posts. If God had wanted that to continue, he would have told us specifically. So, where exactly has God told us to plead the blood of Jesus for our protection? The name of JESUS is enough! For the Holy Communion, Jesus said “do this in remembrance of me”, why not the same thing for his blood in prayer?

Conclusion: Is the Blood of Jesus a talisman?

In African Traditional Religion(s) as well as in many cultic and world religions, blood is believed to provide power and life and therefore plays a central part in ritualistic sacrifices.[4] But which blood sacrifice is required of a Christian other that which was done on behalf by Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago? The word of God commands us to pray to God ONLY in the name of JESUS (John 16: 23, 24, 26; Acts 4:2; Colossians 3:17; Philippians 2: 5-10 etc, etc).  Pleading the blood of Jesus for our protection, in my own opinion, is tantamount to using talisman. What is a talisman? The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cult, Sects and World Religions describes a talisman as “a magic object, often engraved with symbols or a picture of a character that is believed to harness special power to protect or prosper the owner or possessor. Talismans are sometimes used to protect oneself against evil spirit or demons. Sometimes they are also used to attain love, health, success, and power.”[5] While the blood of Jesus may not be physical objects that can be carry around as described in this definition, I believe its picture is in the hearts of those who use it. This therefore is completely against the word of God and believers should desist from using it.

It does not matter how enormous the challenge that we face, the name of JESUS is powerful enough to save us. So, I encourage you to pray in the name of JESUS alone!


References:

Photo culled from:http://www.lostseed.com/extras/free-graphics/images/jesus-pictures/nailed-to-cross.php

[1] Larry A. Nichols, George A. Mather and Alvin J. Schmidt, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cult, Sects and World Religions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 370.

[2] David J. Stewart, “It’s the Blood of Jesus!”  In http://remnantradio.org/Mirror/www.jesus-is-savior.com/Believer%27s%20Corner/Doctrines/blood.htm, cited on April 26, 2010.

[3] Ibid

[4] Larry A. Nichols, George A. Mather and Alvin J. Schmidt, 370.

[5] Ibid, 453.

“Pleading the Blood of Jesus”: A Common Error in Prayer – 1

“Then the passengers began to yell in prayer with the shout of ‘Blood of Jesus’ renting the air.  Almost everybody turned emergency prayer warriors, with a rush of Pentecostal supplication” (“….How I survived the Air Mishap” In http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171417, Published on April 20, 2010).

_________________

According to Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper of today April 20, 2010, the above statement summarizes the experience of the passengers on board the flight (9J 995) of Dana Air service when faced face-to-face with death yesterday April 19, 2010, as a result of a “bird strike”. This according to the pilot means that “a bird had flown into the engine compartment, and damaged some parts of the aircraft” (Thisday Newspaper). The incident occurred at around 9 am (Nigerian time) while the plane was departing MM International Airport Lagos for NA International Airport Abuja. According to this source, the mishap happened shortly after the aircraft had taken off and there were 97 passengers and crew on board. But, it is now a moment of thanksgiving again for Nigerians that through the help of God Almighty and the braveness of the Pilot, no life was lost in the mishap. Following the recent plane crash in Russia involving the President of Poland and his wife as well as many top government functionaries of the country, and the latest Volcano experience in Iceland; the world could not afford to lose another 98 people again from Nigeria. While we mourn with the government and people of Poland and the world, for the unquantifiable loss that the Iceland Volcano has brought; we should on the one hand, thank God for saving the lives of these Nigerians.

However, there is a lesson to be drawn from this experience by all Christians. While we identify with the ugly condition which the Christians on board flight was faced with, being faced face to-face; is shouting the blood of Jesus the proper and shortest prayer in such a situation? Is there any where in the Bible where Christian are enjoyed to pray in and with the blood of Jesus? This has become a common error in our prayers today especially in our African Christianity. While I am not in the position to confirm if situation is the same on the entire continent of Africa; I had on several occasions personally witnessed this in Nigeria, where I having been working as a pastor in last couple years and in Nairobi, Kenya where I now live as a student. It is not uncommon nowadays to hear Christians say: I/we plead the blood of Jesus; I/we cover you, myself, my family, my house, my car, this place, or that place etc, etc with the blood of Jesus. Unfortunately most times, even church leaders are guilty of this modern-day heresy. I believe this issue is gradually manifesting itself in several ways in our worship today. This is commonly seen during prayer sessions where Christians gather to pray. Once, the prayer leader says, “I plead the blood of Jesus,” you will hear the congregation chorus loudly, repeatedly and with high emotions, “the bloooooooooooooood of Jesus!”

