The Book of Hebrews mentions this ceremony to illustrate that the korbanot only dealt with the cleansing of the flesh from a legal state of impurity. They never answered the real issues of the heart. The Second Redemption, or Messianic Redemption, does. Only Yeshua’s blood can deal with the heart (Exek 36.25). So, how does the clean becoming clean and unclean becoming clean apply?
2 Cor 5.21 says, “He made him who knew no sin a sin offering on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” Here is an illustration of this concept. Think about one sin you have committed, and a really bad one, one you would never want anyone to know. Now go and tell ten people what it was. How do you feel? What would you do if we wanted you to advertise that sin in a paper, or on Facebook? It would kill you, and humiliate you. That is what Yeshua did, and that is how we become clean and pure. He faced our sin and it killed him. We are humiliated and try to avoid it. One person’s sin was enough to kill him, but he took all our sin and it killed him. As a result, we no longer have to face those sins.
This heifer was to be unblemished (whole) with no defect (not injured) on which a yoke has never been placed (no works). Biblically, no age was required. The Rabbinical requirements that we read about today are just that, they are the requirements of the Rabbis. The Torah does not specify the age or some of the other rabbinical requirements. The Torah specifies that she must be red in color, without blemish (no limbs missing, etc) and not injured, and it must not have been used to perform any work. The heifer was brought outside the camp and slaughtered in the presence of the Deputy High Priest. The High Priest could not be defiled. Then the priest takes some of the blood with his finger and sprinkles some of its blood toward the front of the Ohel Moed (tent of meeting). He is standing east of it and this is done seven times, like he is wielding a whip.
Then the heifer was burned (the Saraph-“burning one”…more on that in Num 21) in his sight, like the priests looked on with Yeshua. The priest would take cedar wood (red), hyssop (which is called the “striking plant” in Israel. It was used on Yom Kippur, the cleansing of a leper and the first Passover. It alludes to the suffering servant Messiah in John 19.29, and a scarlet cloth. This is tied in to the blood of Yeshua. These three items were put into the burning heifer.
The priest washed his clothes and bathed in water, and afterward, came back into the camp. He would be unclean until evening. The one who burns the heifer will do the same thing. Then a man who is clean would gather up the ashes and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place. The congregation (kahal) would keep it for purification from sin and corpse uncleanness. The one who gathered the ashes washed his clothes and would be unclean until evening.
Now, if a person touched a corpse, they would be ritually unclean for seven days. That one would purify himself from uncleanness with water in the third and seventh day to be ritually clean. If he didn’t do this, the person remained unclean. Anyone who touched a corpse and did not purify himself defiles the sanctuary (Mishkan/Temple), and he was cut off (karet) from Israel. The water for impurity was not sprinkled on him.
If a person dies in a tent (house), everyone who comes into the tent (house) is unclean for seven days. Every open vessel which has no covering tied on it would be unclean. Anyone in an open field who touches a corpse, or a bone or grave, will be unclean for seven days. Ashes of the Parah Adumah are mixed with flowing water, and a clean person took hyssop and dipped it in the water. Then it was sprinkled on the tent (house), the furnishings, the people and the one who touched the corpse, bone or grave.
The clean person sprinkled the unclean person on the third and seventh day, and then the unclean person was purified. He washed his clothes and bathed himself in water and was unclean until evening. If the unclean person does not purify himself, he is cut off from the people (karet) because he has defiled the sanctuary. The water for impurity was not sprinkled on him. This was a perpetual statute.
Now, let’s briefly look at the prophetic implications. We all know that a Temple will be built and standing during the Birth-pains. But, the altar can be operating first without a Temple, which we believe will happen. It happened before in Ezra 3.1-6. They began to offer korbanot on Yom Teruah after they returned from Babylon. We believe that this will happen again. On the day that the catching away (Natzal) of the believers happens, it will be a Yom Teruah, year 6001 from creation. We believe that the korbanot will start to be offered on the altar on that day, but the Temple will not be built yet. That means that believers who will go in the Natzal will see the consecration of this altar and the purification of the priests. They will also see the red heifer ceremony.
All of this has to take place at least seven days before any priest can be purified to offer the korbanot on the altar. So, these are some of the signs we are looking for before the Natzal can occur. This also means that that the Natzal is not “imminent” as some teach and believe. The “rapture” as the Natzal is called cannot happen “at any time.” It has an appointed day called Yom Teruah, or Rosh Ha Shannah. You will also notice in Ezra 3.2 that the High Priest here is a man named Yeshua (spelled with a “J” in English Bibles). This same Yeshua is named “Joshua” in Zech 6.11-12 and Zech 3.1. Here are some other verses with Yeshua in the Hebrew text: 1 Chr 24.11; 2 Chr 31.15; Ezra 2.6, 2.40, 8.33; Neh 3.19, 7.11, 7.43, 8.7, 8.17, 9.4-5, 12.8, 12.24. As you can see, it was a popular name even then. What you will not see is some of the ways Yeshua is said today, like “Yahshua.” That name cannot be found in the Hebrew text, but Yeshua is. Anyone who says “Yahshua” does not know Hebrew. Now, let’s look at Num 20.1-29.
We learn in Num 20.1 that Miriam dies and this is 38 years after the previous verses. In addition, the congregation (kahal) was not the same. Their bodies had fallen in the wilderness. There is no mention of a period of mourning for Miriam, and Moses is obviously grieving at this point. So, we learn that there was no water at this time, and this new generation gathered against Moses and Aaron (v 2). Not only does he lose his sister, but now he has to deal with these people. Instead of consoling him, they contend with him (v 3). The people did not have water when Miriam died, and the people complained saying they wished they had died when their brothers died (at Taberah in Num 11.1-35, Korah and his company, the 14,700 in Num 16.49, etc).
We will pick up here in Part 21 with what happened with Moses and the rock in Num 20.8-13.