The Watchtower and blood transfusions


The sad story of Emma Gough, the 22 year-old Jehovah’s Witness mother-to-be who died after giving birth to healthy twins because she refused to accept a blood transfusion, hit the headlines recently. She lived in Telford, 45 minutes from Wolverhampton and her death has affected many local people, including a sister of someone in our congregation, because the JWs are thriving in Wolverhampton with around 13 congregations. It must be so hard for Emma’s husband and family to be left with infant twins and no mother, especially when a simple blood transfusion would have saved her life. It must also be hard for those who adhere to the strict blood transfusion law of the Watchtower. I’ve decided to post this blog to help anyone who is affected by this teaching to ask; does the bible prohibit blood transfusions? If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, I have used the New World Translation in this work in the hope that you will read this post and think prayerfully about what the bible teaches.

I understand that this is a sensitive and controversial subject for Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Watchtower has changed its position on the use of blood products but maintains a policy of automatic self-disfellowshipping for any transgressors of this “law”.

I also understand that the “law” on the use of blood products stems from the letter to the Gentiles recorded in Acts chapter 15, which asks Gentile believers to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat strangled animals and from sexual immorality.

The historical and wider biblical context and reason for the Jerusalem council edict must be understood before we can answer the question “does the bible prohibited blood transfusions?” Three questions apply to Acts 15 before the issue can be properly understood:

  1. What it is the context in which the Jerusalem council made it’s decision?
  2. Why were the Gentiles asked to abstain from these four areas and not from stealing, lying, coveting and other such biblical laws?
  3. How are we to read Acts 15 in light of 1 Corinthians 8:7-8, where Paul is legally indifferent to the eating of meat sacrificed to idols? “7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”

In Luke’s account in Acts, James said to the council, most especially the circumcision party, that they must recognize and embrace Gentile believers as brothers and sisters in Christ, and not burden them or put stumbling blocks in the way of the salvation of other Gentiles by asking them to add to their faith in Jesus either circumcision or the whole code of Jewish practices (v13-18). At the same time, having established the principle that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, without works (v8-11), it was necessary to appeal to these Gentile believers to respect the consciences of their Jewish fellow-believers by abstaining from a few practices which caused offence to them and which put stumbling blocks in the way of fellow Jews coming to faith in Christ. For, James went on to explain, Moses had been preached in every city from the earliest times and is still being read in the synagogues on every Sabbath (v21). In such contexts, where the teachings of Moses were well known and highly respected, Jewish scruples were sensitive and out of charity should not have been violated by Gentile believers. This is the same argument applied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 8. As knowledge puffs up and love builds up, so believers must do the loving thing for those who’s conscience is weak by abstaining from meat sacrificed to idols. Paul knew that food was not defiled by being sacrificed to idols and so it could be eaten by followers of Christ. Some immature Christians, however, were uneasy when they saw other Christians eat idol-food. Paul was, therefore, willing to stop eating meat for the sake of his weaker brother.

In the case of the four abstentions listed in Acts 15, the “weaker brother” appears to be the Jewish believers whose ceremonial customs, all matters of external purity, were being violated by the Gentile believers and this made the Jewish brothers uneasy, their conscience was defiled. So by eating meat sacrificed to idols, eating or drinking ‘blood’ and ‘eating the meat of strangled animals’ Gentile believers broke the ceremonial food laws recorded in Leviticus (Lev. 17:6-15). Sexual immorality was also a matter of Jewish purity, outlawed in Leviticus (Lev 15:16-33). For Gentile believers who came from a background of temple prostitution and general promiscuity the issue needed addressing. This sexual immortality was associated with cultic practice and so it overlapped with both the ceremonial and moral aspects of God’s law.

In essence, the Jerusalem council agreed that all believers in Christ are saved by God’s grace though faith. They are justified and made righteous by hating their moral sin and loving Christ for dying in their place on the cross. As for the law, it is divided into moral and ceremonial and whilst the moral law still stands today the ceremonial law is swallowed up in the cross as Christ fulfills the requirements of the sacrificial system. All believers are held to the moral law of God but not the ceremonial. Whilst the Jews who had come to trust in Christ is their Messiah knew that he had fulfilled the ceremonial laws and so abolished them, it still pricked their conscience when they saw their Gentile brothers breaking those ceremonial laws. God had already revealed through Peter’s visions in Acts 10 and 11 that the food laws were abolished under Christ. All things were now “clean” to eat because the ceremonial law was fulfilled in Christ. Jewish believers could now eat all sorts of meat and blood products, yet it left them feeling uneasy, so Gentiles were asked to abstain for the love of their Jewish brethren.

Carrying this principle forward to today’s ethical dilemma created by the Watchtower, it is clear that blood transfusions do not fit the category of Jewish ceremonial law as no sacrifice for sin or guilt is performed in the donation of blood. Blood donors may believe that they are making a small sacrifice to make them right with God but the bible teaches that only one sacrifice is acceptable to God, the death of Jesus on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). Blood given for transfusion and the blood of animals used in sacrifice are not in the same ceremonial category.

So, do blood transfusions fall into the category of something believers should abstain from because of the uneasy conscience of some? It might be true that Jehovah’s witnesses feel uncomfortable with the idea of having the blood of another person pumped into their veins. The question remains, does the Bible ask people to abstain from the practice of blood transfusion for this reason?

I believe the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 12 sheds some light on the situation. The disciples go into a grain field, pluck heads of grain and eat them on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are angry because Jesus’ disciples are breaking the Sabbath law “do no work”.

