By Man’s Way or by God’s Way—Which?
1. The breaking of God’s sacred law on the claim of saving life puts human life on what level?
NO ONE may be excused or justified for breaking God’s sacred law on the plea that he is saving human life or prolonging it. With the exception of some conscientious individual members the medical associations treat God’s law as a myth of the Bible or as no longer having force. They put the life of imperfect, condemned, dying men above the law of God and break it on the claim of trying to save a human life, not for eternity, but for the short uncertain period of the present lifetime. This has resulted in an epidemic of blood transfusions that they claim are lifesaving.
2. How have some medics recently violated the basic rights of a free human creature, and how do they try to protect themselves when doing this?
2 Convinced in their own minds of their obligation to save human lives in this manner, they will go even so far as to force transfusions on dedicated Christians who conscientiously object to breaking God’s law in order to try to preserve their lives. They try to procure a show of legality for doing this, although it denies the patient not only his God-given right but also his national constitutional rights according to an established Bill of Rights in certain countries. To protect themselves because of this the medics appeal to judges and lawmaking bodies of the land to authorize them to override the freedom of religion with its right to worship the living and true God Jehovah according to the dictates of conscience. In this case, according to such medical views, religion is a menace to life and must be brushed aside to enact an atheistic violation of God’s law on the sanctity of blood.
3. (a) In acting that way, what is the idea of the medics? (b) Consistent with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a grant of life, what have medics no right to do to a conscientious person?
3 Save life in a manner contrary to the religious wishes of the patient and keep him from choosing to die! is the medical idea. But even the Supreme Court of the United States of America has handed down the decision that a person with free moral agency has the right to choose to die rather than take advantage of certain legal provisions for sparing or preserving his life, on what basis? If the person cannot accept the terms or conditions upon which his life will be spared or preserved.* So, then, if the highest court of the land has no right to force life upon a person on terms unacceptable to him, the medical profession has no right, legal or ethical, to force its unscriptural methods of saving life upon a patient who would rather die than violate his conscience by breaking God’s holy law.
4. How do medics claim that transfusion does not break God’s law against blood as food, but what is really the case?
4 However, as a further justification for their course, what do medics claim? This, that transfusion is not a feeding of blood to a patient and hence is not a violation of God’s law. But really this is unscientific reasoning. For the very reason that the transfused material is not taken directly into the mouth to go through the regular digestive processes of the body, the transfusion method becomes the quickest and most direct way of feeding the body on what is forbidden by God’s law stated to Noah and reaffirmed by the Christian Council of Jerusalem.
5. What is the medical argument about transfused blood as being, not food, but merely a vehicle, but how does this really work out?
5 In a further argument for transfusion, it is claimed that what is transfused is merely a vehicle to convey food directly to the human body, and that the body does not feed on the vehicle itself. We therefore ask the question: After the transfused vehicular blood has released its oxygen and food elements to the body tissues of the patient, is this vehicular blood extracted from the patient’s body and transfused back into the body of the blood donor? This would be quite embarrassing and impossible, especially where the blood donor or donors are not known or if the blood has been taken from a newly dead cadaver. So the transfused vehicular material is left in the patient’s body. What then? Well, in the course of the years during which the human body renews itself into a new body, this vehicular blood is used or consumed by the patient’s body, the same as any other transplant of an organ. In what way, then, does this outworking of things differ essentially from feeding on the transfused blood? The results are the same: the patient’s body does sustain itself by transfused stuff.
6. If Luke were back here on earth today, what would he do about blood transfusions, and why?
6 If the Christian disciple Luke were back here on earth by a resurrection of the dead, what would he do? Luke accompanied Paul, who called him “Luke the beloved physician.” Would he join medics today in giving transfusions? The Bible answer must be No! This very Luke was the Bible writer who reported for us the decree of the Christian Council of Jerusalem, quoting from it three times.
