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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 23, 2013

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

The first half of the verse is the Apostle John’s salutation, in which he prays for his audience, in the seven churches, to have grace and peace from Jesus Christ, “who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” After making this statement about Christ, John said,

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

The text says Christ “loved us, and washed us” with His own Blood. In the name of scholarship, modern textual critics changed “washed” to “loosed.” They did this on the basis of a change of one Greek letter in the Gnostic-tainted Sinaiticus text, in the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. But “loosed” is from the inferior Alexandrian text, tainted as it is with Gnosticism. The Gnostics would have been aghast at anyone being “washed” in blood! So, the Gnosticized Alexandrians dropped one Greek letter – to make it “loosed” instead of “washed.”

Dr. Charles John Ellicott (1829-1903) was an Anglican scholar, professor of New Testament at Cambridge, and chairman of the committee of scholars who translated the Revised Version (RV) of the New Testament. Dr. Ellicott was the editor of Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Zondervan Publishing House). Ellicott’s commentary says of our text,

Instead of “washed us,” some MSS read “loosed us.” There is only one letter’s difference in the two words in Greek. The general tone of thought would lead us to prefer “washed” as the true reading. On a solemn occasion, which John remembered clearly, our Lord had said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” The thought of the “cleansing blood,” intensified by the recollection of the water and blood which he had seen flowing from Christ’s pierced side [John 19:34], often recurred to his mind, Revelation 7:13, 14; I John 1:7; 5:5-8 (Charles John Ellicott, M.A., D.D., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, n.d., volume VIII, p. 535; note on Revelation 1:5).

Furthermore we are told in Revelation 7:14,

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

In that verse we are plainly told that those in Heaven have robes that are “washed,” and “made white in the blood of the Lamb.” Since that is the clear meaning of Revelation 7:14, it should clarify the use of “washed” in our text:

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

Dr. John F. Walvoord pointed out that the Greek word “louō” (washed) has one more letter than “luō” (loosed). Dr. Walvoord said that scholars like Ellicott prefer the longer word (washed) because “it is easier for copyists to drop a letter than to add a letter” (John F. Walvoord, Th.D., The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Moody Press, 1966, footnote 1, p 38). That is a strong argument in favor of the King James translation.

Luther’s exegetical precept of the “analogy of Scripture” still holds true – one part of the Scriptures illuminates another, which speaks of the same subject – and especially in the same book! Therefore we lower our eyes and turn our backs on the modern scribes who have tried to take from us that holy, inspired Greek word translated “washed.” Thank God, every true Christian can shout “glory” unto Jesus, “who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”!

Now there is a reason why I am belaboring this point. It is extremely important for you to be “washed” from your sins, and not just “loosed” from them. You are going to meet God face to face. If you meet God at the judgment with sin on your record, you are going to be in real trouble! You must have a completely clean record at the Last Judgment or God will condemn you to the eternal flames of Hell (Revelation 20:11-15). When God looks at your record He had better not find any sin recorded there. In the Day of Judgment it will not be enough that your sins were “loosed.” Oh, no! For you to be saved from the eternal torments of Hell you must be “washed [and made] white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). We are told in Revelation 7 that those in Heaven “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). By this verse we know that all of us must be washed in the Blood of Christ if we hope to escape from Hell and be safe in Heaven. That is why I have pounded hard on this point. You must be washed clean in Christ’s Blood or you will go to Hell for all eternity. These liberal and new-evangelical “Bible teachers” may think it is fine to say “loosed” instead of “washed.” But my business is to preach to sinners like you. You have sins on your record! They must be washed clean or God will send you to Hell. What can wash away your sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

Let me tell you, right here and now, that the Blood of Christ is extremely important! Where you spend eternity depends on the Blood of Christ! Whether you live a successful Christian life depends on the Blood of Christ. Here are some important points on the Blood.

I. First, blood sacrifice goes back to the very beginning of time.

All the ancient people in the world believed in blood sacrifice. It is hard to find any ancient culture in the world where blood sacrifices were not made. For instance, the Aztec Indians of ancient Mexico slaughtered more than 20,000 humans on their pagan altars, to appease their false gods and idols. The Mayans did that also. All of the Pacific Island tribes in ancient times practiced blood sacrifice. So did virtually every tribe in Africa. The ancient Chinese made blood sacrifice to their monotheistic God, named Shang Ti, nearly 2,000 years before Christ. The Chinese knew about one God, and the need for blood sacrifice, at the dawn of history, at the beginning of time! I was reading Thursday night about how the very ancient Chinese wrote about God, and blood sacrifice to Him, on pieces of bone and turtle shells, which have recently been excavated. These artifacts go back more than four thousand years. Where did this idea come from? It was passed down from one generation to the other from the first sacrifices of Adam and his offspring.