Jesus’ reply takes the following line of argument:

  1. The priests “worked” every Sabbath in the temple and so “broke” the law yet remained innocent because their temple work took precedent over the law not to work on the Sabbath. The authority of God’s law allowed them to work (v5).
  2. Jesus himself is greater than the temple system, he fulfills the law for people and has authority to allow them to do acts of mercy on the Sabbath (v7)
  3. Mercy takes precedent over sacrifice (v7)

To prove his point, Jesus then healed a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath in the synagogue (v9-13) and the strict law keepers wanted to kill him, not for showing mercy but for breaking the law which said “do not work on the Sabbath” (v14). Yet, the same Pharisees would work on Sabbath by rescuing a sheep from a ditch! And Jesus said that a man’s life is worth more than a sheep’s. So, as healing people is a work of re-creation, Jesus himself taught and demonstrated that mercy takes president over sacrifice.

Presuming that someone still argued that the laws of Leviticus 17 stand today, that they were not swallowed up in the sacrificial death of Christ, and that blood transfusions break those laws, Jesus teaches and demonstrates that healing someone is more important than keeping such laws. Jesus “went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Saving the lives of people and healing them falls into the category of mercy. Jesus said “I want mercy, not sacrifice”. It is, therefore, necessary for believers to show and receive mercy, to heal people, before adhering to any ceremonial laws on blood.

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness I hope this gives you the courage to accept a blood transfusion as an act of mercy and not to be concerned about breaking ceremonial laws concerning blood.

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13 Responses to The Watchtower and blood transfusions

  1. kellie says:

    abstaining from blood means to abstain from blood. No amount of words from any man, will change Jehovah God’s command to abstain from blood.

    you may be able to reason with yourself and declare some “loophole” but I do not sell Jehovah God short. If I were to die because of my obedience to Him, he will resurrect me. Just as He will resurrect my faithful sister.

  2. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Kellie, welcome to Transforminggrace and thanks for commenting.

    On the basis of what Paul writes in Romans 14, I believe we need to avoid arguing about the law. I am convinced that a blood transfusion will not make me unclean before (Jehovah) God, but you are convinced that it will make you unclean, and therefore you will abstain from blood to honour God. I must then love you and accept you as a weaker sister and treat you with greater honour. Which is kind of hard to do on the internet, but which makes sense in the context of a local congregation. If you and I were members of the same local fellowship, I’d love and accept you as a sister in Christ.

    On saying that, I would really like to know how you hold Acts 15:7-21, 1 Corinthians 8:8-13 and Romans 14 together. One place (Acts) says don’t eat meat sacrificed to idols and the other two places say it’s okay to eat meat but not if it causes your brother to stumble.

    I am also troubled for your sake that you seem to believe that resurrection is due to your obedience to the “law” of not taking a blood transfusion. The way you expressed yourself is a long way from the gospel of grace, as the bible focuses our hope as believers on our faith in Christ as Saviour from sin. He’s the redeemer, justifier. We are not justified by our own righteousness. Good works flow from grace received by faith in Christ, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 1:7-8, 2:8-9 and Romans 3:26-28 etc.

  3. Arjen says:

    Why wouldnt abstain from blood as it is mentioned in Acts mean; abstain from blood sin, taking an innocent life?

  4. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Arjen, welcome to the blog. Your question seems rhetorical rather than a proper attempt to deal with Acts 15 and the other passages I mentioned.

    My question, again, is: If abstaining from blood is set beside not eating food sacrificed to idols, and Paul allows food sacrificed to idols to be eaten elsewhere in the NT, then how do you hold these apparently contradictory teaching together?

    Romans 14:2-3 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

    Paul’s teaching focuses our acceptance on faith in Christ alone and not on what we do ceremonially to honour God. People who eat meat sacrificed to idols and those who abstain are both welcomed by God on the basis of their faith in Christ (see Ephesians 1:7-8, 2:8-9 and Romans 3:26-28 etc).

    I am still interested to know why the principle of abstaining from blood is different in the Watchtower system to not eating meat sacrificed to idols.

  5. Arjen says:

    My question was not rehtorical at all to be honest.

    I’ve read an english translation from Arameic of Acts and it contained a footnote explaining blood as bloodsin. To me that made perfectly sense.

    Abstain from things strangled allready implies that you don’t eat blood.

    Maybe my question isn’t founded by a proper knowledge of the scriptures, but that doesnt make finding an answer to this question less important. I hope you can shed some light on this.

  6. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Arjen, welcome back.

    I apologise, as I seem to have misunderstood your original question. Are you making the point that blood sin = the taking of innocent life = the breaking the law, therefore, we should abstain from blood?

  7. Arjen says:

    Yes, that is more or less my point.

  8. neilrobbie says:

    Arjen, I think there is a category confusion in your question. The blood sin you refer to might stem from Leviticus 6:30 “But no sin offering shall be eaten from which any blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place; it shall be burned up with fire.”

    The idea of taking of innocent life, murder or manslaughter, which is what I think you’re talking about when you talk about blood sin (cf Num 35:9ff), does not apply to animals but humans.

    How does this relate to blood transfusions?

  9. Arjen says:

    Aren’t you guilty of man slaughter when children under your responsebility die during surgery because you refuse to allow them a blood transfusion? Or when you refuse to take a blood transfusion yourself during surgery and as a result don’t survive the surgery. Then at least you are in serious neglect of your own health. And I do believe that there is explict scripture that condemns this?

