Numbers 19:2 (NIV Bible)
“This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under the yoke.”
How many of you have ever heard of the “ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER”? Usually, not many have. I could only find 2 mentions in Scripture – Numbers 19 and Hebrews 9.
In my last Blog-Post in the Book of Numbers, https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/dont-let-your-ashes-put-out-the-fire/, was about disposing of the ashes. But here in Numbers 19, the ASHES were to be a “Perpetual Statute” to the nation of ISRAEL.
The Purpose Of The Ashes – NUMBERS 19:9
 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.”
This God-given statute was during the time of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years–approximately 600,000 Israelites (not counting women and children) died of their failure to TRUST God and enter into the Promised Land–Canaan–(about 40 people per day) over the age of 20 years. During this time, there was the serious ceremonial defilement of Israel who had to bury the dead.
In the Mosaic Law, there are 613 laws that were given at Mt. Sinai; 248 Mandatory Laws and 365 Prohibitionary Laws. There were 18 Mandatory Laws alone that dealt with “Ritual Purity.”
This brings us to Numbers 19:14-16 – “touching the corpse of a dead person, or even their bones or on the grave” CAUSED DEFILEMENT.
This DEFILEMENT lasted 7 days: Numbers 19:2-9 gives instructions to the Priests and the children of God in the process of PURIFICATION OF SIN which involved the use of the “Ashes of the Red Heifer.”
Jewish History of the Red Heifer (Talmud Histories) –
The Talmud is a Jewish History written by former Rabbis:
- Heifer was chosen and sacrificed/burned.
- Ashes collected and put into a crock-pot (2-3 gallons).
- The priest would take a hyssop, place in fresh, running water, take a pinch of ashes, place on the hyssop, sprinkle the sprig of hyssop upon the “unclean person” seven times, on the 3rd and 7th day.
- On the 7th day, the ceremonially unclean person was declared clean.
- When the “Ashes” were nearly consumed, another Red Heifer was sacrificed, burned, and its ashes “added to” the ashes of the previous heifer or heifers (perpetual statute).
From Numbers 19 until AD 69, there have been 9 such HEIFERS sacrificed. [See Footnote [i] ]
IN AD 70, Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem’s Temple and looted the city. Many of the furnishings of the Temple were removed, including the Ark of the Covenant and…the Ashes of the Red Heifer.
The Archaeology Findings of 1947 –
A young Arab boy found the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave, including a “copper scroll.” The scroll gave directions of a cave between Jericho and Saccachar.
Vendel Jones, an American archaeologist, found the cave, and after three digs and the beginning of the fourth dig, uncovered many artifacts. Then for a second time, the money ran out and the permit to continue was refused.
The Significance of the Findings –
Temple worship cannot be established without the ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER being used to cleanse the priesthood of unrighteousness.
Today, in ISRAEL, a school is already in the process of training men named Cohen, Levy, and Levi from the Tribe of Levi. The Chief Priest, the holiest man in Judaism, can ritually PURIFY himself, then the students into the PRIESTHOOD as soon as they find the “Ashes of the Red Cow”. Why is the such a “BIG DEAL” when this happens?
The Church will be gone! RAPTURED!
TYPOLOGY OF THE RED HEIFER – Old Testament/New Testament Comparisons.
- Numbers 19:2 infers that the HEIFER came from among the people. Christ came from among the people (John 1:11).
- HEIFER brought as a SACRIFICE for others. JESUS came as a SACRIFICE for others (John 3:16, 17; ! Timothy 1:15).
- HEIFER was to be without spot or blemish (Numbers 19:2). JESUS was also! (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
- HEIFER knew no yoke of bondage– a symbol of sin (vs. 2). Christ knew no BONDAGE of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- HEIFER was a “Female” – the price for a female slave was 30 pieces of silver, male slaves were sold for 50 pieces of silver. Christ was sold (betrayed) for 30 pieces of silver.
- HEIFER was given to the Priest, Eliezer (Numbers 19:3). JESUS was arrested and taken to Caiaphas, the High Priest.
- HEIFER was taken outside the camp for SACRIFICE. JESUS was also taken to Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, then back to Pilate, then outside the camp (gates) of Jerusalem to Calvary.
- HEIFER was slain BEFORE the Priest, but not by the Priest (Num. 19:4). Christ was SLAIN before the Priest at the Cross.
- HEIFER’S neck was “double jointed”. One swift blow could kill. JESUS too died in only 6 hours – He died at will swiftly.
While researching and looking up Scripture references this past week, Holy Spirit gave me a revelation from The Death, Crucifixion, and Burial of Jesus Christ. And in that revelation, 2 men entered the conversation–
These two men came from two theological directions, totally opposed to each other.
JOSEPH had believed in salvation by good politics where Nicodemus had taught obedience from 613 rules which the Pharisee’s thoughts summed up the Old Testament Law of Moses. But coming from two opposite directions, both came to believe JESUS was the MESSIAH!
So when they heard Jesus was going to be CRUCIFIED…they knew something would have to be done for decent disposal of His body. If nothing was done, the Roman soldiers would leave the corpse to rot on the Cross. And time was short because the PASSOVER celebrations would begin at sundown.
So the two men who were opposed to each other in doctrine together carried the body into a garden tomb laying the body not just in any tomb, but in Joseph of Arimathea’s recently carved out family tomb. Previously, Joseph went boldly into the palace of Pilate the Roman Governor, asking permission to remove Jesus’ body from the Cross.
With Numbers 19 in mind, I believe Joseph of Arimathea must have sent his family a message that he would be defiled by touching a dead body and that the Passover Seder celebration would have to be delayed a month (according to my study on the rule given (Numbers 9:6-11).
Since of the importance, the Gospels give to these two men, an assumption can be made that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea must have joined the Christian community. As the Holy Spirit began teaching them they soon discovered that Jesus’ Resurrection made nonsense of the Sadducee explanation that death of the body was the end. JESUS’ SACRIFICE on the Cross replaced the cleansing of the Ashes of the Red Heifer once and for all! Therefore, the significance of being cleansed by the “Ashes of the Red Heifer” was doctrinally important in the Jewish Law of Moses, but Jesus Himself had said, “I’ve come to fulfill the Law” (Matthew 5:17)
HIS BLOOD SACRIFICE FULFILLED THE LAW!
The Ashes of the Red Heifer – Numbers 19
In the Old Testament, the Priest sprinkled the “Blood of the Heifer” before the entrance of the presence of God (Numbers 19:4).
If you’re reading this POST and you’re not sure of your SALVATION…KNOW THIS: If you would come to Christ, it will only be by the BLOOD of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:22).
CONNECTING THE SACRIFICE OF THE HEIFER WITH CHRIST (Numbers 19:7, 8-9).
In these verses, we find that a person was “Unclean until made clean”. So like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, how can we, who are born in sinful uncleanness (Romans 3:23), become CLEAN or RIGHTEOUS before God?
The ANSWER is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
And what happened to those who refused Cleansing?
Numbers 19:20 (AMP)
 But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord…
Those who refused CLEANSING were “cut off” – separated from God.
What about YOU? Have YOU ever come for a “cleansing”, not from the “Ashes of the Red Heifer”, but from the BLOOD of the Lamb, Jesus Christ that He shed at Calvary?
Why not come today and be cleansed while there is still time in the last days.
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –
Footnote [i] : Encyclopedia-Judacia: Red Heifer – Jewish Virtual Library.
Commentary: Robert Brow – John 19:38-42, JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA AND NICODEMUS.
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Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV)