I read in the paper this week about a young lady who gave birth to twins but died due to loss of blood and her refusing a blood transfusion because she was a Jehovah witness. Her husband would also not allow them to save her. What do they believe which means they can not have blood transfusions, and is it not classed as a sin to allow someone to die if you have the means to save them? Especially your husband or wife who you agree to look after in your wedding vows? And does this mean that they think God would rather they died than receive a transfusion, I don’t get this bit the most as I wouldn’t have thought that he would give us the resources to survive only for us to refuse to use them!
This is based on a misunderstanding of the place of Jewish Ceremonial Law, and a misunderstanding of the way it used to work – (The prohibition was of eating blood from animals, not having transfusions from people.)
This part of Jewish Law was designed to give a picture (for the Jews who lived before Jesus) of what the Sacrifice of Jesus would do for the Human race. So you got “playacts” which demonstrated truths about the way in which Salvation would operate, a spotless sacrifice, a substitute, dying, shedding blood which would cleanse from sin.
And, for those who lived before Jesus, that was a good way of picturing the one who was to come. They believed in the one who was (one day in the future) going to fulfil this picture, just like you and I see the picture of communion, and believe in the one who (one day in the past) was represented in the Bread and the Wine.
Of course, when the Perfect Sacrifice actually came, the old ways of looking forward to that sacrifice became obsolete. It was now NOT necessary to go through bloody sacrifices to tell people what WOULD happen, because it already HAD happened. Just show them a picture of the REAL sacrifice in Communion. That will help them to remember what they need to remember.
So Christians do not need to observe some parts of the Old Jewish Law. All those parts which might be termed “Ceremonial” are now superseded for us by Jesus’s death.
We still observe those parts of the Law called the “Moral” Law, (though not as rules, but as the normal observance of people indwelt by the Holy Spirit). The Moral Law prevents us from murder, adultery, theft, and so on. These rules were not ceremonial ones superseded by Jesus, but are part of the way God has designed the Human Race to work best.
OK. This all works so long as you accept the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus for what it is, a full and complete payment for the sin of Mankind.
The problem comes when you DON’T accept Jesus’ sacrifice in that way. You are left without a payment for your sin, but still aware that one is desperately needed. You are back in the Old Testament days of wishing something, or someone, would come along to relieve you of this guilt burden.
This is where the JWs are. They refuse to accept the death of Jesus as a full and final sacrifice, and insist on formulating Rules that you must follow to get into God’s good books. Our old Bible College Principal used to put it this way: All other religions approach God saying, “Something in my hand I bring…” – but real Christianity says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy Cross I cling…” (That’s an old hymn, by the way.) Jesus has done EVERYTHING necessary to get us back to God. All we can do is accept it.
Other religions who refuse to accept what Jesus has done are left trying to fulfil part of his assignment themselves, which of course, doesn’t work. This leaves the adherents of the religion without any assurance of eternal life, and aware of a permanent struggle to follow the rules of their own “religious” organisation.
So, if you aren’t going to get rid of the ceremonial rules by recognising the death of Jesus as the fulfilment of them, then you still have to observe them. So Genesis 9 4, which says you shall not eat meat with blood still in it, is wide open to misinterpretation and misunderstanding by people too blind to see that it is all over with now.
Of course, you then get glaring inconsistencies; they will eat meat, like bacon, from ceremonially unclean animals. But this is what you get when you aren’t listening to God, but making up your own rules.
We should also remember that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation is really a Multi-Billion Dollar Global Business, with assets to protect. “It is not in the interests of the Organisation to have people thinking for themselves too much; if we have said something was a rule in the past, we need to keep it so, or people might question whether the original decision was correct.”
For the Jehovah’s Witness, the Watchtower organisation is God, and needs to be seen as such. “We can’t change rules, or we risk them realising that we are making all this up.”