Friday, August 30, 2013

Scriptural Guidance About Blood Transfusions

The transfusion of blood has become a standard practice in modern medicine, which society and the Church have generally accepted.  It purportedly saves lives, so the end result seems to justify the means.  Blood banks are constantly seeking donors through their blood drives, and many donors give their blood, thinking they are doing something good for mankind.

But as disciples of Christ, we must know the will of God concerning blood transfusions.  We don’t make decisions based on what the world does, or based on the efficacy of a practice, even if it seems good in our own eyes.  Neither do we make decisions based on what the majority of other Christians believe.  Rather we make our decisions based on a correct understanding of Scripture, along with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Scriptural Injunctions Concerning Blood
Before the Law was given, God told Noah, "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Gen 9:3-4).  This also became part of the Law, and Moses taught that meat must always have the blood drained out before it is eaten.

Scripture teaches that the life of all flesh is in its blood:

"'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'"(Lev 17:11)

In the Septuagint, which is the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament, the word for life in this verse is psuche.  This is where we get the English word psyche, which is a soul or personality.

According to Thayer’s Greek definitions, the Greek word psuche means
1) breath
1a) the breath of life
1a1) the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing (of animals; of men)
1b) life
1c) that in which there is life (a living being, a living soul)
2) the soul
2a) the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)
2b) the (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life
2c) the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)
So when the Scripture says, “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” it literally means the soul or the vital force that animates the body is in the blood.  Since the life of a human is its blood, it must be kept pure.  Nothing unclean may be put into the blood.  Since the life of every creature is in its blood, we must not put it into our own blood.  This is the same as putting their life into our blood.  Since their lives are not pure, their life weakens us.

Bleeding finger (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Notice God did not say, “The life of every living thing is in the brain.”  Although that’s what society seems to think, it’s not true.   A human can go on living with brain damage.  In fact, we can mechanically circulate blood through the body and keep a person alive, even in a comatose state.  But if you take out all of a person’s blood, then their life ends and their soul departs from their body.

Since the life of every living thing is in the blood, the LORD told the people of Israel that they shall not eat any meat with blood still in it.  "For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, 'You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.'” (Lev 17:14).

This injunction was carried over in the New Testament by the apostles and elders.

"Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.” (Act 15:19-20)

Unlike food going into the body, which is broken down, blood going into the blood stream remains whole.  It contains genetic material, DNA, as well as other components like blood cells, germs, bacteria, and somatids (see footnote about somatids).  From a spiritual perspective, the blood also contains other components that cannot be viewed beneath a microscope.  It has a supernatural life force within it.

Based on these Scriptures above, and other ones about blood, some Christians sincerely believe that it would be sinful to allow anyone to inject any substance containing human or animal blood into their bodies, such as vaccines or blood transfusions. (For more on vaccines, see What Does the Bible Say About Vaccines?).

Arguments in Support of Blood Transfusions
Some people argue against that interpretation by saying that vaccines and transfusions are never mentioned in Scripture.  They argue that Scripture never forbids these modern medical practices.  They argue that there is a vast difference between ingesting blood through the stomach (digestive system) and injecting blood or blood-containing products into the bloodstream (circulatory system).  Those who make such arguments do so from the assumption that blood transfusions are medically necessary.

However, it is interesting to note that Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas is a “bloodless” hospital.  In other words, it performs even complicated open-heart procedures without transfusing any blood. They say it is safe, less expensive, and the patients recover faster.  Their goal is to perform 90% of their surgeries without blood.  There are bloodless hospitals in other parts of the country that have been doing this for years, and this is not an experimental practice.  Since one unit of donated blood can cost around $700 or more, it’s less expensive not to use it.  There’s also less chance of having a problem with the blood, such as infection, and you feel better, too.  So even from a medical and practical perspective, it is not as necessary as some would like us to believe.

Quality Control within Blood Banks
Donating blood  (by MartinD, Wikimedia Commons)
It’s important to note that the blood banks do not routinely test donated blood for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Street drugs, even marijuana, are often contaminated with many other things, the least of which would be pesticides, etc. Those things, as well as the chemicals of the drugs themselves, can interact with other medicines the person receives. They depend on donors to be honest in answering the questions and honest with themselves about if they really should be a donor.  But people who use drugs do donate their blood for a variety of reasons, including incentives from the blood banks. 