  10. susanne says:

    Jehovah’s laws are plain and simple. You can twist what he says. Or you can bury it in a bounch of incorrectly spelled words. But you cannot make Jehovah God a liar. He gave us these laws because they will benefit us if we obey them. And we open ourselves up to the consequences if we don’t. That “sister” now has the assured promise of everlasting life on a Paradice Earth if indeed She also put as much faith in the rest of his commandments.

    • neilrobbie says:

      Dear Susanne, thank you for your comment and welcome to Transforming Grace. I’d like to put aside the issue of blood in my reply and focus on the matter of assurance. You seem to be saying that faith in God’s commandments assure us of eternal life. Can you tell me where the bible states that salvation is by faith in the commandments of Jehovah (YAHWEH)?

    • angie says:

      but Paul said we are saved by grace.Ephesians 2:8 . God said we are saved by faith. Also the church never did at first have a ban on blood transfusion. So you wre creating your own laws.

  11. Vinny says:

    Sorry if this seems long. I’m not trying to hijack your post. But I did study and write extensively on this JW subject.

    The JW BLOOD POLICY is the main reason why I left the JW religion altogether almost two years ago. Though there were also many other things I eventually learned about as well that were just as damaging to the WT Society.

    In reply to a current JW (Aleman) on another thread, I decided to place much of the info I have accumulated over the past couple of years into one easy to find location on a new thread right here.

    Some of this information posted is in reply to JW’s while debating this subject on other websites.

    Since I’ve been asked before, just feel free to print any of this if it interests you, or to comment solely for bookmarking this for future reference.

    STILL NOT SURE THE JW’S ARE WRONG ON BLOOD?

    HERE COMES PROOF…

    First of all, the bible’s prohibition against blood ALWAYS had to do with eating the blood of (((ANIMALS))). Every single time. No exceptions.

    LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

    Lev. 17:13-14 “‘As for any man of the sons of Israel or some alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst who in hunting catches a wild beast or a fowl that may be eaten, he must in that case pour its blood out and cover it with dust. For the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood by the soul in it. Consequently I said to the sons of Israel: “YOU must not “eat” the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.”

    Lev.7:26 “‘And YOU must not eat any blood in any places where YOU dwell, whether that of (((FOWL or that of BEAST))). 27 Any soul who eats any blood, that soul must be cut off from his people.’”

    ****** So we can clearly see Leviticus 7:26 specifically says “fowl or beast”…. those are what? Animals is what they are. MOSES SAID THAT, NOT VINNY. If the JW’s have a hard time with what Moses said then go take it up with Moses then.

    One could not, under the law covenant eat or drink the blood of any ANIMAL. It had to be “POURED OUT”. A blood transfusions is nothing like this.No animals involved. No eating or drinking involved.

    Rather a living donor provides the needed volume of blood for another living human.

    LIFE IS VALUABLE. More valuable than the misapplication of some law. Let’s see what Jesus Himself said that may add some light on this issue.

    FROM JESUS HIMSELF:

    From the JW’s NWT bible: Matthew 12:1-14

    1 At that season Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath. His disciples got hungry and started to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 At seeing this the Pharisees said to him: “Look! Your disciples are doing what it is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them: “Have YOU not read what David did when he and the men with him got hungry?

    (KEY POINT) 4 How he entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, something that it was (((not lawful))) for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests only? 5 Or, have YOU not read in the Law that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple treat the sabbath as not sacred and continue guiltless? 6 But I tell YOU that something greater than the temple is here.

    (MAIN POINT HERE) 7 However, if YOU had understood what this means, ((((I WANT MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE)))),’ YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones. 8 For Lord of the sabbath is what the Son of man is.” 9 After departing from that place he went into their synagogue; 10 and, look! a man with a withered hand! So they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” that they might get an accusation against him.

    (TO DRIVE JESUS POINT HOME) 11 He said to them: “Who will be the man among YOU that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out?

    APPLICATION OF JESUS MESSAGE FOR ALL CHRISTIANS THEN AND NOW:

    12 All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man: “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored sound like the other hand. 14 But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him that they might destroy him.

    ****** Now, I have asked dozens of JW’s to please read this entire account again. From beginning to end to read it. And then tell me, in their own words, that Jesus would say to the parents of a three year old child, that was in an auto accident, that was the fault of some drunk driver for example, who was about to DIE due to severe blood loss, but yet whose life COULD be saved by accepting a blood transfusion, from a LIVING human donor, that Jesus would tell that parent, “NO, THIS CHILD MUST NOW NOW DIE”.

    OR TO THE MOTHER OF TWO LITTLE INFANTS AND A YOUNG HUSBAND, “NO THIS MOTHER MUST NOW DIE”. (as just recently happened).

    If the JW’s believe that Jesus would do just that (AND THEY DO) ,then they have MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT OF THOSE VERSES!!!!

    First of all, Jesus says, in his OWN words, from the New World Translation, that “David entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, something that it was (((NOT LAWFUL))) for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests only”.

    Why did Jesus even mention this account stating that the law was BROKEN? David was told beforehand that this was Holy Bread. Yet he requested that bread, received it and ATE it anyway.

    Yet NOBODY was punished.

    AND JESUS HIMSELF USED THAT ACCOUNT FOR A REASON!!!

    What was Jesus point in using that account?

    Before healing the man’s withered hand and before his, “if a sheep falls into a pit” illustration, Jesus makes the entire point very clear. He says:

    However, if YOU had understood what this means, (((I WANT MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE))), YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones.

    Over and out the JW arguments go.

    So what part of what Jesus just taught, do the JW’s, or the WT Society NOT GET?

