Numbers 19

 

 

  THE ASHES OF AN HEIFER SPRINKLING THE UNCLEAN (vs 1-22)

 

1  And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,” - On the

addition of the second name see on ch.18:1. There is no note of time in connection

with this chapter, but internal evidence points strongly to the supposition that it

belongs to the early days of wandering after the ban. It belongs to a period when

death had resumed his normal, and more than his normal, power over the children

of Israel; when, having been for a short time expelled (except in a limited number

of cases — see ch. 10:28), he had come back with frightful rigor to reign over a

DOOMED GENERATION.  It belongs also, as it would seem, to a time when the

daily, monthly, and even annual routine of sacrifice and purgation was

suspended through poverty, distress, and disfavor with God. It tells of the

mercy and condescension which did not leave even the rebellious and

excommunicate without some simple remedy, some easily-obtainable

solace, for the one religious distress which must of necessity press upon

them daily and hourly, not only as Israelites, but as children of the East,

sharing the ordinary superstitions of the age. Through the valley of the

shadow of death they were doomed at Kadesh to walk, while their fellows

fell beside them one by one, until the reek and taint of death passed upon

the whole congregation. Almost all nations have had, as is well known, an

instinctive horror of death, which has everywhere demanded separation

and purification on the part of those who have come in contact with it

(Bahr, ‘Symbolik,’ 2, page 466 sq.). And this religious horror had not been

combated, but, on the contrary, fostered and deepened by the Mosaic

legislation. The LAW everywhere encouraged the idea that sin and death

were essentially connected, and that disease and death spread their

infection in the spiritual as well as in the natural order of things. Life and

death were the two opposite poles under the law, as under the gospel; but

the eye of faith was fixed upon natural life and natural death, and was not

trained to look beyond. It could never have occurred to a Jew to say,

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” To die, however nobly, was not

only to be cut off from God oneself, but to become a curse and a danger

and a cause of religious defilement to those around. There is, therefore, a

beautiful consistency between this enactment and the circumstances of the

time on the one hand, between this enactment and the revealed character of

God on the other hand.  Although they were His covenant people no more,

since they were under sentence of death, yet, like others, and more than

others, they had religious horrors and religious fears — not very spiritual,

perhaps, but very real to them; these horrors and fears cried to Him

piteously for relief, and that relief He was careful to give. They must die,

but they need not suffer daily torment of death; they must not worship Him

in the splendid and perfect order of His appointed ritual, but they should at

least have the rites which should make life tolerable to them. It appears to

be a mistake to connect this ordinance especially with the plague which

occurred after the rebellion of Korah. It was not an exceptional calamity,

the effects of which might indeed be widespread, but would be soon over,

which the people had to dread exceedingly; it was the daily mortality

always going on in every camp under all circumstances. If only the elder

generation died off in the wilderness, this alone would yield nearly 100

victims every day, and by each of these a considerable number of the

survivors must have been defiled. Thus, in the absence of special provision,

one of two things must have happened: either the unhappy people would

have grown callous and indifferent to the awful presence of death; or, more

probably, a dark cloud of religious horror and depression would have

permanently enveloped them.

 

2  This is the ordinance of the law” -  חֻקַּת הַתּורָה.  Law-statute:  an

unusual combination only found elsewhere in ch. 31:21, which also concerns legal

 purifications - “which the LORD hathcommanded, saying,  Speak unto the

children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer” - This offering was

obviously intended, apart from its symbolic significance, to be studiedly simple

and cheap. In contradiction to the many and costly and ever-repeated sacrifices

of the Sinaitic legislation, this was a single individual, a female, and of the

most common description: red is the most ordinary color of cattle, and a

young heifer is of less value than any other beast of its kind. The ingenuity

indeed of the Jews heaped around the choice of this animal a multitude of

precise requirements, and supplemented the prescribed ritual with many

ceremonies, some of which are incorporated by the Targums with the

sacred text; but even so they could not destroy the remarkable contrast

between the simplicity of this offering and the elaborate complexity of

those ordained at Sinai. Only six red heifers are said to have been needed

during the whole of Jewish history, so far-reaching and so long-enduring

were the uses and advantages of a single immolation. It is evident that this

ordinance had for its distinguishing character oneness as opposed to multiplicity,

simplicity contrasted with elaborateness - “without spot, wherein is no blemish,” –

See on Leviticus 4:8. However little, comparatively speaking, the victim might

cost them, it must yet be perfect of its kind. The later Jews held that three white

hairs together on any part of the body made it unfit for the purpose. On the

sex and color of the offering see below - “and upon which never came yoke:”

Compare Deuteronomy 21:3; I Samuel 6:7. The imposition of the yoke,

according to the common sentiment of all nations, was a species of

degradation, and therefore inconsistent with the ideal of what was fit to be

offered in this case. That the matter was wholly one of sentiment is nothing

to the point:  God doth not care for oxen of any kind, but He doth care that

man should give Him what is, whether in fact or in fancy, the best of its sort.

