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SCRIPTURE TWISTING AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles 
Lord's Day Morning, September 1, 2002


"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).


This is the second sermon I am giving on these verses. The first one was titled, "The Anger of God and the Blood of Jesus." It dealt mainly with the propitiation of God's anger toward sinners through faith in Christ's Blood.

Now, this morning, I will give a second sermon on these verses, which lie at the very heart of the Book of Romans. These two verses contain strong medicine for a polluted world and an anemic Christianity. They ought to be meditated on and thought over deeply by every Christian and every lost sinner in our time.

Last Sunday evening I dealt with Romans 3:24-25 exegetically, showing what several of the key words meant. This morning I will deal with them from a more topical perspective, giving you thoughts from various parts of the Bible related to these verses. I will do this by asking three questions and then answering them with Scripture:

1. Why are these verses "twisted" in several modern translations?

2. Why is the Blood played down in the various types given in the Bible?

3. Why do lost sinners reject the Blood of Christ?

I. First, why are these verses "twisted" in several modern translations?

There can be no question that there is at least some rearranging or "twisting" in several of the modern translations on the phrase "through faith in his blood." Anyone who takes a look at the Greek can see this. The phrase in Greek is

     dia          tays        pisteos      en              toi autou haimati!
(through)    (article)     (faith)      (in)             (his blood)

(See the Interlinear Greek English New Testament by George Ricker Berry, Baker Book House, 1981). The King James Bible literally translates this, "through faith in his blood." Calvin said, "I prefer thus literally to retain the language of Paul" (John Calvin, Commentary on Romans, Baker Book House, 1998, p. 143). Luther and John Gill agree with him, as does the King James translation.

The RSV twists the verse this way:

"Whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith …" (Romans 3:25 RSV).

The NASV twists the verse this way:

"Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith" (Romans 3:25 NASV).

The New King James Version is even more twisted than the NASV, adding a comma:

"Whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith" (Romans 3:25 NKJV).

The only conclusion I can come to is that the translators do not want to make the Blood of Jesus the object of faith. They do not want us to think we should have faith in His Blood! I can't think of any other reason why they would not render the phrase literally.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, in their commentary, tell us that many modern translators

Would place a comma "after faith," and understand the words as if written thus, "to be a propitiation, in His blood, through faith." But the apostle writes, "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26); and again, "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus" (Ephesians 1:15) - where this identical phrase is used. Why, then, should he not have written here, "faith in His blood?" Fritzsche defends this sense at length; and Olshausen strenuously contends for it. Besides, this order of the two clauses - if we make two of them - is just the reverse of what we should expect in that case; whereas if, with our version, and most others, we take them as one, all is natural (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Eerdmans, 1976, comment on Romans 3:25).

This is not a minor issue at all! It is at the very heart of our message. Are we to have faith in Christ's Blood or not? I can only conclude that these modern translators do not think we need to have faith in the Blood of Christ! But can a person truly be saved without faith in Christ's Blood? The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please him" (Hebrews 11:6). Is it possible, then, to please Him without having "faith in his blood"? I say that it is not!

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).

II. Second, why is the Blood played down in the various types
given in the Bible?

In modern times many commentators "play down" or neglect the various types of the Blood of Christ given on the pages of the Old Testament, and fulfilled by the Blood of Christ in the New Testament. A "type" is a picture or illustration, given in advance, and fulfilled in the New Testament.

There are many clear types of the Blood of Christ given to us in the Old Testament. For instance, take the lamb that was to be slain, and the blood put on the door posts of the Hebrews on the night of the Exodus. God told them:

"And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it" (Exodus 12:7).

Then God said:

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13).

God told them that His judgment would "pass over" them when He saw the blood.

Dr. W. A. Criswell gives this explanation:

The Passover…unfolds one of the most striking and glorious foreshadowings of the atonement of Christ on the Cross found anywhere in the Old Testament. In fact, Christ fulfilled beautifully and perfectly each detail of the feast…The "blood" of the lamb was a "token" to God for the people, indicating that God would "pass over" the house covered by the "blood." Christ Himself became the believer's "passover" when He laid down His sinless life and shed His innocent blood in order to "cover" and thus make an atonement for man's sins (Hebrews 9:22; I Peter 2:24). (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible,Thomas Nelson, 1979, p. 88).

Criswell refers us to these two verses in the New Testament as the fulfillment of this type:

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22).

Again, he refers us to I Peter 2:24, which says:

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree"
      (I Peter 2:24).

He might well have also referred to I Corinthians 5:7, which says:

"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us"
      (I Corinthians 5:7).