Here are some guidelines on blood donations the Red Cross considers acceptable, and it is all done on the honor system, relying on the honesty of the donor answering the questions:
  • “Taking antibiotics to control acne does not disqualify you from donating.”
  • “Acceptable if you have a positive skin test for tuberculosis, or if you are receiving antibiotics for a positive TB skin test only.”
  • “In almost all cases, medications will not disqualify you as a blood donor.” 
  • Regarding use of marijuana, the Red Cross states the blood is: “Acceptable as long as you are not under the influence of marijuana at the time of donation.”  (Note: drug use is an occult practice).
  • Regarding herpes: “Acceptable as long as you are feeling well.”
  • “Donors are only required to wait 12 months after treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea.” 
  • Women on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis are eligible to donate.  The hormone replacement pill, Premarin, comes from PREgnant MAres' urINe.  Animal hormones.  When estrogens and other steroid hormones go inside a cell, they can unite with a receptor to form a hormone/receptor unit that moves into the nucleus, attaches directly to special DNA binding sites, and activates protein-producing genes. The proteins drive the cell changes guiding estrogen-controlled growth and development
  • “Surgery: Acceptable once the wound is healed and stitches are dissolved or removed, as long as the underlying condition is also acceptable in a blood donor.”
These rules for eligibility give new meaning to the expression, "They strain out a gnat and swallow a camel"!  It should also be noted that making donations for your own use during surgery (autologous blood donation) is considered a medical procedure and the rules for eligibility are even less strict than for regular volunteer donations.  If this self-donated blood is not used, it is uncertain whether it is later put into the blood bank for others to receive, or what its final disposition is.

However, a former, high-ranking satanist has revealed that most donated blood around the world is intercepted by the satanists and used for drinking in their rituals.  It’s a well-documented fact that satanic rituals involve animal and human sacrifices, as well as drinking blood, which is an occult practice.  Some convicted criminals have confessed to murdering their victims in order to get more blood to drink in their satanic rituals.  This is why there are so many abductions, including children.  So it is not impossible that other criminals obtain the blood they need through blood banks.  There is a risk for an illegal market.

Making Blood a Commodity
As I've already mentioned, blood is very expensive for hospitals, and in the U.S. the final cost to the patient for the blood can be double what the hospital pays for it!  This can be as high as $1,500 USD for a unit of blood.

Due to the dramatic increase in the demand for blood, the brief shelf-life, and the constant shortages of blood supplies, the practice of offering incentives has increased in recent years, according to studies.  Blood banks throughout the world offer both monetary and non-monetary incentives to donors, which can include cash, as well as things like gift cards, tax relief, travel reimbursement, paid time-off from work, and tickets to an event or museum, entry into sweepstakes to win expensive cars, or other material gifts. Studies in the U.S. have shown that over half of all blood donors received some sort of incentive in 2001.  Sometimes legal defendants are given the option of a reduced fine, if they donate blood, or delinquents may be given the option to donate blood as part of their community service sentence.

Blood has now become a commodity that is bought and sold on the market.  Since we know that the life or soul of a person is in their blood, then the blood centers, hospitals, patients, and criminals in the black market are buying and selling the souls of men (Rev 18:13).  Human blood and the life in it has become merchandise, which is carried as cargo in cars, trucks, planes, and trains.  Men are paying for blood. Yet few care whether that is the will of God.

Lastly, studies have shown that infectious diseases among donors who are recruited by monetary incentives are more prevalent.  Therefore the safety of the blood is affected, and it's quality is reduced by this trend toward incentivized blood donors.  Paying for blood donations is a risk.