    What spin can you try to use on this? You are stuck here.

    Acts 15:28,29 had to do with ANIMALS BLOOD. DO NOT EAT THE BLOOD OF THE “SLAIN” –(slain means dead)– (((ANIMAL))) not a “living human”.

    The JW’s misapplication of ACTS 15 has been refuted and put into proper perspective. Not by me, but by God’s only begotten Son Himself, Jesus Christ.

    What JESUS said and taught with those verses destroys people needlessly dying for a gross MISAPPLICATION of scripture!

    The JW’s cannot get out of this hole they are in.

    Jesus own words, taken IN CONTEXT make it clear to anybody reading that “mercy” and “life” are far more important than the sacrifice of Human life.

    This applies perfectly to a person in need of a modern day blood transfusion. Jesus values LIFE over the sacrifice of life due to a gross and often deadly misapplication of scripture.

    A blood transfusion is not a sin, nor against bible principles.

    This is why every other religious group on the earth today, including every single one that adheres to any portion of the bible, allows blood transfusions to be used. ALL Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Jews…EVERYBODY.

    It is a personal decision with all of the world’s faiths, and not one that should be forced on its members, at risk of expulsion, as is with the JW’s.

    Lets look at some very key bible warnings for ALL CHRISTIANS:

    Paul said at 1 Cor 6: 9-11 …9 What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of YOU were. But YOU have been washed clean, but YOU have been sanctified, but YOU have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”

    **** Where is blood, JW’s, if it was such a universal law?

    Paul said at Gal 5: 19-21…”19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, 20 idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, 21 envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these. As to these things I am forewarning YOU, the same way as I did forewarn YOU, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.

    ****Where is blood, JW’s, if it was such a universal law?

    Paul also said at Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore, now that YOU have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of YOU with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another. 26 Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with YOU in a provoked state, 27 neither allow place for the Devil. 28 Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need. 29 Let a rotten saying not proceed out of YOUR mouth, but whatever saying is good for building up as the need may be, that it may impart what is favorable to the hearers. 30 Also, do not be grieving God’s holy spirit, with which YOU have been sealed for a day of releasing by ransom. 31 Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from YOU along with all badness. 32 But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave YOU.

    ****Where is blood, JW’s, if it was such a universal law?

    There are obviously many laws, principles and warnings given by Paul throughout the new testament. But NOTHING ON BLOOD.

    Jesus Christ, God’s own Son said this, in arguably the Greatest Sermon ever recorded:

    Matthew 5:21 “YOU heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not murder; but whoever commits a murder will be accountable to the court of justice.’ 22 However, I say to YOU that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Ge·hen´na.

    23 “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away; first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift.

    25 “Be about settling matters quickly with the one complaining against you at law, while you are with him on the way there, that somehow the complainant may not turn you over to the judge, and the judge to the court attendant, and you get thrown into prison. 26 I say to you for a fact, You will certainly not come out from there until you have paid over the last coin of very little value.

    27 “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to YOU that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If, now, that right eye of yours is making you stumble, tear it out and throw it away from you. For it is more beneficial to you for one of your members to be lost to you than for your whole body to be pitched into Ge·hen´na. 30 Also, if your right hand is making you stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. For it is more beneficial to you for one of your members to be lost than for your whole body to land in Ge·hen´na.

    31“Moreover it was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 However, I say to YOU that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    33 “Again YOU heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ 34 However, I say to YOU: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor by your head must you swear, because you cannot turn one hair white or black. 37 Just let YOUR word Yes mean Yes, YOUR No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one.

    38 “YOU heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ 39 However, I say to YOU: Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him. 40 And if a person wants to go to court with you and get possession of your inner garment, let your outer garment also go to him; 41 and if someone under authority impresses you into service for a mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one asking you, and do not turn away from one that wants to borrow from you [without interest].

    43 “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; 45 that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. 46 For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47 And if YOU greet YOUR brothers only, what extraordinary thing are YOU doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing? 48 YOU must accordingly be perfect, as YOUR heavenly Father is perfect.

    *****So Where is blood, if it means what the JW’s say it means? Jesus spoke many warnings and counsel as we can clearly see.

    BUT NOTHING ON BLOOD!

    I could quote on and on here.

    Blood is just not there. Acts 15 and 21 were for a specific purpose, and repeated what was handed down in the Mosaic Law. Nowhere else does it get mentioned. NOWHERE.

    Yet the JW’s are willing to sacrifice all the JW’s for a law that’s not even there.

    It would be one thing if it were up to the INDIVIDUAL to decide what they want to do. But it is another thing when it is FORCED on all JW’s at the risk of being cut off and shunned, as well as told that they lose God’s favor.

    Fear tactics used to keep all JW’s in line.

    Why did not Jesus just say, “No blood at all, in any circumstances whether animal or human for any purpose anywhere for ALL TIME”? Could that have been communicated effectively then? But he never said anything like that, anywhere.

    Nor did any bible writer.

    These are just the facts as they are.

    STILL NOT SURE THE JW’S ARE WRONG ON BLOOD?

    HERE COMES MORE….

    A blood transfusion is not a sin, nor against bible principles. This is why every other religious group on the earth today, including every single one that adheres to any portion of the bible, allows blood transfusions to be used.

    Here is a comprehensive explanation of the Acts chapters 15 and 21 accounts:

    The letter sent out by the apostles and older men of Jerusalem, recorded at Acts chapter fifteen, uses the term “abstain” in connection with things sacrificed to idols, blood, things strangled and fornication. The Greek term they used (apékhomai) has the basic meaning of “to stand off from.” The Watch Tower publications imply that, with regard to blood, it has a total, all-embracing sense. Thus, the publication You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, page 216, says: “`abstaining from blood’ means not taking it into your body at all.” Similarly the Watchtower of May 1, 1988, page 17, says: “Walking in Jesus’ footsteps would mean not taking blood into the body either orally or in any other way.” But does this term, as used in the Scriptures, actually carry the absolute sense these publications imply? Or can it instead have a relative sense, relating to a specific and limited application?

    That it may apply, not in a total, all-embracing sense, but in a limited, specific way can be seen from its use in such texts as 1 Timothy 4:3. There the apostle Paul warns that some professed Christians would introduce teachings of a pernicious nature, “forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be partaken of with thanksgiving.” Clearly he did not mean that these persons would command others to abstain totally, in any way, from all foods created by God. That would mean total fasting and lead to death. He was obviously referring to their prohibiting specific foods, evidently those prohibited under the Mosaic law.

    Similarly, at 1 Peter 2:11 the apostle admonishes:Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires, which are the very ones that carry on a conflict against the soul.

    If we were to take this expression literally, in an absolute sense, it would mean we could not satisfy any fleshly desire at all. That certainly is not the meaning of the apostle’s words. We have many “fleshly desires,” including the desire to eat, to breathe, to sleep, to enjoy recreation and a host of other desires, which are perfectly proper and good. So, “abstaining from fleshly desires” applied only in the context of what the apostle wrote, relating, not to all fleshly desires, but only to harmful, sinful desires which do indeed “carry on a conflict against the soul.”

    The question then is, in what context did James and the apostolic council use the expression to “abstain” from blood? The council itself specifically dealt with the effort of some to demand of Gentile Christians that they not only be circumcised but also “observe the law of Moses.” That was the issue the apostle Peter addressed, observance of the Mosaic law, which he described as a burdensome “yoke.” When James spoke before the gathering and outlined his recommendation of things the Gentile Christians should be urged to abstain from—things polluted by idols, fornication, things strangled, and blood—he followed this up by the statement:

    For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath.—Acts 15:19-21.

    His recommendation therefore quite evidently took into account what people heard when ‘Moses was read’ in the synagogues. James knew that in ancient times there were Gentiles, “people of the nations,” who lived in the land of Israel, dwelling among the Jewish community. What had been the requirements placed upon them by the Mosaic law? They were not required to be circumcised, but they were required to abstain from certain practices and these are outlined in the book of Leviticus, chapters 17 and 18. That law specified that, not only Israelites, but also the “alien residents” among them should abstain from engaging in idolatrous sacrifices (Leviticus 17:7-9), from eating blood, including that of unbled dead animals (Leviticus 17:10-16), and from practices designated sexually immoral (including incest and homosexual practices).—Leviticus 18:6-26.

    While the land of Israel itself was now under Gentile control, with large numbers of Jews living outside in various countries (those doing so being called the “Diaspora,” meaning the “scattered [ones]”), James knew that in many cities throughout the Roman Empire the Jewish community was like a microcosm reflecting the situation in Palestine in ancient times, in that it was quite common for Gentiles to attend synagogue gatherings of the Jews, and thus to mingle with them.

    The early Christians themselves, both Jewish and Gentile Christians, continued to frequent these synagogue gatherings, even as we know that Paul and others did much of their preaching and teaching there. James’ reference to the reading in Moses in the synagogue in city after city certainly gives basis for believing that, when listing the things he had immediately before named, he had in mind the abstentions that Moses had set forth for Gentiles within the Jewish community in ancient times.

    KEY POINT:

    As we have seen, James listed not only the very same things found in the book of Leviticus, (((but even in the very same order))): abstention from idolatrous sacrifice, blood, things strangled (hence unbled), and from sexual immorality.

    He recommended observance of those same abstentions on the part of Gentile believers and the evident reason for this abstention was the circumstance then prevailing, that of an intermixture of Jew and Gentile in the Christian gatherings and the need to maintain peace and harmony within that circumstance. When Gentile Christians were urged to ‘abstain from blood,’ this clearly was to be understood, not in some all-embracing sense, but in the specific sense of refraining from eating blood, something abhorrent to Jews.

    To take the matter beyond that, and to try to assign to blood of itself a sort of “taboo” status, is to lift the matter out of its Scriptural and historical context and to impose upon it a meaning that is not actually there.

    (Taken from Commentary Press, by Ray Franz, former Governing Body Member of Jehovah’s Witnesses)

    STILL NOT SURE THE JW’S ARE WRONG ON BLOOD?

    HERE COMES MORE….

    WHY THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY BLOOD POLICY IS WRONG:

    **** A blood *transfusion* is not the same as eating or drinking blood as has been illustrated with the: “If a doctor told you to abstain from alcohol, but instead of drinking it, you transfused it into your veins…” illustration that the society often uses. If a person was starving to death and was given multiple blood transfusions instead of food, he would still die.

    A transfusion of blood replaces the volume of blood lost (much like replacing an organ) which is needed to sustain life, nothing more. No nourishment is gained by a blood transfusion, as would be the case when eating or drinking the blood, which is forbidden. This illustration often used by the society does apply with alcohol and other digestible foods, but not for blood. It simply stays in your system indefinitely.

