Series: Thru the Bible
By Request: Blood that washes whiter than Snow
It’s been a long time since we took something from the “by Request” box to teach on, but tonight seemed as opportune a time as any.
I am not certain who put this in the box, but if it was Virginia, now that she is WITH our Lord, she could more accurately share it with you now than I, but alas… I’m what you have so well just have to make do.
Here was the request…
You’ve often taught the significance and need for the blood sacrifices in the old Testament and the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus but, would you mind providing some insight into these popular Christian phrases.
- Wash me whiter than snow
- Power in the blood
- Nothing but the blood
- Pleading the Blood
Are they accurate and to what degree is there anything to them?
Well, the first three of these are nearly saying the same thing so I will address them first. Again, they were:
- Wash me whiter than snow
- Power in the blood
- Nothing but the blood
Whiter than Snow
For the phrase “wash me whiter than snow” we have a psalm of David.
Psa 51:4-14, “(4) Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. (5) Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
(6) Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.
(7) Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. (8) Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven! May the bones you crushed rejoice! (9) Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt! (10) Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! (11) Do not reject me! Do not take your holy Spirit away from me! (12) Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! (13) Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to you. (14) Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, the God who delivers me! Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your righteousness.”
Long ago I used to think that “clease me with hussop” was a metaphor due to some antiseptic or antibiotic properties of the hyssop plant and so it was being use allegorically for spiritual cleaning from sin. In truth, this is a reference to the hyssop branch which was the medium used to sprinkle either the blood of the sacrifice or water for various cleansings. So hyssop was NOT a reference to the cleansing agent, but like the cross of our Lord, it was the medium through which the cleansing agents of water and blood were applied. [See Lev. 16:15; Num. 8:7; Heb. 9:13; 1Peter 1:2]
There is yet another reference to the whiteness which results from being washed in Jesus’ blood – though the word ‘snow’ is not metioned. It is found in Revelation 7:14 which says,
“So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!”
Power in the Blood
As you can already figure, since we sang the song tonight in preparation for the message…the words “There’s Power in the Blood” is actually the title and words in the chorus of a Christian hymn written and composed by Lewis Edgar Jones, in the 1800’s.
While these words do not appear in the Bible as they are here written, the teaching of it is more than clear and true.
Turn with me to Heb. 2:1-18,
“(1) Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (2) For if the message spoken through angels proved to be so firm that every violation or disobedience received its just penalty, (3) how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (4) while God confirmed their witness with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.
(5) For He did not put the world to come, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels. (6) Instead someone testified somewhere:
“What is man that you think of him or the son of man that you care for him? (7) You made him lower than the angels for a little while. You crowned him with glory and honor. (8) You put all things under his control.” ~ Ps. 8:4 [A song of David]
For when He put all things under His control, He left nothing outside of His control. At present we do not yet see all things under His control, (9) but we see Jesus, Who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by God’s grace He would experience death on behalf of everyone. (10) For it was fitting for Him, for Whom and through Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
(11) For indeed He who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin, and so He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, (12) saying, “I will proclaim Your Name to my brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”
(13) Again he says, “I will be confident in Him,” and again, “Here I am, with the children God has given Me.”
(14) Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death He could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), (15) and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
(16) For surely His concern is not for angels, but He is concerned for Abraham’s descendants. (17) Therefore He had to be made like His brothers and sisters in every respect, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (18) For since He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted.”
Clearly in order to deliver us from the power of death which was in the hands of the devil, our sins had to be paid for and we know they were paid for by the blood of Jesus.
“(1) Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through Whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.
(3) Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance, character, and character, hope. (5) And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.
(6) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) (8) But God demonstrates His Own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [This is an indirect reference to His whole person including His body AND blood]
(9) Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from God’s wrath. (10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by His life?
(11) Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.”
“(8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! (9) Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not ritual meals, which have never benefited those who participated in them. (10) We have an altar that those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat from. (11) For the bodies of those animals whose blood the high priest brings into the sanctuary as an offering for sin are burned outside the camp.
(12) Therefore, to sanctify the people by His Own blood, Jesus also suffered outside the camp. (13) We must go out to Him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse He experienced.
(14) For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (15) Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging His name. (16) And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
…(20) Now may the God of peace Who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, (21) equip you with every good thing to do His will, working in us what is pleasing before Him through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever. Amen.”
The words, “the blood of the eternal covenant” is further supported by Jesus’ Own words recorded in Luke 22:20, “And in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you IS the new covenant in my blood.”
One thing which is often overlooked I believe in our generation is the complete and whole nature of the sacrifice which saved us. The scriptures point equally to the physical body of Christ [1Peter 2:24], the soul (nephish) of Jesus [Isa. 53:10-11] and the blood of Jesus as the agence of cleansing [1Jn. 1:7]. ALL ARE TRUE!
“(5) Now this is the gospel message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (6) If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light as He himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
(8) If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
(10) If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
“(4) From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from “He Who is,” and Who was, and Who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ – the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from among the dead, the Ruler over the kings of the earth.
To the One Who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of His Own blood (6) and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen.”
Nothing but the Blood
The final phrase of our three was Nothing but the blood, this is also the title of a song composed by Robert Lowry, a hymn writer who was a Baptist minister and professor at Bucknell University. The song was written in 1876 and first popularized at a camp meeting in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
That there is nothing else which could have saved us has already been established by the verses we’ve already covered, but I find the accounts provided for us in Hebrews 9 & 10 to make it the MOST clear.
“(1) Now the first covenant, in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. (2) For a tent was prepared, the outer one, which contained the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this is called the holy place. (3) And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. (4) It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (5) And above the ark were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail.
