Article written by Dr. Christi Butler on September 19, 2015
Recently, I was praying with some friends, and a good friend of mine who was listening to my prayers asked this question,” “What does it mean to plead the Blood of Jesus?”
It is unfortunate that so few people in the modern church understand the idea of pleading the blood of Jesus in prayer. There is great power in the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is a strategic weapon of spiritual warfare against the kingdoms of darkness, but if no one in the body of Christ is ever taught about the power of the blood or how to apply it in times of prayer, the church will remain like a warrior, stripped naked by ignorance, and left ill prepared and disarmed in the face of the battle. In the book of Revelation the Apostle John writes:
“And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Rev. 12:11 NKJV
If we want to overcome the devil by the blood of the lamb, we need to know what the blood of Jesus means to us and how to apply the power of the blood in prayer. There is not time to do a complete teaching on the power of the blood in this brief blog post. I could easily teach an entire bible college class just on this one subject, but I highly recommend purchasing and reading many of the excellent books that exist explaining the significance of the blood covenant and what that means for us as New Testament Christians. Just this week I will be proof reading a book that a friend of mine has written on the blood covenant. I cannot wait. This is such a wonderful and amazing subject to meditate on.
At any rate, let me respond to the question at hand, “What does it mean to plead the blood?”
In the 12th chapter of the book of Exodus, the Bible records the story of how the children of Israel were commanded by God to kill a lamb and apply the blood of the lamb to the doorposts of their homes. In our modern era, the idea of taking blood and smearing it all over the top of the front door sounds repulsive, but God had a very good reason for asking the Israelites to do this.
In fact, there were at least three reasons why God commanded the Hebrew descendants of Abraham to do this. First, the blood was meant to be a symbol of the covenant relationship that already existed between God and the descendants of Abraham. The blood on the door spoke to God and the people about the Abrahamic covenant that had been established some 400 years previously (see Gen.12, 15, 17). In that covenant God promised to bless the descendants of Abraham and bring them into a great inheritance.
Secondly, the blood of the lamb was meant to paint a prophetic picture of what the Messiah (Jesus) would do when He came into the world to save and deliver the human race from slavery to sin. Jesus Christ became the “Lamb of God” that was slain for the sins of the world (John 1:29).
Finally, God used the blood as a sign for the death angel. The death angel knew that any house that was anointed with blood was under the direct protection of God. God was defending and protecting His people because of His covenant relationship with Abraham and his descendants.
In much the same way, anyone in the modern era who enters into a blood covenant relationship with God the Father, by believing on the shed blood of Jesus Christ, will be considered to be under the protection of God. The blood of Jesus is a sign in the realm of the spirit that what is “under the blood” is going to be protected and defended by God Himself.
Therefore, the New Testament Christian can speak out in prayer to spiritually apply the blood of Jesus to their lives, their homes, their families, their relationships, their finances, their property, their health and so on, and when they do this, they are invoking the power of the blood covenant that was made between Jesus and the heavenly Father when Jesus shed his blood on the cross of Calvary.
In prayer, a believing Christian can say, “I apply the blood,” or “I plead the blood,” or “I claim the power and protection of the blood.” The terminology is not what is important, the key lies in understanding and believing in what the blood of Jesus has done and what the blood of Jesus makes available to the Christian who has faith. No one can have faith in the covenant if they do not know what covenant is or what the covenant promises of God are. The power in the blood comes from understanding and believing in the power of covenant and the power of what was accomplished on the cross.
Just like the Old Covenant made with Abraham and his descendants, the New Covenant is a legal arrangement between God and Jesus Christ, and between God and humankind. (Read the following scriptures: Jer. 31; Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Lev. 17:11; Heb. 8:7-12; Heb. 9:14-15).
Therefore, when we talk about the idea of “pleading the blood of Jesus,” we are talking about communicating with God in prayer on the basis of His law and His legal Covenant.
Some people have come up with the theology that Pleading the blood is not scriptural. They say, “Pleading is begging and we do not need to beg God for anything the blood has already purchased for us.” This demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the scriptural concept of “pleading.” What is more, this is a divisive and tedious argument over the semantics of a word. Pleading the blood is a short and concise way of claiming what has been purchased for us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The believer could just as well say, “I come to you Father to make a legal case in heaven according to what has been purchased and paid for by the blood of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. According to the new Covenant that has been ratified and sealed with the blood of Jesus, I ask for provision, protection, healing, deliverance, etc., and I command the enemy to take his hands off what belongs to me by faith in the power of the blood.” The Christian could say all of that, but it is a lot easier and less time consuming to say, “I plead the blood.”
The meaning of the word “plead” from Webster’s Dictionary is as follows: (1) To present a case in a court of law. (2) To argue a case. (3) To make an earnest appeal or entreaty (4) The pleading of evidence, contractual, or civil rights (5) To declare oneself guilty or not guilty in answer to a charge. (6) To offer an excuse or defense.
