Blood Token

When the ancient House of Israel was in bondage in Egypt, the Lord sent progressively worse plagues upon Egypt until wicked pharaoh finally agreed to let Moses and the Israelites depart and be at Liberty. The last plague was the most severe of all – the killing of the firstborn of every family that did not possess a special token. The token was symbolic – the blood of a lamb. The scriptures recount what the Lord told His prophet, the indomitable Moses: 

“I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 

“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. 

“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:12-14). 

After receiving these harrowing instructions, Moses relayed them to the Israelites. What he said bears repeating: 

“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 

“And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 

“For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 

“And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 

“And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 

“That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped” (Exodus 12:21-27). 

What was it that saved the Israelites? Was it Moses? Was it their sheltering at home? Was it the blood of the slain lambs? No. What saved them was their faith in, and obedience to, Jesus Christ who was the true Lamb who would be willingly sacrifice Himself to atone for the world. The blood of Christ, not the blood of beasts, redeemed the Israelites. 

Blood is an important symbol in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the passage cited above, it is called a “token.” A token may be defined as “a sign,” “a mark,” or “a memorial of friendship.” The sign of the slain lamb’s blood is a foreshadowing of the death and Atonement of Jesus Christ. The mark of the blood is an identifier of true disciples. The memorial of friendship of the blood is an eternal covenant between Israel and the Savior of mankind. 

“Gethsemane” by J. Kirk Richards.

Several scriptural references to the redeeming blood of Christ seem appropriate. The Apostle Paul taught of Christ Jesus that “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). 

The same man of God also told the Romans: 

“[A] all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 

“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; 

“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26). 

Paul then told the Colossians to give: 

“thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 

“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. . . . 

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:12-14, 19-20).  

Writing to the Hebrews, Paul explained that the Lord had to sacrifice His own blood to bring about the redemption of the world. The eternal law of God required a blood sacrifice. Paul taught in the context of the Passover, Moses, and the sacrifice of lambs under the ancient law. He explained that redemption comes: 

“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. 

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 

“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? 

“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. 

“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 

“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. . . . 

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. . . . 

“. . . now once in the bend of the world hath [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:12-17, 22, 26-28). 

Jesus sacrificed Himself because the eternal law by which even God is bound required it. It is by the blood of a God that man is purged of wickedness. It is by the shedding of blood that remission of sins is possible. It is by the Garden of Gethsemane, the Cross of Calvary, and the empty Tomb, that mankind could, if they would have faith in the Lord and heed His counsel to “follow me,” ascend with their Redeemer into Heaven to inherit all that God their Father is and has. 

The Savior foretold His own death and the purpose His shed blood would serve. He told those who would listen: 

“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. 

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; cand I will raise him up at the last day. 

“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 

“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. . . . 

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:53-56, 63). 

Note that the Savior was not speaking literally. No one drinks His blood or eats His flesh when they partake of the sacraments of the Lord’s supper. This is figurative and symbolic – a token. A blood token. The Lord was simply confirming what all the prophets had prophesied about His death and Atonement, and further teaching that only by looking to Him, doing His words, and partaking of His spirit, could man be saved. 

An Israelite prophet-king named Benjamin, who lived in ancient America in the second century B.C., gave an amazing sermon about the Atonement of Jesus Christ scarcely equaled in holy writ. He persuasively and powerfully taught: 

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. 

“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men. 

“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. 

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. 

“And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him. 

“And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men. 

“For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. 

“But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

“And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them. 

“Yet the Lord God saw that his people were a stiffnecked people, and he appointed unto them a law, even the law of Moses. 

“And many signs, and wonders, and types, and shadows showed he unto them, concerning his coming; and also holy prophets spake unto them concerning his coming; and yet they hardened their hearts, and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of his blood. . . . 

“. . . I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. 

“For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:5-15, 17-18). 

Jesus Christ is the only One who can save us. His redemption is for all who will believe in Him, repent of their sins, and walk in faithful obedience to the commandments. A remission of sins comes only through His blood, on His terms, in His way. Unless we humble ourselves and trust in “the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent,” we have no promise of salvation. 

Some fifty years after King Benjamin delivered those inspired words, a great missionary named Amulek also testified of the necessity of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. He preached: 

“Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. 

“For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. 

“For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. 

“Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. . . . . 

“And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law [of Moses], every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. 

“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. 

“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. 

“Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; 

“Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. . . . 

“Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. . . . 

“For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. 

“And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb” (Alma 34:8-11, 14-18, 31, 35-36). 

