Numbers 19:1-22


Verse 1-10 is the first division of the chapter.


I.    Verse 1-10 - The red heifer offering.

A.  This chapter is the second answer to the question by Israel in 17:12,13.

1.   The first answer is given in chapter 18 - Israel must approach God through the Levitical priesthood.

a.   Israel must approach God "legally".

b.   The Levitical priesthood bears their iniquity.

2.   The second answer is given in chapter 19 - Israel must approach God by faith.

a.   The red heifer offering is a picture of the Christ to come.

b.   In that day, everybody had to approach God through symbols.

B.   There is a lot of debate as to how many red heifer offerings were made.

1.      There are some who say there was only one red heifer offering which laster forever.

2.      This is not the evidence of history.

a.   Jewish history reveals that this one offering lasted until the Babylonian captivity.  (A period of about 1,000 years.)

b.   Then their history reveals that from Ezra to the destruction of the second temple there were about eight offered.  (A period of about 500 years.)

c.   I see no reason to believe there was only one red heifer offering.

1.      I believe there was a red heifer offering each time a red heifer appeared.

2.      God would provide red heifers to each generation as a witness to them that the sacrifices of the law would be superceded by a final and complete sacrifice (Jesus Christ) who would take care of all sins for all time.


II.   The symbols of the red heifer offering.

A.  Red.

1.      From the Hebrew "Adom" meaning "red".  The word "Adom" comes from the Hebrew "Adam" meaning "rosy".  The name of Adam also comes from this same Hebrew word, which means "human being".

2.   The symbol is that the red heifer represents the "first Adam" who fell into sin, and also the "second Adam" who redeemed from sin.

3.   The rarity of this animal points to the rarity (there is only one) of a perfect redeemer.

a.   No amount of breeding could produce this animal, it must appear at the direction of God.

b.   No amount of "coaxing" could produce a Savior, He must appear at the direction of God.

B.   Heifer.

1.   A heifer had never brought forth from her body.

2.      Christ never brought forth from His body, in a fleshly sense, like the Jews expected.

3.      This does not mean that God or Christ or the Holy Spirit is a woman.

C.   No blemish at all.

1.   The animal must be completely red.

2.   The Jews say that one black hair or one white hair will void the animal for this sacrifice.

3.      there was no blemish at all in Christ.  He was entirely perfect in every way.

D.  Had never been yoked.

1.   The animal had never been conquered by man to do the work for and of man.

2.   The symbol is that Christ came freely of His own will.  Man did not force Him to come.

3.      Christ came because of His great love for fallen mankind.

E.   Give her unto Eleazar the priest.

1.      Aaron, the high priest, would be ceremonially unclean if he took care of this sacrifice.

2.   If Aaron became ceremonially unclean, this would be the same thing as declaring some uncleanness in Christ.

F.   Slay her out of the camp.

1.   The red heifer would bear the sins of Israel.

2.   Her death, because of uncleanness, would necessarily be outside the camp.

3.      Heb. 13:12 - Christ was slain outside the camp.

4.      Eleazar is the one to slay the animal.

a.   Eleazar represents the priesthood of the law.

b.   The law could not cleanse from sin because of the sinfulness of the keepers of the law (Gal. 3:22).

5.      There were three people who actively participated in the death of the red heifer.

a.   Eleazar, who killed the red heifer.

b.   The man who burns the red heifer.

c.   The man who carries the ashes to a clean place.

6.      There were many people who inactively participated in the death of the red heifer.

a.   When Christ died many people were watching, but nobody could understand His sufferings.

b.   Christ was forsaken of His Father when He bore our sins.

G.   THIS IS THE KEY:  Eleazar would sprinkle of the blood seven times before the tabernacle.

1.      Eleazar was outside the camp of Israel when he killed the animal.

2.   He was also outside the camp of Israel when he sprinkled the blood toward the tabernacle.  (See verse 7 - "and afterward shall he come into the camp.)

3.      This shows the blood of the red heifer cleansed the entire camp of Israel and especially cleansed all the symbolism of the tabernacle offerings.

a.   This one offering would cleanse all the offerings made from the blood of bulls and goats.

b.   The blood of Christ cleanses all sin and all efforts at worship.

4.   The blood sprinkled seven times:

a.   Seven is the Bible number for completeness.

b.   The blood of Christ completely cleanses all sin for all time.