7. In the Jerusalem Council’s decree, what exceptions, if any, were made regarding keeping free from blood?
7 This decree, as reported by Luke, said to non-Jewish Christians “to keep yourselves free . . . from blood.” It made no exception for Physician Luke or medical doctors. It did not say, Keep yourselves free from blood except in the case of a transfusion administered by a competent medical doctor; or except on orders from a lawmaking body or from a legal judge who shoves aside the required “due process of law” and becomes a law to himself and arbitrarily declares a state of emergency and orders the appealing doctor to give a transfusion over the religious objections of the patient. The Apostolic Christian Council forbade “blood,” without differentiating human blood from animal blood, unqualified!
8, 9. (a) As doubtless observed by Luke, why did ancient Greeks drink blood, and with what effect? (b) Back in 1909, what did The Watch Tower say about God’s reasons for forbidding Jews to eat blood?
8 Doctor Luke, who traveled with the apostle Paul through ancient Greece, doubtless knew that the Greeks drank blood in order to have a blood relationship with the demons for the sake of learning what the future held for them. Doctor Luke must have observed that drinking animal blood served to infuse into the drinker beastly qualities like those of the animal donors. But better than Doctor Luke, Jehovah God knew the effect of taking another creature’s blood into one’s body, whether by eating or drinking it or by transfusing it. He doubtless forbade it for more reasons than that the life is in the blood and that taking blood means taking life to at least some degree. This was suggested by the Watch Tower magazine long ago. Its article “Settling Doctrinal Differences,” under date of April 15, 1909, on page 117, said regarding the decree of the Jerusalem Council on blood:
9 “To the Jew it was forbidden, and under his covenant it was made a symbol of life—to partake of it would imply responsibility for the life taken. Moreover, in the typical ceremonies of the Law the prohibited blood was used as a symbol representing the sin-offering; for by the blood atonement for sins was effected. To emphasize these typical lessons the Jews had been forbidden to use blood. And there may be other, sanitary, reasons connected with the matter, which are not yet known to us.”*
10. Among such reasons now becoming known, what harmful results are there, in one land alone, from blood transfusions, and yet what do men propose about it?
10 Today, fifty-eight years since then, those reasons are becoming more and more known because of medical experiences with the widespread use of transfusions. Now, what would you think of a modern medical practice that, in one year, directly kills 16,000 in a land, and leaves still more thousands infected with deadly diseases, while at the same time other thousands survive the process? That is the case with the practice of blood transfusion.* But does the national government pronounce it poisonous, dangerous, and forbid it? Does the government treat it as it does a drug or pill or medicine that results in a high number of fatalities and remove it from the market as too risky? No, but, to the contrary, men suggest and attempt to take steps to make it compulsory by law for a person, under force, to submit to transfusion despite his conscientious Christian objection to it. Why does this inconsistency on the part of the government occur?
11. What contrast is there in the matter of conscience as brought up against Nazi war criminals on trial and Christians objecting to transfusions?
11 Why is it that, when Nazi war criminals pleaded that they were not responsible for the mass killings that they carried out, because they were merely obeying the orders of superiors, the trial court reminded them that they should have obeyed the dictates of conscience against killing innocent persons?* And yet today, when intelligent, dedicated, baptized Christians exercise their conscience in harmony with the Bible, their conscience is overridden by lawmakers, judges and medical men and they are forcibly compelled to take transfusions of blood that represents the life of one or more persons.
RIVERS OF IT SQUANDERED
12. Because blood is precious to God, should it be wasted, and yet what use of it in the United States allows for great waste?
12 Blood should be treated as sacred, for it stands for life. It is precious to God, that of a human creature being more so than that of an animal. By the “epidemic of transfusions” during and since World War II, what a wastage of this precious human life stream there has been! The New York Times Magazine of March 29, 1964, page 38, under the title “6,000,000 Pints of Blood Is Not Enough” said the following: “Each year a small river of blood—five or six million pints—is run into the veins of the sick in the United States; in New York City alone 1,000 pints a day are consumed. Because of blood transfusions tens of thousands of lives are saved.” But the article does not mention how many thousands of human lives are killed. Why such silence, such one-sided reporting?
13. As to life value, what does a “small river” of 6,000,000 pints represent, and does transfusion “save” that many lives?
13 As measured in life value, what does a “small river” of six million pints represent? Well, calculate it on the basis that the average adult has twelve to thirteen pints of blood coursing through some 60,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries to serve his body tissues. At thirteen pints to a body, this “small river” of six million pints would represent 461,538 adult human lives. But not that many lives are “saved” or, more correctly said, survive the blood transfusion with fairly normal bodies.
