Bamidbar (Numbers) 19:1–22:1
During our staff meeting this week at the office, I expressed to my team the importance of reading the entire Bible from beginning to end, cover to cover. As followers of Yeshua, we often neglect the Hebrew Scriptures and only focus on the New Covenant. As I was preparing to write this week’s blog, I saw once again how true that word of encouragement was. I believe the more that we study the entire Word of God, the stronger our assurance will be that Yeshua is indeed the promised Messiah! We will also have a much better understanding of the amazing work that He has done for us.
In this week’s reading we read:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “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. And you shall give it to Eliezer the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. Next 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. Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material, and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer. The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin. And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.
Here are some points that I hope will strengthen your understanding of the amazing work of our Lord.
- Unblemished Sacrifice
The children of Israel were to take an “unblemished red heifer in which is no defect, and on which a yoke has never been placed” (Numbers 19:2). Yeshua Himself was unblemished and without any defect.
- Outside the Camp
They were to take the red heifer and bring it to the High Priest, “and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.” Hebrews 13:10–14 refers to the fact that Yeshua offered Himself as a sacrifice outside the gate: “We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Yeshua also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”
- The Blood
Verse 4 says that, “‘Next 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.” The use of blood here and the number seven are not a coincidence as the number seven signifies repentance, holiness, and rest; the blood here is for the atonement of sin. This can explain to us better the words of the writer to the Hebrews when he wrote, “...and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). The blood of Yeshua not only provides for us the atonement of sin, which makes us holy and pure before the Father, but also leads us to eternal rest with Him.
- The ashes
“Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin.” The ashes were used as a form of temporary purity. However, through the work of our Messiah, one receives an eternal purification rather than a temporary one. Again, the writer to the Hebrews wrote: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:13–15).
- Unblemished Sacrifice
In closing, Yeshua IS the fulfillment of all that is written in the Scriptures; the only way to truly know this is by reading the entire Word of the Lord.
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