Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth
Figurative or Literal?
Jesus told the Pharisees, the multitudes and His disciples that His flesh was the bread of life come down from heaven and if “eaten” they would never die (John 6:35-58). Jesus said that the bread He gave His disciples at the Lord’s Supper was His body and the drink was His blood (Matthew 26:26-28). Yet, this was not literally true.
We take communion by eating real physical bread, but we certainly do not claim that it has now been turned into real physical flesh protein of our Lord’s physical body. In other words the bread did not magically metamorphose into something else physical (namely flesh); neither were they literally drinking the “blood” of Jesus. Jesus gave them literal bread, and not His literal physical flesh. What that bread represented, and symbolized, was indeed, His body—however, it was not his physical body.
In (Acts 20:28) it appears that the Holy Ghost (or God) purchased the church “with his own blood”, so does this verse mean God has blood literally?
The answer is no because “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24) and “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Jesus had flesh and blood (literally) “For the life of the flesh is in the blood…..for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). For those that would continue to argue this matter, two questions would still need to be addressed; Was it then the actual literally body of God hanging on the cross, and if so how could that be because the scripture states that “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18)? We can therefore conclude that it was not the literal body of God hanging on any tree. If you were to claim that Jesus is God literally, when Jesus died that would also be proclaiming that God died “literally”? Of course we all know that this is not true because we know God is immortal.
The problem arises when we try to literally “fuse” God and man (Jesus) together instead of viewing and presenting God as a Spirit capable of indwelling/entering/influencing the body of the man named Jesus (the vessel) while Jesus yet maintained his own separate and independent mind/soul/spirit or body, as do all men (the needed totally human aspect). If Jesus “truly” has a human soul/spirit, as you or I, then it too (that human aspect of Jesus) must be in heaven with God since it was not left in hell (Acts 2:27, 31).
How To Deal With Perceived Contradictions
When two interpretations are claimed for a Scripture, the construction most in agreement with all the facts of the case should be adopted. When all the facts of an interpretation are in agreement they sound together in harmony, like notes in a chord. (Guy Duty)
(Acts 20:28) “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
First, common sense lets us know that this is not literal speech because God (being a spirit) does not have blood.
To help you better understand the context of this verse let’s first take a look at Adam. God is a spirit and as such he is not dependent on the flow of human blood to sustain his existence. I would challenge you to first explain from whom did Adam receive his blood (a man God created from dirt); didn’t Adam’s blood come from God? Of course it did, regardless of how it entered Adam’s body it was God who caused Adam to have blood. We tend to overlook that God took dirt and created a man that had blood, blood vessels, a liver, gallbladder, pancreas and skeletal structure, (just to mention a few of the numerous parts that God caused to be part of Adam’s make up). There is no scripture to support that God gave Adam all these amazing anatomical parts, but modern science has dissected human beings to find out just how miraculous the creation of Adam was.
God never required blood to sustain his existence, he always existed as God, mankind needed blood to exist as a living being outside the supernatural exceptions such as Jesus who has a glorified body, or Lazarus who was restored to life.
If we create a great work of art, it is said to be our work, our creation, we “breathed life into it,” we own that creation; it is our canvas, our paint, our inspiration. Man is God’s work, his creation, he literally breathed life into all of mankind, everything about the man was his…his blood, his bones, his skin, his spirit, and his soul.
Note: Although God is said to have created everything that exist (including blood), the creator (God) is never considered to be the creatures (or components of the creature) he created. Even though God created the Heavens and Earth, God is not considered to be the earth literally.
Similarly, with this understanding in mind, God also caused Jesus to come into being (his physical existence) through the power of his Holy Spirit. The blood of His Son (Jesus) is also God’s blood for the exact same reason; regardless how it entered Jesus body it was God who caused Jesus to exist and have blood. Both of these men’s existence (Adam & Jesus) came as a result of a direct intervention made by God acting upon something (dirt) or acting upon someone (a woman). It is only in this light that the blood Jesus shed on Calvary (as the Lamb of God) can be said to be God’s blood (figuratively).
Second, we humans sometimes use similar wording in the same context. I would say of my own son, “he is my blood” or “he has my blood”, this does not mean that my son is the literal embodiment of me.
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