(6) So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent as they perform their duties. (7) But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
(9) This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. (10) They served only for matters of food and drink and various ritual washings; they are external regulations imposed until the new order came.
(11) But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, (12) and He entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood, and so He Himself secured eternal redemption.
(13) For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, (14) how much more will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
(15) And so He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance He has promised, since He died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant.
(16) For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. (17) For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. (18) So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. (19) For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (20) and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” (21) And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. (22) Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
(24) For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation of the true sanctuary – but into heaven itself, and He appears now in God’s presence for us. (25) And He did not enter to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not His Own, (26) for then He would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world.
But now He has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by His sacrifice. (27) And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, (28) so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await Him He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.”
“(1) For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.
(2) For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin? (3) But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. (4) For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
(5) So when Jesus came into the world, He said,
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body you prepared for Me. (6) “Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings You took no delight in. (7) “Then I said, ‘Here I am: I have come – it is written of Me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God.’”
(8) When He says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings You did not desire nor did You take delight in them” (which are offered according to the law), (9) then He says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first to establish the second.
(10) By His will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest stands day after day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins. (12) But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, He sat down at the right hand of God, (13) where He is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet.
(14) For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are made holy. (15) And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, (16) “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” (17) then He says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”
(18) Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. (19) Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, (20) by the fresh and living way that He inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, (21) and since we have a great priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.”
Pleading the Blood
Now so far as the fourth statement of “pleading the blood” goes, I have mixed feelings. Having come from a more charismatic background I am very familiar with the way it was often used and I find that I take exception with the specific words, but not always the intent in using them.
When I Googled the phrase, one entry said, “When you say you are “pleading the blood,” you are declaring the power that Jesus has over Satan and his schemes.” Fair enough…while it is always good to remember and remind others of the power of Jesus’ blood, this is not how we are told to combat the devil and therein lies my difficulty with the usage of this phrase, but I will get to that in a moment.
In most cases it comes up when one feels threatened by the enemy in terms of the fear of persecution or death, when he accuses the saints evoking a mind set of guilt and condemnation for sins and such.
In such cases this is most likely pointing back to the application of the blood of the passover lamb to the door posts. If you remember, the Israelites were to do this, as a symbol of being in covenant with God, …the blood covering them as it were, so that the angels who brought death would pass over them rather than claim their firstborn.
- When used emotionally it means to earnest appeal to someone.
- When used legally it is more of a declaration. It is a formal statement of the cause of an action or it defense.
- I make a legal appeal to the blood for my defense.
- I make an emotional plea to God to cover me with the blood of Jesus
Of course there are variations of wording, but this about covers it.
The difficulty is in the fact that God has already Once for all applied the blood of Christ to us. There is no need and to be sure no ability to apply it a second time! To suggest the need for future and additional applications is to degenerate the value of Jesus’ blood.
Of course, those who use it in this way do not in any way mean to imply His blood lacks value. In fact, it is in view to its value that they make the plea.
On the other hand, this may also be a reference back to when Moses would sprinkle the blood with a hyssop branch for purification. To them this would be a declaration of having had Jesus’ blood already applied to them at salvation and its continual power to forgive current acts of sin.
Here are a few quick references to this, some of which we have already read:
- Heb. 9:13 “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,”
- Heb. 11:28 “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.”
- Heb. 12:24 “to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
- 1Peter 1:2 “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
Finally I’ve heard it used when dealing with those who are either possessed by or oppressed with the devil. In the later case, it would be simply a reminder of sins already dealt with and a declaration of being owned by Christ.
When trying to use it with one who is possessed however, this is of little use since only non-believers are able to be possessed. In which case, they need to call upon the name of the Jesus in faith and surrender to Him as Lord. Someone cannot do this for them.
Now to step away from the technical aspects of this, I do in fact believe, this phrase can be used in genuine faith in the God Who both gave and shed that blood and in its power, so that it is effective. Not so much because of the words, but what is in the heart of the one saying them.
Well, in the New Testament we are given a very specific pattern when dealing with the devil and it does not involved talking to him or giving him any of our attention at all. We are told to submit to God and resist the devil, then he will flea. I know that flies in the face of mountains of bad theology regarding spiritual warfare but nevertheless…there it is!
Notice a profound lack of mentioning the need to binding, loosening, casting him away from or pleading the blood. Just submit and resist.
Regarding the issue of whether the blood is directly involved at all, well yes of course it is. Without Jesus’ blood there IS no remission of sin and therefore we are still in slavery to the devil under the sway of sin.
Revelation 12:10&11, says “(10) Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (11) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
So far as I can tell, being as fair as I can be and certainly showing all the respect due to our Lord and His precious blood, I believe this is a reference to the New Covenant IN HIS BLOOD. The notion being that our ability to overcome the devil is found in the fact that…
1st – we belong to God and have already been delivered out of the power of satan and sin
2nd – our testimony, which we have been addressing a lot lately on Sundays is not only what we confess, regarding Jesus as our Lord, but what we live out in terms of obedience and submission to Him.
3rd – That those who overcome the enemy must be those who not only live for Him and so surrender the lives they LIVE, but if need be…die for Him, hold our love for Him as greater than love of our own lives.
I am of course open to other suggestions, but these are the only things I could point to and at the same time be mindful of all scripture already has told us regarding our overcoming of the enemy.
Now there is MUCH more the New Testament says about blood and especially the blood of our Lord…
Meaning of the blood
John 6:53, “(53) Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. (54) The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (56) The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him.”
Revelation 5 tells us that we will one day sing a new song, and part of it’s lyrics speak of how Worthy is our Lord Jesus because at the cost of His Own blood He purchased for God the Father, people from every tribe, language and nation.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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