Did Jesus Contradict the Old Testament’s Prohibition on Drinking Blood?

by Steve Ray on June 30, 2014

Leonard Alt debates an anti-Catholic named Phil. He writes:

I have a choice: I can listen to the Evangelicals who confuse the blood of animals, with the blood of Christ and choose not to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Christ, or, I can listen to Jesus who said; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54). Who will you listen too? 

Phil Wipperman in the Facebook group “The Catholic Church is NOT a Christian Church” says, “Leonard Alt claims that Jesus Christ endorsed sin by COMMANDING people to drink blood even though he has given CLEAR COMMANDMENTS in the Old Testament FORBIDDING the wicked behavior of the heathens. Why is this not shocking?” 

Phil Wipperman cites the Old Testament, out of context, not mentioning that the blood they didn’t drink was the blood of animals.  However, the drinking of blood of animals is a moot point because no one is recommending drinking the blood of animals in the New Testament.

Jesus commands us in the New Testament to drink of His blood and there is no prohibition against this.  In fact, it was Jesus who said, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55).  At the same time Phil Wipperman says; “Why is this not shocking?”  

Phil is actually correct; it was shocking.  In fact, Jesus asked the same of those who were having difficulty believing Him; “Does this shock you?” (Jn 6:51).   It was shocking because this is the only place in all of the Gospels where many of Jesus very own disciples “returned to their former way of life” (Jn 6:66).   Of course, as shocking as it was, His twelve Apostles did not leave Him.  Peter said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). 

When Jesus said “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55), it was very difficult for some of His disciples to believe; and it is difficult for some of us to believe today.  

When Phil and other Evangelicals oppose drinking blood, they are confusing the prohibition against drinking the blood of animals in the Deuteronomy 12:27, with drinking the blood of Christ, which was commanded by Jesus.  It was Jesus who said, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53).

Many claim that the drinking of the Blood of Christ is not Biblical, even Pagan; however, that is not the way Jesus saw it.  

  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID,Drink from it all of you, for this is my Blood, of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:28)
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, after drinking from it, “this is my blood, of the covenant, which will be shed for many (Mk 14:24).
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53). 
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID,“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54).
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55). 

The Catholic Church follows Biblical tradition by echoing the words of Jesus “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”  However, this begs the question; is it possible for Phil and other Evangelicals to be following a Biblical tradition and at the same time not accept these words of Jesus?   Yes, they have a Biblical tradition as well; they are following the tradition of the disciples who could not accept the words of Jesus. 

These disciples were quoted as saying; “This saying is hard; who can accept it” (Jn 6:60).   These same disciples left Jesus and “returned to their former way of life” (Jn 6:66).   There is one difference between the disciples who left Jesus and todays Evangelicals.  The Evangelicals of today still claim to be followers of Jesus; however, they are not following Jesus when He says, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55).  

In fairness, it should be also said that there are many non-Catholics today, who while not having exactly the same understanding of Communion as Catholics, still believe in a real presence of Jesus in or around the elements of bread and wine during their liturgies.   Martin Luther and John Calvin believed in a real presence; Ulrich Zwingli did not.  Most Evangelicals today are coming from the Zwinglian tradition.  

I can listen to the Evangelicals who confuse the blood of animals, with the blood of Christ and choose not to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Christ.  Or, I can listen to Jesus who said; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54).   Who will you listen too?

FRANCIS CHOUDHURY COMMENTARY:  Any Christian who believes that God’s OT prohibition on eating blood still stands (after Christ), needs to explain why he/she eats normal meat (with blood in it), instead of eating only Kosher/Halal meat (drained of blood), as Jews and Muslims, who are stuck in the OT and do not accept Christ’s teachings, do.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn June 30, 2014 at 1:54 PM

The Blessed Sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ in a real way, and in a literal way, but not in a physical way. We’re not drinking some of His blood cells, plasma, and antibodies, just as we’re not eating his finger or ear. It’s not cannibalism. We are mystically and sacramentally consuming the WHOLE Christ, not just His Body and Blood, but also his very Soul and Divinity. Also, He is, of course, alive, and consuming Him does Him no harm. So it’s a very different thing from drinking some of the blood cells, plasma, and antibodies of some dead animal (or even of some dead human, God forbid).

Chris Fleming June 30, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Preach it brother!
As usual you put it all back in context & tell it as it is. Thank you Stephen.

Ed Yates June 30, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Do you trust Jesus? Of course you do. But if you do not believe every word that Jesus said, then you do not fully trust our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to change the word of God, but came as God himself. Jesus words are the words of God.

Renato Rinoza November 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

These are the same evangelicals who we would always hear preaching that we can only be saved by faith alone (in Jesus Christ). But what do they really mean by that? I’m baffled. Does having faith in Christ does not include believing in what he taught? What Jesus taught about his body and blood was so plain and simple that his listeners did not mistaken it as otherwise. He literally meant what he said and they got it right. He did not say, “Hey, come back, I was only speaking symbolically,” like in some parts of the of the gospels where he would explain what he meant in his parable or saying. And to think that these evangelicals are those who loved to compare our priests to the biblical Pharisees towards who Jesus have aversion because of their hypocrisy. And speaking of hypocrisy, I wonder to whom that word is more apt to be applied.

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