Moses wrote the Book of Genesis near the beginning of history. He recorded the fact that animals had to be slain to cover our first parents when they sinned. Their son Abel brought a blood sacrifice which pleased God. His brother Cain brought a vegetable sacrifice which was rejected. Noah made blood sacrifices to God. So did Abraham. All of these sacrifices were made long before the Jewish people were told to sacrifice animals to God. When they were slaves in Egypt God told them to sacrifice lambs and smear the blood on their doorposts. God said that when He saw that blood He would pass over them, and not judge them for their sin. We have a song about that,

When I see the blood, When I see the blood,
   When I see the blood, I will pass,
I will pass over you.
     (“When I See the Blood” by John Foote, 19th century).

That’s what God said to the Jews in slavery, in Egypt, on the first Passover. God said to the Jews that night,

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

The Jewish people have continued to celebrate the blood sacrifice of the Passover symbolically to this day. The night before He was crucified, Christ altered the meaning of the Passover when He changed it into the Lord’s Supper. Some churches call it Holy Communion. The Catholics and Eastern Orthodox call it the Mass. But every Trinitarian church practices it. Then they remember the words Mr. Prudhomme read earlier in this service,

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

You see, all of the blood sacrifices of the pagans came from a dim memory of the need for man to sacrifice to God. And the Passover of the Old Testament pointed forward, to the sacrifice the Messiah, Christ, would make on the Cross. And today the Lord’s Supper points back to what Christ did to save us on that cross. Christ’s death on the Cross, and the pouring out of His Blood there, is the central religious event in the entire history of the world!

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

I am going to tell you exactly why Christ’s Blood atonement on the Cross is so important. But first I need to explain another point.

II. Second, the Blood of Christ is bitterly hated by Satan.

In the Book of Revelation we read,

“[Satan], the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...” (Revelation 12:10-11).

Satan knows that the only way anyone can overcome him is by the Blood of the Lamb – that is, the Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. The Bible says that Satan is a murderer. He wants to destroy everyone he can. And that is why he bitterly hates the Blood of Christ. He knows that once a person has the Blood of Christ, he is overcome. The sinner overcomes Satan by Christ’s Blood. Satan doesn’t want that to happen. So he does everything he can to downplay and discredit the Blood of Christ.

In the last part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the 20th century Satan moved many leading theological liberals to attack the Blood of Christ, men like Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick and Dr. Nels Ferre. Dr. Ferre said, “The blood of Christ has no more power than the blood of a chicken.” Dr. Fosdick called the Blood atonement, “a slaughterhouse religion.” Men like that spoke furiously against the Blood of Christ – since they were inspired by Satan to do so.

But, beginning in the latter part of the twentieth century, Satan began to attack Christ’s Blood another way. He persuaded conservative evangelical men to downplay the Blood of Christ. Dr. J. Vernon McGee, America’s most beloved and listened to radio Bible teacher, began to notice that demonic trend. In his note on our text in Revelation 1:5, Dr. McGee said,

I am not inclined to belittle the blood of Christ as some men are doing today. I still like the song with these words,

   There is a fountain filled with blood
      Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
   And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
      Lose all their guilty stains.

(J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson
Publishers, 1983, volume V, pp. 890, 891; note on Revelation 1:5-6).

It is obvious that Dr. McGee was referring to men who belittle the Blood of Christ, like R. B. Thieme, John MacArthur, and even Charles C. Ryrie, who said of Cain’s offering, “A bloodless offering was perfectly appropriate” (Charles C. Ryrie, Th.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978; note on Genesis 4:3). I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that note from Dr. Ryrie. I find it equally strange that Warren Wiersbe “congratulated” Ryrie for saying that! (Warren W. Wiersbe, 50 People Every Christian Should Know, Baker Books, 2009, p. 207). All of this seems to me like yet another accommodation to the biases of liberalism. We need to stop looking for the approval of liberal scholars – period!

