The Red Heifer (2)

 

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Psalm 51:1-7

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Numbers 19

Preparation of the ashes

The animal was picked by the children of Israel and brought to Moses and Aaron, then given to Eleazar. It was taken outside the camp to be slaughtered (like Christ Heb.13:12-13) and the blood sprinkled in front of the tabernacle for atonement, then the carcase was burnt completely along with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet cloth (note the hyssop, the applicator of purification being part of the application-the ashes*). The ashes were kept in a vessel outside the camp and could last for many years. Judaica records only nine red heifers killed in all of the history of the Jews. The ashes were mixed with clean running water and became the water of separation which were used to cleanse places, vessels and people who had become unclean on day three and seven of their ceremonial cleansing. This washing away of ceremonial uncleanness is called baptism in Hebrews 9:10, linking this Old Testament ritual with New Testament baptism, also a sign of purification, and which points to the actual purifying act, effective for all of time, which is the cross and blood atonement of Christ (Heb. 9:13, 10:14, Titus 2:14).* Christ’s bloody death, accomplished at Calvary, is likewise actually applied to his people by the Holy Spirit in their purification from sin.

 

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