I. Reading of Numbers 19
This is placed here in the book of Numbers for a special reason. It is found here in the book of the wilderness. This book depicts the children of Israel passing through the wilderness, which is typical for us in the world as we pass through it by faith.
The Christian is presently in the world (for which Egypt is the type), but not of the world anymore. At the same time, the believer has crossed the Red Sea and is enjoying, by faith, Canaan’s land (our inheritance in Christ Jesus) — we are found in Christ, seated in the heavenlies.
“Unclean” = a significant word we find in this chapter. It was a defilement that comes in with Israel along the pathway. It could be direct or indirect contact with something that defiled them.
This chapter might not seem pertinent to many today, but as we see things as God sees them, we get an entirely new perspective as it regards things down here. We learn how to see ourselves in the light of the word of God. It takes time and exercise to see things in their proper perspective as God sees them.
As regards the holiness of God – “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). Being so, what must be the grace of God, that He would go on with mankind for one moment longer than the present hour? It is God’s grace and mercy that we have in this chapter that makes it possible and hearkens to the work of the Cross.
In the first 10 verses, we have God’s provision in the Red Heifer for defilement contacted by the way. “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). This is the standard — “even as I am holy!” If we are going to be maintained in the holiness of that place into which we are brought — into the place of nearness to the Lord — then there has to be a provision for it. The Red Heifer then speaks of Christ.
III. Without Spot or Blemish
Miscellaneous from verse 2:
- Moses = picture of the authority and word of Jehovah
- Aaron = the priest
- In Christ, we have both the “Apostle and High Priest of our profession” (Hebrews 3:1)
The Red Heifer:
- The Red Heifer = “without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke” (vs. 2) = speaks of Christ, in the place of responsibility, without spot and never under the yoke of sin.
- The Heifer (female) was allowable in certain aspects of the offerings. The female aspect here is a type of man in responsibility in a place of subjection. As mankind, we are in a place of responsibility in subjection to the Lord whether sinners or believers. By creation, we belong to God.
- In the work of Christ: On the Cross, we see that he has bought with His blood everything for Himself. It is important, though, to remember that redemption is that purchasing which is connected only with believers. The Lord Jesus on the cross has made a double claim of possession now for God of every living being, saint or sinner. So man is doubly responsible now to God, both in creation and also in connection with the work of the cross. Man cannot escape this responsibility.
Holiness is the separation from that which defiles.
We cannot say that this characterizes our nature according to Adam (the first man). David writes in Psalm 51: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (vs. 5).
Only of the Lord could it be said, “that holy thing which shall be born of thee!” (Luke 1:35). He was the perfect One, sin apart. The Heifer speaks to us of that separate One who was without sin. “Without spot, wherein is no blemish.”
“Upon which never came yoke” = There never was a need for yoke in our Lord Jesus, because there was no flesh that had to be restrained.
The Three-fold Testimony of our Lord Jesus, the Sinless One:
- “In Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5)
- “Who did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22)
- “Who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
IV. Burned Outside the Camp
“Without the camp” (vs. 3)
It was a place of separation, and it is brought out in Hebrews 13:11-12 how the Lord fulfills this type. Because He was bearing our judgment, He was in a place of distance, outside the camp.
If we want to know the awfulness of sin in God’s sight, we have to see it as He sees it. If we see ourselves in the light of the cross of Christ, that place of distance, then we recognize what sinners Christ died for. Job goes through trial to learn how God sees things. He must reach his conclusion and say, “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes!” He was saying that as a child of God, and he was then finally seeing himself in God’s presence.
The whole animal is completely burned (vs. 5)
Cedarwood, Hyssop, and Scarlet
“Take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer” (vs. 6).
- Cedarwood = Man’s glory; Man’s goodliness
- Hyssop = (Little plant despised by man)
- Scarlet = Earthly glory; Everything which man might glory in
The height (cedarwood) and the depth (hyssop) of the things of man are all thrown into the fire to be burned.
All that remains are the ashes. All of man is gone in judgment, and nothing is left but Christ. They were to be gathered up and kept in a clean place outside the camp to be kept where it was mixed with water for a “water of separation” (vs. 9). This was for a purification for sin. It was not for sinners, but for the people of God when they did sin (get defiled).
“Water of separation” = Ashes would speak of self-judgment, and the water speaks to us of God’s word. It is a provision for believers, as God’s children, in view of defilement (coming into contact with the surroundings in which they are found. See vss. 11-16 ).
(More to be updated)