H.  All of the animal would be burnt outside the camp.

1.      This shows the sufferings of Christ.

2.   He gave up everything because of His love for fallen mankind.

I.    The items thrown into the midst of the fire.

1.      Cedar - represents "Christians" who are evergreen, beautiful, aromatic, wide spreading, slow growing, long lived, and preservative even after death.

2.      Hyssop - represents the cleansing or purification properties, as David in Psalms 51:7, "Purge me with hyssop".

3.      Scarlet - represents the blood of Christ.

a.   See the scarlet used in the tabernacle.  (Ex. 25:4; 26:1,32,36; 27:16; etc.)

b.   Joshua 2:18,21 - Rahab letting down the scarlet thread. (Her redemption was through the blood of Christ.)

c.   Isaiah 1:18 - "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as wool."

4.   The conclusion:  Our sins are exceeding great, but the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness, making us "Christians" and fit for the masters use.


III. The uncleanness revealed by the red heifer offering.

A.  The red heifer is never said to be unclean.

1.   The red heifer is a symbol of Christ.

2.      Christ is never unclean.

B.   But everything and everybody that comes in contact with the red heifer is unclean.  Anytime God, who is perfect, is compared to mankind, who is vile in sin, the uncleanness of mankind is markedly revealed.

1.      Verse 7 - Eleazar washes his clothes and bathes his flesh outside the camp, then comes back into the camp and remains unclean until the evening.

2.      Verse 8 - The person that burns the red heifer shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh outside of the camp and remain unclean until the evening.

3.      Verse 9 - The man that is clean and takes the ashes to a clean place outside the camp shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh and be unclean until the evening.

4.   The conclusion:  Everybody that has anything to do with the death of Christ is unclean.  Whether you stand close by the cross, or gaze from a distance, or go about your business with no thought of His death.


IV. The ashes are a purification of sin.

A.  The ashes are kept for a "water of purification".

1.   The ashes seem to be called "water of purification".

2.   The ashes are mixed with water, but the Bible doesn't say so.

3.      Verse 11-22 gives some of the uses of the "water of purification".

B.   Notes about the purification of sin.

1.      These ashes show Israel that only the blood of Christ will purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

2.      These ashes are enough for all the people.  It would seem that so little ashes could not purify the millions of Israel.  But the miracle of God's grace upon fallen mankind is beyond your comprehension.  It may seem that the blood of Christ could not purify all of fallen mankind, but it can.

3.      These ashes could last a long time.  The blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse our sinfulness now and throughout all eternity.

4.      These ashes are good for future sins.  The blood of Christ not only cleanses us from past and present sins, but is also good for all those future sins we commit.


Verse 11-22 is the second division of the chapter:


V.  Verses 11-22 - The use of the Waters of Separation.  (See verse 12, "with it".)

A.  Used only to cleanse a person who has touched a dead body of  person.

1.      Verse 11,14,15 and 16:

a.   Anybody that touches a dead body of any man.

b.   Anybody that is with a person when they die or that comes into an enclosed place of death.

c.   Any open container in the place of death.

d.   Anybody that touches any dead person or part of a dead person.

2.      Leviticus 13,14,15,16 - A person that touches anything except a dead person is cleansed from their ceremonial uncleanness by washing themselves in water and waiting until evening.

B.   Why is there a difference?

1.   To teach Israel there is a difference in the death of a man and the death of an animal.

2.   To teach Israel there is a difference in ceremonial uncleanness and actual uncleanness.

3.   To teach Israel that death comes because man has fallen into sin.

4.   To teach Israel that all are defiled and none escapes defilement.

5.   To teach Israel that even though death comes because of sin there is hope for life in the blood of the perfect one that is to come.

C.   The procedure to be followed:

1.      Anytime a dead body or a part of a dead body is touched, the uncleanness will continue for seven days.

2.      Verse 14-19 - A clean person shall take some of the ashes of the red heifer, mix it with running water, and dip hyssop in water and sprinkle the water and ashes on the unclean person or thing on the third day of defilement.

3.   On the seventh day, two things are done:

a.   The mixture of water and ashes shall be sprinkled again.

b.   Then, the unclean shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water and shall be unclean until the evening.

4.      Anybody that touches the water of separation shall be unclean until the evening.

D.  The judgment upon the unbelievers.

1.      Verse 13,20 - The person that will not purify himself defiles the tabernacle of the Lord.  He shall be cut off from all Israel.

2.      This is symbolic of being lost, and refusing to admit it.