What Does the Bible Say About Eating Blood?
Is the act of eating blood in the Bible? What does the shedding of blood have to do with sins and forgiveness? What about the shedding of Christ’s blood?
Today, we’ll be answering questions about the eating of blood. We’ve had a few viewers who wrote in with similar questions. The first one came from Nelly Magno, from Watsonville, in California, and she asks, “Why do Iglesia Ni Cristo members not eat blood?” Another similar question [was] written in by Nilo Artista from Vallejo, California, “Why does the Iglesia Ni Cristo not allow members to eat blood? And Darlene from Houston, Texas, she asks, “Why can’t members of the Church Of Christ eat blood?” Thank you, Nelly, Nilo, and Darlene for those questions.
Life is in the blood
So, is the prohibition of eating blood a new teaching, just invented or made up by certain individuals in the Church Of Christ, or is it in the Bible? Well, let’s find out. Here in Genesis 9:3-4, we go to the first book in the Holy Scriptures and this is God’s command regarding that. 9, 3 to 4:
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
[Genesis 9:3-4 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Dear friends, is the prohibition to eat blood written in the Holy Scriptures? Yes, it is clearly stipulated in the Bible. We all know that it is God who created all things, each with a specific purpose. So, when it comes to food, it is He who decides what is and what’s not. After the great deluge or the great flood, He specified to man, in this instance to Noah and his descendants, what was created to be food. And as we’ve read, blood is not among them. It’s actually a strict prohibition, and so blood is not food. Did this same prohibition apply to the Israelites? We can read in Leviticus 17:12. This is what’s written in the Holy Scriptures. Leviticus 17:12:
Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.
[Leviticus 17:12 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Is this prohibition also for the Israelites? Was it also enforced during the time of the Israelites? Yes. The Bible says here God is addressing the Israelites, and He says, “No one among you shall eat blood.” Some may say that the law was only enforced during the time of Israel and prior to that, but not anymore in the Christian era. So, let’s ask the question: does this also apply to the Christian Era? Yes. It actually continues up until today, and we can read that here in Acts 21:25:
But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent them a letter telling them we decided that they must not eat any food that has been offered to idols, or any blood, or any animal that has been strangled, and that they must keep themselves from sexual immorality.
[Acts 21:25 Good News Translation]
Does the law apply today? Are today’s Christians eating blood?
Brother Philip: So, does this prohibition continue up until today, the Christian Era? The answer is yes. So, even until today, this prohibition that our Almighty God created a long time ago stands until today. We have to take note, my dear friends, even animals whose blood was not taken out should not be eaten, and that’s why strangled animals were prohibited too. So, we know now that the Bible prohibits us from eating blood. Now we need to understand for what reason. Why is the eating of blood prohibited? We can find the answer here in Leviticus 17 and verse 11, and the Bible says:
The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people’s sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins.
[Leviticus 17:11 Good New Bible]
Brother Philip: What must we take note of, dear friends? Our Almighty God created blood to give life, not to fill our stomachs when we’re hungry or quench our thirst. It also redeems man from his sins. That’s why the Israelites would pour out the blood upon the altar for the forgiveness of their sins.
Shedding blood for forgiveness
Brother Philip: So, how does this relate to our time today? Let’s read what the Bible says about the shedding of animal blood for the forgiveness of the Israelites’ sins. Here in Hebrews 10 and 1, the answer is clearly written for us here:
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
[Hebrews 10:1 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: So, what the Israelites did before with the shedding of animal blood for the forgiveness of sins, what does this have to do in our time today? The Bible says what the Israelites did, for the forgiveness of their sins, was just a foreshadow of something greater to come. And what was that? Here in the same book, Hebrews, this time chapter 9, 13 to 14. This is what’s written:
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
[Hebrews 9:13-14 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: So, what was being foreshadowed by this Israelite ritual of shedding animal blood? The shedding of Christ’s blood, for the forgiveness of His followers’ sins. It was this that put an end to the Israelite practice. So, as you can see, dear friends, the purpose for which blood is intended is sacred and holy. It’s not food. What’s the warning of our Almighty God to those who refuse to follow this prohibition? Some may say this is what I was brought up practicing. This is something that I enjoy doing in spite of it being a prohibition of God written in the Holy Scriptures. Well, let’s find out the words of our Almighty God himself. Here in Leviticus 17:10:
And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
[Leviticus 17:10 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: This is the reason, dear friends, why the eating of blood is strictly forbidden inside the Church Of Christ. That’s all we have time for today. What you’ve heard is just an introduction to the teachings written in the Bible, taught inside the Church Of Christ. And we invite you to learn more and join us. Find your closest local congregation. Go to our website incmedia.org. But if you have any questions you’d like answered on this show. You can email us and we’ll use the guidance of the Holy Scriptures to help you find the answer, the truth, that’s in the Bible. Thanks for watching. I’m Brother Philip Velasquez and we’ll see you next time.