The Red Heifer
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and
one shall slay her before his face: And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times: And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute forever.” —Numbers 19:1-10
As a person studies the Old Testament, if he understands all of the types and shadows, then he will plainly see the Cross of Christ throughout the 39 books of the Old Testament. The reason I bring this out is to impress upon you the importance of the Cross. The message of the Cross is not only one truth among many, but also the single truth that is the foundation of the gospel and Christianity.
It’s amazing to me that in talking to some Christians, they still don’t understand that the Cross of Christ is the focal point of the Bible. The Old Testament points forward to the Cross; the New Testament points back to the Cross. To minimize the Cross is impossible, because, as stated, it is the gospel.
This Is The Ordinance Of The Law
Numbers 19:1-2 tells us how this law came about. As verse 1 states, “And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying.” The Lord spoke specifically to Moses, with verse 2 stating, “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded.” Regarding this, George Williams said, “This chapter being found in Numbers and not in Leviticus shows inspiration. Had the sacrifice of the red heifer been invented by Jewish priests, as some affirm, they would have placed it in the book of Leviticus.” He also stated, “The sacrifice of Leviticus concerned worship. This provision for sin in Numbers was made for pilgrimage, in other words, our daily walk before God; therefore, the Holy Spirit places it in this book.”
The Red Heifer
The command of verse 2 continues with these words: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.”
A heifer is a young cow that has not had a calf, and it was actually red in color.
The heifer was a type of Christ as the red signifies the red earth of the manhood of Christ—very God and very man. The heifer was to be “without spot,” which typifies that He is spotless externally, and “without blemish” internally.
The words, “And upon which never came yoke,” signifies that Christ was never in bondage to any sin, and the law therefore had no claim upon Him as a debtor.
“And you shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face.”
This verse means that Christ was led of the Spirit to Calvary, where he offered Himself up. The words, “one shall slay her before his face” speaks of those who crucified Christ in the face of God.
“And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times.” Seven times speaks of perfection, totality, and completeness. Jesus Christ offered up His own blood on the mercy seat of heaven, of which this is a type.
“And one shall burn the heifer in His sight, her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn.”
The order to “burn the heifer” signifies that Christ gave His all for our redemption. He literally suffered, in effect, the pain of hell in our stead.
“And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.”
The cedar wood typifies Calvary’s Cross. The hyssop typified the humanity of Christ; the scarlet typified His shed blood.
“And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.”
The ashes of the heifer were used in the “water of separation.” It was called this because they were used in the ceremonial cleansing of defiled persons wanting to separate themselves from uncleanness.
All of this was type and ceremony, but 2,000 years ago, it was not a ceremony; it was a completed act of redemption—a complete cleansing of sin and separation from the cursed and the blessed.
If the Holy Spirit went to all this trouble to portray to us the Cross through the types that the “law of the red heifer” portrayed, then don’t you think that today we are never to place the Cross in a lesser light as some have? Of course not. As the old song says:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down,
I will cling to the old rugged Cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Share this Post
No one has commented on this article yet. Leave your comment below!