 

3 “And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest,” - Possibly in order that

Aaron himself might not be  associated with death, even in this indirect way

(see v.6). In after times, however,  it was usually the high priest who officiated on

this occasion, and therefore it is quite as likely that Eleazar was designated because

he was already beginning to take the  place of his father in his especial duties  - “that

he may bring her forth without the camp,” - The bodies of those animals which

were offered for the sin of the congregation were always burnt outside the

camp, the law thus testifying that sin and death had no proper place within

the city of God. In this case, however, the whole sacrifice was performed

outside the camp, and was only brought into relation with the national sanctuary by

the sprinkling of the blood in that direction. Various symbolic reasons have been

assigned to this fact, but none are satisfactory except the following:

 

  • It served to intensify the conviction, which the whole of this ordinance

was intended to bring home to the minds of men, that death was an awful

thing, and that everything connected with it was wholly foreign to the

presence and habitation of the living God.

 

  • It served to mark with more emphasis the contrast between this one

offering, which was perhaps almost the only one they had in the wilderness,

and those which ought to have been offered continually according to the

Levitical ordinances. The red heifer stood quite outside the number of

ordinary victims as demanded by the law, and therefore it was not slain at

any hallowed altar, nor, necessarily, by any hallowed hand.

 

  • It served to prefigure in a wonderful and indeed startling way the

sacrifice of Christ outside the gate. In later days the heifer was conducted

upon a double tier of arches over the ravine of Kedron to the opposite

slope of Olivet.

 

and one shall slay her before his face.”  In the practice of later ages the high

priest led her out, and another priest killed her in his presence, but it was not so

commanded.

 

4  And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and

sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle  (אֵל־נֹכַח פְּנֵי)

of the congregation seven times:”  By this act the death of the heifer became

a sacrificial offering. The sprinkling in the direction of the sanctuary intimated that

the offering was made to Him that dwelt therein, and the“seven times” was the

ordinary number of perfect performance (Leviticus 4:17).

 

5 “And one shall burn the heifer” -  See on Exodus 29:14 -  “in his sight;

her skin, and her flesh, and her blood,” -  In all other cases the blood was

poured away beside the altar, because in the blood was the life, and the life was

given to God in exchange for the life of the one who offered. This great truth, which

underlay all animal sacrifices, was represented in this case by the sprinkling towards

the sanctuary. The rest of the blood was burnt with the carcass, either because

outside the holy precincts there was no consecrated earth to receive the blood, or in

order that the virtue of the blood might in a figure pass into the ashes and add to

their efficacy -“with her dung, shall he burn:”

 

6 “And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet,” -  See on

Leviticus 14:4-6 for the significance of these things. The antiseptic and medicinal

qualities of the cedar (Juniperus oxycedrus) and hyssop (probably Capparis spinosa)

make their use readily intelligible; the symbolism of the “scarlet” is much more obscure -

and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.”

 

7  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.” i.e., the priest who superintended the sacrifice,

and dipped his finger in the blood. Every one of these details was devised in order

to express the intensely infectious character of death in its moral aspect.

The very ashes, which were so widely potent for cleansing (v.10), and the cleansing

water itself (v. 19), made every one that touched them, even for the purifying of

another, himself unclean. At the same time the ashes, while, as it were, so redolent

of death that they must be kept outside the camp, were most holy, and were to be

laid up by a clean man in a clean place (v. 9). These contradictions find their true

explanation only when we consider them as foreshadowing the mysteries of the

atonement.  8  And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and

bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.”

 

9  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:” -  i.e., a water which should remedy the state of legal separation

due to the defilement of death, just as in ch. 8 the water of purification from sin is

called the water of sin - “it is a purification for sin.”

 

10 “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.”

This may refer only to the former part of the verse, according to the analogy of

v. 21, or it may refer to the whole ordinance of the red heifer.