Questions for Prayerful Consideration
In light of what Scripture teaches about blood, and the perpetual controversy over vaccines and blood transfusions, here are some questions:
  1. Why do satanists drink blood?
  2. What if a Christian’s donated blood were being used in satanic rituals? 
  3. Can a blood donor be sure of the final disposition of his blood?
  4. Although many modern practices are not mentioned in Scripture, such as cigarette smoking, vaccinations, and blood transfusion, does that mean they are not sinful? Does it mean that God is neutral about these things, or can we deduce from Scripture what God’s will is?
  5. Since we do not know about the life of the person who donates their own blood, then what if the blood comes from someone living in sin, such as a sexually immoral person, an adulterer, a homosexual, an incestuous person, a satanist, a pedophile, a pornographer, an atheist, a rebellious person, a hateful or bitter person, etc.?
  6. What if the blood donor was the product of an incestuous relationship or whose birth was illegitimate in some other way?
  7. What if the blood donor suffered from depression, anxiety, or some other mental disorder?
  8. What if the blood donor has epilepsy?
  9. What if the blood donor had cancer either previously or unknowingly at the time of donation?
  10. What if the donor was sick with flu or had just taken antibiotics for a respiratory infection?
  11. What if the donor had been vaccinated?
  12. What if the blood donor had been taking psychotropic drugs (Antidepressants are a broad category of psychotropic drugs)?
  13. What if the donor had been using cocaine?
  14. What if the blood donor had recently had their ears or body pierced with a non-sterile instrument?
  15. What if the blood donor recently had an elective abortion? (Note: the Red Cross says this blood is acceptable).
  16. What if the blood donor were taking birth control pills (i.e., the hormones estrogen and progesterone)?
  17. What if the blood donor were taking other hormones?
  18. What if the blood donor had a sexually transmitted disease or herpes?
  19. What if the donor had undergone Sexual reassignment surgery (SRS)?
  20. What if the blood donor had themselves been the recipient of a blood transfusion from a foreign country with more lax screening and had received bad blood?
  21. Since the life of a person is bound up in their blood, how would the life of these donors spiritually, physically, and emotionally affect the recipient of their blood?
  22. If a Christian knew that the blood they were getting through transfusion or in a vaccine was once part of the life of a wicked person such as the kind mentioned above, or some other example mentioned above, would they still want that blood?
  23. If a Christian received that blood, knowing where it came from, would it constitute sin?
  24. If a Christian received that blood, realizing that he could not be certain where it came from, would it constitute sin?
  25. If God does not want His people ingesting blood into their bodies through the mouth, why would He want us injecting it into our bodies?  If it still ends up inside our bodies and becomes part of our life, what is the difference?
  26. Whether by injection or ingestion, would a Christian want to receive a stranger’s bodily fluid -- other than blood (e.g., whole urine or components of it, sweat, mucous secretions, saliva, semen, or other bodily discharges)?  If not, why then would a Christian want to receive a stranger’s blood?
  27. Is it holy?  Is it pure?
  28. Is it ethical to buy and sell blood?  
  29. Is it morally right in God's sight to do so?  
I am not going to answer these for you.  These are for your own prayerful consideration.  Ask the Lord to speak to you and give you wisdom.  You can discuss them with your pastor, too.  If you are married, discuss them with your spouse.  If you have children, ask them what they think?  Sometimes the Lord will use little children to speak nuggets of wisdom.

Putting it All Together
In light of the uncertainty surrounding the sources of the blood in blood banks, and the quality of the blood, it presents many difficult questions of both an ethical and spiritual nature.  In light of God's Word, each disciple of Christ must determine the will of God pertaining to blood transfusions, as well as other medical matters like vaccines and the use of hormone-based products. But they cannot be left to make those decisions alone. Pastors must provide those who are under their care with the Biblical guidance to make right decisions before God.  For we will all have to give an account one day of everything done while in the body, whether good or bad. 

This is not something to be dismissed or taken lightly.  And you don’t want to wait until you or your child has a medical emergency to decide what God’s will is about blood transfusions.  In a medical emergency, there may be too much pressure from the immediate situation and the medical professionals to search the Scriptures and make a sound decision.  In fact, if you are unconscious, you cannot make a decision for yourself or your loved one at all. You need to prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance now to know God’s will. 

In my opinion, the Scripture has some clear guidelines about receiving the blood of another living creature into your body.  The life of every living thing is in the blood, and we are to avoid ingesting it.  It seems to me that injecting something directly into the blood stream is just as bad as ingesting it, if not worse. 

Man wants to disregard those guidelines, thinking he knows best.  But God’s wisdom is supreme.  I believe blood transfusions present a significant risk, and there are no guarantees of the purity of the blood in the blood banks.  Likewise, there are no guarantees of the spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences of donating or receiving blood.  At best, receiving a blood transfusion is somewhat like playing Russian roulette.  At worst, it may be a direct violation of God’s will.  You need to decide for yourself before God.

As you make your decision, please bear in mind that if any man wants to see God, he must walk in truth, righteousness, and holiness (see Heb 12:14; Eph 4:24; Act 17:31; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22; 1 Pet 2:24; 1Jn 2:29; 1Jn 3:7; 1Jn 3:10; 1 Pet 1:15-16; Mat 5:20; Rev 21:8; 22:11, 14-15).  That is the only standard for heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ still loves you.  But His standard is high!  And His mercy is only attainable in the world.

In case you didn't know, Jesus gave his life on the cross for you.  He gave His blood on your behalf.  He took your place.  His blood was pure, holy, and undefiled.  If you will repent, give up your life of sin, ask God to forgive you, and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, He will save you.  He'll wash away your sin in His blood, and give you His perfect righteousness as a gift.