These men don’t seem to realize the tremendous importance of the Saviour’s Blood! Many have followed them, and no longer extol the Blood in their preaching. To me this is a serious end-time deception. We will not fall into it if we keep in mind that Satan hates Christ’s Blood, and he is a liar and a deceiver! Amen. All pastors need to preach often on the precious Blood of Christ! After all, that is what the Bible calls it,

“...the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

III. Third, the Blood of Christ redeems us.

The whole passage in I Peter says,

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:18-19).

You are not redeemed with gold. God doesn’t save you by silver. God doesn’t save you by how much money you give in church. We are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ.”

Redemption means buying someone from slavery. Jesus said that He came “to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He didn’t have to explain it because two-thirds of the people in the world back then were slaves. There were slaves of every race, from ancient Britain, from Spain, from Africa – from everywhere. Every ethnic group in the world has at some time been in slavery. The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt for 400 years, as I said a moment ago.

The Apostle Peter said Christ buys you back from slavery with His own Blood. What does He buy you back from? From slavery to sin. Millions of people in Los Angeles are slaves of sin. They are hooked on cigarettes – and won’t quit. They are hooked on pornography, and won’t stop looking at it. You’re a slave to that sin! But the Bible says that Christ can set you free. He can redeem you from the sin of your own rebellious unbelieving heart. I think that’s the hardest thing. Christ can redeem you from your own wicked heart of unbelief! There’s much more but I ran out of time! Your entire salvation depends on the Blood of Christ! The Blood of Christ can redeem you from all sin! Listen to William Cowper,

E’er since by faith, I saw the stream
   Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
   And shall be till I die.

There is a fountain filled with blood
   Drawn from [the Saviour’s] veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
   Lose all their guilty stains.
(“There Is a Fountain” by William Cowper, 1731-1800;
     to the tune of “Amazing Grace”).

And Fanny Crosby said,

Redeemed, redeemed,
   Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
   His child, and forever, I am!
(“Redeemed” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

IV. Fourth, the Blood of Christ can cleanse you from every sin.

Don’t forget who Jesus is! He’s not just anybody! Anybody else that you know doesn’t have blood that can clean you from sin. But Jesus isn’t just anybody on the street. Oh, no! Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, “very God of very God.”

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

The Lord Jesus Christ created the entire universe before He came down from Heaven. He is the one whose Blood can cleanse you from sin – and make you clean enough to go to Heaven! The Apostle John said,

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

Our text says the same thing,

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

Would you like that to happen to you? Would you like to be saved from the clutches of Satan? Christ’s Blood can do that! Would you like to be redeemed from sin? Christ’s Blood can do that! Would you like to be washed clean from all sin, so you can go to Heaven and rejoice with us there? Christ’s Blood can do that!

But there is something you must do. Before Christ’s Blood will do those things for you, you must turn away from your sins. That’s number one. You must turn from your sins. Then, secondly, you must trust Jesus. Come to Him by faith and trust Him. Someone says, “Is that all?” Yep! That’s all! And His Blood will cleanse every sin, and bring you into fellowship and joy with God the Father! Will you turn from your sin and trust Jesus? If you would like to talk with Dr. Cagan or myself about being washed clean by the Blood of Jesus, please leave your seat right now and walk to the back of the auditorium while Mr. Griffith sings a stanza of his solo again. Don’t sing it too fast, Ben.

Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption,
   Nor riches of earth could have saved my poor soul;
The blood of the cross is my only foundation,
   The death of my Saviour now maketh me whole.
I am redeemed, but not with silver,
   I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price, the blood of Jesus,
   Precious price of love untold.
(“Nor Silver, Nor Gold” by Dr. James M. Gray, 1851-1935).

Dr. Chan, please come and pray for those who responded. Amen.

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at Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Matthew 26:26-29.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Nor Silver Nor Gold” (by Dr. James M. Gray, 1851-1935).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

(Revelation 7:14)

I.   First, blood sacrifice goes back to the very beginning of time,
Exodus 12:13; Matthew 26:26-28.

II.  Second, the Blood of Christ is bitterly hated by Satan,
Revelation 12:10-11; I Peter 1:19.

III. Third, the Blood of Christ redeems us, I Peter 1:18, 19;
Matthew 20:28.

IV. Fourth, the Blood of Christ can cleanse you from every sin,
John 1:3; I John 1:7.