Personally, this issue and many alike are indication of how most Christians in Africa still suffer from biblical illiteracy. I wonder where people got this doctrine from! Sadly and gradually, Christians are now using the blood of Jesus to replace the name of Jesus even in prayers. Ignorantly, the church is passing this “doctrine” to the younger generation of Christians as well as misleading inexperienced and weak brethren. I believe the way Christians now use the blood of Jesus like talisman may not unconnected with what blood means to us as Africans. This experience is perhaps what we are importing into our worship of God today. This is not to say in any way that the African cultures, traditions and values are bad but that the African worldview in this instance should not be allowed to replace the biblical position on the matter.  In the next post we shall look at the relationship between the blood of Jesus and our African background. Subsequently, we shall take time to look at the meaning and the significance of the ‘blood of Jesus’ from biblical and theological perspectives. Finally, we shall look at the name of Jesus as the ONLY name with which Christians could reach God in prayer.

As usual, you are welcome to follow on in this journey and your comments, questions and critiques are most welcomed.

___________________________

Sources:

The photo inserted is culled from:http://airlinersgallery.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/air-france-a330-200-f-gzcp-75apr-dxb-pdnlr.jpg

Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171417), Published on April 20, 2010.

Thisday (Nigerian) Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=171419) Published on April 20, 2010.

Muslim-Christian Relations in Nigeria: Towards an Evangelical Approach

Introduction

This a continuation of our last post on the recent religious crises in Nigeria. As you can see from the title, our preoccupation in this post is to briefly look at what the Bible says about what should be  the attitude of a Christian to his neighbors. So, this post will basically be addressing Nigerian Christians (as well as those in similar situation world over) with the aim of giving an evangelical voice to the incessant Muslism-Christian unrest in Nigeria.

One important thing Christians in Nigeria must realize is the fact that God is aware of the presence of other religions in our World and especially in Nigeria. Religious diversity has lived throughout the ages and this according to Mbillah, “is not without the knowledge of God”.[1] The argument here is not to say that God is responsible for these religious diversities but the fact remains that the existence of these diversities is definitely not without his knowledge. The understanding of the above should lead us to two theological facts that should drastically changed Christians’ attitude to the Muslims in Nigeria. One, Christians must always bear in mind that human being are created in God’s image- the imago Dei[2] When God says, “let us make man in our likeness” (Genesis 1: 26), the meaning is that God plans to make a creature similar to himself.[3] The main issue here is that, all human beings are made in the image of God irrespective of the religious beliefs and practices. Grudem argues that, “God created us in his image for his glory and so, our purpose in life is to glorify him.”[4] Any disregard to this arrangement is violation of divine order. Therefore, respect and sanctity for human life must always be maintained. Any Christian involvement in violence with Muslims as a way of revenge, or for whatever reason is definitely acting against the purpose of God for mankind. Thus, the image of God in humanity is critical to our understanding of what makes us human and its implications should inspire us and set the parameters for our view of all humanity.[5] Secondly, another issue that should change Christian’s attitude toward the Muslims in Nigeria is the issue of general revelation. This implies that “God has given us enough general revelation to condemn us of our sins but not enough to save us”.[6] Christians must learn to understand that God has revealed himself in many ways to mankind and Islam must be seen and regarded as one of these ways. In fact, the Bible itself teaches God reveals Himself to men generally, in nature, in history, and in their moral consciousness (Psalms 19; Romans 1).[7] If the Christians in Nigeria have this background in mind, their attitude will change for the positive even towards our neighbors or any human being for that matter.