Footnote: Somatids are the tiniest life form.  They are visible in living human blood, as well as reconstituted dried blood. When healthy blood is viewed in an electron microscope, somatids appear as little dots of light, which seem to dance around the motionless red blood cells. They are living and indestructible, which means they cannot be killed either by heat or by any chemical product.

References: Rewards and Incentives for Blood Donation Work, by Healthline News, Blood donor incentives: A step forward or backward, by the Asian Journal of Transfusion Science, American Red Cross, The Project Avalon Forum, HIV via blood transfusion on the rise, by Pakistan Defense, Now Five found with HIV+ after blood transfusion at Assam hospital, by Pakistan Defence, Thayer’s Greek definitions, and Blood donation by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's Note: This is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.  Consult a physician for professional advice.  If you enjoyed this post, I recommend the articles by Pakistan Defence cited in the references above, as well as my article called What Does the Bible Say About Vaccines? You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

4 comments:

  1. I know you mean well an want to follow God but I'm telling you that blood transfusions and blood donations do NOT offend God. It is NOT a sin for a Christian to donate blood or receive a blood transfusion. You're using the same arguments as the Jehovah's Witness against blood transfusion or blood donation. In Genesis 9, God is saying not to consume animal blood and not to murder a human being and he also said how important life is. Acts 15 was a council that settled laws so as to not offend the conscious of Jewish Christians and Gentiles. There, the word blood refers to murder not taking a blood transfusion. The intentions of someone donating blood or getting a blood transfusion is very different from the intention of a pagan or Satanist drinking blood. Jeremiah 17 and James 1:12-15 say that in order for an act to be sinful, there has to be a sinful intent from the heart. John 7:24 says not to judge on mere appearance.God also declared that He will judge all the thoughts and motives behind every act. If a Christian donates blood or accepts a blood transfusion, there is no sinful intent behind that. In fact,a Christian who donates blood fulfills Jesus command to help other people because that Christian is saving the life of someone who is sick or injured. A Christian accepting a blood transfusion has no sinful intent, he is getting a blood transfusion to save his or her own life. As for the Satanist or pagan drinking blood, the intent behind it is for doing some pagan ritualistic sacrifices, which is exactly the way of consuming blood is condemned throughout the Bible.
    In Matthew 15 and in some other passages, Jesus declared that nothing that goes in a man defiles him. In fact, in Matthew 15, the Pharisees changed Jesus for doing something considerd dirty.Blood transfusions might have complications, but when you are in a life or death situation, you are much more likely to die without getting a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions without a doubt have saved many lives. scriptures actually say that its NOT a sin for a Christian to donate blood or receive a blood transfusion. In other words, it's really OK for a Christian to donate blood or receive a blood transfusion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous, it would be so much better if you identify yourself, as I have identified who I am, so that people can check out who is making the comment. In any event, I stand by what I have written. Your comment doesn't change a single thing about what I have written, except that you have now expressed your own opinion. Thanks for doing that. However, I did not check with the JW's to find out what God thinks about blood transfusions. I consulted the Lord in His Holy Word. This is the conclusion I have arrived at from Scripture, whether you agree with it or not. Obviously many other Christians share your view, but that does not make it right. Truth is not necessarily with the majority. In fact, Jesus said that many would take the wide road to destruction, and few would take the narrow road that leads to life.

      You are entitled to come to your own conclusions from Scripture, but you also have to accept the consequences for any actions arising from those conclusions both in this life and at the judgment. That includes both physical, emotional, and spiritual ones.

      Just because something a Christian believes based on Scripture happens to be a belief held by a heretical group does not make that particular belief erroneous. So their view on this one way or the other is not even a consideration for me. What matters is what I believe the Scriptures teach.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm Eastern Orthodox Christian who regularly donates blood. As that Anonymous guy said, when the Bible speaks of blood it refers to bloodshed. Genesis 9 and Levicitus 17 speaks about the sanctity of life and how murder violates the sanctity of life. The Greek word behind blood in Acts 15 can also mean bloodshed.
    Also, God knows our hearts and for an act to be sinful must have a singular intent behind that, according to James 1:12-15. For instance, if I receive a blood transfusion to preserve my health and life during server injury and surgery used to treat it, then there is no sin in that. But if you're taking in blood as a pagan ritual, then that it's singular because of the intent.
    Scripture tells us to take care of our bodies and temples. Furthermore, donating blood fufills Christ's commands to help one another and to make sacrafices to help others. Blood donations give the wounded and I'll in need of blood transfusions as well as those going through surgery an extended opportunity to put their faith in Christ.
    With all of that being said, I still feel no spiritual trouble in donating blood or accepting blood transfusions despite reading your article. You are well meaning in your walk with Christ though.

    ReplyDelete