14. What wastage of precious liquid is there when the recipient of the transfusion dies in spite of it?
14 Think of what a wastage of the precious life stream goes along with the use of those millions of pints of it, in the United States alone. A mere one pint of it is unnecessary to a person. There must be at least three or four pints of it, and in some cases as much as from twenty to thirty pints, or even forty pints of it. And yet after receiving so many pints of it the patient will die, as in the case of the wounded American soldier in a portable hospital in South Vietnam, whose life the doctors fought to “save.” The New York Times of February 25, 1967, reports: “The pile of empty blood bags grew higher. By the time the operation was over, the soldier had received 28 pints.” And yet he died! What a waste of precious liquid! True, a transfusion with good intentions, but wasting the equivalent of more than two adult human lives. It did not work!
15. What other wastage of blood results from adverse effects of transfusions?
15 Think, also, of the wastage of hundreds of thousands of pints of the vital life stream in the cases of where the blood transfusions directly kill. A horrible waste, in that the very reverse was produced from what was intended by the transfusions! Think of the wastage of other hundreds of thousands of pints in the cases in which the transfusions produced fatal aftereffects that sooner or later brought on death! And if the transfusion leaves a person with a crippling or disabling infirmity of the body, has the quantity of liquid transfused been wasted or not?
16. What further wastage is there in connection with blood banks?
16 Finally, think of the waste that occurs in banks that traffick in blood, buying it at a low rate or getting it free and then selling it at the rate of from ten dollars to sixty dollars a unit. In these banks blood does not keep indefinitely. It tends to spoil. It gets out-of-date. In some banks the spoilage by outdating has amounted to 10 percent of the whole quantity in bank. All this was not used for its intended purpose! What a wastage of precious life fluid this means.*
17. Is this wastage pleasing to God, or will he hold men accountable for it, and why?
17 Is this terrible wastage of precious human fluid pleasing to the Great Creator, who put it in the human body to sustain life? Does the medical motive for transfusing it justify such wastage before God? Positively not, according to his Word, the Bible. Will God hold men responsible for spilling blood in this way in peacetime or in wartime, spilling it, not at the base of God’s altar like the blood of sacrificial victims, but in a medical experiment contrary to God’s supreme law? Evidently yes, especially if we take as a pattern the fact that in ancient Israel the person willfully violating the divine prohibition concerning blood was to be cut off from God’s people in death. There is really no valid excuse for such gross modern violations in view of the fact that there are a number of efficient blood substitutes today. Why, even delicate operations, such as open-heart surgery, can be successfully performed if the doctors will only make the effort and take the time and use their skill, without blood transfusion.
18. God’s law against murder being in force still, it argues that what other law to Noah is in force, and whom did Noah’s family have to teach that law?
18 God’s law to Noah after the flood, forbidding the using of blood as food, was accompanied by God’s law against murder: “Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man.” (Gen. 9:4-6) Just as certainly as God’s law against murder is still in force today, so too his prohibition against taking the blood of other creatures into one’s body is still in force in this twentieth century and should be respected for one’s own good. Noah’s family was obligated to teach that prohibition law to their descendants.
19. What obligation did the Israelites under Mosaic law owe to the next generation with respect to God’s law against blood?
19 In God’s law to the nation of Israel through Moses God gave instructions about the animal sacrifices and said: “All the fat belongs to Jehovah. It is a statute to time indefinite for your generations, in all your dwelling places: You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.” (Lev. 3:16, 17) This obligated one generation of Israelites to teach the next generation not to eat blood. The father was obliged to teach his children that it was against God’s law to eat blood, and, consistently with this, he would see to it that his minor children did not eat it and that there was no eating of it within his household, or inside his home, of which he was the master, overseer and guardian.—Deut. 6:6, 7; Ps. 78:5, 6.
