Chapter 3
Only The Blood of Jesus

Did Jesus Die Spiritually?

We have seen that on the cross Jesus bore the punishment for all our sins and thereby set us free from having to bear that punishment ourselves. We are now free from punishment because Jesus has borne it in our place. That is the clear teaching of the entire Bible. But in light of this fact some have reasoned along the following lines:

If man’s punishment for sin included spiritual death, sickness and disease, poverty, and eternal death in hell as well as physical death, and if Jesus bore man’s punishment upon Himself in order to set him free from it, then Jesus must have died spiritually, and have been sick and diseased on the cross, and have gone to hell to suffer at the hands of Satan and his demons there for us as well as dying physically. A physical death would not have been enough to redeem us.

This reasoning sounds quite logical at first hearing. Nevertheless, it is not scriptural, as we shall see.

To say that a mere physical death would not have been sufficient to redeem man from the penalty of his sin might appear fairly logical, but to say it is to ignore entirely what the Bible clearly teaches over and over again, and that is that Jesus died physically ONLY. He shed His blood on the cross and it was His blood that redeemed us and nothing else.

The Bible nowhere teaches that Jesus died spiritually or went to hell to suffer to redeem us. On the contrary, the Bible everywhere teaches that Jesus died physically and that it was His physical death that redeemed us.

We shall now systematically look at many Scriptures that state this fact in simple, unambiguous terms.

The Life of the Flesh is in the Blood

…without shedding of blood is no remission [of sins]. (Heb. 9:22)

Why is it, as Paul states in this verse, that it is only through the shedding of blood that sins are remitted? Because, as Leviticus 17:11 teaches, “the life of the flesh [i.e., the body] is in the blood.” It is thus through the death of the body of Jesus, or through the shedding of His precious blood that our sins are remitted and not through Jesus dying spiritually or becoming subject to Satan and suffering in hell.1

Repeatedly, the New Testament states that it was Jesus’ physical death that redeemed us:

For this is my blood…which is shed…for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28; cf. Mark 14:24)

…This is my body which is given for you…This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19-20)

…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…He spake of the temple of His body. (John 2:19-21)

…my flesh [not spirit], which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

…the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Paul said, in Acts 20:28, that God has purchased us “with His own blood.” God, as Spirit, has no blood, but God became flesh so He could shed His blood and redeem us.

Being justified freely by His grace…through faith in His blood… (Rom. 3:24-25)

…being now justified by His blood… (Rom. 5:9)

In Romans chapter 5, Paul says we are redeemed by Jesus’ “death” (vv. 8, 10) and by His “blood” (v. 9). Jesus’ death was His shedding of His blood. It was a physical death. Jesus did not die spiritually. He died physically.

…God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Rom. 8:3)

In Romans chapter 8, Paul teaches that God condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus. That means His physical death paid the penalty for man’s sins.

Jesus, speaking of His soon coming death as He broke the Passover bread with His disciples, said,

…this is my body, which is broken for you…the new testament in my blood… (1 Cor. 11:24-26)

Jesus’ body was broken in death and His blood (the life of His flesh) was shed for us, and that is what redeemed us: His physical death.

If Jesus redeemed us by dying spiritually then we would expect that to be taught in Scripture at least once! However, whenever the Bible discusses our redemption, it always, without exception, connects that redemption to the shedding of Jesus’ blood or to His physical death on the cross.

Jesus’ Blood was Sufficient

In whom we have redemption through His blood… (Eph. 1:7)

Why didn’t Paul say in Ephesians 1:7 that redemption is through Jesus’ spiritual death, if such were the case? But quite on the contrary, Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 2:13-16 is that man is reconciled to God by the cross on which Jesus’ flesh died:

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.…Having abolished in his flesh the enmity,…And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Eph. 2:13-16)

Reconciliation to God, this passage teaches, is “by the blood of Christ,” and it was accomplished at “the cross.”