    **** The scriptures in both the Hebrew and Greek sections of the bible, which say: “blood must be drained out” and to, “abstain from… blood” were always referring directly to the eating or drinking of animal blood. The blood of the animal that had been killed was to be “poured out” rather than eaten or drank. This act of faith demonstrated to Jehovah that the life that had been taken belongs to him. The blood of the animal represents the life of that animal. Humans do have the right to take animals for food only because the creator allows us to do so. Pouring out the blood first, acknowledges this arrangement.

    By including modern day blood transfusions in the current application of these verses however (which is not the same as eating or drinking of animal blood), the society is going beyond what is actually written in its application.

    In addition, the one supplying the blood for a transfusion has not died at all, which was always the case when an animal was bled. A “living” donor instead provides the needed volume of blood-fluid that has been lost for another “living” individual. And in many cases over the years, as a last resort this has been and can still be a life-saving medical act. In other cases by refusing this particular medical treatment because of our stand against blood transfusions, lives have been and will continue to be lost. Is this what God wants, and is this premature loss of life really necessary?

    **** We can also learn something about this from Jesus very own example. Jesus was also willing to perform miracles on the Sabbath (something against the mosaic law) in order to save lives, or even just heal the sick. Would not Jesus have made an exception then to a dietary rule in order to save a human life?

    In Luke 14:5-6, the bible account says: “And he said to them: “Who of YOU, if his son or bull falls into a well, will not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” 6 And they were not able to answer back on these things.” The account in Mathew 12:11 goes even further, it says: “So they (Pharisees) asked him “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” that they might get an accusation against him. 11 He said to them: “Who will be the man among YOU that has one sheep and, if this falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not get hold of it and lift it out? 12 All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the Sabbath.”

    If Jesus was willing to value the life of an ANIMAL enough to rescue that animal’s life despite this “work” being done on a Sabbath, how much more so then should the life of a human being be given priority over the strict interpretation of the law? Well, we need not really ask since Jesus answered this himself when he said in verse 12, “All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep!”. Yes rescuing a sheep from a pit on the sabbath is the loving and merciful thing to do. Additionally, Jesus performed many other miraculous works on the Sabbath. Yet to work on the Sabbath was to bring the death penalty upon oneself. And in fact, the scriptures actually record this penalty being meted out to a Sabbath violator. (See Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36. Here we see clear evidence though that Jesus appreciated the principle that love triumphs over law. That when life is at stake, (even an animal’s life), rules can be set aside as circumstances require. LIFE is valuable and precious.

    Jesus showed this love for life and people over and over. While by contrast the oppressive, rule-keeping religious leaders often missed the entire purpose of the law. By not allowing a blood transfusion to be given, especially in last-resort situations, but rather allowing these ones to die instead, is the proper “respect” for life being shown as Jesus clearly demonstrated? Imagine if this involved allowing one of “our own family members” to die due to such a strict stand by some religious body of men representing the WT Society.

    **** I’ve also appreciated another example that demonstrates this same “principle” of Jesus’ valuing a person’s LIFE over the written law. It had to do with the woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. Under the Mosaic Law a running discharge made her “unclean”, and anyone even touching her would also have to wash and be considered unclean until evening. However, she went even further than this by actually touching Jesus garment secretly in hopes of getting healed without anyone knowing. Jesus as we know, perceived that power went out from him and realized what she had done. Others too were watching. Notice though, that rather than condemn this woman for what she did, Jesus instead compassionately tells her: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, be in good health from your grievous sickness….” Once again we can see the spirit of the law (and the value of a human life) taking precedence over the supposed LETTER of the law, which the woman had clearly broken.

    **** Acts 15:28-29 (which is the foundation scripture for society’s position against blood transfusions since the Mosaic Law is no longer in force -this too is the society’s view-) reads: 28 “For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things, 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If YOU carefully keep yourselves from these things, YOU will prosper. Good health to YOU!”

    The society considers this to be an all-encompassing, absolute and eternal command. However, notice that along with abstaining from blood, we also hear the command to abstain from “things sacrificed to idols” Now, if you read 1 Corinthians 8:4-8, we can see that Paul there helps the reader to see that the “eating of food sacrificed to idols” was really a conscience matter. Obviously then, the Acts 15:28-29 could not have such a broad, absolute, universal meaning since another part of that same scripture is considered a conscience matter by the apostle Paul in another verse. This decision instead was rendered so that the newer “Gentile” Christians would be conscious not to stumble the more traditional Jewish Christians, many of which were still rooted in Mosaic Law. The decision was acknowledged that they were not under Mosaic Law any longer. However to prevent unnecessarily stumbling of these traditional Jewish Christians, this decree was given.

    This is also how bible scholars today understand these verses. The account at Acts 21:20-32 gives further evidence that this decree was given because the older, traditional Jewish Christians were being stumbled, since once again this very same prohibition found at Acts 15:28, 29 is repeated ten years later in Acts 21:25. Notice specifically how verses 24 brings out that this decree was given because the Jewish Christians thought Paul had discarded all Jewish law and customs which were causing these Jewish Christians to be upset and stumbled.

    Paul’s words quoted above at 1 Cor 8:4-8 once again only adds further evidence that this command was not an eternal, universal law from God since again, he there states that “eating foods sacrificed to idols” (also included in Acts 15:28,29 along with blood) is a personal decision for each individual Christian.

    The command to abstain from fornication however is an absolute, eternal, universal command, since it is clearly repeated often throughout the Christian Greek scriptures. Not the case at all regarding blood. Nowhere else is this mentioned. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5: 19-21 contain many specific warnings for Christians, but blood is not one of them. Nor is it mentioned anywhere else in the Greek scriptures. And even if it were considered a universal, eternal command, which clearly it is not, that decree then would be regarding the EATING of animal blood, and not the receiving of blood fluid from a living human donor to another living human donor.

