NUMBERS 19
Enter subtitle here

The tragedy of Korah's rebellion was used to teach the nation the purpose of salvation in the ordinance of the Red Heifer. **.



1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses [Moshe] and unto Aaron [Aharon], saying,

The elaborate sacrificial ceremonies were designed to exalt the holiness of Yahweh and bring into subjection man (sin's flesh). Typifying the condemnation of sin in the flesh in his righteous and morally undefiled son. *


2 This is the ordinance of the law [chukkat hatorah] which Yahweh hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel [Bnei Yisroel], that they bring thee a red heifer without spot [completely red female cow (that has not produced a calf)], wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke [ol]:

A red heifer.

The colour (red) tells us of sin-effects of some sort: and these were suffered by the Lord in being born of a condemned woman, and inheriting her weak and dying nature: its physical perfection (" without spot or blemish ") foreshadowed the spotless character of the Lord -- without which, the deliverance to be wrought could not have been granted: "Upon which never came yoke", tells us of the Lord's total dedication to what, even at twelve years of age, he termed "My Father's business". *


A heifer was selected to denote purity, being a virgin animal. As a community offering it was appropriate for Yahweh's Bride. A heifer denotes virginity, a female implies submissiveness, but also "first in the transgression" (1Tim. 2:9-15). So Moses set before the people this very important sacrifice. **



3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest [HaKohen], that he may bring her forth without the camp [machaneh], and one shall slay [shachat] her before his face:

The beast was to be given to the high priest for offering, but another was to slay it . Who was the antitypical high priest, we know: "Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, offered up himself" (Heb. 9:11, 14). But the killing was done by the Romans as the instruments of the Jews. *



4 And Eleazar the priest [HaKohen] shall take of her blood [dahm] with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood [dahm] directly before the tabernacle [Ohel] of the congregation [Mo'ed] 7 times:

The high priest was to "sprinkle the blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times", which was fulfilled in the case of the "greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building", into which he entered by or with his own blood: "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:11, 24); and as for "seven times": perfection: "'one sacrifice for sins for ever" (Heb. 10:12). *



5 And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin [ hide], and her flesh [basar], and her blood [dahm], with her dung, shall he burn:

6 And the priest [kohen] shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet [ crimson thread], and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

The body of the beast, with addition of cedar wood, the "sweet smelling savour" of righteousness: hyssop, cleansing power for others: and scarlet, the sins of his people laid upon him: was burnt in change into spirit nature. *


7 Then the priest [kohen] shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe [ immerse] his flesh [basar] in water [mayim], and afterward he shall come into the camp [machaneh], and the priest [kohen] shall be unclean [tamei] until the even [erev].

Yet, notwithstanding the qualifying cleanness, the man gathering the ashes was to be "unclean until the even" -- which is the state of all the servants of Christ, until the end of this defiled and Gentile day. They will wash and be clean on the change to the incorruptible. Because the whole operation was intended to purify from the taint of death on the principle of taking away death by death -- therefore uncleanness attached to everything accessory to the process until the process was complete. The high priest himself partook of the uncleanness (see verse 7), as well as the man who should gather up the ashes (verse 10).*



9 And a man that is clean [tahor] shall gather up the ashes of the heifer [cow], and lay them up without the camp [machaneh] in a clean place [makom tahor] , and it shall be kept [ in safekeeping] for the congregation of the children of Israel [HaEdah Bnei Yisroel] for a water of separation [sprinkling]: it is a purification for sin.

The water of sprinkling - a compound derived from the ashes of the red heifer

Here was one sacrifice efficacious for thousands and continued to cleanse after the immediate requirements had been satisfied, keeping them in a "clean place" to be used as required. **


The ashes (that which is left) were to be gathered for purification, and stored in a clean place outside the camp. Christ raised, transformed, and taken away, was preserved in the testimony of these things, which was stored outside the Mosaic economy in the Ecclesia of the living God, for purification from death of all who believe.

A man that was clean was to gather up the ashes: the testimony concerning Christ was promulgated by Peter and his fellow apostles, to whom Jesus said, "Ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you". That is, justified men: it was not godless men who were used in the preaching of the gospel. *



11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days [tamei shivat yamim].

IT is remarkable that death, merely as death, should be marked off for special reprobation as a cause of defilement, and a special purification provided. To touch a corpse was to be unclean seven days...

...Why should death merely as death be apparently treated with such abhorrence, and be made the subject of such stringent measures of purification?

This touches a subject high, deep, and wide. It calls attention to the origin of death in relation to man, and to the nature of life in relation to God. Both these subjects are liable to be skimmed over in this merely naturalistic age. Men find death a universal law of the animal world, so far as they have experience of that world upon earth and they are apt to regard it as the inseparable corollary of life -- the necessary and other half of the phenomenon of vitality.

They see animals, great and small, born, grow, decay, and die: and they see man do the same. Therefore they write it down as a "law of nature", for which they do not require to seek a special origin, and to which, therefore, it is impossible they can attach the odious character suggested by these provisions of the Mosaic law regarding it. But it is evident there is a fallacy in this way of looking at the subject.

Though all life is by constitution transient in its form upon earth at present, it does not follow that human mortality is exactly in the same channel. It might seem to follow if we had nothing but the constitution of nature to consider: if we had no attested revelation, we might be shut up to such a dispiriting thought, though even then, we could not but be impressed with the thought that man, the lord of creation, occupies a peculiar if inexplicable position among all the forms of life upon the earth. But in the presence of an attested revelation, we are bound to adjust revealed truth to natural fact.

