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The Persecuted Church

 

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DOES THE BIBLE REALLY FORBID BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS?

The Watchtowers change of allowing what was once forbidden!

blood.jpg (3213 bytes)The Watchtower Society teaches Jehovah's Witnesses that blood transfusions are unbiblical and are forbidden to receive in any manner. However this may not be so anymore!

Over the years the Watchtower has not only discarded doctrines but actually change their mind back and forth as if they were not sure in their new interpretation on what God has spoke in his word. For example The men of Sodom will be resurrected (Watchtower 7/1879, p. 8). The men of Sodom will not be resurrected (WT, 6/1/1952, 338). This went on 4 different times.

The most recent, we can remember back to November 1995 Watchtower, with the changing date of the last generation being from 1914 the Watchtower dropped all reference to 1914 from their Awake! magazine's "Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away" (WT Nov. p. 4).

The new version reads "Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked lawless system of things."

With those alive in 1914 being at least in their 80s, the Watchtower was in a predicament since time expired on their 1914 prediction they the people held on tenaciously as their hope. So how did they wiggle out of this? Simple, they just changed their definition of the word "generation." The response was as always Ask no questions and we will tell you no lies!

Years before it was the issue of vaccinations, which was classified as Biblical truth  (THE GOLDEN AGE February 4, 1931, p. 293)  In 1931 they wrote 'Vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made with Noah after the flood' many obeyed this command and died because of their revelation of truth. They even went as far as saying if you had your children are vaccinated and they were intelligent it would make them stupid. They then changed it to… Vaccinations appear to have caused a marked decrease in disease (Awake   8/22/1965, p. 20).   Jehovah's Witnesses  are now free to receive vaccinations and even encouraged to do so. (Should You And Your Children Be Vaccinated?, AWAKE, August 22, 1965, pp. 17-21)

Also organ transplants for saving lives Witnesses consider to be cannibalism, and absolutely unacceptable, from the early 1900’s even to through the 60’s and 80’s this policy was held.  Jehovah's Witnesses in 1980 then changed it to: "Organ transplants are not necessarily cannabalistic." But many died  from their policy and this continues today.

Military service was allowed if it was non combatant. Then it was voting which was left up to ones own conscience. What's next?

We all knew that after enough exposure and pressure on the WT society that the blood transfusion issue would go the route of change as had their previous policies.

They have refused blood since 1909 Abstaining from blood (Acts 15:29) "should be observed by all spiritual Israelites as representing the divine will."

They could not even feed their pets with food that contains blood, They went so far as a pet should not be given a blood transfusion. I guess they can lose eternal life as well and not be resurrected on the paradise earth since everyone wants their pets back.

The Watchtower, January 15, 1961 stated "In view of the seriousness of taking blood into the human system by a transfusion, would violation of the Holy Scriptures in this regard subject the dedicated, baptized receiver of blood transfusion to being disfellowshiped from the Christian congregation?" "The inspired Holy Scriptures answer yes."

"Similarly, God's command to 'abstain from blood' rules out ingesting it by the mouth as well as through injections into the veins. Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the divine law was not to be ignored even during an emergency that could threaten life. (1 Sam. 14:31-35) Many of God's approved servants have been willing to face dangers and even death rather than violate Scriptural principles and their integrity to Jehovah." (The Watchtower, June 15, 1978, p.24)

In their booklet BLOOD, MEDICINE "They know that if they violate God's law on blood and the child dies in the process, they have endangered that child's opportunity for everlasting life in God's new world."

"it may result in the immediate and very temporary prolongation of life, but that at the cost of eternal life for a dedicated Christian."

The Watchtower, June 15, 1978 stated "So their everlasting destiny is tied up in their faithfulness to Jehovah. This includes their being obedient to what he says about blood." This is non negotiable in the way this was presented and to the JW’s who obeyed this command. Living under their organization at the time they could never forsee this as anything but Gods word of truth that is unchangeable. After all it was a matter of life and death, eternal life.

Jehovah's Witnesses are taught that they must abstain from blood transfusions for any and all reasons. Therefore many Witnesses carry cards directing doctors not to administer blood in order to sustain their lives should an emergency arise. This position is inaccurately based upon the prohibition found in the Old Testament law.

The Watchtower tells Witnesses that it would be better to die than to consent to a transfusion. That can have a temporary prolongation of life but will cost them eternal life.

The number of people with medical needs who through accident, disease, or surgery that require blood transfusions, the potential for turning casualty into fatality is frightening. There has been a silent holocaust going on in this organization that has been well hidden from those who would join and the media. Literally thousands die even children. It has been a silent holocaust.