20. What similar obligation rests upon Christian Israel, and what do Jehovah’s witnesses of today do about it?
20 Today Jehovah God has a spiritual Israel, a Christian Israel. (Gal. 6:16) Just as the natural, fleshly Israelites were Jehovah’s witnesses, so these Christian spiritual Israelites are His witnesses. Whereas the Mosaic law with its provisions about fat was abolished when Christ died as a sacrifice, the Apostolic Christian Council of Jerusalem reaffirmed God’s law to Noah and applied it to the true Christian congregation. Christian fathers are obliged to teach this law and enforce it with regard to their minor children, for by God’s law the fathers are the spiritual, religious guardians as well as the domestic parental caretakers of their underage children. The Christian witnesses of Jehovah today recognize that fact and follow the divine rule of conduct. They endeavor to keep their children from violating God’s law to Noah and also the Jerusalem Council’s decree. (Eph. 6:4) Rightly they try to protect their children from taking foreign blood into them.
21. Who today deny that Christian parents have that right, and how do they argue to get possession of children involved?
21 Do parents who are Jehovah’s witnesses really have the right to do this? Certain doctors, judges and lawmakers blind themselves to God’s law and to religious liberty and to Christian conscience and say No! These flouters of God’s law that applies to Christians claim that, when Jehovah’s witnesses refuse to let their children have a blood transfusion when a mere human doctor orders them to have it, Jehovah’s witnesses are dangerous parents to have over children and they lose their right to the guardianship of their own flesh-and-blood children. Such children must therefore become the wards of the political State, even in States where there is a separation of Church and State.
22. Consequently, what shameful procedure has resulted with judicial approval?
22 Thus it comes about that judges have had children taken from their own Christian parents and placed in the hands of appointed guardians that believe in transfusions. These have had the bodies of these seized children assaulted with a transfusion in shameful disregard of God’s law and conscientious objections of the Christian parents. If a child survives such a forced transfusion, such violators salve their consciences for having “saved a life.”
DO YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR OWN BODY?
23. In this connection, what question was raised by a columnist writer, and with what concluding comment?
23 In this very connection a serious question has been raised: “To whom does the body belong?” That question headed an article by a columnist writer who was irked at the transfusion forced upon a pregnant woman, one of Jehovah’s witnesses, under Court order. The article concludes, saying: “Some day . . . maybe . . . we will conclude, like Dickens’ Beadle, that very often the law is ‘a idiot, a ass,’—and do something about it.”*
24. What caused the like question to be raised recently in Israel, and what appeal did American Jews make?
24 To whom does the body belong? That same question was raised in a somewhat related case by natural circumcised Israelites because of the vast increase in the number of autopsies of dead bodies of Jews in Israel, in spite of repeated protests. In the land of Israel “the doctors have been interpreting the law in a manner not intended by the legislators” of Israel.* Finally, on April 7, 1967, the American Committee for Safeguarding Human Dignity in Israel published “An Appeal to the Government of Israel: Do Not Desecrate the Dead!” In discussing “Human Dignity and Jewish Tradition” the appeal said (in part): “In deference to these hallowed, universally accepted attitudes and in consideration of the sacred rights of man to determine the fate of his own body, governments throughout the world (including the United States) legally require the written consent of the deceased and/or his next of kin before an autopsy may be performed. In Israel, unfortunately, the situation is drastically different.”
25. For what conscientious reason have Jews in Israel declined to enter hospitals for treatment, and what does the Appeal say about the disposition of the body?
25 Commenting on the tragic situation, the appeal went on to say: “As a consequence, many Jews in the Holy Land, should have to refuse to enter hospitals for necessary treatment because they fear that if they do their bodies will be mutilated. . . . These are matters of strong religious conviction to the Jews—and they are accustomed to giving their lives for their faith. But must this be? Must a man be refused hospital treatment because he is asked to pay a price greater than his conscience can allow? Israel’s existing autopsy law is a threat not only to the dead but to the living as well. . . . It would seem that certain elements in Israel are so obsessed with their antipathy to anything that smacks of religion, that they do not hesitate to even go to the extreme of trampling upon the rights of the dead. . . . At stake is not only a religious issue but what all civilized countries recognize as a basic human right: that the wishes of the deceased and/or his next of kin—and not the State—determine the disposition of his body.”*
26. What justification for the Jews’ Appeal is there in God’s law, and what question must Christians ask with regard to their bodies?