When thinking about this meaningful type of the blood put on those doorposts, and reading the words,

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13)

who but a rank liberal would deny that this pointed to the coming Blood of Christ? Indeed, every preacher who is true to the Word of God should strongly tell sinners that God says today,

"When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13).

Now, what if Moses and his people had killed those lambs and let their blood drain into the sand? After letting the blood drain away into the earth, what if they had tied the bodies of those lambs to the top of their doorposts with ropes? Would the judgment of God have passed over them? I do not think so. I think they would have experienced the same judgment as the Egyptians! Don't you?

"When I see the blood,I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13).

In our modern age some men are now telling us that the death of Christ, and not His Blood, is what we need to turn away the judgment of God. I do not believe them! They have downplayed this type given in the passover. A dead lamb could not have saved them. And merely the dead body of Christ cannot save you, either!

"When I see the blood,I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13).

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
      (I John 1:7).

And our text tells us that the anger and judgment of God is propitiated, satisfied and calmed by faith in Jesus' Blood:

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).

Another clear type of the Blood of Christ was given to the Hebrews on the Day of Atonement. On that occasion they were told:

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls"
      (Leviticus 17:11).

Dr. Criswell comments:

This verse is one of the key verses of Leviticus, as well as the Bible. It is part of that scarlet thread that runs through the whole of sacred Scripture. The principle of blood atonement is God's divinely ordained remedy for the problem of sin (ibid., note on Leviticus 17:11).

Notice that the blood was "given to you upon the altar" (Leviticus 17:11). The Scofield note correctly says, "It is not the blood in the veins of the sacrifice, but the blood upon the altar which is efficacious."

For the New Testament fulfillment, we go to the Book of Hebrews. Here we find that Jesus fulfills the type of the High Priest going into the Holy of Holies in the temple to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat each year, on the Day of Atonement. Now Jesus is our high priest. Pay close attention to the following verses from Hebrews. First, please turn to Hebrews, chapter eight:

"For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat [something] also to offer" (Hebrews 8:3).

So, we are told that it was necessary for Jesus to have "something" to offer as our high priest in the "true tabernacle," in Heaven (ref. Hebrews 9:2).

Now turn to Hebrews, chapter nine,

"But into the second [part, i.e. the Holy of Holies] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood…"  
     (Hebrews 9:7).

So, plainly, the earthly high priest took blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat.

Now turn to verse twelve:

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).

The New King James translates this

"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood…" (Hebrews 9:12).

Calvin translated it,

"Not indeed with (or by) the blood of goats and calves, but with (or by) his own blood…" (Commentary on Hebrews 9:12).

So there is some confusion over the word "by."

Walvoord's Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 2 sheds light on this by saying:

It is probably better to take the original word translated "through" (dia) and connect it with "came as a high priest of good things that are already here." In that case, instead of "through" the word can be translated "in connection with"… (Zane Hodges, in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, edited by Walvoord and Zuck, volume 2, Victor, 1983).

Taking Hodges' suggestion literally, we might translate Hebrews 9:12 as

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but in connection with his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).

This translation clears up the confusion.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee was no fool when it came to the Greek. He was highly proficient in Greek. And Dr. McGee said this regarding Hebrews 9:12 (Remember, Dr. McGee was no fool. He knew Greek!):

I believe this verse proves that Christ took His literal blood to heaven. If that is not what the writer is talking about here, I do not know what he is saying. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves" - that is literal blood. "But by his own blood," this is the literal blood which He shed on the cross. "He entered in." How? By his own blood (J. Vernon McGee, note on Hebrews 9:12 in Thru the Bible Commentary, volume V).

…the blood of Christ, we believe, is in heaven… (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, volume V, comment on Hebrews 9:23).

The typology of this passage, especially in the light of Hebrews 9:25, compares the high priest taking blood to sprinkle on the mercy seat in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle, to Jesus Christ, our high priest, taking His Blood into Heaven.

What if the high priest had taken the body of a lamb and put the lamb's dead body on the mercy seat? Would this have been adequate? Surely not! And the body of Jesus in Heaven would not have been Scripturally adequate.

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22).

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
      ("What Can Wash Away My Sin?" by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

Now turn to Psalm 16:10. Here we have an Old Testament prophecy related to the resurrection of Christ:

"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).

We have become accustomed to thinking that this verse refers only to the resurrection of Christ's body. I think this is because Peter applied the verse to "his flesh" in Acts 2:31. But it should be noted that, while Peter was accurate, Psalm 16:10 must not be restricted to His body. It is an application made by Peter. Christ's "flesh" or "body" are never mentioned in Psalm 16:10. It simply says,

"Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One [Jesus] to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).

Therefore, the verse refers to both the Body and Blood of Jesus. It can mean nothing else!

"Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Nothing in the Bible could be clearer. All of Christ has been resurrected - flesh, bone, and Blood!

Dr. Rod Bell asks,

Where is the blood of Christ today? Has it been destroyed? Has it been corrupted? Has it been soaked up in the sand? Many [like John MacArthur] would like you to believe that the answer to these questions is "yes." The [liberal] scholars would like to explain it away. But the Word of God says otherwise. It has been raised to heaven. That is the simple answer, the only answer warranted by this infallible Book, our authoritative voice of faith and practice (quoted in The Church That Will Be Left Behind, by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Hearthstone, 2001, p. 94).

And one more verse. Turn to Hebrews, chapter twelve, verse twenty-four. Here, in verses 22 to 24, we have a list of things that we will see when we come to the Heavenly Jerusalem. The last two things listed as being in Heaven are these:

"…Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling…" (Hebrews 12:24).

So, God plainly and clearly and irrefutably tells us that Christ's Blood, "the blood of sprinkling," is now in Heaven.

What if the high priest had put the dead body of a lamb on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement? Would God have accepted that? Of course not! It had to be blood!

What if Moses had told them to tie the dead body of a lamb on their door posts? Would God have passed over them in judging the Egyptians? Of course not! It had to be blood!

So, when John MacArthur tells us that

Blood is used as a substitute for death ( MacArthur Study Bible, note on Hebrews 9:14)

he is dead wrong! A dead lamb could not have been substituted for blood, either at the passover or the Day of Atonement!

Why do these people "play down" the importance and meaning of these clear types, which God has given us in the Scriptures? The types show us

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).

My time is gone, but I will give the last point briefly.

III. Why do lost sinners in general neglect the Blood of Christ?

The answer to that question is found in Hebrews, chapter ten, verse twenty-nine:

"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant…an unholy thing…?" (Hebrews 10:29).

This verse tells us that lost sinners treat Christ's Blood as an unholy or common thing. Like Cain, it is their nature to do so.

The Greek word for "unholy" is "koinos." Strong's Concordance tells us this word means "profane, common, defiled, unclean, unholy" ( Strong's #2839).

If the Blood of Christ ran into the dirt and rotted, then it is correct to call His Blood, "profane, common, defiled, unclean, unholy." Rotted blood is all those things and more! But if the Blood of Jesus is common and unclean, why does Hebrews 10:29 threaten those who call it this with a worse punishment than being stoned to death (cf. Hebrews 10:28)? Why are we then told,

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God"
      (Hebrews 10:31).

Spurgeon said, "Let those who talk lightly of the precious blood correct their view lest they be guilty of blasphemy" (C. H. Spurgeon, "The Blood of Sprinking," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 32, p. 21).

I am convinced that vast throngs of people, who treat the Blood of Christ as a "defiled" and dead thing, will be in Hell. Yes, in Hell! Read Hebrews 10:29 again! The soul that downgrades Jesus' Blood risks eternity in flames! Let preachers and scholars tremble at these words. Let laymen, church members, and men of no religion shake in terror of Jehovah! Horrible thought - to fall into the hands of a fearfully angry God - to be cast alive by Him into a furnace of fire! This will be the judgment of those who say that the Blood of Jesus is unholy, defiled, polluted, and rotted.

It is a sin to call the Blood of Jesus "profane" and "unclean." It is a sin to say that the Blood of Jesus ran into the sand and rotted!  Yes, it is a sin for preachers to say that!  It is probably the greatest sin a man or woman could commit. It is high treason against the Son of man!

Repent of scholastic unbelief! Turn away from mocking, self-satisfied Gnostic philosophy. Be converted from vain intellectual conceit! Flee from this modern Deism as Lot fled from Sodom! Abandon utterly a dry religion. You need a Christianity dripping with the Bloody gore of Jesus. You need great clots of Jesus' Blood to hide your sins, and great draughts of His Blood to wash away your iniquities.

Thank God the scholastic philosophers are wrong!

There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stains.
     ("There Is a Fountain" by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 3:21-26.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"When I See the Blood" (by John Foote, 19th century)

THE OUTLINE OF

SCRIPTURE TWISTING AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).

I.   Why are these verses "twisted" in several modern translations?
Romans 3:25; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:15; Hebrews 11:6.

II.  Why is the Blood played down in the various types given in the
Bible? Exodus 12:7,13; Hebrews 9:22; I Peter 2:24;
I Corinthians 5:7; I John 1:7; Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 8:3;
Hebrews 9:7,12,22; Psalm 16:10; Hebrews 12:24.

III. Why do lost sinners in general neglect the Blood of Christ?
Hebrews 10:29, 31.

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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."