Archive for April, 2017

13
Apr
17

CHRIST AND THE RED HEIFER: THE WHOLE THING

“Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.”  Numbers 19:5

In this verse, we learn that the “hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse” was to be burned with the heifer.  In other words, the whole thing was to be consumed in the fire to produce the ashes.  In like manner, the whole part of Christ was consumed when He was crucified, just in a different way.

First, Jesus suffered physical turmoil.  There is quite a bit written about the physiological aspects of Jesus’s torture and anguish through His crucifixion.  When He was beaten with fists, he suffered various bruises, inflammation, and cuts.  When He was whipped with the whip, it ripped chunks of skin and other tissues from His back, causing a tremendous loss of blood.  Carrying the cross would extend the bleeding and fatigue, not to mention the extreme pain suffered by having the nails driven through His wrists.

Second, Christ suffered emotional turmoil.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus, the Son, would pray to the Father for help and strength in enduring trials and difficult situations.  But when He was on the cross, when He who knew no sin became sin for us, the Father could not bear to look at His Son, let alone help Him.  Jesus cried out for His help, but could not even find solace in Him.  Jesus was absolutely, totally alone.  What an emotional tragedy this had to be for Him.

Last, the spiritual aspect of His suffering seems to be the worst.  As was mentioned before, He who knew no sin became sin for us.  Jesus was the perfect Son of God, and was given the name above all names.  He was the creator, the Word, and the image of the invisible God.  He was the Messiah, the anointed one.  But when He became sin, Jesus was spiritually separated from God.  Just let that swirl around in your mind!  Why else would He have cried out in indescribable anguish, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Yes, when Jesus was crucified, His whole being was destroyed.  Just as the whole part of the red heifer had to be destroyed, Jesus whole being suffered the same fate.  Thanks to God Almighty for the gift of His Son!

13
Apr
17

CHRIST AND THE RED HEIFER: SPRINKLING BLOOD

“Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.”  Numbers 19:4

A part of the comparison of Jesus, the sacrifice offered up by God the Father to be our savior, to the red heifer is how the blood was handled by the priest according to this verse that we look at today.

The blood was to be collected in one hand, usually the left, and the other (right) hand dipped in the blood to sprinkle it.  When sprinkling the blood, the priest would be looking at the tabernacle or the temple, and he would sprinkle the blood in its direction.  In this way, he is looking at the source of redemption and atonement, the presence of God.  Ultimately, He is the start point of salvation.

Second, the sprinkling signifies the application of the blood for the forgiveness of sin.  The Israelites applied the blood of the lamb to their doorposts so the death angel would not kill the firstborn child (Exodus 12).  Just as this sprinkling of the blood foreshadowed the blood of Jesus saving us from death, the sprinkling of the blood of the red heifer points to this event.

Last, it is significant to note that the sprinkling was done seven times.  The number seven is representative of perfection.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, who was sinless, and who was therefore worthy to be slain.  What the blood of sheep and goats could not do, Jesus’ blood did for all the world for all of time.

13
Apr
17

CHRIST AND THE RED HEIFER: OUTSIDE THE CAMP

You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.”  Numbers 19:3

Yet another significant point of the burning of the red heifer to have her ashes is that she was to be “brought outside the camp,” and be slaughtered in the presence of the priest.  The slaughter was not done by the priest, but it was performed by a layman as the priest looked on.  This is another foreshadowing of the Messiah.

Hebrews 13:12 tells us that Jesus “suffered outside the gate.”  Around the ancient city of Jerusalem at the time, there was a gate to provide protection.  All crucifixions were performed outside the city gates.  In fact, John 19:17 says that Jesus “went out,” carrying His cross to Golgotha.  This means that He went outside the city gates.

Likewise, we as disciples of Christ should be going outside the camp.  We should act and operate outside the systems and practices of the world, and should rather not be conformed to them (Romans 12:1-2).  Likewise, Paul exhorted Timothy to entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life like the world does, but to set priorities by putting Christ first (2 Timothy 2:4).

13
Apr
17

CHRIST AND THE RED HEIFER: THE FEMINENE CONNECTION

This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer…”  Numbers 19:2

One of the supposed objections to comparing Jesus to the red heifer is that a heifer is a female cow, whereas Jesus was a male, the Son of God and the Son of Man.  Such an objection makes a valid point at first.  But once one delves into the culture of the day, an analogy can be discovered.

When Judas betrayed Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, he had already made prior arrangements with the chief priests to turn Him over to them.  Judas would identify Jesus to them by kissing Him on the cheek (Luke 22:1-6). It is this point where Jesus asked Judas, “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”  (Luke 22:48)

It is also revealed in the deal that Judas made with the chief priests that Judas was to be paid 30 pieces of silver.  We are always told that was the price of a slave.  But what we do not know, until we learn more about the culture of the day, is that the price of a male slave was 50 pieces of silver.  The price of a female slave was 30 pieces of silver, thus fulfilling the connection of Jesus to the female cow, the red heifer.

13
Apr
17

CHRIST AND THE RED HEIFER: PERFECTION

This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.’”  Numbers 19:2

The red heifer was very significant to the Israelites in their worship and purification processes.  The red heifer was burnt and the ashes used to purify one who touched a dead body.  These ashes also had their significant place for purification on the Day of Atonement, that one day of the year that the priest went into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the nation.

The first requirement of the red heifer was that she be “unblemished” and have “no defect.”  She had to be absolutely perfect in order to be used for this important part of worship on the Day of Atonement.  If there had been any blemish of any kind, then that heifer could not be used.  In the history of the use of the red heifer, nine have been used.

As far as the need of the perfect, unblemished red heifer, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world also had to be perfect and unblemished.  Christ was not born from the seed of man, so He did not inherit the sin nature (Luke 1:35).  Jesus was the perfect and sinless one (Hebrews 10:14).  As such, He was able to become our sin to be our sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is truly wonderful to see how, in every aspect of the atonement of the nation of Israel, Christ is represented.




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