Old Testament examples of Necessary Purification


Sung Psalm 51:1-7

Read Numbers 31:13-24


After Moses received the ceremonial law of purification by the ashes of the red heifer there are numerous examples where it would have been necessary, specifically in relation to touching the dead. In Numbers 20 Moses and Eleazar would have had to been purified after burying both Miriam and Aaron. Similarly in Numbers 25 after many thousands were slain by God after the fornication with the Moabites but in Numbers 31 we have the first major battle treated at length and there are several references to uncleanness and the water of purification.

When we get to II Kings 13:21 we have the somewhat strange but amazingly miraculous case of the dead man who comes back to life after touching Elisha’s bones. It is unlikely he would go to the priest, but if he did-what a testimony! This episode points to and prefigures Christ’s miraculous raisings from the dead and his own redeeming death that brings life to his people.

In Lamentations 4:14-15 we have the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity caused largely by the Jews idolatry, violence and murder which made many unclean with blood.

Ezekiel 39:11-16 and the battle of Armageddon necessitates, in its typology, the necessary cleansing of the land and people by burial of the bodies.

Finally, in the most famous Psalm that highlights ceremonial cleansing, we have David asking God to purge him with hyssop, that is the hyssop which sprinkles the water of purification with the ashes of the red heifer, to ceremonially cleanse him, most likely from touching the dead body of his and Bathsheba’s young son (II Samuel 12), typically pointing to Christ’ blood which was the only source of the real purifying David needed for adultery, murder and all the sins of all his life.

images-2 Hyssop.


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