“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Under the Old Covenant, animal sacrifice provided temporary protection from the immediate judgment of God upon sinful flesh. As today’s verse passage explains, Christ’s sacrifice provides His people not with temporary protection, but with inward cleansing and eternal redemption. Christ the Lord and the New Covenant He established with His own blood are infinitely greater, and better, than anything that has come before. The grand theme of the entire Bible is the redemptive work of the Blessed Savior. Today’s passage, for example, mentions the ashes of a heifer, which refers back to Numbers chapter 19. The heifer is to be red, flawless, and one on which no yoke has come (Numbers 10:2). This points to the uniqueness of Christ, His morally perfect character, and the fact that He laid His life down willingly; He was not compelled to by man (1 Peter 1:9; John 10:17-18). Just as the heifer was slain by the priest outside the camp (Numbers 19:3), Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem’s gate (Hebrews 13:12). The red heifer sacrifice involved wood, hyssop, and scarlet (Numbers 19:6), the very elements connected with the Lord’s passion (John 19:17, 29; Matthew 27:28). The priest was to kill the heifer, another was to burn its remains, while still another was called upon to gather its ashes. Strangely, the participants in the red heifer sacrifice were made unclean by it (Numbers 19:7-10). In light of New Testament revelation we understand that this points to those who would later kill the Lord Jesus. Though they (unknowingly—1 Corinthians 2:7-8) participated in Christ’s redemptive work, they nevertheless did wickedly by crucifying the Son of God and stood in dire need of cleansing and forgiveness. The heifer’s ashes were mixed with water and applied to the defiled persons on the third and seventh days (Numbers 19:12). Reference to the third day speaks of Christ’s resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4), and of our spiritual resurrection to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Reference to the seventh day speaks of the Sabbath rest that Christ offers His redeemed. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” said the Savior, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We marvel at the thematic unity of the Bible, surely the unmistakable mark of a supernatural, divine intelligence. May the Lord bless our reading of the Scriptures today, revealing in new spectacular ways portraits of His Beloved Son in Whom we are accepted.
God bless you, my dear friends and fellow heirs of the Kingdom,