Blood – it is the source of life and the redeeming substance. All men are made from not one man, but from one blood Act 17:26. Old Testament saints were told to abstain from eating blood, for blood is the “life of all flesh” (Lev. 17:12-14). Any man found eating blood was put to death as God did not want them to eat the “life with the flesh” Deu 12:23. God breathed into Adam “the breath of life” that went into his blood giving him life and creating all nations of men from that one blood Gen 2:7.
In Act 15:20 the early Jewish church come together to decide what parts of the law should be observed by the gentiles. It was decided on three things: “they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood”. It is interesting to note these were already the commandments of God well before Moses and the Law came along.
Cain killed Abel and God had asked him “Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Genesis 4:9-10). The pool of blood lying next to Abel was crying out for vengeance and God heard it. Any animal or man that killed another man was to be killed during the days of the Old Testament. Shortly after the flood, God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” God also told them –
4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:4-6
God also says there is no satisfaction for the life of a murderer. In other words there are no excuses for the murderer or justification by another means such as a monetary payment or prison term; only blood for blood. The very land where the murder has taken place is defiled and cannot be cleansed until the blood of the one that committed murder is taken.
31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.32 And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.33 So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel. Numbers 35:31-34
If there was mercy shown on the murderer, then the blood would be on the heads of the inhabitants of that land (Deut. 19:10-13). The timeline for the defiling of the land without redeeming the blood debt of the murderer has no statue of limitations as in the following example. The latter part of King David’s reign suffered a famine for the innocent shedding of Gibeonite blood under King Saul 2Sa 21:1. So King David asked the Gibeonites what could be done to avenge the blood of the innocents and they asked for seven of the descendants of Saul. King David complied and the land was cleansed (2 Samuel 21:2- 9). Another example can be seen under King Solomon in 1 Kings 2:29-34. Most shedding of innocent blood is not redeemed in time before God imparts his vengeance as seen in Matthew 23:31-36 below:
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation (the Jews of that day).
In 70 AD vengeance was taken upon the Jews for the innocent shedding of blood in the same geographical area where the very first murder of Abel and the last Old Testament murder of Zacharias took place beginning with the complete destruction of the temple and mile after mile of Jewish people hung on Roman crucifixions lining the road.
Under the law, justice and judgment will come once again during the Tribulation to avenge the killing of all innocent blood. Rev 6:10 says “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth”? These are the martyred, Tribulation Saints crying out for vengeance for the shedding of their blood. God will once again require an equal exchange, blood for blood.
Speaking to Babylon in the Tribulation: “2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. Revelation 19:2
Coming up, part 2 will look at the blood of Jesus as the redeeming substance, the atonement of the soul for all sins.