“Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “This is the regulation from the Torah which Adonai has commanded. Tell the people of Israel to bring you a young red female cow without fault or defect and which has never borne a yoke.”-Numbers 19:1-2
Do to the evangelical church’s obsession with end time events and prophecy, recently more and more attention is being paid to the contents in Numbers Chapter 19.
The reason is because in this section of the Bible, we’re given the details of the famous Red Heifer Sacrifice.
As you may or may not know, there is a group of Jews on the constant lookout for a perfect special red-skinned cow which will become necessary when the long anticipated third Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.
Although, Numbers 19 does give us the details of the Red Heifer ritual, we’ll find that far from dealing with prophecy the purpose of all these ritual procedures is to decontaminate a person who has become unclean due to coming into contact with a dead body.
From this point on, we’re going to be putting aside the topic of HOLINESS for a while as we focus on this specific type of impurity (contamination due to touching a corpse).
And remember, when I say “impurity“, understand that I am talking about the very same thing as UNCLEANNESS.
However, before we leave the topic of HOLINESS behind (for a while), a solemn reminder.
It is of utmost importance to keep in mind that the HOLINESS that resides within us can be defiled and that we should do our best to protect ourselves from contamination by UNCLEAN people, spirits and things.
In other words, don’t be thinking that how HOLINESS operates changed with the coming of Yeshua.
We must remain vigilant and one of the ways of doing that is to understand what God’s TORAH actually says about HOLINESS.
Now, we’re going to discover a mysterious paradox as we study the procedures of the Red Heifer story.
This paradox is connected to what happens when the ashes from the sacrificed Red Heifer are sprinkled on the unclean man who was contaminated by a corpse.
So stay tuned.
To get started, let’s take a look at the characteristics of the special animal used in this fascinating sacrificial ritual.
-The animal to be used is a female red cow, what is called a Red Heifer
-It is to be young but no younger than a year old
-It is to “never have been yoked” which means it is to never have been used for COMMON work.
-As all animals used in ritual sacrifice, this animal must be unblemished.
-The priest must take the red heifer OUTSIDE THE CAMP to be killed.
A few points on that last point.
Do you remember what “outside the camp” means?
The only area that is considered ritually clean ground is INSIDE the camp where the Israelites live.
Over time, the boundaries defining exactly which area was considered inside the camp became very clear.
Also understand that there is a DIFFERENCE between an area being “RITUALLY CLEAN” and “RITUALLY HOLY”.
The only “RITUALLY HOLY” area was the space inside the Tabernacle courtyard (later the Temple courtyard).
The remaining area outside of the “RITUALLY HOLY” area but INSIDE THE CAMP was considered “RITUALLY CLEAN“.
That last sentence was quite a mouthful, wasn’t it?
I hope you got it.
So to close, the red heifer was escorted OUTSIDE OF THE CAMP to an UNCLEAN place where a makeshift altar made out of COMMON firewood was erected and that’s where the sacrifice was made.
To be continued…