    **** If consuming blood was such a capitol offense, why were Saul’s men not executed when they fell to eating blood along with the meat? (1 Sam. 14:31-35)

    **** I also wanted to find out how the most traditional, conservative and orthodox Jews today felt about accepting blood transfusions, since they still object to any traces of blood in their meat and other strict dietary guidelines from the bible by insisting on kosher foods. After researching, I found out that they DO accept blood transfusions, considering these bible commands to be based on the eating and drinking of animal blood; something a blood transfusion is not.

    **** Another thing that muddies the blood transfusion issue altogether for me is the 2000 decree that certain blood “FRACTIONS” are now permissible.

    Many of these are now considered a “conscience matter”. Just a few years ago most of these were forbidden. I have studied this very carefully and thoroughly as well. Some of these “fractions” take far more blood and donors to make them, than accepting the whole blood unaltered takes.

    Some hemophiliac treatments for example, (which have been long permitted) require the collection and storage of massive quantities of blood (up to 2500 blood donors for a single treatment). These are not just some made-up numbers thrown out here, but can be easily verified. Other more common “fractions” still require many liters of blood, from many different people to donate. It is often just a “concentrated” form of blood.

    These facts bring up two different, problematic issues in my mind then. For one, how can Jehovah’s Witnesses say they “abstain from blood”, since all of these fractions that Watchtower Society now permits like albumin, EPO, hemoglobin, blood serums, Immunoglobulins, and hemophiliac treatments (clotting factors VIII & IX) clearly tap into the world’s blood supply and can be (and are) used by Jehovah’s Witnesses today?

    And two, if then, Jehovah’s Witnesses can with a clear conscience now USE these fractions that come from the blood supply, why are they then forbidden from donating to this same blood supply that they now are allowed to tap into? And, why are they still not allowed to store their OWN blood? The pouring of blood “back to the ground” was long ago nailed to the torture stake when Jesus sacrificed his life; hence they are no longer under that Mosaic series of laws.

    It sure appears to me as well as most others then, that the JW’s no longer “abstain from blood”, and can and do dip into the worlds blood supply, often in great quantity, yet they are still not allowed to put back into this same supply, nor can they store their own blood.

    **** Another problem with “fractions” is that certain fractions such as “Albumin” ARE acceptable by the society, but others making up even smaller amounts are not.

    “Albumin” for example is a blood plasma protein that is produced in the liver and forms a large proportion of all plasma protein. This “authorized” fraction, Albumin, however makes up just 2.2 percent of the whole blood and again IS approved by the society today. White blood cells on the other hand are NOT allowed, not authorized by the society, yet these white blood cells make up less that one percent of whole blood. White blood cells are absolutely needed to fight infections and are often very important for accident and post-surgical patients. Yet again, these white blood cells are not acceptable by the society.

    Another fraction, Blood “Platelets” are needed to help cause clotting, so people do not bleed to death (especially important with chemotherapy, other cancer treatments and hemophiliacs). Yet platelets are another fraction NOT authorized. Platelets make up only .17 percent of whole blood. That’s not even one quarter of one percent, (a far smaller portion than albumin). Yet these platelets are forbidden by the Society.

    I have read the literature and fail to see the logic of this “approved” and “disapproved” list with no explanations anywhere. It’s also worth noting that if you add up all of the fractions that ARE acceptable by the society, you come up with a total of 98 percent of what makes up whole blood that is pumping through our veins right now. However, these cannot be taken together as whole blood, but must be instead broken down and taken separately, in minute fractions.

    It has been compared before to being allowed to eat ham, bread and cheese, as long as they’re kept and eaten separately. Yet not being allowed to eat them together for instance as a ham and cheese sandwich. I just fail to see the reasonableness in this kind of doctrine. “Hemopure” is an acceptable blood-product that Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to use. It is made from purified bovine, or in simpler terms, Cow’s Blood. How can JW’s be allowed to use this purified animal blood today, yet not be allowed to use their own blood, or that of another living human donor?

    So then, when I add up all of the facts listed above here;

    That blood transfusions are not the same as eating blood

    That Jesus himself clearly emphasized the value and importance of “MERCY” and “LIFE” over the unnecessary “Sacrifice of Life” at Matthew 12.

    That the scriptures themselves are always referring to the “eating or drinking” of ANIMAL blood that is forbidden (not transfusions).

    How Paul shows at 1 Corinthians. 8:4-8 that the Acts 15:29 command is not all encompassing command but had a particular purpose.

    That Saul’s men were not killed after eating blood.

    How the strictest of Jews today allow blood transfusions.

    That no other religion on earth forbids blood transfusions based on what the bible actually says.

    That Jesus clearly demonstrated how life (even that of an animal) was more important than a narrow, strict interpretation of the law, with the “animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath” illustration he used, and the “Woman with a flow of blood” real-life example.

    How the one donating blood is a LIVE donor and offering this blood to another person that is also alive and in need.

    That the Society was wrong before about forbidding vaccinations and organ transplants and then reversed these decisions. Many loyal Witnesses nonetheless died from such stands.

    And, the Society has now changed its position once again, instead of saying no to all blood, to now say “fractions” of blood are acceptable, even though the particular fractions approved and disapproved seem to have no particular rhyme or reason and we are still not allowed to donate blood nor store their own. Though they can use cow’s blood.

    It seems fairly easy for me then, to come to the conclusion that I can no longer support the society’s position on blood transfusions today.

