The Watchtower Society teaches Jehovah’s Witnesses that blood transfusions are unbiblical. An inquiry made to the American Red Cross shows that one hundred people per thousand, or ten percent, need blood in some form every year. With the need for blood transfusions so great and with numerous cases of Jehovah’s Witnesses sacrificing their lives for this Watchtower teaching, we should indeed seriously search the Scriptures for God’s truth in this matter.
The Watchtower uses three main Scripture references in support of its theory. Let’s examine each one. The first verse is Genesis 9:4. Here a command is given that refers to “the eating of blood”, certainly not receiving transfusions. Noah is commanded not to eat flesh that still had the blood in it; in other words, don’t eat living animals, or animals not properly drained of blood. Their second “proof text” is found at Leviticus 17:10-16. Again, we find reference to the actual eating of the blood of animals. These verses are no way connected with transfusions between humans.
The final reference examined is Acts 15:20. Here it says to “abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.” We read in Acts 15:21, “For Moses, from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” It now becomes clear that abstaining from these four items is referred back to the law of Moses in Leviticus 17. Therefore, we can see, beyond dispute, that the abstaining from blood does in no way refer to receiving blood transfusions as the Watchtower’s interpretation wishes it to.
It is important to understand that eating and transfusing are two different bodily processes. Blood which is eaten is digested and destroyed. Blood which is transfused is not eaten, digested, or destroyed. Why? Because eating blood involves the body’s digestive system, and transfusion involves the circulatory system.
A similar Watchtower teaching regarding the rejection of vaccinations, was classified as Biblical truth in the 1930’s. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses today are free to receive vaccinations and even encouraged to do so Will the doctrine on blood be changed also? The saddest fact is that because of its present teaching on blood transfusions, the Watchtower has led many to a pre-mature grave.