Powerful doctrine. An atonement was necessary to redeem fallen man. In our fallen state, we could not save ourselves. We had to rely upon the mercy of the Son of God. We had to exercise faith in Him and repent, per the terms and conditions He set in the beginning. Those who do not follow the terms and conditions are subject to the justice of the law. Those who follow the Lord in faith are surrounded by mercy and grace and are redeemed by the Redeemer. 

Without the blood of the Lamb of God, ancient Israel could not have escaped Egypt. Without the blood of the Lamb of God today, none of us can escape our fallen natures and our sins. It is only by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the faith we have in Him which activates it on our behalf, that we are saved. 

One of the clearest teachings on the salvific nature of the Lord’s sinless blood comes from Enoch. Enoch related that the following instruction was given to Adam by the Lord: 

“[B]y reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; 

“For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified” (Moses 6:59-60). 

When we keep the commandments, we receive the Spirit as our companion and the blood of Jesus redeems us, cleanses us, and sanctifies us. Whereas we are born into earth life in blood, we are reborn into eternal life in the blood of Christ. Unless we do as the Savior commands, we have no life in us, no Spirit to abide with us, and no blood to cleanse us. 

“The Angel of Death and the First Passover” by C. Schonhew, 1897

We now bring this full circle by a quote from a modern prophet of the Lord, John Taylor, who wrote in The Mediation and the Atonement the following: 

“[W]hen the destroying angel passed by the houses of the children of Israel he found the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the door post; which was a type of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. The angel who was the executor of justice could not touch those who were protected by that sacred symbol; because that prefigured the sacrifice of the Son of God, which was provided at the beginning of creation for the redemption of the human family, and which was strictly in accordance with provisions then made by the Almighty for that purpose — “the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world” —and accepted in full as an atonement for the transgressions of mankind, according to the requirements of eternal justice and agreed to by the Savior and His Father. A proposition is made to meet the requirements of justice, which proposal is accepted by the contracting parties, all these contracting parties being satisfied with the arrangement thus made. . . . 

“Who the redeemed, except those who have accepted the terms of the ransom thus provided? The ransom being provided and accepted, the requirements of justice are met, for those contracts are provided and sanctioned by the highest contracting parties that can be found in the heavens, and the strongest, most indubitable and infinite assurances are given for the fulfilment of that contract, and until the contract is fulfilled the sacrifices are offered as a token and remembrance of the engagements and covenants entered into. God gave a token to Noah, of a rainbow, which should be a sign between Him and mankind that He would nevermore destroy the earth by water; He accepted these sacrifices as a token of the covenant that the Messiah should come to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and thus fulfil the covenant, pertaining to this matter, made before the world was. . . . 

“. . . the Lord, through the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb on the door- posts of the Israelites, having saved the lives of all the first-born of Israel, made a, claim upon them for their services in His cause. It is written: 

““And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the first- born that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel; therefore the Levites shall be mine; because all the first- born are mine; for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the first -born in Israel, both man and beast; mine they shall be : I am the Lord.” — Num., iii, 12, 13. 

“But the first-born of the Egyptians, for whom no lamb as a token of the propitiation was offered, were destroyed. It was through the propitiation and atonement alone that the Israelites were saved, and, under the circumstances they must have perished with the Egyptians, who were doomed, had it not been for the contemplated atonement and propitiation of Christ, of which this was a figure” (John Taylor, An Examination Into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Mediation and Atonement of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 106-108). 

Israel would have been lot without the Lord and the promise of His redemption, just as the Egyptians were lost and cursed without it. We, too, sit in an apostate condition if we reject the Lord Jesus Christ, His living oracles, His Priesthood authority, and His revealed words, laws, and ordinances. His blood does not redeem those who do not obey His terms and conditions. Those who voluntarily use their agency to submit to Him, have faith in Him, and give service in His cause, have the supreme token of God’s friendship, blessing, and approval to rely upon – the blood of the Lamb of God. 

As Passover and Easter approach, we can worship the Lord, and show authentic appreciation for His atoning blood, by rekindling our faith in His holy name, repenting of our sins, humbling ourselves as an innocent little child, and following the teachings which come from His lips and from the mouths of the men He has set as prophets and apostles in His Church

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives, that He loves each of us, that He died for all mankind, and that His blood will protect, purge, purify, and eventually perfect those who follow Him in faith. If, at the Judgment Day, the blood of the Lamb of God is found upon the doorposts of our heart, we will hear the Lord say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). 

Zack Strong, 
April 1, 2023