An inquiry made to the American Red Cross shows that one hundred people per thousand, or ten percent, need blood in some form every year.( Information from the American Red Cross--see QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES by William I. and Joan Cetnar, 1982 edition.)  No actual figures are available, but we can make a pretty good guess using the red cross figure of 1 in 5 needing blood in some form we have a number of about 1 million JW’s at the very least that would need blood in some capacity each year. Of these 10% would need it for a life threatening situation. This averages out to roughly between 12 to 30 JW’s every day!

The Watchtower has used three main Scripture references in support of their forbidding of blood transfusions. The first verse is Genesis 9:4. Here a command is given that refers to "the eating of blood", certainly not receiving transfusions. They teach is a law forbidding the eating of blood was given to Noah, that the law is for all mankind, and not just the Israelites. Noah is commanded not to eat flesh that still had the blood in it; Noah is told not to eat living animals, or animals not properly drained of blood. Animals were slaughtered and their blood was drained, insuring their death, and then the bled meat could be eaten.  God's people were not to "eat flesh with it’s life, that is its blood." This scripture does not refer to the eating of blood alone, since the blood was to be poured out, and the flesh was to be eaten.

The second and most convincing "proof text" that is used is found at Leviticus 17:10-16. Again, we find reference to the actual eating of the blood of animals. These verses are no way connected with transfusions between humans. Jehovah’s Witnesses point to this saying anyone who eats the blood of any flesh is to be "cut off." meaning being put to death. However, this is their unique misinterpretation of the passage. This text is also part of the Law and cannot be said to be applied to all of mankind. It is speaking directly to the offense of drinking blood. Because blood is at the heart of the Old Testament sacrificial system, and typified the blood of Christ, it carried a heavier penalty than eating unbled meat. In v. 15 we see the very mild penalty for eating unbled meat. The reason for the difference is that when an animal is killed by an Israelite he is to show his reverence for life and the atonement by pouring out the blood.

The law was for the Jews? In Deuteronomy 14:21, we find the Law on unbled flesh states, "You (Jews) shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner." We see that the law on eating unbled flesh and pouring out the blood applied ONLY to the Jews, since aliens and foreigners (Gentiles) were free to eat  of it. It was in the context of the nation being separate and not do what the gentiles did around them.

What they forgot to take into account is Lev 3:17 You shall eat neither fat nor blood.'" So the prohibition is not just blood.

Leviticus 17:15-16 clearly shows that the punishment for violating this law on blood is to have one separated from the congregation for a short period of time. The law breaker must wash himself and his clothing and he will be unclean until evening, but then he will be clean (Leviticus 17:15-16). It is not an eternal punishment.

In Exodus 31 and Numbers 15:21, one finds that punishment for picking up stones (working) on the Sabbath was death. To work on the Sabbath was more serious than that of the drinking or eating of blood. in Samuel 14:31-32 records how the Israelites ate sheep, oxen, and calves "with their blood." Saul offered up a sacrifice to God, there was no punishment inflicted, and God went on the bless them.

Next is in Acts 15:20 says, "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." V. 29 says, "that you abstain from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you do well.v.21, "For Moses, from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath." These verses point back to the Law of Moses in Leviticus 17:12 and 14, forbidding the eating of flesh with its blood in it. The abstaining from blood does in no way refer to receiving blood transfusions as the Watchtower's interpretation insinuates.

All of the prohibitions mentioned together here are concerned with the temple practices of the heathens, who in the idolatrous worship services that used animal blood in their rituals, and strangled animals during their ceremonies. As  Christians we are not to participate but withdraw from such things. The Gentiles in their new found freedom were not seeing this in the way the Jewish brethren were. The command issued at the Acts 15 council to the church was on the behalf of the Jewish believers in the New Testament. The decree is a concession in view of the background of the "weaker brethren.' In 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 the 'stronger brother' is asked to restrict himself on the behalf of the 'weaker brother, so they may not stumble the weaker brother. Similarly in Acts 15, the Gentile believer is to restrict himself in respect for his Jewish brother's scruples regarding food laws. This principle regarding food laws is again repeated in Romans 14: where the apostle says, 'Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." The same principle is used for eating meats sacrificed to idols, where the believer has the freedom to eat of it as long as it would not stumble the brethren.

