by Bill Borden
Blood transfusions weren't available in ancient times so obviously the Bible doesn't prohibit this medical procedure.
However Watchtower says having a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood. Even though most people would strongly disagree, let's go with that assumption and read what the Bible based punishment for eating blood is.
Watchtower teaches that JW's must be removed from the congregation of believers and shunned for a life time if they willingly eat blood or have a blood transfusion without being repentant. As proof they have the truth and all other religions are wrong, the organization quotes Leviticus 17:14.
But there's a big problem. If you read the entire chapter of Leviticus 17 (and not just a few verses), you will notice that God's punishment for eating blood was no where near as dramatic and severe as Watchtower would have us believe.
17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded.
3 “If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull[a] or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp 4 instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle[b] to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer.[c] Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. 5 The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. 6 Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 7 The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols.[d] This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.
8 “Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice 9 but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord, that person will be cut off from the community.
10 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, 11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord.[e] It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. 12 That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’
13 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you goes hunting and kills an animal or bird that is approved for eating, he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. 14 The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community.
15 “And if any native-born Israelites or foreigners eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was torn up by wild animals, they must wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. They will remain ceremonially unclean until evening, but then they will be clean. 16 But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be punished for their sin.”
If you're a JW, carefully and slowly read Leviticus 17 several times to clearly grasp what God's Word is saying.
Jehovah's Witnesses know, they CAN eat blood in small quantities. For example many JW's love juicy steaks cooked rare or medium. No one blinks an eye. JW's eat steaks with a clear conscience because they know the Bible talks about the ceremonial requirement to drain the blood of slaughtered animals and dispose of it properly. Even after draining the blood, some blood still remains in the meat.
In other words it's wasn't the eating of blood that was a sin. It was the eating of blood from an animal sacrifice that wasn't ceremonially prepared. The blood was to be drained because the animal gave it's life and it's life was represented by it's blood. The same is not true with blood transfusions. Blood 'donors' do you not give their lives. They only donate a small amount of blood. The blood used in blood transfusions doesn't represent anyone's life. You're still very much alive after you donate a pint of blood so that someone else might live. (1, 2)
Even if ancient people deliberately ate the blood of an animal not drained properly (as in the case of an animal that died naturally or was killed by wild animals), notice what the punishment was. They were 'cut off' from the community (for a few hours) and 'ceremonially unclean until evening'!!! All they needed to do was have a bath and wash their clothes to avoid punishment! If they did that they would be clean again the same day!!! ( 'in the evening' )
So let's assume Watchtower is correct when they say having a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood. What should the punishment be according to the Bible? That's right. Take a bath and wash your clothes. As long as you do that there is no punishment! The very same day 'in the evening' you can hang out with all your relatives and friends!
I was inspired and motivated to write this article after reading about the very sad and tragic death of a beautiful young JW from Montreal Canada. Éloïse Dupuis, 26, refused a blood transfusion and on Oct 12, 2016, six days after giving birth by C-section, she passed away from complications related to blood loss. It was her first child. My heart goes out to her husband, family, friends, and all JW's. May God bless you and keep you safe. I'm so sad for everyone especially her baby who will see pictures such as this one and grow up asking why. Why did it have to be this way?
1. When ancient people ate the meat of an animal, the animal obviously had to die. Therefore, the blood represented it's life. In recognition of the animal's sacrifice, the blood was to be ceremonial drained and covered with dirt. ( Any small remaining amount of blood could be eaten along with the meat because it's impossible to drain every last drop. ) Blood transfusions are not the same because no one sacrifices their life when they donate a pint of blood. The donated blood does NOT represent the life of the donor! The donor is still very much alive after donating a small amount of blood.
2. A candle doesn't lose it's brightness when it lights another candle. Blood donors lose nothing when they give a pint of blood. They don't die. Blood donors don't sacrifice their lives like animals do when they are slaughtered for food. Blood donors are giving a gift, not a sacrifice of their lives. When a person accepts a blood transfusion, they're not blowing out someone elses 'candle'. The blood donor's 'candle' or life is still burning as strong as ever. Donated blood used in blood transfusions, does not represent someone's life.