Blood and Christ: Type and Antitype


I heard a non-Christian trying to argue that Jesus couldn't be the sacrifice for our sins because he didn't bleed to death. In other words, because he didn't bleed to death it means (allegedly) that he did not shed his blood and couldn't be the sacrifice for our sins because of this. How should we respond to this claim? Hope you can help. God bless.


For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. (Lev. 17:11)

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Heb. 9:22).
In the Old Covenant, a priest once a year was to make an offering of the blood of animals on the altar for the sins of the people. So, these animals sacrifices were a foreshadowing of the "once for all" sacrifice which Jesus himself would later offer upon his own cross (Heb. 7:27).

It's important to understand that animal sacrifices were but a type of Christ, while Jesus is the antitype or fulfillment. There is not always a literal one-to-one correspondence between types and antitypes. For instance, Jesus isn't literally a lamb, but he is "like a lamb" (Isa. 53:7-9) "without blemish or defect" (1 Pet. 1:18-21) that takes away the sins of his people in the world (John 1:36; Rev. 5:6). Indeed, those sacrifices were but an annual reminder of sins because "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb. 10:3-4), whereas the sacrifice of Jesus literally took away the sins of his people (Matt. 1:21; John 1:29).

So, Jesus didn't have to bleed to death to be the antitype or fulfillment – he merely had to be slain and blood be spilt (cf. Rev. 5:12). And as John tells us, "But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water" (John 19:34). So, with his death on the cross, Jesus "secured eternal redemption" for us (Heb. 9:12). And the Bible clearly informs us that God was satisfied with Christ's sacrifice because it was "a propitiation [satisfaction] by his blood" (Rom. 3:24-25).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).