Paul is just as plain in Colossians 1:

And, having made peace through the blood of His cross…And you…hath He reconciled In the body of His flesh through death… (Col. 1:20-22)

In Colossians 1:20, Paul wrote that Jesus made peace with God for us through the shedding of His blood on the cross. So it was not through a spiritual death or through some sufferings in hell. Then in verse 22, Paul wrote that we are reconciled to God through the death of the body of Jesus’ flesh. How could it be more precise? This would have been a perfect place for Paul to explain just how Jesus died spiritually and went to hell to suffer to redeem us if such were the case! Obviously Jesus died physically only. His blood redeemed us. This point is made very clearly in some of the other translations of this passage:

So you…He has now reconciled by His death in His human body… (Williams New Testament)

But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death… (NIV)

In the next chapter of the book of Colossians there is a marvelous passage:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [i.e., in the cross]. (Col. 2:13-15)

In this passage, Paul says that the law (“the handwriting of ordinances”) was “against us.” It held us legally bound. It condemned us to eternal death. But the law wasn’t the problem. It was entirely righteous in its condemnation of us. The law is holy, perfect and righteous. We sinners were the problem:

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (Rom. 7:14)

We sinners who could not keep the law were the problem. We violators of the law were the problem. The law, properly so, spelt wrath and punishment against us. Jesus bore our punishment on the cross and satisfied divine justice, and therefore, in a spiritual figure, the law is said to be “blotted out.” This means the law no longer condemns us. It used to condemn us, but because Jesus fulfilled its requirements for punishment when He died on the cross, it’s as if the law no longer exists in terms of its penalty toward us. The law was, in a sense, an accuser, but now it has been “blotted out” and completely removed. Through the blood of Jesus we are released from the bondage of the condemnation of the law.

In another figure in the same verse, Paul says God nailed the law to Jesus’ cross. This means that when Jesus died on the cross, the law “died” too. He fulfilled its requirements for punishment and thus it “died”; and it happened at the cross. It was at the cross that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.5

This same passage states that it was at the cross, and not through some battle in hell, as is popularly believed, that the demonic principalities and powers were stripped of their authority and, in a figure, “spoiled” (Col. 2:14-15). It all happened at the cross where Jesus died physically, shedding His precious blood!

On the same subject of our deliverance from Satan’s power, please consider Hebrews 2:14-15:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Here Paul again teaches that through the death of His “flesh and blood” Jesus “destroyed” the devil’s power and delivered us. This would have been another perfect place for Paul to teach that Jesus defeated the devil in a battle in hell, if such were the case. But the reason he doesn’t teach this is simply that there was no battle in hell between Jesus and the devil and his demons! The devil’s power was “destroyed” by Jesus at the cross when He shed His precious blood.

Furthermore in Hebrews we see that it was through Jesus’ own blood that He obtained eternal redemption for us,

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Heb. 9:12)

and that it is through the blood of Christ that our consciences are purged from dead works to serve the living God:

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? (Heb. 9:14)

In Hebrews chapter 10, Paul makes an important contrast between animal sacrifices and the sacrifice of Jesus, which they typified:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (Heb. 10:4-5)

In these verses, Paul teaches that because animal sacrifices could never in themselves take away sin or redeem a man, the Father prepared a body in the womb of the virgin Mary for His Son. This body would constitute the true and only sacrifice for sin of which the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament Levitical system were pictures.

Moreover in this same chapter it is stated that the sacrifice of Jesus’ body provided the “once for all” removal of sins:

…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Heb. 10:10-14)

The sacrifice of Jesus’ body was sufficient to “perfect for ever” the redeemed.

When Jesus offered His flesh and His blood, this sacrifice dealt once and for all with sin, and provided us a way back into fellowship with God:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; (Heb. 10:19-20)

This was symbolized by the torn veil opening the way into the Holy of Holies where God personally dwelt in the tabernacle.

The New Testament continually focuses our attention on Jesus’ blood, and never once even mentions a so-called spiritual death of Jesus.

…the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified… (Heb. 10:29)

…Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. (Heb. 13:12)

We are sanctified by the blood of Jesus and by His sufferings “outside the gate” (i.e., at Calvary), and not by His sufferings in hell which never occurred.

