Did Jesus Sweat Real Blood in the Garden?

So many people teach that Jesus sweated real drops of blood in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. But did He?

The scripture that is so often misunderstood is found in Luke 22:44--

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

(I'm reading from the King James Version, as I usually do).

You have no doubt heard the reference from a number of Christians many times about whether or not Jesus' perspiration was real blood or not. Many argue that it was blood, even to the point of quoting research on the rare condition of what is called Hematohidrosis (known by other similar names as well), where an individual can actually sweat blood.

And I'm not going to get into that “medical” explanation, but will first get right into the interpretation of the Word of God itself.

I am always miffed and amazed at the enormous time, energy and efforts that is spent by people over arguing the meanings of the Word of God “before” an actual research is made of the original scriptures. That's where we get the real understanding and truth on the common ground of the Word of God.

But interestingly I checked other translations to see what people are reading out there – as you know most people read translation of the original King James Bible -- and they all seem to have the right idea of the “as”, “like unto”, “as if it were”. Yet, many are still  arguing about whether or not the perspiration was real blood or not.

Let's take a closer look

First of all, this scripture is the only one that refers to this allegory of the sweat being as great drops of blood.

Interestingly, it was reported by Luke who was a medical doctor of the time. We see many of his medically inspired thoughts projected in his gospel writing.

For instance he is the one who gives us the most or even all of the descriptions or references to the virgin birth... can you figure out why? Elementary, he is a medical doctor and sees things from his professional point of view. Anyway more about that at another time.

But I will quote this from the introductory page to this gospel by the Open Bible published by Thomas Nelson, where it says, “The Gospel according to Luke is the most complete account of the life of Jesus surviving from the apostolic Age. Designed to be a full presentation of the career of the Saviour from his birth, it was part of a larger work including Acts.” (Meaning the book of Acts which, as you know, was also written by Dr. Luke.)

But right now let's look at what Dr. Luke saw of Jesus' intense sweating. "Intense" is the key word here. We can imagine what our Lord and Saviour went through.

So the scene which is taking place here is at the time of the last supper where Jesus spoke to his disciples about who is the greatest among them, which. of course. is to be he that is a servant to others...

... then Jesus foretells Peter's denial, he tells of the things written in Isaiah that must be fulfilled about Him, i.e. His death and sufferings, etc., then after supper they all moved on to the mount of Olives...

Here's the conversation that took place there:

Verse 39 of chapter 22 of the book of Luke:

"And he came out, and went, as he was wont (accustomed), to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

40.And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

41.And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42.Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43.And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44.And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

45.And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, (sorrow here is the word ( lypē , pronounced loo'-pay ) meaning sadness, grief, heaviness...

46.And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."

And at that moment Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the multitude who came to get Him.

Now, there are two other scriptures that cover this particular scene and that is Matthew 26:39 and Mark 14:36, neither of these speak of the sweat that was on Jesus' face. Only Dr. Luke observed and reported this event in his gospel.

Matthew 14:36, says, “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

and Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

(And remember “Abba” we saw in another recent article, is the Chaldean way to say “Father” -- so, the scripture actually says here “Father, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”)

Let's decipher that verse in Luke 22, verse 44:

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

The word here “as it were “ is the word “hosei” in the Greek, (Strong #G5616).

The word means: as, like, as it had been, as though, as it were...

And interestingly this word is used in 34 scriptures, where in each of them it means the same thing.

Let's look at some of the other scriptures where this same word “hosei” is used and we will see the unmistakable interpretation meaning of this verse.

Matthew 3:16, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like (hosei) a dove, and lighting upon him:”

It was like a dove – it was not a physical dove flying into position... it was a heavenly figure of a dove.

There are some ten scriptures that have the word “dove” in them, but only 4 of these are preceded by the word “hosei”, where it speaks of something that looked “like” a dove, or people being “as doves” -- for example.:

(John 1:32), “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove (hosei), and it abode (or stayed) upon him.” – so the Spirit descending “like a dove”, it wasn't a physical natural dove that flew in and stood upon him, but it was a spiritual manifestation form of a dove.

(Matthew 10:16), “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”. (hosei), again they are not doves, those being sent forth, they are to be harmless “as” doves.

(Mark 1:10) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like (hosei) like a dove descending upon him:

(Luke 3:22) “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like (hosei) a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. Again a bodily shape “like” a dove.

And the word “bodily shape” means ”appearance, form figure, shape). The form or shape was like a dove.

(Matthew 9:36) “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as (hosei) sheep having no shepherd. They were not sheep, but they were like sheep needing a shepherd to feed them.

And here's a different context, same idea but meaning "about", "approximately":

(Matthew 14:21) “And they that had eaten were about (hosei – same word) five thousand men, beside women and children. So they were not 5,000 per se, but estimated to be “about” that.

Here's another similar context:
(Luke 3:23) “And Jesus himself began to be about (hosei) thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli. So he was (hosei) 30 years old, about that, not necessarily exactly 30 years old but about that. Again this is another observation from Dr. Luke.

(As a side note, personally I believe that 30 was probably the age of our Lord at that moment because 30 was a significant historical number for men to get in the priesthood or adulthood such as leaving the home, or getting married
and start a family, etc. etc...)

And there are many other such exemplary scriptures, as well as scenes of actual physical, natural doves, like in those of doves that were sold in the markets for the ceremonial sacrifices of the people in the temple. And there it does not use the word “hosei” because it speaks of the real physically natural bird.

Here are some more scriptures to establish the idea that we're talking about:

(John 19:14) “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about (hosei) the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King.” So it was “about” the sixth hour...

(Acts 2:3) “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as (hosei) like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” This was not actual fire but it had the appearance of fire. Again a spiritual manifestation.

(Acts 6:15) “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been (hosei) the face of an angel.”

(Hebrews 1:12) “And as (hosei) a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

And this scripture is a quotation from the Old Testament in the book of Psalms... let's read the whole passage because it is a fabulous one about Jesus Christ:

Verses 8 to 12: ”But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

9.”Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even (that is) thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

10.”And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

11.”They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

And v. 12 that we just read above: ”And as (hosei) a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

So this is a prophetic word given about the earth and the heavens and the works of His hands being changed in the end as or like a garment and a vesture folded up...

And to this small end-time detour we also have corroborated scriptures in:

Isaiah 34:4, “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree...

...and in Revelation 6:14, we read, “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

So these scriptures are outside of our specific current study of the meaning of word “hosei”... but they help understand the word.

And finally getting back to our current subject matter of “hosei”, the last example we have today: in (Revelation 1:14) “His head and his hairs were white like (hosei) wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

So his hair was not wood, nor snow and his eyes not actual flames of fire, but it looked like it and that was what John could described what he saw.

And there are more scripture reading that would be redundant for our purpose here, but we get the idea of our current subject of Jesus' perspiration being “as”, “like” and “as though it were” great drops of blood.

So they were not real blood drops as so many people believe and are led to believe because of misinterpretation of the Word of God...

In other words Dr. Luke is illustrating sweat as heavy as drops of blood dripping to the ground. In other words it wasn't just ordinary common sweating, it was heavy, laborious, grieving kind of sweating...


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