    20 QUESTIONS FOR ANY JW TO ANSWER ABOUT BLOOD:

    (and not one has even tried)

    1- JW’s, would you allow your own family members to die? For a policy as butchered as this one? From an organization with many similar messed-up policies? Let them die or allow them to live, if you have the choice? Please answer.

    2- JW’s, If it was illegal to steal an entire automobile, would it then be legal to just steal parts of that same car? Why would this same analogy not apply to WT Society and Blood FRACTIONS? Please answer.

    3- JW’s, even though Jesus sermon on the mount covered a vast array of subjects on what is not acceptable, why was blood not listed even one time? Why did not Jesus just say, “No blood at all, in any circumstances whether animal or human for any purpose anywhere for ALL TIME? Could that have been communicated effectively then? But he never said anything like that, anywhere. Please answer.

    4- Paul also had NUMEROUS WARNINGS for Christians. But blood is NOWHERE MENTIONED. Why now? Jesus had numerous warnings, but NOWHERE WAS BLOOD MENTIONED. Please answer.

    5-The stakes by forbidding blood transfusions are HUGE. People DIE here for this argument. That’s why you better have a VERY GOOD argument before you push this thing on 6 .7 million people. That’s also why NO vaccinations, NO organ transplants was so bad to so many people. Again, people DID DIE without needing to. They reversed it too because it was bad news and wrong. What does that say about the WT Society to you then? Please answer.

    6- If you were not a JW, would you have decided that blood transfusions were wrong? Please answer.

    7- Where does albumin come from? Please tell us wher it comes from. How about Hemoglobins, interferons, interleukins, clotting factors, globulins, albumin etc? Are these WT approved fractions made with something other than blood? Please answer?

    8- Please tell us, if the old law command to pour blood to the ground was done away with when Jesus died, why are JW’s not allowed store their OWN blood for their own operation? Please explain that one.

    9- Please tell us why JW’s cannot DONATE blood since they obviously are allowed to TAKE fractions of blood from the world’s blood supply? Why can they not PUT BACK blood to the same place where they are allowed take it from? Please explain that.

    10- JW’s, why are LARGER fractions of blood allowed over some of the SMALLER ones? Please explain all of this.

    11- Are all OTHER religions, scholars and conservative Jews wrong then? Are only JW’s right? What though about that long list of OTHER embarrassing mistakes by the WT Society? Please comment about those too. Do you think that since the WT Society was wrong about ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS, they might be wrong about blood too? Please answer.

    12- For a long time the WT Society said an Organ transplant WAS like eating and called it cannibalism. Remember that? Why did the WT change it up and now allow organ transplants?

    BECAUSE THEY REALIZED IT IS NOT THE SAME AS EATING, AND EVEN SAID JUST THAT.

    The JW blood transfusion “is the same as eating” argument just got flushed down the drain. The Society’s position on Organ Transplants “NOT BEING THE SAME AS EATING” just destroyed the JW point of view that blood cannot be used. Where is the JW answer to this problem? Please answer.

    13- Please tell those on this board just (((WHO))) gets to decide what fractions get to make the MAJOR list (and are NOT allowed), and which fractions make the MINOR list (and ARE allowed)?

    14- Please tell those on this board, WHAT CRITERIA is used to determine what fractions get to make the MAJOR list (and are NOT allowed), and which fractions make the MINOR list (and ARE allowed)? Why NO to platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells and plasma, but yes to interferons, interleukens, globulins, clotting factors, hemoglobin etc. Please tell us WHY this list with no rhyme or reason? Please answer.

    15- JW’s, Tell this board what the WT Organization’s LONG LIST OF MISTAKES ON PREVIOUS MEDICAL ISSUES does for the credibility of that WT Organization responsible for such mistakes? Please answer up.

    16-JW’s, the WT Organization has a terrible record in times past and currently with regards to medical, doctrinal and historical mistakes. One of the worst anywhere. When an organization decides to make decisions for all of its members, with very significant penalties imposed on those that do not follow such decisions, should not such an organization have a reputation of EXCELLENCE in general, or at least in regards to similar kinds of issues; in this case medical issues that can have a very significant impact on people’s lives?

    17- What does the fact that the WT Society was outright WRONG on the previous medical prohibitions against Vaccinations as well as Organ Transplants, which literally cost lives to be lost unnecessarily say about the WT Society to you?

    18- JW’s, does having the VERY SAME religious organization making end of the world predictions a dozen times, in writing, all of which proved false, give even greater reason for concern with such an organization today? The reputation and trustworthiness of the JW organization itself is relevant in regards to these other issues.

    19- JW’s, what effect should these past problems have on the overall credibility of this organization that is currently standing ALONE amongst all of the other world faiths by prohibiting blood transfusions of its members?

    20- If Fractions are not blood as WT likes to try telling us, then why not allow ALL FRACTIONS? Why not make ALL BLOOD FRACTIONS A CONSCIENCE MATTER. Please answer.

    Here is a link to the most comprehensive debate on blood I have seen anywhere. Medical Professionals, Hospital Liason committee members, current JW’s, founder of AJWRB and many others.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/322/7277/37

    The JW blood and fractions policy is simply impossible to defend.

    People have DIED for over 65 years now, without reason, for this SORRY POLICY.

    WHICH IS WHY I GOT OUT ALTOGETHER.

    THE JW’S ARE SIMPLY WRONG ON BLOOD TODAY, AND ARE NOT “GOD’S ORGANIZATION”. NOR HAVE EVEN BEEN.

    All the best,

    Vinny

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