The Witness of the Old Testament Types

…ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

Here Peter says it was the precious blood of Jesus that redeemed us, perfectly fulfilling the Old Testament types of the Passover lamb, and the offerings and sacrifices of the Mosaic Law. Where in the Old Testament is any sacrifice ever said to die spiritually? Quite on the contrary, it is always declared that the shed blood or physical death of the victim atoned for sin:

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Ex. 12:13)

…Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you… (Ex. 24:8)

And Aaron shall make an atonement…with the blood of the sin offering of atonements… (Ex. 30:10)

…the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place… (Lev. 16:27)

…it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Lev. 17:11)

…and they made reconciliation with their blood [i.e., of the animal sacrifices] upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel… (2 Chron. 29:24)

If it were necessary for Jesus to die spiritually as well as physically, then why is there not even a hint of that in the Old Testament types? The Old Testament sacrifices were pictures of Jesus’ sacrifice, and it was always the blood that made an atonement for sin. And in fulfillment of the Old Testament types, Jesus died physically and not spiritually! It was His blood that redeemed us.

Jesus Bore Our Sins in His Body

Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree… (1 Pet. 2:24)

This expression “to bear sin” occurs dozens of times in the Bible and it always has reference to bearing the punishment of sin.9 Peter says, in 1 Peter 2:24, that Jesus bore “our sins” – meaning He bore the punishment of our sins – in His own body on the cross.10 We would have expected Peter to say that Jesus bore our sins in His own spirit in hell if such were the case; but the truth is that Jesus died physically, and His physical death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Pet. 3:18)

What could be clearer? Jesus was “put to death in the flesh.” That means He only died physically for our sins. It was His physical death that reconciled us to God. The phrase “quickened by the Spirit” means that His body was later made alive by the Holy Spirit in His resurrection.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ… (1 Pet. 1:2)

In this verse, Peter says it is the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus that saves us. The blood, remember, signifies the physical life of His body given as a sacrifice for sin.

A Covenant of Blood

…the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Heb. 13:20)

Paul here refers to the fact that Jesus became the great Shepherd of the sheep by virtue of the covenant which was made in His blood. The everlasting covenant has been made in the blood of Jesus.

Once again we can look to the Old Testament types to confirm this:

…Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you… (Ex. 24:8)

A prophecy concerning this covenant is found in the book of Zechariah:

…by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners… (Zech. 9:11)

This prophecy in Zechariah has in view the future national salvation and restoration of Israel. Notice it will be through the blood of Jesus.

Many other New Testament Scriptures show us that Jesus only died physically, and that our redemption is through His precious blood:

…ye also are become dead to the law by the body [i.e., the crucified body] of Christ… (Rom. 7:4)

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? (1 Cor. 10:16)

…shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:27)

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Col. 1:13-14)

…ye are come…to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling… (Heb. 12:22, 24)

…Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh… (1 Pet. 4:1)

…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

…Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (Rev. 1:5)

…thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Rev. 5:9)

…and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 7:14)

So we see that there is a great abundance of evidence that our redemption is through Jesus’ precious blood, and not a single shred of evidence that there was anything more involved in His atoning death than a physical death on the cross.

The Spiritual Death Error

Any one of the above passages of Scripture proves the error of the following assertion of one man14 who wrote:

When His [i.e., Jesus’] blood poured out, it did not atone [emphasis added]

The same statement says,

He had to die spiritually, which took Him into the regions of the damned, before He could redeem us...Jesus went into hell to free mankind from the penalty of Adam’s high treason...Jesus spent three horrible days and nights in the bowels of this earth getting back for you and me our rights with God.

We have already seen the fallacy of the statement that Jesus’ blood “did not atone.” The long list of New Testament Scriptures above that state repeatedly that we are redeemed by Jesus’ physical death and that His blood atoned for sin, combined with Jesus’ cry that the redemption of man was “finished” with His death on the cross, should be enough to settle the question in the mind of any sincere Christian.

Furthermore, the Bible quite clearly teaches that man was redeemed, not in the pit of hell as the above statement says, but at the cross.

