The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews Part I: The Significance of the Blood of Jesus -- By: Philip Edgcumbe Hughes

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:518 (Apr 1973)
Article: The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews Part I: The Significance of the Blood of Jesus
Author: Philip Edgcumbe Hughes


The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in Hebrews
Part I:
The Significance of the Blood of Jesus

Philip Edgcumbe Hughes

[Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Visiting Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles entitled “The Blood of Jesus and His Heavenly Priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” which were the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures given by Dr. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes at Dallas Theological Seminary on November 14–17, 1972.]

The Theory of the Imperishability of Christ’s Blood

Bengels Theory Stated

In the eighteenth century J. A. Bengel (1687–1752) propounded, with a passion and at a length that were alike uncharacteristic, the theory that in the suffering and death of Christ his blood was totally poured out so that not one drop remained in his body.1 This total effusion of his blood, says Bengel, was not limited to the suffering on the cross, but extended from the agony in the garden, where His sweat was like great drops of blood, to the scourging in the praetorium, and then to the piercing of hands and feet by the nails that fastened Him to the cross, and, after death, the effusion that resulted from the thrusting of the spear into His side. He held, further, that this blood, even after it had been shed, was preserved from all corruption. The justification for this conclusion was sought in the declaration of 1 Peter 1:18–19 that “we were redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” According to Bengel, “the preciousness of that blood excludes all corruption.” Its supreme value requires its imperishability.

What, then, happened to this precious blood which Christ shed? Bengel rejects the opinion that at the resurrection it was somehow

restored to the vascular system of Christ’s body, maintaining rather that at the ascension the blood that had been shed was carried by Christ, in separation from His body, into the heavenly sanctuary. With reference to Hebrews 9:12, he says:

Christ entered into the sanctuary through his own blood (not just after the blood had been shed, or by virtue of its effusion, or when it had again been taken into his body, but THROUGH the blood); therefore he as the high priest carried his own blood, in separation from his body, into the sanctuary, and at the time of his entry or ascension Christ kept his blood apa...

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