WHAT CHRISTIAN LEADERS ACROSS THE CENTURIES
We live in a generation that scoffs at its forefathers and rejects what those in previous centuries embraced. We are mentally impoverished as a result. The vast storehouses of former times are neglected, and we waste away in the Canaan of the present, instead of seeking corn in the Egypt of the past.
Those who rise above this mediocre attitude understand the truth of Churchill's dictum: "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." They grasp the wisdom of that insight, echoed by President Reagan in his final speech: "What we take from the past is inspiration for the future."
Today some men tell us that the Blood of Christ is not in Heaven. They say it ran into the dirt around the Cross and perished. They are wrong, of course, because the Bible tells us that the Blood lives on in glory (Hebrews 12:24). These modern men ought to learn from the fathers, rather than rebel against them, which is typical of their generation.
If you agree that it is wrong to reject the wisdom of the ages, then spend five minutes with me as we review what leading Christians across the centuries believed about the Blood of Christ.
1. CHRYSOSTOM (347-407 A.D.)
In the fifth century A.D. the eminent preacher and theologian John Chrysostom wrote:
"He suffered without, but His Blood was borne up into Heaven. Thou seest then that we partake of Blood which has been carried into the Holy Place" (Chrysostom, Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Eerdmans, 1978 reprint, volume XIV, p. 517).
2. JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564)
During the Reformation this great truth was reemphasized by John Calvin, who said:
"The blood of Christ, which is subject to no corruption,but flows ever as a pure stream, is sufficient for us even to the end of the world, because the blood of Christ is always in a manner distilling before the presence of the Father, in order to irrigate heaven and earth" (John Calvin, Commentary on the Bible, Baker Book House, 1981 reprint, volume XXII, p. 235).
3. MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679)
Calvin died in 1564. One hundred and twelve years later, in 1676, the Puritan Bible commentator Matthew Poole wrote:
"He entered in once into the holy place; with this blood of the covenant he entered immediately upon the breathing out of his soul on the crossinto the holy of holies in heaven, where never angel came, nor any but himselfand came with it [the Blood] to God's throne of justice there, and made the everlasting atonement for sin, and so turned it into a throne of grace, fulfilling his type, and as the high priest did" (Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, Banner of Truth, 1990 reprint, volume III, p. 849).
4. MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714)
Henry's commentary on the Bible has been considered the greatest of all commentaries by men like George Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon, and many others. Matthew Henry said:
"Christ our high priest entered into heaven at his ascension once for all. He entered by his own blood (Hebrews 9:12), taking with him into heaven the virtues of the sacrifice he offered on earth, and so sprinkling his blood, as it were, before the mercy seat, where it speaks better things than the blood of bulls and goats could do" (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson, 1996 reprint, volume I, p. 400).
5. ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748)
Isaac Watts was undoubtedly the greatest hymn-writer in Christian history. He was the author of hymns such as "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," "Joy to the World," "Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?" "We're Marching to Zion," "Jesus Shall Reign," and "O God, Our Help in Ages Past." Dr. Watts said:
"Christ being entered into the Holy place, made without hand, and dwelling there forever, with His own blood, answers for the sins of those that believe on him" (Isaac Watts, D.D., Discourses on Various Subjects, no publisher given, reprinted 1811, volume II, discourse VI, p. 74).
6. PATRICK FAIRBAIRN (1805-1874)
Patrick Fairbairn was the author of The Typology of Scripture, a landmark book which continues to be used by pastors to this day. In the second volume, Fairbairn wrote:
"Christ's having, in like manner, suffered without the gate, though certainly designed by men to exhibit Him as an object of ignominy and shame, did not render Him the less the holy child of God, whose blood could fitly be taken into the highest heavens" (Patrick Fairbairn, The Typology of Scripture, Guardian Press, 1975 reprint, volume II, p. 297).
7. C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
Spurgeon has often been called "the prince of preachers." He was the author of the largest sermon set in the English language. In a sermon given on February 28, 1886, Spurgeon said:
"When we climb into heaven itselfwe shall not have gone beyond the influence of the Blood of sprinkling; nay, we shall see it there more truly present than any other place. 'What!' you say, 'the blood of Jesus in Heaven?' Yes! Let those who talk lightly of the precious blood correct their view ere they be guilty of blasphemyFor me there is nothing worth thinking of or preaching about but this grand theme. The Blood of Christ is the life of the gospel" (C. H. Spurgeon, "The Blood of Sprinkling," February 28, 1886, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, reprinted by Pilgrim Publications, Pasadena, Texas, volume 32, p. 121).
