The Bible tells Christians to "abstain from blood", exactly what does that mean?
Acts 15:28- 29 "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain567 from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."
567 = Middle
voice (reflexive) of 568; to hold oneself off, that is, refrain: -
568 = From 575 and 2192; (active) to have out, that is, receive in full; (intransitive) to keep (oneself) away, that is, be distant (literally or figuratively): - be, have, receive.
575 = A primary particle; “off”, that is, away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literally or figuratively): - (X here-) after, ago, at, because of, before, by (the space of), for (-th), from, in, (out) of, off, (up-) on (-ce), since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc.
2192 = A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω scheō skheh'-o used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition): - be (able, X hold, possessed with), accompany, + begin to amend, can (+ -not), X conceive, count, diseased, do, + eat, + enjoy, + fear, following, have, hold, keep, + lack, + go to law, lie, + must needs, + of necessity, + need, next, + recover, + reign, + rest, return, X sick, take for, + tremble, + uncircumcised, use.
Clearly abstaining from something is to keep oneself away from it as best as one can.
Genesis 9:4-6 " But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
Deuteronomy 12:23-25 "Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord."
Leviticus 7:26-27 "Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people."
Ezekiel 33:25 "Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed8210 blood: and shall ye possess the land?"
8210 = A primitive root; to spill forth (blood, a libation, liquid metal; or even a solid, that is, to mound up); also (figuratively) to expend (life, soul, complaint, money, etc.); intensively to sprawl out: - cast (up), gush out, pour (out), shed (-der, out), slip.
Though this passage is speaking of killing someone, would not a blood transfusion fall under shedding blood by definition?
Acts 21:25 "As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication."
The life is in the blood, and we are commanded to treat it special.
The argument is that a blood transfusion is not eating it, and would save lives. Yet all sort of diseases can and are transmitted through blood transfusions every year, could the command to abstain (to keep oneself away) been for a reason? Why not eat it as well? Because we are commanded "not to", and that is the whole point.
Note: Taken from Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
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