Therefore, Pleading the blood is legal terminology to be used in the Heavenly court of appeals.
I think there is a problem that has developed in the body of Christ where people have learned to religiously say the phrase, “I plead the blood of Jesus,” without having any idea what they are saying or what this phrase means. Whenever something is done in church as a matter of religious repetition, it will lack power and authority. Power and authority comes when people know what they mean and can exercise faith for results.
“Pleading the blood” is simply about using legal terminology in prayer like a lawyer would use in a court of law. We have a legal covenant with God sealed and ratified in the blood of Jesus. Like a lawyer, the believer is to go before God the Father, in the Name of Jesus Christ, through the power of blood. The blood of Jesus is the ultimate reason why God should hear and answer our prayers; it is the blood of Jesus that gives all believers access into the Holy of Holies to make their appeals in the first place.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is our High Priest, our Advocate, our Intercessor, and our Heavenly Mediator. Jesus is our ‘go between.’ He goes between us and the Father. He speaks on our behalf. In a sense, He is our heavenly defense attorney (1 Jn. 2:1; Heb. 7:25; 1 Tim. 2:5).
We are to appeal to God based on our legal covenant in the Word of God. The Word of God is the law book we refer to. It is a written account of the New Covenant we have with God through the blood of Jesus.
So, to sum up what I am saying — when we “plead the blood,” we are claiming the right to come before God legally and make a case in the Heavenly court of law; we are explaining to God why we have access to Him and to everything He has promised.
When we plead the blood, we are arguing according to scripture; we are making an earnest appeal or entreaty based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. When we plead the blood, we are presenting our evidence. The blood of Jesus is our evidence that we have contractual and civil rights to claim the blessings of the covenant. And furthermore, if we were being tried as criminals, if we plead the blood we are explaining the evidence for why we should be acquitted and forgiven of all our sins.
The blood of Jesus is the answer to give when we are confronted by the “Accuser of the Brethren.” The believers entire case before God hinges on the blood. The blood is the reason why God the Father should hear and answer our prayers. We are to come to God through the blood, for without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins (Heb. 9:22). The blood is the only thing that provides for us to have access to stand in the heavenly courtroom in the presence of Almighty God.
There were times in the bible where people living under the Old Covenant would go to God as though He would be their defense attorney. For example, in Psalm 119:154, the Psalmist writes, “Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.”
This was the Psalmists way of asking God to move on his behalf and to defend and protect him against his enemies. This type of prayer was asking God to be the advocate or defense attorney. There are several other scriptures like this. I will not take time to go through them all, but what I want readers to realize is that there is a very legal and binding relationship between God the Father and Jesus, and when the believer, “pleads the blood,” by faith, he or she is able to lay claim to everything that was purchased on Calvary through the blood.
This word plead, in the Hebrew is reev, and it means to strive or contend, to conduct a legal case in a court of law. – The Psalmist was crying out to God to legally defend and protect him based on the Abrahamic Covenant. If New Testament Christians have a “better Covenant based on better promises,” how much more should we be able to cry out to God in prayer and expect the Lord to protect and defend us from the works of the enemy.
In Isaiah 43:25-26, God says through the prophet, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.”
The word translated in this scripture as ‘contend’ can also be translated as ‘plead.’ This is the Hebrew word shawfat and it means to plead as in a controversy; to seriously and passionately assert. God tells us to come before him and plead our case. As I said before, our whole case before God can be summed up in three words, “I plead the blood.” The blood of Jesus has given me access to the Father and access to the answers.
Finally, the last point I need to make about pleading the blood, is that the blood itself speaks on our behalf to defend us before the Father.
Hebrews 12:24 says, “To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling thatspeaks better things than that of Abel.”
If you remember the story from the book of Genesis, Cain murdered his brother Abel, and the Bible said that Abel’s blood was crying out from the ground. The blood of Abel ways crying out for vengeance and justice, but the blood of Jesus speaks before the throne of God day and night crying out for mercyfor all those who place their faith in Jesus. Jesus’ blood speaks.
When I plead the blood, I bring God in remembrance of the argument that the blood is making before Him day and night. I’m in Christ Jesus, He is in me, and He already paid the penalty for my sins. Therefore, I deserve mercy not judgment. I plead the blood and obtain mercy in a time of need because the blood is my legal argument. Hallelujah!
There is a perpetual and eternal work of mediation occurring before the throne of God day and night as the blood of Jesus speaks and cries out for mercy on our behalf.
H. A. Maxwell in a book entitled, The Power of the Blood, said, “When we plead the blood of Jesus, it immediately pleads for us, because it is speaking blood” (p.32).
When we plead the blood we are bringing God in remembrance of the argument that the blood is making day and night for Mercy.
For more on this subject, I recommend reading “The Blood and the Glory,” by Billye Brim – There is an excellent chapter in that book on pleading the blood.
Blessings to you in the Name of Jesus!