 

11 “He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven

days.”  The fact of defilement by contact with the dead had been mentioned

before (Leviticus 21:1; ch. 5:2; 6:6; 9:6), and had no doubt been recognized as a

religious pollution from ancient times; but the exact period of consequent

uncleanness is here definitely fixed.

 

12 “He shall purify himself with it” - בּו i.e., as the sense clearly demands,

with the water of separation -“on the third day, and on the seventh

day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the

seventh day he shall not be clean.”

 

13 “Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and

purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD;” -  On the bearing

of this remarkable announcement see Leviticus 15:31. The uncleanness of death was

not simply a personal matter, it involved, if not duly purged, the whole congregation,

and reached even to God Himself, for its defilement spread to the sanctuary -“and that

soul shall be cut off from Israel:” - i.e., excommunicate on earth, and liable to the

direct visitation of Heaven (compare Genesis 17:14) -  “because the water of

separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is

yet upon him.”

 

14 “This is the law,” -  הַתּורָה.  By this law the extent of the infection is rigidly

defined, as its duration by the last. -“when a man dieth in a tent:” – This fixes the

date of the law as given in the wilderness, but it leaves in some uncertainty the

rule as to settled habitations. The Septuagint, however, has here ἐν οἰκίᾳ -

en tae oikiain his home; household -  and therefore it would appear that the law

was transferred without modification from the tent to the house. In the case of large

houses with many inhabitants, some relaxation of the strictness must have been found

necessary - “all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be

unclean seven days.”

 

15 “And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it,” -  So the

Septuagint (ὅσα οὐχὶ δεσμὸν καταδέδεται ἐπ αὐτῷ - hosa ouchi desmon

katadedetai ep auto – which has no covering bound on it), and this is the sense.

In the Hebrew פָּתִיל, a string, stands in apposition to צָּמִיד, a covering. If the

vessel was open, its contents were polluted by the odor of death - “is unclean.”

 

16 “And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open

fields,” - This would apply especially, it would seem, to the field of battle; but the law

must certainly have been relaxed in the case of soldiers - “or a dead body, or a bone

of a man, or a grave,” -  Thus the defilement was extended to the moldering remains

of humanity, and even to the tombs (μνήματα mnaematatombs).  Compare

Luke 11:44) which held them -  shall be unclean seven days.”

 

17 “And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt

heifer of purification for sin, and running water” -  Septuagint, , ὕδωρ ζῶν

hudor zonrunning water - (compare Leviticus 14:5; John 4:10) - “shall be

put thereto in a vessel:”

 

18 “And a clean person shall take hyssop,” - See Exodus 12:22, and compare

Psalm 51:7 - “and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon

all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that

touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:”

 

19 “And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third

day, and on the seventh day:” - The twice repeated application of holy water

marked the clinging nature of the pollution to be removed; so also the repetition

of the threat in the following verse marked the heinousness of the neglect to seek

its removal -  “and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his

clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that

soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath

defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not

been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.”

 

21 “And it shall be a perpetual statute” - This formula usually

emphasizes something of solemn importance. In this case, as apparently

above in v. 10, the regulations thus enforced might seem of trifling

moment. But the whole design of this ordinance, down to its minutest

detail, was to stamp upon physical death a far-reaching power of defiling

and separating from God, which extended even to the very means Divinely

appointed as a remedy. The Jew, whose religious feelings were modeled

upon this law, must have felt himself entangled in the meshes of a net so

widely cast about him that he could hardly quite escape it by extreme

caution and multiplied observances; he might indeed exclaim, unless habit

hardened him to it, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

(Romans 6:24) - “unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of

separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of

separation shall be unclean until even.”

 

22 “And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and

the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.”

 

 

The Remedy of Death (vs. 1-22)

 