26 In this protest against arrogant practices by members of the medical profession, fear is expressed that, not only dead bodies, but also living human bodies will be mutilated presumptuously in behalf of the progress of medical science. God’s law is against the mutilating of the God-given human body unnecessarily. (Lev. 19:28; 21:5; Deut. 14:1; 1 Sam. 31:4) Since our bodies are God-given, that principle should be respected, and much more so if we have dedicated our lives to God through Jesus Christ and have symbolized this dedication by water baptism. So do our bodies belong to ourselves, or to God, or to modern science?—Rom. 12:1.
27. In the case of blood transfusions forced upon children, what kind of bodies are concerned, and to whom does God’s Word assign the care of the minor children?
27 Outraged Jews are appealing in behalf especially of dead bodies, but, in the case of blood transfusions, it is the living body that is concerned. And when the body of a minor child is violated by a forced transfusion with the aid of a Court-appointed guardian against the religious and Constitutional protests of the natural parents, the question becomes very serious, To whom does the child’s body belong—to the political State or to the flesh-and-blood parents? God’s law places the responsibility for the care of minor children and their religious upbringing upon the Christian parents. These are charged with bringing up their children in the same faith and religious practices as the parents follow, to obey God as ruler rather than man or State in this regard.—Eph. 6:4; Titus 1:5, 6; contrast Matthew 2:13-21.
GOD’S WAY OF USING BLOOD FOR ENDLESS LIFE
28. (a) In what way do Jehovah’s witnesses advocate the saving of the world by blood? (b) By drinking from the cup at the Lord’s Supper, what were the apostles doing and indicating?
28 We, as Jehovah’s witnesses, advocate the saving of the world of mankind by blood, not by medical blood transfusions, but by God’s way of using it for endless life. When his Son, Jesus Christ, set up the Lord’s Supper, shortly before he shed his blood on the death stake nineteen centuries ago, he blessed a cup of wine and handed it to his faithful apostles, and said: “Drink out of it, all of you; for this is my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:27, 28, margin [1950 ed.]) Jesus did not there change the wine into blood; and on drinking from that cup the apostles did not drink human blood, cannibalistically. Jesus’ words meant merely that the wine stood for his blood. By drinking of the wine that had that symbolic meaning the apostles pictured how by faith in Christ they would absorb, appropriate, assimilate the benefits of his shed blood. The shedding of Jesus’ blood meant the pouring out of his human life in behalf of the world of mankind.
29, 30. (a) How and why did God have his Son partake of blood and flesh? (b) How did Jesus still retain the value of his human life at his resurrection?
29 Since the life is in the blood, Jesus blood had a value. It was perfect, undiseased blood, for Jesus had been born as a perfect human, through a virgin mother. His shedding his blood was in reality his laying down his perfect human life as a sacrifice to God in behalf of all sinful mankind. (1 John 2:1, 2) Jehovah God first transferred the perfect life of his heavenly Son from heaven to earth in order that he might partake of blood and flesh and might provide a perfect human sacrifice. (Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:14, 15) Because Jesus died as an innocent man faithful to God, Jehovah God raised him from the dead on the third day. Because of being raised up as a spiritual Son of God, Jesus still retained the value of his sacrificed human life. Hence, in Hebrews 13:20, we read:
30 “The God of peace . . . brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus.”
31, 32. (a) With what, therefore, did Jesus Christ appear in God’s heavenly presence? (b) Why was Jesus’ acting as High Priest of God more effective than that of Israel’s high priest?
31 With the equivalent of his perfect human blood, that is, with the value of his human life, Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and appeared in the presence of Jehovah God.—Heb. 9:24.
32 Up in heaven Jesus presented to God the value of his sacrificed human life. He acted thus as God’s High Priest, just as it is written: “He entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood, once for all time into the holy place and obtained an everlasting deliverance for us. For if the blood of goats and of bulls . . . sanctifies to the extent of cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to the living God?”—Heb. 9:11-14.
33. (a) How did God give a special sanctity to animal blood in Israel? (b) How has God given a special sanctity to human blood, and what does the medical use of it mean?