Redeemed at the Cross

The New Testament repeatedly states that it was at the cross that God and man were reconciled:

And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Eph. 2:16)

And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself… (Col. 1:20)

Many Scriptures show that Jesus’ death was by crucifixion, which means it was not a spiritual death that He experienced (inasmuch as you cannot crucify a spirit!) but a physical death:

…the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified. (Matt. 26:2)

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (Matt. 28:5)

Why didn’t the angel refer to Jesus returning from His “sufferings in hell” if such were the case? But Jesus’ death was by crucifixion.

…our old man is crucified with Him… (Rom. 6:6)

…they…crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. 2:8)

…He was crucified through weakness… (2 Cor. 13:4)

I am crucified with Christ… (Gal. 2:20)

…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh… (Gal. 5:24)

…the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me… (Gal. 6:14)

…He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.17 (Phil. 2:8)

…Jesus…endured the cross [and not the agonies of hell]… (Heb. 12:2)

…where also our Lord was crucified. (Rev. 11:8)

The Gospel that Paul preached was not the “gospel” of Jesus suffering and redeeming man in hell, but it was the Gospel of the cross:

…the preaching of the cross… (1 Cor. 1:18)

…we preach Christ crucified… (1 Cor. 1:23)

…suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. (Gal. 6:12)

…they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: (Phil. 3:18)

Peter wrote:

…I…am…a witness of the sufferings of Christ… (1 Pet. 5:1)

Surely Peter was never a spectator of Jesus suffering in hell, so this statement clearly limits Jesus’ sufferings to His physical death on the cross!

Early Church Writings

It is significant that no trace can be found of the idea of Jesus’ so-called “spiritual death” in the writings of the early church Fathers; but it is always said to be Jesus’ blood, or the death of His body, that redeemed us.20 Consider these examples:

Polycarp (c. 69-155) wrote in his epistle to the Philippians: “Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered Himself to be brought even to death for our sins;...let us, therefore, without ceasing, hold steadfastly to Him who is our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, even Jesus Christ, ‘who bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’”

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50-107) in one passage exhorted believers to “stir” themselves up to duty, “by the blood of God.” In another place he said that we “have peace through the flesh, and blood, and passion of Jesus Christ.”

Barnabas (c. 130) wrote, “The Lord endured to deliver His body to death, that we might be sanctified by the remission of sins which is by the shedding of that blood.”

Clement of Rome (c. 30-102), in his first epistle to the Corinthians wrote, “His blood was given for us, was poured out for our salvation; He gave, by the will of God, His body for our body, His soul for our soul.” He also wrote, “Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious His blood is in the sight of God, which being shed for our salvation hath obtained the grace of repentance to the whole world.”

Justin Martyr (c. 110-165) wrote, “As the blood of the Passover saved those who were in Egypt, so also the blood of Christ will deliver from death those who have believed.”

Redeemed by His Blood!

Jesus died physically only. It was the death of His body on the cross that redeemed us. It was His shed blood that reconciled man to God.

And they overcame him [i.e., the devil] by the blood of the Lamb… (Rev. 12:11)

Believers overcome Satan through the shed blood of Jesus22; and that is why the devil hates the blood of Jesus so much, and why he tries to pervert the most central and most powerful doctrine of the entire Bible.

The whole New Testament and Old Testament, including the entire Levitical sacrificial system,23 teach one thing, which is that God has redeemed us by the precious blood of Jesus.

Under the old covenant, Israel made many sacrifices. According to Numbers chapters 28 and 29, there were no less than 1,273 official sacrifices made every year, which makes a total of nearly 2 million from the time of Moses to Christ. This is apart from the millions upon millions of private sacrifices and offerings that were being made continually in Israel. Every single sacrifice was an “acted out” type of Jesus’ death on the cross; and they all taught just one thing:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Lev. 17:11)

Millions of sacrifices taught just one thing, and we would be wise to learn their lesson. It is the blood that redeems. It is the blood that saves. It is the blood that makes an atonement for sin. That is all those sacrifices taught!

God has gone to great lengths to teach us that our redemption is wholly by the blood of Jesus.

It’s all in the precious blood of Jesus. God never adds to the blood of Jesus, nor takes away from it. Neither should we!


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