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Jehovah's Witnesses

and the Question of Blood


Which of us has not read or heard of Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses and their refusal to take blood transfusions? "It is forbidden in the Bible!", they cry in their self-defense. Watchtower publications discussing the blood issue do indeed use scripture, but are these scriptures used correctly, or are they misused?

Jehovah's Witnesses use for their guide, a booklet called "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Question of Blood". They begin by quoting Genesis 9:4,

"Only you shall not eat flesh with it's life, that is, it's blood."

Re-read this scripture carefully. Rather than prohibiting the eating of blood, this scripture clearly forbids the eating of UNBLED MEAT, "flesh with it's life, it's blood."

Animals were to be slaughtered and their blood drained out, insuring their death, and then the bled meat could be eaten, but on no account were God fearing people to "eat flesh with it's life, that is its blood." This scripture in no way deals with the eating of blood alone--the blood was to be poured out, and the flesh was to be eaten. Nothing more is implied.




Jehovah's Witnesses are told that "eating blood" is the same as "transfusing blood" since transfused blood bypasses the stomach and goes directly to the veins to nourish the body. The Watchtower quotes for it's support of this theory, Genesis 9:5,6, which reads,

"And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man". Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man."

This scripture is clearly discussing murder or manslaughter, for it involves the taking of life, and the person whose blood was shed died. This is hardly the case with blood transfusions. The person donating the blood does not die, and the person receiving the blood very often has his life saved.

Animal blood was to be poured out before the flesh was to be eaten. Humans, with or without their blood were at no time to be eaten! Therefore this scripture can in no way be applied to the eating or transfusing of blood, when read in context.



This is a good question, since the Witnesses equate the eating of blood with the transfusing of blood. The account in Samuel 14:31,32 records how the Israelites ate sheep, oxen, and calves "with their blood". Saul offered up a sacrifice to God, there was no punishment inflicted, and God went on to bless them. How different from the Watchtower Organization who disfellowships those taking blood and denies them eternal life!



What did happen if a Jew, under the Law of Moses, broke the Law by eating blood, that is, an unbled animal? Leviticus Chapter 17, verse 15, clearly states the penalty

"And when any person eats an animal which dies, or is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or an alien, he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and will remain unclean until evening; then he will become clean".

Eating "flesh with its blood" brought about only the mildest of reprimands under the Law! How different from the harsh stand of Jehovah's Witnesses, who would sentence their members to eternal death for the same offense!



Jehovah's Witnesses state in their publications that since the law forbidding the eating of blood was given to Noah, that the law is binding on all mankind, and not just the Israelites. Does the Bible agree with this, or was the law just for the natural Jews? In Deuteronomy 14:21, we find the Law on unbled flesh states,

"You [Jews] shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner."

We see that the law on eating unbled flesh and pouring out the blood applied ONLY to the Jews, since aliens and foreigners [Gentiles] were free to eat it. Since most J.W.'s are gentiles, their avoidance of eating blood becomes downright ridiculous!

Since the gentiles were free to eat the blood in the unbled meat, wouldn't it follow that they would also be free to "eat blood "in the form of blood transfusions, using their own "Watchtower reasoning" on the matter?

It is interesting that Orthodox Jews today, who are the undisputed experts on Jewish Law, freely receive blood transfusions, and also donate blood to save the lives of others. If it were forbidden under God's Law, they would never do it. Honest Bible scholars find the "interpretation" of the Law by the Jehovah's witnesses to be an easily-recognized distortion.



There are two references to blood used by the Jehovah's witnesses in Acts, Chapter 15. Verse 20 says,

"but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood". Verse 29 says, "that you abstain from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you do well. Farewell."

As we examine these scriptures from Acts 15, we must consider the context or setting. All of the prohibitions mentioned together here are concerned with the temple practices of the heathens, who in their idolatrous worship services used prostitutes in fornication rites. They also used animal blood in their rituals, and strangled animals during their frenzied ceremonies. For a Christian to participate, would of course, be blasphemous and would constitute idolatry. Christians were to abstain from such things entirely.

Other Bible scholars hold the view that these prohibitions are restating the principles found in the Law -- that is, for the Christian to avoid idolatry, murder, unclean foods, and fornication. Both of these views are correct. What is not correct is for Jehovah's witnesses to take one phrase "abstain from blood", and try to apply it to the modern practice of blood transfusions. It is a blatant misuse of scripture.




It is interesting to note that as we researched the subject of blood transfusions, we noticed that for a number of years, the Society used the same scriptures they use today against blood transfusions, only then they used them against vaccinations!

