Hebrew idioms and blood of lamb

Teke's picture

Hebrew idioms is a subject I believe anyone studying the canon of scripture known as the bible should understand. At least so they can explain the translation, which is literal. And because the canon of scripture doesn't explain idioms to us.

Hebrew idioms are sayings or signs which are peculiar to a particular people.

For instance, an English idiom like "kick the bucket" doesn't mean to literally kick a bucket. However if a English speaker said this in relation to Christ, "Christ kicked the bucket", another English person would understand what they meant, whereas a foreigner reading those literal words would take it literally simply understanding it as Christ literally kicked a bucket.

So this is pretty important for our own understanding, as well as making ourselves clear with others. Prepositions is another tricky item, but this thread is on idioms.

The most misunderstood Hebrew idiom to English speakers is "the blood of the lamb". Like the "kick the bucket" example, "the blood of the lamb" doesn't mean literal blood of the lamb BECAUSE it's a Hebrew idiom. So to understand it you have to understand it as those who used the Hebrew idioms did when they wrote them. ie. the Apostles who were Judeo Christians.

What they meant by "blood of the lamb" is, quite simply, "will to do the will of God".
This is why it is a main teaching in the NT as it relates to obedience to God.

michael_legna's picture

Idioms are not just phrases we can interpret to mean something

Michael said -
I am a Roman Catholic and I connect with this soteriology specifically because the idiom if valid supports works role in salvation which is a Catholic position.

Teke said -
I'm an eastern catholic and the only works are those of God.

Really? So it is God who is working out our salvation in fear and trembling? What do you think God is in fear and trembling of?

Teke said -
A catholic theology is based on the uncreated which relates to the uncreated God/Trinity. Elements like essence, energy and nature are area's of our study. Therefore, having been made in the image and likeness of God, we are able to share with Him in things like His energies, such as mercy, will, love, etc.

We do not address such things as being creations from/of man.

But then sharing means we play a part in these actions, otherwise if we play no role in them it is all of God and the love would be meaningless.

Michael said -
If the blood of the lamb could be connected to doing the will of the Father (through the idiom you propose) it would speak in favor of works playing a role in salvation and could be used to dispute the simply interpretation of it being ALL and ONLY about the sacrifice (which I don't think other scriptures support). But of course in order to use it in such a way the idiom has to have more support than me simply saying some guy on the Internet told me it was.

Teke said -
Catholics aren't like Protestants and Evangelicals, in that we have priests, they don't. So we don't hold the same views they do about sacrifice. Priest's make sacrifices, God is our High Priest who has priests which present on behalf of Him.

Understanding Jesus Christ starts with the Incarnation, not the death on the cross. It entails all of His Life, the Incarnation, the Transfiguration, the Resurrection. The uncreated manifested in the creation, joining all to Him.

I agree with all that, but it is our response to all that, the picking up our cross and following Him which makes all of that important to our lives or not.

Teke said -
Getting back to the Hebrew bases for these idioms....take the Hebrew word for "lamb", it is also the word for a male child, or female child depending on the spelling. For instance, you understand John the Baptist proclamation of Jesus as the "Lamb of God", meaning the "Son" (male child) of God.

Then you have your example of Christ Himself, stating He does the will of the Father, meaning the willingness of a child, particularly a child of God. We identify will with God because it is uncreated. This is why we say things like "will of God", or "God's will".

God is also "Life", so will and life are things of God. Now how does that relate to us in our carnal state, how can it be explained best....scripture states that "the life is in the blood" and that God provided it for us. Lev. 17:11

Thus for one's will to be aligned with God's will is Life. This is alluded to in the idiom "blood of the lamb". Blood=life. Lamb= child, son, daughter. All provided by God.
What and who's works are manifest?

I think that is a fine derivation, but it does not mean that the Hebrews of the 1st century used that derivation in such a common manner that it was an idiom such as kicking the bucket is for us. To claim something is an idiom is to imply that such a derivation was found originally by others (and is not a modern invention) and that it was used by those individuals as a short hand for this truth. I don't see any historical evidence for this, not that it exist, just that it has not been presented yet. Where in the historical record does this idiom come up and where is it identified as such by a person from within that historical context?

Teke said -
Catholics follow an ancient form of worship, which entails presenting these meanings in liturgics. Israel did the same, but with the addition of animal sacrifice, to support the priesthood, as they weren't allowed to own anything. They received a portion to sustain them. Surviving on the dedicated charity of the people.

The meaning is made clear by the scriptures surrounding the words.

The doing the will of God having a role in salvation is indeed clear to me in the scriptures surrounding the words (and many other places) but many do not interpret scripture in the same way and so will not see this. Regardless, this meaning does not constitute proof the phrase was ever used as a idiom.

Teke said -
If you study patristics, then you know how things can be made manifest in someone else's expression of the same thing with words.

I don't deny it is possible, but possibility is not the same as being able to authoritatively stating which phrases are idioms and which are merely declarative statements or descriptions.

Teke said -
Also, Christians are to acknowledge the counsel of the Apostles in Acts, which states to gentiles not to have anything to do with blood. That should immediately let someone know reading it, that blood is not part of Christian theology, except in Christology supporting His divinity and humanity.

But Christianity does include blood in its theology.

Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

John 6:53-56 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

Act 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.

Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Heb 9:13-20 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

...and of course many more.

And I don't see how all these references can be only to express the mystery of God manifest to humanity and by Christ the flesh of humanity entering the holy place in heaven. ie. Jesus as High Priest presenting Himself in human flesh.

Teke said -
I use the term, transfiguration by grace, to express soteriology.

But it is a transfiguration by our free will cooperation with grace since it is not forced on us (else everyone would be saved), so we end up playing a role in our salvation.

Teke said -
Scripture expresses well enough in many places that God is not interested in exchanges of blood or animals, like pagan worship in appeasing a god. Which is why I never understood the "penal concept of substitutionary atonement" in western Christianity.

I think this claim needs to be supported since the Old Testament is full of references to this requirement and to those sacrifices being a archetype fulfilled by Christ's sacrifice.