33 God specially sanctified the blood of animal creatures by having their blood applied to his altar in an atonement for the sins of ancient Israel. Likewise, God’s acceptance of the blood shed sacrificially by his Son as a perfect man, gives a special sanctity to human blood, in addition to the fact that the life of mankind lies in its blood. (Lev. 17:11, 12, 14) For that reason the using of this life fluid in medical transfusions under the pretext of saving lives is a desecration of blood. It draws man’s attention away from the fact, yes, belittles the fact, that God the Creator will save the world of mankind by means of the sacrificial blood of his perfect, faithful High Priest, Jesus Christ.
34. Our knowing these truths puts us under what obligation, and to what will Christians look who expect human perfection in an earthly paradise?
34 Knowing these vital Scriptural truths, we are under obligation to treat the blood of humans as well as of animals as something sacred. Transfused human blood can never give us everlasting perfect life on a paradise earth. Even medical records prove that such transfusions can kill us and our minor children. For eternal salvation to human perfection, obedient Christians, who look forward to an earthly paradise under God’s kingdom, will look to the shed blood of Jesus Christ, administered in God’s sacred way.
See the case of The United States v. George Wilson, which arose because this man refused to accept the presidential pardon issued by President Andrew Jackson on June 14, 1830. The decision of the Supreme Court insisted “That the court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it, and relies on it by plea or motion. The form in which he may ask it is not material to this inquiry; but the claim must be made in some shape by him. It is a grant to him; it is his property; and he may accept it or not as he pleases. . . . A pardon may be granted on a condition precedent or subsequent, and the party remains liable to the punishment if the condition is not performed. . . . Suppose a pardon granted on conditions, which the prisoner does not choose to accept? Suppose the condition is exile, and he thinks the sentence is a lighter punishment? Suppose he thinks it his interest to undergo the punishment, in order to make his peace with the public for an offence committed in sudden temptation? . . .”
Mr. Chief Justice Marshall delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court, reminding the United States Government that “A pardon may be conditional; and the condition may be more objectionable than the punishment inflicted by the judgment. . . . This court is of opinion that the pardon in the proceedings mentioned, not having been brought judicially before the court by plea, motion or otherwise, cannot be noticed by the judges. . . .”
Hence the pardon that would have spared the life of George Wilson was not allowed to affect the judgment of the law against him.—See 32 U.S. (7 Peters), page 150 ff.
Compare this with the article “The Apostolic Council,” in the Watch Tower issue of November 15, 1892, page 350.
That blood transfusions are dangerous and can kill is pointed up by an article published in the New York Times under date of September 11, 1962, by Harold M. Schmeck, Jr., under the heading “Transfusions Are Said to Cause More Deaths than Appendicitis.”
In connection with the Nuremberg (Germany) trial of Nazi war criminals after World War II, the Nuremberg Law that was followed was this: “Patriotic obedience in crime does not establish innocence.”
As to what it takes to compensate for blood lost, every minute about 180 million red blood cells die. The bones of the body must replace these with healthy young cells, or else the person faces anemic death. It requires six to eight weeks for the bone marrow to restore the red blood cells after a pint of blood has been removed, as in the case of a blood donor.—See Awake! as of February 22, 1963, page 20, under the title “You Are Wonderfully Made.”
See the New York Journal-American, under date of June 20, 1964, page 19. The “Beadle” was a character in a novel by Charles Dickens of England.
See the New York Times as of September 23, 1966, under the heading “Groups in Israel Fight Autopsies.”
The Appeal adds: “We demand that anyone, whether out of religious conviction or humanitarian feelings, be legally allowed to insist that no autopsy or dissection be performed on his—or his relative’s—body after death (granting the exceptions practiced in the United States, such as in cases of suspicious death or dangerous epidemics.)”
On May 4, 1967, the New York Times published, on page 6, an article headed “American Rabbis in Israel Ask U.S. Protection on Autopsies,” the article being datelined “TEL AVIV, Israel, May 3.”
See also Dr. (Rabbi) Immanuel Jacobovits’ book entitled “Jewish Medical Ethics,” edition of 1967, pages 97, 98, on the subject of “mutilation,” mentioning also the rite of circumcision and the boring of the ear of a faithful slave.