The Life is in the Blood

The Life is in the Blood

Last night, during prayer, the LORD asked me to do a study on the Hebrew word for “blood.”

It is “dam.” (דָּם)

It means: “blood, lifeblood, death, grape juice, wine, by extension bloodshed; to pour out blood is to kill since life is in the blood.”

Firstly, at His Passover meal recorded in Matthew/Mattityahu 26. 28-29, Yeshua said; “Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood (dam) of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine (grape juice or wine), until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” I believe He was creating a Hebrew play-on-words.  This is called a "Hebraism" and the Bible is full of them, but only if you read the words in the original Hebrew. 

For example, if in Biblical Hebrew, dam means "blood" and  "grape juice and wine" then Yeshua is saying "This is my 'dam' (blood).... but I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this 'dam' (fruit of the vine)...." The same word in Hebrew is translated into two different words in English. But if He was speaking in ancient Hebrew, He would have repeated the same word. I know the New Testament is recorded in Greek. But as a Jewish believer, I often wonder if Yeshua spoke in Hebrew. I have met several Israeli Jews who - when they finally read the New Testament in Hebrew, not Greek, - have all came to the same conclusion; "The New Testament is a Jewish book!"

The LORD God explains clearly in Leviticus/Vayikra 17.11 that: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” 

But, what is new about that? If you are an English-speaking Bible believer, you will already know this key verse and understand that Yeshua shed His blood for us all.

But did you catch the very first words He said above at His Passover? He said, “Drink ye all of it.”  What could He, as a Jewish Messiah, mean?  Do we know even what drinking the full meaning of His blood means?

It is my joy, in service to Him, and you, to pull back the curtain a little and show you a few glimpses into the Jewish world and Hebrew heart hidden in these verses and the word “blood”:

First Glimpse: The above key verse regarding blood being the atonement for the soul is found in the book of Leviticus. This is not by “accident” or “chance.”  The book of Leviticus in Hebrew is called Vayikra, from the first words in the book (“And He called”).  But it is also called in the Jewish faith “Torat Kohanim” which means “Instruction of the Priests.” Its Greek name “Levitikon” from which we get the English "Leviticus" means “things pertaining to the Levites” and comes from the Jewish name ("Torat Kohanim") for this book of the Old Testament.

From my time in the Greek-based church, I discovered that it is probably the least understood or taught book of the Holy Scriptures. Yet Leviticus is absolutely full of Messianic images and gives deeper understandings and prophecies of the Messiah; from the Biblical Feasts - which show the times, seasons and events the Messiah has already fulfilled and those He will come to fulfil - to the Laws of Redemption and the Blood Atonement. It is a beautiful, complex book which I believe I will only ever even begin to grasp in His yeshiva-school of Heaven.

So, it is of no surprise that the central statement of the atonement of blood comes from the very book of the Bible that – in the Hebrew world – is called “Instruction to the Priests.” Why? Because Yeshua is the High Priest (HaCohen HaGadol -הַכֹּהֵ֖ן הַגָּדֽוֹל) and so the LORD in Leviticus was writing down instruction that He Himself would later follow in His Blood Sacrifice for our souls!

Leviticus is therefore a love-letter sent hundreds of years in advance of an action. It is a proclamation of the Redeemer setting out what He, as High Priest, will do - for my soul and your soul - millennia before He did it. It is a hidden message sent out into the world through the Hebrew Scriptures of a coming Messiah.

Being Jewish, Yeshua would have known the priestly instructions in Leviticus, that “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” and that He was birthed in human form to make that Priestly Atonement for us. He was always ready to follow these instructions from the Creation of the world.

The second glimpse of His heart we can see behind the Hebrew curtain is this:  there are two other words so closely related to “blood/dam” in Hebrew that they blow the sky apart in His Mission to save us from ourselves.

Dam-ah” (דָּמָה) This word is made in Hebrew by simply adding the letter Heh to the word for “blood/dam”.  The letter Heh represents the breath of God, His Ruach HaKodesh, or His Holy Spirit in English. When we speak the letter Heh at the end of a word in Hebrew it sounds like a very quiet breath. So, what does “Dam-ah” mean?  It, very unusually, has two meanings, both spelt exactly the same in Hebrew. Often, Hebrew roots have the same consonants but different vowels. But these two words are spelt exactly the same in the Hebrew. I take this to mean that the LORD joins them so closely together that one meaning cannot really exist without the other.

The first meaning is this: Dam-ah:  “to be like, to resemble, to think, plan, intend to be like, to consider oneself equal to.”

My instinct is to shout that I have never once considered myself equal to Yeshua. Yet, the LORD’s word lovingly says that if I die to myself I am hidden in Christ, so that God sees Him, not me at the judgement seat. (Colossians 3.3) “For I died and my life has been hidden in Christ in God.” But then I am convicted; because every single time I put my worry, my self-determination, my anger, my judgements of others and my fear, doubt or confusion above my obedience to God’s Word I am not dying to myself.  In those moments I am - ironically - putting myself equal to God by paying more attention to what I think than to God’s Word. And that is humbling and shocking. My “self” isn’t dying when I’m doing or thinking those things, it’s fighting to be heard rather than submitting to the Word of the LORD. LORD have mercy and cover me with Your blood. In this sinful human state I am in famous Messianic company: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7.22-25)

But because of the meaning of the Hebrew word for “blood”, do we realise that His Blood sacrifice as the High Priest is the life-force that is meant to change us to be like Him?  It is an on-going process. His blood sacrifice is not a one-off passive thing. It is a constant washing. It is a state of living submerged in His atonement. So, how do we “think, plan and intend to be like” the King Yeshua?  The answer is so simple: obey His commandments. He says it Himself: “If you love Me, obey My commandments.” (John/Yonatan 14.15)  And again in John/Yonatan 15.14 Yeshua says; “You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.” This makes sense, as we all become like our friends, good or bad.  If we walk with Yeshua we will become like Him. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Proverbs/Mishlei 13.20)

Which leads so beautifully into the second meaning of the word “dam-ah.” This second identical Hebrew word means: “to destroy, to cease, to be silent, to perish, be ruined, be wiped out, cut off, undone.”