Thus says the Lord:

  • The Bible warns that “evil should not be repay with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). The Circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross and that of Stephen in the early Church set us an example (John 19; Acts 7: 54-60). In the two instances, never was violence employed by the early Christians to fight back or to avenge the evil done the Church. Rather they submitted everything to God. The early Christians drew even enemies of the Cross to Christ by their good dispositions toward them. According to John Stott,

Stephen’s martyrdom later had a great deal of influence on Saul and it supplemented the influence of Paul’s teaching. Not only did it deeply impress Saul of Tarsus, and contribute to his conversion which led to his becoming the Apostle to the Gentiles, but it also occasioned ‘a great persecution’ which led to the scattering of the disciples throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1).[8]

  • The Bible makes it clear that God abhors violence (Gen.6:11, 13; Mal. 2:16). He instructs us to avoid it and turn from it: “Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right (Ezek. 45:9; see also Jer. 22:3). Jesus pronounced specific blessings on those who bring an end to violence, saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt.5:9). Yusufu Turaki corroborates this truth when he says, “human beings tent to meet violence with violence, sword with sword, and evil with evil. But violence cannot be addressed on its own terms.”[9] Turaki noted further that “the Bible recognizes this when it speaks of someone’s violence coming ‘down upon his own head’ (Psalm 7:16) and it states that all who draw sword, will die by sword’ ” (Matt. 26:52).
  • By contrast, Jesus calls on us to meet violence with peace (Romans 12:17-21), sword with forgiveness, evil with good (Luke 6:27-31), and wrath with love. Jesus and his disciples modeled non-violence by not retaliating when they suffered violence (1 Pet. 2: 20-24).[10] Turaki argues further that,

Jesus’ approach to violence was based on his knowledge of the nature of God, as the sovereign judge and ruler, and on the nature of his mission. He did not fail to retaliate because he was weak but because he deliberately chose to demonstrate God’s power over human circumstances. He also dealt with the root cause of human violence, which is evil and sin. Thus he patiently endured the violence of the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman government until he overthrew both by his resurrection from the dead. The way of the cross brings eternal liberation and eradication of evil.[11]

  • Above all, the antidote to a retaliatory attitude is love. The Bible teaches that we should love even our enemies (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27-36). Indeed the heart of Jesus’ teaching is love. Jesus forbids treating others spitefully but he commands us to love everyone, even our enemies. This does not mean that the Muslims are our enemies but that we have no excuse for not loving them. For Paul, loving others is the single most important characteristic of the Christian life and the heart of the Christian living. Everything one does is to be an expression of love (1 Cor. 16:14).[12] When Christians in Nigeria allow the love of Christ to prevail in their hearts, they will soon realize it is the best way to cub Christian-Muslim crises in the society. Besides, the role of the Holy Spirit in the maintaining peace and order between Muslims and Christians in Abuja cannot be over emphasized (Acts 10:1-48).
  • Nigerian Christians must realize that to prevent future occurrence of face-off between them and the Muslims much is expected of them. According to Paul Martinson, “successful encounter requires genuine interest in the other person, willingness and ability to share information about oneself and one’s traditions, and openness to being questioned. Of course the most important ingredient is to accept and treat the other person as an individual on equal terms: as a person with a personal history, with personal hopes and expectations, with personal fears and hurts.”[13]

Conclusion

In our next post, we shall attempt to offer recommendations from our experiences on this topic towards achieving peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, before we change our gear to another area of interest in African Christianity.


References:

Please note that the picture inserted was culled from: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=266744645810

[1] Johnson Mbillah, “Interfaith Relations in Africa” From the Cross to the Crescent: A PROCMURA Occasional Paper 1, 1 (2004): 1-4.

[2] The Latin phrase imago Dei means “image of God” and is sometimes used in theological discussions in place of the English phrase “image of God.”

[3] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 442-4.

[4] Grudem, 441.

[5] Erickson J. Millard, Introducing Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 170.

[6] John G. Stackhouse Jr., “Afterword: An Agenda for Evangelical Theology of Religions.” No Other Gods Before Me? Evangelicals and the Challenge of World Religions, ed. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., 189-201. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

[7] H.D. McDonald, “Revelation” In The New Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. J.D. Douglas et al., 843. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.

[8] John R.W. Stott, The Message of Acts (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1990), 143.

[9] Yusufu Turaki, “violence” In Africa Bible Commentary, ed. Tokunboh Adeyemo, 1043. Nairobi: WordAlive, 2006.

[10] Yusufu Turaki,

[11] Yusufu Turaki,

[12] Gerald F. Hawthorne et al, Dictionary of Paul’s Dictionary (Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 576-577.

[13] Paul Varo Martinson, Islam An introduction for Christians, 17.