We have in this chapter, spiritually, death, and the remedy for death. Death

is treated of not as the mere physical change which is the end of life, nor as

the social and domestic loss which breaks so many hearts and causes so

many tears to flow, but as the inseparable companion and, as it were, alter

ego of sin, whose dark shadow does not merely blight, but pollutes, which

shuts out not so much the light of life as the light of God. It is death, not as

he is to the dead, but as he is to the living, and to them in their religious

life. It is true that according to the letter it is physical death only which is

spoken of, and the ceremonial uncleanness which ensued upon contact with

it. It is true also that this uncleanness, so minutely regulated, and so held in

abhorrance, was a matter of superstition. The last relics of religious feeling

(or, upon another view, its first dawnings) in the lowest savages take the

form of a superstitious dread of the lifeless remains of the departed and of

their resting-place. There is in truth nothing in the touch of the dead which

can infect or contaminate the living, or affect in the least their moral and

spiritual condition. Nevertheless, most of the nations (and especially the

Egyptians) elaborated the primitive superstition of their forefathers into a

code of religions sentiment and observance which took a firm hold of the

popular mind. It pleased God to adopt this primitive and widespread

superstition (as in so many other cases) into His own Divine legislation, and

to make it a vehicle of deep and important spiritual truths, and an

instrument for preparing the national mind and conscience for the glorious

revelation of life and incorruption through Christ. Only in the light of the

gospel can the treatment of death in this chapter be edifying or indeed

intelligible, for otherwise it were only the imposition of a ceremonial yoke,

extremely burdensome in itself, and grounded upon a painful superstition.

But it is sufficient to point out that death is only treated of in connection

with its remedy, even as eternal death is only clearly revealed in that gospel

which tells us of everlasting life. In this remedy for death we have one of

the most remarkable types of the atonement, and of its application to the

cleansing of individual souls, to be found in the Old Testament. The very

exceptional character of the ordinance, and its isolation from the body of

the Mosaic legislation; the singular and apparently contradictory character

of its details, as well as the great importance assigned to it both in the

ordinance itself and in the practice of the Jews; would have led us to look

for some eminent and distinctive foreshadowings of THE ONE SACRIFICE

ONCE OFFERED (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:26; 9:12, 26, 28; I Peter 3:18). 

The New Testament confirms this natural expectation, not  indeed

dwelling upon details, but ranking “the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the

uncleanside by side with “the blood of bulls and of goats,” as typifying

the more prevailing expiation made by Christ. We have, therefore, in this

ordinance Christ Himself in the oneness of His election and sacrifice; Christ

in the perfectness, freedom, and gentleness of His untainted life; Christ in

many circumstances of His rejection and death; Christ in the enduring

effects of His expiation to do away the contagion and terror of spiritual

death; in a word, we have Him who by dying overcame death, and delivered

them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage

(Hebrews 2:15).

 

In drawing out this great type we may consider:

 

1. The circumstances under which the ordinance was given.

2. The choice of the victim.

3. The manner of sacrifice.

4. The application of its cleansing virtue.

 

 

  • AS TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF TIME AND PLACE.

Consider:

 

Ø      That the ordinance of the red heifer was given not at Sinai, but

 in the wilderness of Paran, the region of exile, of wandering; the

land of the SHADOW OF DEATH, which was but the ante-chamber

of the tomb and of eternal darkness to that generation. The whole

Levitical system had been given in the wilderness, but in the

 wilderness as a land of liberty to serve God, and as the threshold

of the promised land of life flowing with milk and honey. Even so

Christ was given to us when we lay in darkness and the shadow of death

(“while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8),  

living in a world whose prince was Satan, wherein was no rest, and

wherefrom was no escape, save into the gloomier land beyond

the grave.

 

Ø      That it was given at a time who, Israel lay under condemnation for

rebellion, and under sentence of death; when death, who had been

restrained for a season, was let loose upon them with multiplied terrors to

prey upon them until they were consumed, filling the minds of them that

lived with horror and despair. Even so Christ was given unto a dying

race, lying under the wrath of God for sin, and in perpetual bondage

 through certain fear of coming death. Death was the universal tyrant

whose terror sickened the boldest heart and saddened the uneasy mirth

of the gayest.

 

Ø      That it was given at a time when the routine of sacrifices and holy

Rites was abandoned, partly as out of their power to maintain, partly as

useless for such as were alienated from God and appointed to die!

How should men eat the Passover who had but escaped from Egypt to

perish miserably in a howling wilderness? Even so Christ was given to a

race which had little belief and less comfort in its religious rites, Jewish

or Gentile; which knew itself alienated from God (Ephesians 2:12),

excluded from heaven; which had tried all outward and formal rites, and

found that they could not deliver from the fear of death. Even the

Divinely-given, religious system of Moses had not a word to say about

the life to come, could not whisper one syllable of comfort to the dying soul.