Moses and Christ cover the whole ground. We cannot in their presence shut our eyes to the revelation that so far as man is concerned, death is the result of sin, and not the necessary quality of the nature with which he was endowed in the first instance. This truth enables us to understand the peculiar detestation of death expressed by the ordinances we are considering. The presence of death -- the touch of death -- means the presence of sin, and sin is the awful thing that fools make a mock at: the crime of insubordination against the wish, will, or law of the Eternal Author and Possessor of Creation.

Yahweh's spirit creates life.

...Being in essence, the life of the universe, and incorporating that life in divers forms for His own pleasure, we may understand how death, as the negation of His own work and the penalty of treason against himself, should come under the peculiar reprobation manifest in the Mosaic ordinance that contact with death made a man defiled with a defilement calling for instant cleansing. *


12 He shall purify himself [make himself tahor] with it on the 3rd day [Yom HaShelishi], and on the 7th day he shall be clean [tahor]: but if he purify not himself the 3rd day [Yom HaShelishi], then the 7th day he shall not be clean [tahor].

The type in the law is proof the Lord purified himself by his own sacrifice.

Now these things were shadows, of which we see the perfect object projecting them when we see Christ as a partaker of condemned human nature for its emancipation and purification on the principles and with the objects already fully indicated. Away from this, all is confusion.

The Mosaic imputation of uncleanness to any one touching a grave or a dead man, may enable us to understand why Jesus, having lain in the grave nearly three days, forbad Mary to touch him, because of his non-cleansing as yet (John 20:17). Though the Lord's death had freed him from the law, Mary was still in subjection to it, and therefore it became him who "magnified the law and made it honourable", to recognize its ordinances in the actions of those on whom it still had claims...

...From this ceremonial shadow, we easily go to the substance. The ashes of a slain heifer applied to a man defiled by death, was a curing of death by death. This is precisely what has happened in the antitype: Christ, "through death, destroyed that having the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14).

How could he do this if he had not in himself the power of death to destroy by dying? He has destroyed death. But in whom? In himself alone as yet. Believers will obtain the benefit by incorporation with him at the resurrection: but, at the present time, the victory is his alone. The fact is plain to everyone. Some who admire Christ are horror-struck at the idea of his having been a partaker of the Adamic condemned nature -- a nature defiled by death because of sin. Their horror is due wholly to too great a confinement of view.

They fix their attention on the idea of "defilement" without remembering that the defilement was undertaken expressly with a view to removal.

We must have God's revealed object in view. The power of death was there that it might be destroyed. If it was not there, it could not be destroyed. This is the mischief of what may be truly called the Papal view. By denying that Jesus came in the very dying flesh of Adam, it changes the character of the death of Christ into a martyrdom or a punishing of the innocent for the guilty: instead of being what it is revealed to have been -- a declaration of the righteousness of God that He might be just, while the justifier of those who have faith in it for the forgiveness of their sins (Rom. 3:24-26).

The mischief of this lies in its mental effects.

Reconciliation with God with a view to worship and everlasting communion, is based on a right discernment of His ways.

A wrong idea of God's objects would unfit a man to be an acceptable worshipper, for God finds pleasure in our worship in proportion as we recognize our mutual relations. This is in fact the difference between one class of mankind and another, as revealed in all that has been written. A man who comes to Him with the idea that he has a right to be heard and to be saved, because his sins have been compounded for substitutionally in the death of Christ, as one man may satisfy the debts of another, is not in the frame of mind that is acceptable to Him.

We must recognize that "grace reigns through righteousness" (Rom. 5:21), and that we are forgiven, not because another has been punished for our sins, but because we recognize this righteousness in the operation that put the Lord to death for the declaration of that righteousness and in the condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom. 3:25; 8:3).

The subject may be difficult to Understand, but this is only because it concerns the ways of God, which are as much higher than man's, as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isa. 55:8-9).

God is ready to pardon, but not to put aside the ways of His righteousness. He aims at His own exaltation as well as our benefit, in the conferring of salvation: and therefore He adopts a method that humbles us in the dust while affording scope for His favour towards us without departure from justice and wisdom. It is a method that while inviting us to take of the water of life freely, puts us under everlasting obligation to Christ, through whom alone we can have access to Him or entrance to everlasting life. They are no empty words that the saints employ when they sing,

"Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood ....Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and wisdom and riches and honour and glory and blessing." *

Law of Moses Ch 28*


19 And the clean person [tahor] shall sprinkle upon the unclean [ tamei] on the 3rd day [Yom HaShelishi] , and on the 7th day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself [make himself tahor], and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water [immerse himself in mayim], and shall be clean at even [ tahor at erev [T.N. On the messianic mikveh see Co 2:11-12].].

The uncleanness was imputed, not actual, but it cut a man off from contact with the tabernacle (Lev. 15:31; cp. Rev. 21:27), and thus showed that his natural state was one of hopelessness. The cleansing was not only ceremonial, but physical. There was washing involved (v. 19). This was a good health rite, but it was more than that. The uncleanness was associated with death, and taught the close relationship between sin and death.

The individual's death was not the result of his transgressions, but being subject to death was part of the penalty of sin established in Eden (Gen. 3:19). **

**www.logos.org.au