FURTHER ON BLOOD TRANSFUSION
October 28, 1949
Answering yours of the 14th instant re blood transfusion: The method of giving blood transfusions today may not follow the normal human procedure as when slaughterhouse men drink the warm blood of animals they have killed or as when people eat blutwurst or blood sausage with its congealed blood. But just because the manner of administering the blood is different is not proving that God’s law concerning blood does not cover or apply to transfusion of HUMAN blood. Whether by eating or drinking or transfusing blood, in all cases it is basically the transferring of blood from one organism human or animal to another organism, and this basic transfer of blood is what God’s Word condemns and forbids to his consecrated people. Just because a blood transfusion does not quench a person’s thirst or satisfy a person’s hunger is beside the point: the transfer of the blood remains an undeniable fact.
And why did God forbid the transfer of blood from another creature’s organism to the partakers seeking some sort of relief, whether relief of hunger, thirst or blood depletion? Search the law of God given in the Bible, if you please, and in no case will you find that the reason why God forbids such transfer of blood is in any way a health reason, to avoid corruption, contamination or infection. The reason is a higher one than that, and your letter shows you have ignored or overlooked that higher reason. At the very beginning, when God established the everlasting covenant with Noah regarding the sanctity of our blood, he made plain this higher reason, when he said: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” (Genesis 9:4) The blood is the life of the flesh, and for that reason God restricted the use of blood to propitiatory sacrifices for his holy altar. Note that no health reason is given when God says on the atoning value of the blood: “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. [Why?] For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, who taketh in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten; he shall pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For as to the life of all flesh, the blood thereof is all one with the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of NO MANNER of flesh; [why?] for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.”—Leviticus 17:10-14, Am. Stan. Ver.; see also Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-27.
It was in harmony with this fundamental significance of the blood that David refused to drink water brought him at the risk of men’s lives and said: “My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy?” (1 Chronicles 11:18, 19) In harmony with this vital significance of blood Jesus said: “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:54-56, Am. Stan. Ver.) It is his blood that makes propitiation on God’s antitypical holy altar for our human souls. Hence without the shedding of his blood there is no remission or forgiveness of our sins. (Hebrews 9:14-22) That is the only use of human blood that does any real good to humankind, and we should, therefore, not pretend to do mankind a service by a misuse of human blood contrary to the very essence of God’s law.
Blood transfusion is blood transfusion whether done by the crude methods of 1492 or by the more refined methods of 1949. Though modern blood transfusion does not kill the blood donor, it is taking part of his life and reducing his vitality and misappropriating his blood under the specious claim of doing good. The Bible speaks of quenching fire, and the pouring out of water in order to save combustible property from a fire is a far-fetched comparison with blood transfusion for medical purposes, because God’s law does not forbid quenching fire with water but his law is very specific regarding the disposal of blood. The figures you cite on the enormous use of blood in the U.S.A. in medical practice just goes to show the tremendous blood bill that God has to settle with mankind at the battle of Armageddon for their violation of his everlasting covenant regarding the sacredness of creature blood.
True, Jesus “told his disciples to heal the sick and he gave the order unconditionally. There were no buts attached to it”. But records at Matthew 10, Mark 6 and Luke 9 and 10 do not show he authorized them to perform blood transfusions or other violations of the everlasting covenant to do so. He gave them miraculous powers, and the only thing like medical practice is that “they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them”.—Mark 6:13, Am. Stan. Ver.
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
[For our previous letters on this subject see the Watchtower issue of December 1, 1949, pages 367, 368, under the heading “On Blood Transfusion”.]