 

  • AS TO THE CHOICE OF VICTIM. Consider:

 

Ø      That the victim was (so far as could possibly be) one, and one

 only; in striking contrast to the multiplicity and constant repetition

(with its consequent difficulty and expense) of the ordinary sacrifices

of the law.  One red heifer availed for centuries. Only six are said

to have been required during the whole of Jewish history; for the smallest

quantity of the ashes availed to impart the cleansing virtue to the holy

water. Had it indeed been possible to preserve the ashes from unavoidable

waste, no second red heifer would ever have needed to be offered. Even

so THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST IS ONE, AND ONLY ONE, AS

TO ALL THE OFFERINGS OF THE LAW; AND THIS BECAUSE

THE AVIALING POWER OF IT AND THE CLEANSING VIRTUE

OF HIS ATONEMENT ENDURE FOR EVER, WITHOUT THE

SLIGHTEST LOSS OF EFFICACY OR POSSIBILITY OF BEING

EXHAUSTED!

 

Ø      That the victim was a heifer, not a male animal, as in almost all

other cases. Even so we may believe with reverence that there was a

distinctly feminine side to the character of Christ, a tenderness and

gentleness which might have been counted weakness had it not been

united with so much masculine force of command and energy of will.

And this was necessary to the perfect Man; for whereas Eve was taken

from out of Adam after his creation, this points to the subtraction from

the ideal man of some elements of his nature, so that man and

woman only represent between them a complete humanity. As, therefore,

we ever find in the greatest men some strongly-marked feminine traits of

character, so we may believe that in Christ, who was the second Adam,

and (in a special sense) the seed of the woman, this feminine side of the

perfect ideal was fully restored.

 

Ø      That the victim was red. Even so our Lord, as touching His bodily

nature, was of that common earth, which is red, from which Adam took

his name. Moreover, He was red in the blood of His passion, as the

prophet testifies (Isaiah 63:1-2; Revelation 19:13).

 

Ø      That it was without blemish. A matter about which the Jews took

incredible pains, three hairs together of any but the one color being held

fatal to the choice. Even so OUR LORD even by the testimony of Jews

and heathens, was without fault and irreproachable (John 7:46; 18:23;

19:4; I Peter 2:22).

 

Ø      That no yoke had ever come upon it. The innocent freedom of its young

life had never been harshly bent to the purposes and plans of others. Even

so our Lord was never under any yoke of constraint, nor was any other

will ever imposed upon Him. It is true that He made Himself obedient to

His Father in all things, to His earthly parents within their proper sphere,

and to His enemies in His appointed sufferings; but all this was purely

voluntary, and it was of the essence of His perfect sacrifice that no

constraint of any sort was ever put upon Him. It was His own will

which accepted the will of others, as shaping for Him His life and destiny.

 

  • AS TO THE MANNER OF SACRIFICE, Consider:

 

Ø      That the red heifer was led outside the camp (or city) of God to die in

an unhallowed placea thing absolutely singular, even among sacrifices

for sin. Even so our Lord, by whose death we are restored to life, suffered

without the gate (Hebrews 13:12); partly because He was despised and

rejected, but partly because He was an anathema, made a curse for us,

concentrating upon Himself all our sin and death; partly also because He

died not for that nation only (whose home and heritage was the holy city),

but for THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD BEYOND!

 

Ø      That the heifer was delivered to the chief priest, and by him led

 forth to die, but slain by other hands before his face. Even so our

Lord was delivered unto Caiaphas and the Jewish priesthood, and by

them was He brought unto His death; but He was crucified by alien

hands, not theirs, God so over-ruling it (John 18:31), yet in their

presence, and with their sanction and desire.

 

Ø      That the death of the heifer was not in appearance sacrificial, but

became so when its blood was sprinkled towards the sanctuary by

the finger of, the priest. Even so the death of Christ upon the cross

was not made an atoning sacrifice by its outward incidents, or even by

its extreme injustice, or by the hatred of the Truth which prompted it;

for then it had been only a murder, or a martyrdom, and not equal to

many others in the cruelty shown or the suffering patiently endured; but

it became A TRUE PROPIATORY SACRIFICE by virtue of the

deliberate will and purpose of Christ, whereby he (being Priest as

well as Victim) offered His sufferings and death in holy submission and

with devout gladness to the Father. As the priest sprinkled of the blood

with his own finger towards the sanctuary, and made it a sacrifice, so

Christ, by His will to suffer for us and to be our atonement with God,

imparted an intention or direction to His death which made it in

the deepest sense a sacrifice (Luke 12:50; John 10:17-18; 17:19;

Hebrews 9:14; 10:8-10).

 

Ø      That the heifer was wholly consumed with fire, as was the case

with all sin offerings for the sins of many, as a thing wholly due unto

God.  Even so Christ was wholly given up by Himself unto that God

who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29), a fire of wrath against sin,

a fire of love towards the sinner. In this flame of Divine zeal against sin,

of Divine zeal for souls, was Christ wholly consumed, nothing in Him

remaining indifferent, nothing escaping the agony and the cross (compare

John 2:17).