When one turns to the Levitical Law, the context is not blood. The contextual meaning is sacrifice. The prohibition did apply to transfusions, even the most orthodox Jew, today from what I know, do not refuse blood transfusions on the basis of the Old Testament prohibitions, only the JW. The New Testament principle is this: Jesus asked the Pharisees, "Which of you shall have an donkey or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not go to pull him out on the sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5) The difference in Jesus example is that a life is being saved, even if it is only the life of an animal. To administer a blood transfusion to save a life is to endorse, or sustain, the preeminent value, which is life itself. The priority of the law is the sanctity of life. Jesus even used the example of David to prove this principle. David was permitted to eat the showbread, belonging only to the priest, in his time of need, he was not punished. (1 Sam. 21:6). The Bible's principle Jesus made clear in Mark 7:14 when He said, "Nothing that goes into a man from the outside can make him unclean." Therefore, no Jehovah’s Witnesses can become "unclean" by eating a blood product or receiving a transfusion. Not only does the Watchtower consider them unclean, but they are considered unworthy for eternal life. What manmade traditions do to punish sincere people who want to do what is right! If the blind lead the blind will they not both fall in a ditch?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses took one phrase "abstain from blood," and applied it to the modern practice of blood transfusion. It is a blatant abuse of Scripture that had detrimental affects on their followers. With the need for blood transfusions so great and affecting Jehovah's Witnesses lives with this Watchtower teaching, we should seriously look to the Scriptures for God's truth to settle this matter. Keep in mind that other such policies were just as rigid as this one was.

Genesis 9:4-6 and  17:10-14 is about  the blood of animals not people.

We also need to take into account that eating blood and a blood transfusion are two different bodily processes. Blood which is eaten is digested and destroyed. Blood which is transfused is not eaten, digested, or destroyed. Why? Because eating blood involves the body's digestive system, and transfusion involves the circulatory system.

Do Jehovah's Witnesses really abstain from blood? Jehovah's Witnesses would answer unanimously YES! But the facts say, NO. The Watchtower Society permits the use of blood products like albumin, EPO, blood serums /Immunoglob-ulins, and hemophiliac treatments (clotting factors VIII & IX) these are taken to sustain life? If the medical use of blood is wrong, we cannot pick and choose which blood portions or products we will abstain from anymore than we can engage in a little fornication or a little idol worship. Such reasoning is seriously flawed. As they have written  inLive Forever p. 216 "So too abstaining from blood means not taking it into your body at all."

"Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with in its being forbidden. (The Watchtower 9/15/58, p. 575)

Their interpretation that a transfusion is eating which is scientifically wrong. Their is No nutritional benefit from a blood transfusion.No doctor prescribes blood transfusions to treat malnutrition. When you eat anything it is taken into the stomach where it is digested and then is passed through the intestines into the blood vessels where the blood then carries it to the body for nourishment. This is entering the digestive system.

In a transfusion the blood that is transfused travels through the blood stream goes to the intestines where it picks up the digested food passed through the intestines and carrying that food throughout the rest of the body. This is the circulatory system. The transfused blood is not food itself but the carrier of food. The food is broken down into its component parts whereas the blood remains whole. A clear difference, that even those who are not familiar with medical jargon can understand.

This policy was subject to change just as all the others were. So it was only a matter of time.

Recently in the June 15, 2000 issue of The Watchtower, it hinted of change. What was under discussion was the definition of what was blood, in terms of minor and major components, it certain left the reader with the impression that they were saying persons would no longer be disfellowshipped for receiving a blood transfusion. 

But further comments by Watchtower spokesman indicate that there is actually NO MAJOR CHANGE, at least in their "written" policy on blood.

Associated Newspapers Ltd., 14 June 2000 (excerpts)

Leaders of the sect have told its six million members they will no longer face excommunication if they accept a transfusion under life-or-death conditions.

The decision, made at a secret meeting of the movement's 12-member world governing body at its New York headquarters, is being described as its biggest climb down since sect's prediction of the end of the world failed to materialise in 1975.

Jehovah's Witness leaders described the change as a "slight adjustment". It follows years of negative publicity about followers of the movement, including children, who have died or come close to death because of their refusal to accept a transfusion.

Only last week, Brent Bond, a Witness from Nottingham, renounced his faith seconds before he lost consciousness so he could receive a lifesaving blood transfusion after losing five pints in a machete attack.

In January, Beverly Matthews, 33, of Stockton, died after refusing an emergency transfusion. Letters have been sent to leaders of the sect throughout Britain, where there are 130,000 Witnesses, instructing them no longer to expel members who accept blood.

Jehovah's Witnesses have until now interpreted certain passages in the Bible as meaning they cannot accept any form of transfusion of blood, which they regard as a gift from God.

Geoffrey Unwin, a former Witness who now writes on religion, predicted a backlash from members who had been excommunicated over the issue. He said he knew of at least two who were considering legal action.

Time will tell if this change will be implemented as policy or they are just feeling out the members reaction. nonetheless it is a loosening up that will actually save lives instead of destroy them.

It is the society that who will bear the guilt for their own members lives lost through the refusal of blood transfusions. It is nothing less than mass murder in the name of God, which in turn will give the leaders the loss of eternal life.

 

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