Again, Spurgeon said:
"If you or I had gone there without atonement of blood, heaven would have been defiled. But the Lord has gone there, and has sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat" (C. H. Spurgeon, "Our Lord's Entrance Within the Veil," #2,074, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 35, p. 145).
And here is a third quote from Spurgeon:
"It [the Blood] is said to be sprinkled within the veil, so that where the high priest could go only once a year we may now go at all times, for the blood is there, interceding for us perpetually" (C. H. Spurgeon, "The Saviour's Precious Blood," #3,395, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit).
Thus, both the resurrection and preservation of Jesus' Blood were preached by Spurgeon, for he said, "We shall see it there more truly present than in any other place. 'What!' you say, 'the blood of Jesus in Heaven?' Yes!" That's what the most famous Baptist preacher who ever lived believed!
8. THE PULPIT COMMENTARY
The renowned Pulpit Commentary was edited by H. D. M. Spence (1836-1917) and Joseph S. Exell (c. 1849-1909). In the exposition of Hebrews 12:22-24, we find this comment:
"The Blood shed by Christ on earth for atonement is conceived as carried by him with himself into the holy place on high [i.e. translated] to be for ever 'the blood of sprinkling' for effectual cleansing."
9. JAMIESON, FAUSSET AND BROWN
This widely used commentary was written by Robert Jamieson (who died in 1880), Andrew Fausset (who died in 1919), and David Brown (who died in 1897). Here is what these men said in the renowned Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary on Hebrews 12:24:
"His blood was entirely poured out in various waysIt was incorruptible (I Peter 1:18, 19). No Scripture says that it was again put into the Lord's body. At His ascension, as our High Priest, He entered the heavenly holiest 'by his own blood' (not after shedding His blood, nor with the blood in His body, but) carrying it separately: not merely by the efficacy of His blood, but 'by His own proper blood' (ch. 11:12) the blood itself continues still in heaven before God, the perpetual ransom-price of the "eternal covenant." Once for all Christ sprinkled the blood peculiarly for us at His ascension (ch. 11:12). But it is called 'the blood of sprinkling' on account also of its continued use in heavenHis blood introduced into heaven took away the dragon's right to accuseCounteracted by Christ's blood calmly speaking in heaven for us, and from heaven to us."
10. THE EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE
The Expositor's Bible was edited by Sir William Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923). It was published in 1908. Its popularity continues to this day. In the exposition of Hebrews 9:15-10:18, we find this comment:
"The blood of Christ made heaven a sanctuary,erected there a holiest place for the appearing of the great High-priest, constituted the throne of the most High a mercy seat for men For the blood of Christ, when offered in heaven, so fully and perfectly ratified the new covenant that He remains for evermore in the holiest place and evermore offers Himself to God in one eternally unbroken act."
Again, in the Expositor's Bible comment on Hebrews 12:18-29, we find this passage:
"His blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat, and speaks to God."
11. ANDREW MURRAY (1828-1917)
In his book, The Blood of the Cross,Andrew Murray wrote this:
"Reconciliation and deliverance from guilt will become the blessed entrance for us into a life in which the blood - as it is translated into heaven and abides there - will be truly the power of a divine abiding life in us (preface, second edition)."
Again, Murray said:
"The Spirit lived and worked in that blood, so that when it was shed it could not decay as a dead thing, but as a living reality, it could be taken up to heaven,to exercise its divine power from thence" (ibid., p. 10).
And again, he wrote:
"By the eternal Spirit the blood has obtained an eternal, ever-availing, ever-fresh,independent, imperishable power of lifethe unspeakable glory of the holy blood in heaven" (ibid., pp. 12, 17).
12. THE SCOFIELD STUDY BIBLE (1917)
The Scofield Study Bible gives this note on Leviticus 16:5,
"The high priest entering the holiest, typifies Christ entering 'heaven itself' with 'His own blood' for us. His blood makes that to be a "throne of grace," and "mercy seat," which else must have been a throne of judgmentwe enter, in virtue of His blood, where he is, into the holiest."
13. DR. M. R. DeHAAN (1891-1965)
Dr. M. R. DeHaan wrote these words in 1943:
"The blood shed on Calvary was imperishable blood. It is called 'incorruptible'Every drop of blood which flowed in Jesus' body is still in existence, and is just as fresh as when it flowed from His wounded brow and hands and feet and side" (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Chemistry of the Blood, Zondervan, 1943, pp. 24, 27).
