Within this chapter we see first mention of the “red heifer”. Under the Mosaic law, the red heifer was essential for the ceremonial cleansing of sin. Notice there are many similarities to it’s sacrifice and that of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. No blemish (Heb. 4:15).
Num. 19:1-10 “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:”
2. Sacrificed outside of the camp (Heb. 13:11-12).
“And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:”
3. Saved others from the penalty of death (Rom. 6:23).
"And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times: And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.”
4. Blood made others clean (Eph. 1:7).
“And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.”
LESSON - The “red heifer” also serves as a role in prophecy. GotQuestions.org describes it as follows:
“According to rabbinical tradition, there have been nine red heifers sacrificed since Moses’ time. Since the destruction of the second temple, no red heifers have been slaughtered. The rabbi Maimonides (1135—1204) taught that the tenth red heifer would be sacrificed by the Messiah Himself. Those who anticipate the construction of a third temple are eager to find a red heifer that meets all the conditions, because the red heifer ashes will be necessary to purify the new temple. Many consider that the appearance of a red heifer will herald the construction of the temple and the return of Christ. According to the Temple Institute, a group advocating the construction of a third temple, a flawless red heifer was born in August 2018 in Israel.
According to the futurist timeline of eschatology, there will indeed be a third temple of God in Jerusalem. Jesus prophesied a desecration of the temple during the tribulation (Matthew 24:15; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4); for that to occur, there obviously will have to be a temple in Jerusalem to desecrate. Assuming that those who dedicate the end-times temple follow Jewish law, they will need the ashes of a red heifer, mixed with water, for the ceremonial cleansing. If a blemish-free red heifer has truly been born, it could be seen as one more piece falling into place leading up to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.”
According to the The Temple Institute established for the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple, there are 4 “red heifer” candidates available for sacrifice for the dedication of the new temple. These OT pictures served as a promise of the coming Messiah. Now they remind us of His eminent return. Are you ready? It could be tonight!