 

Ø      That, contrary to the universal rule, the blood of the heifer was not

poured away, but was burnt with the carcass, and so was represented

in the ashes. Even so “the precious blood” of Christ which He shed

for our redemption did not pass away; the cleansing virtue of it and

the abiding strength of it remain for ever in the means and ministries

of grace which we owe to HIS ATONING DEATH!

 

Ø      That cedar, hyssop, and scarlet were mingled in the burning.

Even so there are for ever mingled in the passion of Christ, never to

be lost sight of if we would view it aright, these three elements:

 

o       fragrance and incorruption,

o       cleansing efficacy,

o       martial and royal grandeur.

 

If we omit any of these we do wrong to the full glory of the cross;

for these three belong to Him, as the Prophet, the fragrance of

whose holy teachings has filled the world; Him as the Priest, who

only can purge us with hyssop that we may be clean; Him as the

King who never reigned more gloriously than on the tree (see

Song of Solomon 3:11; Matthew 27:28; Colossians 2:15).

 

Ø      That the priest himself and the man that slew the heifer became

unclean, contrary to the usual rule. Even so the Jewish priesthood

and the heathen soldiery who slew our Lord, albeit He died for them

as well as for others, yet incurred a fearful guilt thereby (Acts 2:23).

 

 

  • AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE EXPIATION. Consider:

 

Ø      That the ashes were, so far as could be presented to the senses,

The indestructible residue of the entire victim, including its blood,

after the sacrifice was completed. Even so the whole merits of Christ,

the entire value and efficacy of His self-sacrifice, of His life given for us,

of all that He was, and did, and suffered — remain ever, and abide

with us, and ARE AVAILABLE FOR OUR CLEANSING!

 

Ø      That the ashes of the heifer were laid up, but not by the priest, or by

any one concerned in its death, without the camp in a clean place.

Even so the merits of Christ and the efficacy of His sacrifice are preserved

for ever; yet not in the Jerusalem below, nor by any agency of them that

slew Him; but HE HIMSELF (see v.4.) hath laid them up for the use of

all nations in the Church which is “clean,” as governed and sanctified by

His Holy Spirit.

 

Ø      That the ashes of the heifer when mixed with “living water” were

Made a purification for sin unto Israel to deliver them from the

 bondage of death. Even so the merits of Christ and the virtue of

His atonement are AVAILABLE FOR ALL,  through the

 operation of the Holy Spirit (John 4:10; 7:38), to purify from all sin,

and to set free from the power of death.

 

Ø      That when any unclean person was to be purged, it must be done by

a clean person,” not by any one having need of cleansing himself. Even

so the cleansing efficacy of Christ’s atonement must be applied to the

sinful soul only by one that is clean, and not by any one under like

condemnation with himself. And this “clean person” can only be

CHRIST HIMSELF who only is holy, harmless, and undefiled

(Job 14:4; 15:14; Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:22); wherefore the

sprinkling of purification from sin and death can only be

effected by CHRIST HIMSELF!

 

Ø      That the clean person did not apply the water for purification with

His finger, as when the priest sprinkled the blood, but by means of

hyssop, a lowly herb used as an aspergillum (compare Exodus 12:22;

I Kings 4:33; Psalm 51:7). Even so it hath pleased the Lord to apply the

Cleansing virtue of His blood and passion to souls unclean not directly and

personally, as He offered His sacrifice of Himself to the Father, but

through lowly means and ministries of grace, by means of which He

Himself is pleased to work  (Compare John 4:1-2; 13:20; 20:21-23;

I Corinthians 10:16; II Corinthians 2:10; 4:7; Galatians 3:27).

 

Ø      That the unclean person was to be sprinkled on the third day and

 on the seventh day ere he was wholly cleansed from the savor of

death. Even so must the cleansing virtue of the atonement come unto

us in the twofold power,

 

o       of the resurrection, wherein we rise from the death of sin unto

the active life of righteousness;

 

o       of the holy sabbath, wherein we rest from our own works by

renouncing self and living for God and for our neighbor. The

cleansing which has not this double moral aspect is not perfect –

the savor of death is not taken away. Nor is the order inverted

because the third day (of resurrection) comes before the seventh

(of rest); for as a fact the activities of the new life in Christ do

precede in the soul the cessation of the old life, which is the

spiritual sabbath.

 

 

 

 

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