Dr. DeHaan's position is similar to that of Chrysostom, John Calvin, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Isaac Watts, Patrick Fairbairn, C. H. Spurgeon, The Pulpit Commentary, Andrew Murray, The Expositor's Bible, The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, and countless others. The essence of Dr. DeHaan's statement on the blood has been believed by Christians across the centuries of time.
14. DR. JOHN R. RICE (1895-1980)
Dr. Rice was the editor of The Sword of the Lord for 46 years, and was the beloved "dean" of American evangelists. Dr. Rice said:
"The high priest was a type of Christ, and the blood carried into the Most Holy place by the high priest was a type of the blood of Christ. The Holy of Holies represents a sanctuary in Heaven where Jesus entered with his own blood to make atonement for the sins of the world" (Dr. John R. Rice, The King of the Jews: A Commentary on Matthew, Sword of the Lord, 1980, p. 479).
Again, Dr. Rice said:
"Having accomplished the sacrifice, He was on His way to present the sacred blood in Heaven" (Dr. John R. Rice, The Son of God: A Commentary on John, Sword of the Lord, 1976, pp. 392-393).
15. DR. J. VERNON McGEE (1904-1988)
Dr. McGee taught straight through the Bible on radio. His program continues to this day - long after his death. It is the most listened to Christian radio program of all time. He was the pastor of Church of the Open Door, on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles, for twenty-one years. Dr. McGee said:
"I say to you very definitely and dogmatically that I believe His blood is even now in heaven, and throughout endless ages it will be there to remind us of the awful price Christ paid to redeem us" (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible Commentary, Nelson, 1983, volume V, p. 560).
Commenting on Hebrews 9:12, Dr. McGee said:
"I believe this verse proves that Christ took his literal blood to heaven" (ibid., p. 566).
16. THE HISTORICAL HYMNS
Many of the great hymns and gospel songs speak of the Blood of Christ in Heaven, and its power in the salvation of men. Here are some of them.
"His Blood atoned for all our race
And sprinkles now the throne of grace"
(Charles Wesley, "Arise! My Soul, Arise!", died 1788).
"Lord, I believe Thy Precious Blood
Which at the mercy seat of God
Forever doth for sinners plead"
(Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf, "Jesus, Thy Blood and
Righteousness," translated by John Wesley.
Zinzendorf died in 1760).
"There is a fountain filled with Blood"
(William Cowper, "There Is a Fountain," died 1800).
"There is power in the Blood"
(Lewis Jones, "Power in the Blood," died 1936).
When I sing these great hymns the words of one modern preacher seem strangely wrong,
"There is no sense in getting teary eyed and mystical about blood! We sing hymns, 'There's Power in the Blood,' etc. We don't want to be preoccupied with blood! There is no saving in that blood itself! We cannot say that the very blood of Jesus is what atones for sin. So, we do not want to become preoccupied about fantasizing about some mystical blood that is floating around somewhere."
That preacher's statement is much like this quotation from the Bible-rejecting liberal Harry Emerson Fosdick:
"The blood of Christ [was] carried over from primitive concepts. Mental patterns are too stubbornly persistent to be so easily cast off, and even yet semimagical ideas concerning the potency of blood are woven into some Christian hymns, sermons, prayers" (Harry Emerson Fosdick, A Guide to Understanding the Bible, Harper, 1938, p. 230).
Fosdick was a rank modernist, who denied and attacked the deity of Christ, the Blood Atonement, and the inspiration of the Bible. It is strange that a supposed conservative would say almost the same things about the Blood and the hymns that extol it that this wicked, Christ-rejecting liberal said.
Why did this modern preacher attack those hymns on the Blood of Jesus? Why did he tell us not to get "teary eyed" about them? Why did he declare that Jesus' Blood perished when he said, "The literal blood of Christ ran into the dirt," and "The blood was never redemptive blood"? (See above mentioned tape).
We have given sixteen witnesses, from across the pages of Christian history, who all testified against this modern preacher's view that the Blood of Jesus was not translated into Heaven with His Body. They include Chrysostom, John Calvin, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Isaac Watts, Patrick Fairbairn, C. H. Spurgeon, The Pulpit Commentary, The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, The Expositor's Bible, Andrew Murray, M. R. DeHaan, John R. Rice, J. Vernon McGee, and the historical hymns of Charles Wesley, Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (translated by John Wesley), William Cowper, Lewis Jones, and the Scofield Study Bible. We agree with these august fathers in the faith.