The Society, for a long time rejected the theory that disease was caused by germs! Pasteur and his theories were repeatedly ridiculed in both the "Golden Age" [now Awake] and "Consolation" magazines. [see GA vol. 17, #444; 9/23/36, p. 814.]

Blood transfusions were not even an issue until 1948, when a statement appeared on page 12 of the October 22nd "Awake", and it took the Society the next 13 years to decide that a person receiving a blood transfusion was worthy of disfellow-shipping from the Organization and subsequent eternal death.

Just as the Jehovah's Witnesses have erred in the past concerning vaccinations, causing hardships to their members, so they are in error now concerning transfusions. Their harsh stand cannot be upheld by scriptures, and many feel a change may come in time. Who then will bear the blood guilt for the many lives lost through the refusal of blood transfusions up to the time of change?


All medical treatment, including blood transfusions should be carefully considered, since there can be serious side effects, but no Jehovah's witnesses should feel they have displeased God by taking a transfusion at a time of medical crisis in their lives.

The most important "blood issue" is that Jesus Christ shed his precious blood for our sins, and we can be cleansed and justified by believing on Him [not some organization].

Please write to us if we can help you find Christ as your Savior, or answer your Bible questions, in strictest confidence. If you are working in the medical field and would like extra copies of this tract for distribution please copy this one or write to us for more.

Check put this website for current up-to-date details.

http://watchtower.observer.org (check Blood topics)

The link below will take you to the European Common market website article on the JW settlement.




On March 9, 1997, the European Commission of Human Rights decided to accept the amicable settlement agreed to by the Government of Bulgaria and the Christian Association of Jehovah's Witnesses (Khristianski Sdruzhenie "Svideteli nu Iehova"). Word of this decision reached the attorneys for the Witnesses on March 20, 1998.

Bulgaria has agreed to grant the Christian Association of Jehovah's Witnesses recognition as a religion. Bulgaria also agreed to create without delay a bill that will allow alternative civilian service for those whose conscience will not allow them to engage in military service. The agreement also includes an acknowledgment that each individual has the freedom to choose the type of medical treatment he receives. With the amicable settlement, the Witnesses agreed to withdraw their complaint against Bulgaria.

Jehovah's Witnesses are pleased that, through open communication, an amicable settlement was made between the Christian Association of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Government of Bulgaria. The terms of the agreement do not reflect a change in the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses. Rather, the agreement reflects an increased understanding of the concerns and actions of both parties.

The complaint before the Commission came because, on June 28, 1994, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers refused to renew the Association's registration as a religion. Following this decision, "various measures were taken against the activities of [Jehovah's Witnesses] and of its members. These included arrests, dispersal of meetings held in public and private locations and confiscation of religious materials," according to the Commission report.

"The more than 2,000 associated with Jehovah's Witnesses in Bulgaria feel confident that this agreement will allow them the freedom to practice their religion in Bulgaria," said Alain Garay, one of the attorneys for the Witnesses. "Not only is this a step forward for religious freedom in Bulgaria but it sets an example for religious freedom in all states with membership in the Council of Europe."

Jehovah's Witnesses, an international Christian brotherhood, number some five million worldwide. Presently, over 85,000 congregations, in some 230 lands, operate in conjunction with 104 branch offices.

For the complete article related to the following browse this web.

Welcome to JWTruth.com

JWTruth.com is not an official site of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the global corporate organization of the 'Jehovah's Witnesses' religion) and is not in any way affiliated with, run by or endorsed by them.

This is a campaigning web site. Its purpose is to provide authoritative information about, and to campaign to change, the abusive policies of the Watchtower Society. These have blighted the lives of thousands of people, and continue to harm even more every day they remain unchanged.

Our first major campaign concerns Watchtower's sometimes lethal blood policies. Other campaigns are in the pipeline. Click the link at the top of the page to register and receive free newsletters and notifications of future campaigns. Your details will never be disclosed to any third parties.

Send a protest email NOW to Watchtower Society: tell them what you think of their blood policy.

Blood transfusion exposé paves the way for massive Jehovah's Witness lawsuits

A new article in the Autumn issue of Baylor University's prestigious Journal of Church and State (opens in a new window), exposes the vulnerability of the Jehovah's Witnesses' religious organization to massive claims for damages because they misrepresented the medical risks of blood transfusions to bolster their religious tenets.


Send a protest email NOW to Watchtower Society: tell them what you think of their blood policy.

"Could Your Child Make a Mature Decision?"

The December 2005 Kingdom Ministry has an article "Could Your Child Make a Mature Decision?" It instructs parents to indoctrinate their kids to refuse blood and make themselves a martyr.


Send a protest email NOW to Watchtower Society: tell them what you think of their blood policy.


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