And it can have an effect even on our eternal destiny. How so? As an aid in seeing the answer, compare these quotations of Ephesians 1:7 from two modern Bible translations, noting particularly what we have italicized:
“By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one [Christ], yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.”—New World Translation.
“For by the death of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God.”—Today’s English Version.*
8 From either translation we can learn that God is interested in us, in our lives. To that end he sent his only-begotten Son Jesus as a ransom sacrifice that could free persons of sin, releasing mankind from condemnation. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6; John 3:16, 17) Jesus himself said: “I have come that [you] might have life and might have it in abundance.” (John 10:10) But does it make any difference that some Bible translations say that this is by means of Christ’s death rather than by means of Christ’s blood? And what bearing could the difference have on our life—on our thinking, actions and future? Let us see.
16 With a background of these points concerning sacrifices, atonement, blood and Jesus’ ransom, let us turn our attention again to Ephesians 1:7. Most English translations of this verse show that it says, “we have the release by ransom through the blood of” Christ. Yet some modern versions substitute “death of Christ.” Does it make much difference?
17 In the original Greek, Ephesians 1:7 uses the word haima, which means “blood.” Why, then, do some translations render it here and elsewhere as “death”? The translators understood that in certain texts mentioning “blood,” the death or the responsibility for the murder of someone is implied. (Luke 11:50, 51; Acts 5:28; Rev. 6:10) For example, in front of Jews clamoring for Jesus’ execution, Pilate went through the gesture of washing his hands, and then declared: “I am innocent of the blood of this man.” The Jews replied: “His blood come upon us and upon our children.” (Matt. 27:24, 25; compare Revelation 7:14.) But some versions have taken the liberty of rendering these verses: “I am not responsible for the death of this man,” and, “Let the punishment for his death fall on us and on our children.” (TEV) What, though, is the effect when “death” is substituted for “blood” in verses where Jesus’ sacrifice is involved? Could something possibly be missed that God wanted to convey to us?
18 There is no denying the emphasis that the Bible places on the death of Jesus. Paul wrote: “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Also: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3) His dying, willingly giving his perfect human life, paid back or balanced what Adam had lost for us and which led to our sinful state.
19, 20. What features, beyond just the death of Jesus, are included in references to Christ’s blood? (Heb. 4:14-16)
19 However, the Bible’s references to the “blood of the Christ” should convey to us important things that might not be appreciated in speaking of just his death. (Eph. 2:13) Christ did not, and could not, simply die and remain dead.* In fulfillment of the Atonement Day pattern that Jehovah originated, Jesus then had to enter heaven, into the very presence of God. There Christ could present the value or merit of his lifeblood, just as on Atonement Day the high priest took the sacrificial blood into the Most Holy. Paul clearly sets out this parallel: “Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”—Heb. 9:24, 11, 12; 13:11.
20 Furthermore, in heaven Jesus Christ is alive and able to plead for all who exercise faith in his ransom and assist them toward salvation. Accordingly, Paul wrote: “For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”—Rom. 5:10.
21, 22. How are our lives involved in the expression “blood of the Christ”?
21 With good reason, then, the work “Religion in History and in the Present” states that in most instances “one cannot substitute Blood of Christ with death. The Blood of Christ means more than this. It stresses the close links between the death of Jesus and both his life and his triumph in his resurrection and exaltation.” The book adds that the expression “Blood of Christ”
“adopts the Old Testament Jewish concept of the atoning power of blood, which is the basis for the way sacrifices are viewed and for the idea that the death of the righteous one has atoning power. . . . On one hand this term reminds us of the fact that we have been bought with a high price, of the one who paid the ransom and of what it consisted. On the other hand, we are freed from sin and death forever by faith in the covenant concluded over his blood. The Blood of Christ encompasses the effect of his death and resurrection.”*
22 How meaningful, then, how full of blessed implications for us, are many of the Bible passages mentioning Jesus’ blood! By means of it our sins can be forgiven. (Rev. 1:5; Heb. 10:29) It is possible to be delivered from fruitless conduct. (1 Pet. 1:18, 19) We can be among a congregation of people whom God approves of and guides. (Acts 20:28) And there is the hope of perfection and everlasting life under the rule of a kingdom incorporating persons bought with that blood.—Rev. 5:9, 10; 12:10, 11; Col. 1:20.