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The Red Heifer
by Wayne Blank
The Red Heifer
"This is the statute of the law which The Lord has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and upon which a yoke has never come. And you shall give her to Eleazar the priest [see Levites], and she shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him; and Eleazar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight; her skin, her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burned; and the priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet stuff, and cast them into the midst of the burning of the heifer."
"Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterwards he shall come into the camp; and the priest shall be unclean until evening. He who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening."
"And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity, for the removal of sin. And he who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. And this shall be to the people of Israel, and to the stranger who sojourns among them, a perpetual statute." (Numbers 19:1-10 RSV)
The New Testament Perspective Of The Red Heifer
"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come [see Type and Antitype], then through the greater and more perfect tent, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
"For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works [see Works] to serve the living God."
"Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant."
"For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you." And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."
"Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time [see The Return Of Jesus Christ], not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him." (Hebrews 9:11-28 RSV)
A Modern-Day Return Of The Red Heifer?
Right now, there are a number of Jewish groups (some with support from Christian groups) who are actively preparing for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (see Temples) in Jerusalem. These preparations include efforts, in Israel and Texas, among other places, to breed a perfect red heifer for use in the Temple service.
This Week's Bible Quiz
True or false?
1. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, had other children after Jesus was born.
2. King Herod ruled Judea when Jesus Christ was born.
4. John The Baptist was martyred by stoning.
6. Jesus cursed an Olive Tree that had no olives and it immediately withered.
7. Jesus Christ summed up the first four Commandments with "Love The Lord your God with all your heart," and the last six Commandments with, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
8. Jesus Christ said that there would be great earthquakes in the time just before His return.
9. Joseph Of Arimathea owned the tomb in which Jesus Christ was buried.
10. Nicodemus assisted in the burial of Jesus Christ.
For the answers to this October 10 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page