I cannot find the human words to express how much I want my flesh and sin and all that hurts Him to be cut off from me, to be wiped out. I want my flesh to be undone for Him, in order to worship and serve Him for eternity. 

Can we sum up His atoning work on the Cross better than these two descriptions put together?

“To be like, to resemble, to think, plan, intend to be like, to consider oneself equal to.”

“To destroy, to cease, to be silent, to perish, be ruined, be wiped out, cut off, undone.”

The BLOOD (DAM) OF YESHUA is the only way to both become like Him and to have the sin in our lives silenced and cut off from our souls. How powerful is His Blood?!  I sometimes wonder whether one atom of His Blood would save the entire world. I wonder, do we understand the power of Yeshua’s Blood, the Great High Priest, to utterly destroy sin, death and the guilt, shame, power and consequences of sin in our lives and souls? And if so, do we understand the second identical and equal meaning in His Hebrew, that His Blood means “to be like, to resemble, to think, plan, intend to be like," the Messiah of our very fallen hearts?

Late last night I pondered these very related words in Revelation: “And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Revelation 7. 13-17) Firstly, I almost cried because it suddenly dawned on me through His Holy Spirit that the hunger and thirsting for righteousness, which is now an almost constant ache and pain in the centre of my soul and spirit - in this sinful, arrogant and fake world - will disappear in Heaven. Why? Because there, nothing will stop His Righteousness! Nothing will arrogantly stand against His Laws, His Holiness and His Words.  There will be no façade and no sin. The strong delusion that has fallen on this world and pervades it within the news, shops, streets, entertainment, apostasy, relationships and even churches, will be gone in an instant. The relief will be extreme.

But after this, what kept striking me is that the verb of washing one’s robes in His Blood is active; not passive. His Word says “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” It doesn’t say “they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.” This surprised me, when I lay there in His stillness and meditated on His Written Words.  LORD, what is it that we must do to wash ourselves in Your Blood?

LORD, Your blood atoning for our sin is a gift, a complete gift from Heaven to earth. We cannot ever make ourselves worthy of Your Redemption. But once I understand that gift, what do I do in response to Your priceless gift? Am I giving up my life to serve You? And where I am not, change me by the power of Your Blood. I’m not a Greek scholar but the word for “washed” here in Revelation 7.14 simply means “to whiten.” But a very strange thing occurs in almost all English translations. Later, in Revelation 22.14 it looks like this phrase of “washing their robes” comes up again. Except in the actual Greek it doesn’t! In the second instance in Revelation 22.14 the second reference actually says; “Blessed are they that [do His commandments], that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

The Greek word for “washing” or “whitening” found in Revelation 7.14 doesn’t come into Revelation 22.14 at all, yet both Revelation 7.14 and Revelation 22.14 are often mis-translated the same in the English. Interestingly, there are only a few English translations that get the Greek right in the second instance and say [do His commandments] instead of [washing] and they are; King James, an Aramaic translation of the New Testament and Websters Bible translation. If you’re interested, take a quick look for yourself by clicking here.

Now, this point is important because it relates straight back to the Hebrew word for “blood/dam”. As we have discovered, to wash ourselves in His Blood means by definition from the Hebrew:

“To be like, to resemble, to be like, to think, plan, intend to be like, to consider oneself equal to.”

“To destroy, to cease, to be silent, to perish, be ruined, be wiped out, cut off, undone.”

The world, false religions and the apostate church often teach that everyone goes to heaven and that there are many ways to God, that our continuing unrepented sin doesn’t matter and that we can live in direct and knowing contradiction to His written Word and yet still say we love Him. But He Himself says, “If you love Me, obey My commands.” And His Word says: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10.5)

So, His Blood is the power and the promise to live obediently.  Without His Blood I cannot be saved and without His blood I cannot attempt to live a holy life. Because of His sacrifice, I want to become like Him out of love and eternal immense gratitude. I am never equal to Him but through His Blood I am given His Holy Spirit to try my very best to be like Him, (even though I can also at times be my worst). How can a servant be like a King? They are not positionally. But a servant might spend so much time around their King that they learn to think and behave a little like them. I pray I so trust in His Blood that when I stand before the Living God He will look at His High Priest and look at my faith in His atoning sacrifice and say, “I see My Son because you are hidden in Him, come into My Kingdom little one.”

And yet LORD, does my life witness to this faith in Your blood?  Can someone say His blood has saved them if their life looks nothing like His and is in  knowing and decided contradiction to His Word? Doesn’t “dam-ah” in Hebrew mean “to intend to be like” Yeshua? If we don’t intend to be like Him are we covered by His blood? The joy and knowledge that He sacrificed Himself to atone for all our sin will surely show a growing difference in our lives from the world around us.

Will I spend the rest of my life finding out His commandments and doing them, out of love for Him? LORD, give me Your spirit, Your strength, Your holiness, Your wisdom, Your faithfulness, so that I will obey Your commandments in adoring response to the fact that You atoned for my soul as my High Priest, according to Your own instructions, which You wrote thousands of year before. LORD, please don’t let my words of love for You be empty words. As Your Word says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James/Ya’akov 2.26)

LORD please hide me in Your Blood and enable me by Your blood to be Holy, in amazed thanks to You for paying the agonising blood sacrifice to save my soul. For as Your Holy Word says; “the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”  Leviticus/Vayikra 17.1