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"THE ASHES OF A HEIFER
SPRINKLING THE UNCLEAN"
Not One of the Atonement Day Sacrifices—Not One of the Subsequent Sacrifices for the People—The Class Typified by This Sacrifice—The Apostle Paul the Under-Priest Who Witnesses and Testifies Respecting the Antitype—The Sprinkling of the Ashes for the Cleansing of the People Will Be During the Millennial Age—How the Cleansing Will Be Effected.
ONE feature of the ceremonial law of Israel, related in Numbers 19, required the killing of a red heifer (cow)—one without blemish and which had never been under the yoke of service. It was not one of the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement, nor was it one of the offerings of the people subsequent to the Day of Atonement—indeed, it was no "offering" at all, for no part of it was offered on the Lord's altar or eaten by the priests. It was sacrificed, but not in the same sense, nor in the same place, as these offerings—in the Court. It was not even killed by one of the priests, nor was its blood taken into the Holy and Most Holy. The Red Heifer was taken outside the camp of Israel, and was there killed and burned to ashes—flesh, fat, hide, blood, etc.—except a little of the blood taken by the priest and sprinkled seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle (Revised Version and Leeser). The ashes of the heifer were not [T106] brought into the Holy place, but were left outside the Camp, gathered together in a heap, and apparently accessible to any of the people who had use for them. Under the prescription of the Law, a portion of the ashes was to be mixed with water in a vessel, and a bunch of hyssop dipped into this mixture was to be used in sprinkling the person, clothing, tent, etc., of the legally unclean, for their purification.
In view of what we have seen respecting the Day of Atonement sacrifices, which foreshadowed the better sacrifices of this Gospel age (accomplished by the Royal Priesthood, Christ, Head and Body) this heifer was in no sense related to these, and evidently did not typify any of the sacrifices of this present time. So likewise it is different from any of the sacrifices that were accepted on behalf of the people of Israel after the Day of Atonement, and which we have just shown signified their repentance and sorrow for sins during the Millennium, and their full consecration of themselves to the Lord. The burning of the heifer was not related to any of these sacrifices, all of which were made by the priests, and in the Court. We must look elsewhere for an antitype to this Red Heifer, for had it in any sense of the word represented the priests, it would of necessity have been killed by one of them as indicating that fact.
What, then, did this sacrifice of the red heifer signify?—What class or persons were represented by it, as having suffered outside the "Camp," and in what sense of the word would their sufferings have to do with the cleansing or purification of the people of God—including those who shall yet become his people during the Millennial age?
We answer that a class of God's people not of the "Royal Priesthood" did suffer for righteousness' sake outside the "Camp"; a brief history of these, and of the fiery trials which they endured, is given us by the Apostle in Heb. 11. [T107] Of these he says, after recounting the faith exploits of a number, "What shall I say more? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephtha; of David also, and of Samuel and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain by the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy." Heb. 11:32-38
Here we have a class fitting to the account of the Red Heifer—a class which laid down their lives outside the "Camp"; a class in every way honorable, and yet not a priestly class. This class being no part of the Body of the High Priest could have no part or share in the sin-offerings of the Atonement Day—nor could it be admitted into the spiritual conditions typified by the Holy and Most Holy. It may seem to some remarkable that we should, with so much positiveness, declare that these ancient worthies were not members of the "Royal Priesthood," while with equal positiveness we declare that the no more faithful servants of God of this Gospel age are members of this "Royal Priesthood." Our positiveness on this subject is the positiveness of the Word of God, which in the very connection with the narrative of the faithfulness of these patriarchs declares in so many words, "These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise [received not the [T108] chief blessing], God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Heb. 11:39,40
Nor should it be difficult for us to realize that although there could be antitypical Levites (justified by faith in a coming atonement) before our Lord Jesus came into the world, yet there could be no antitypical priests, for he was the Head or Chief Priest, and in all things had pre-eminence, and made atonement for the blemishes of his "Body" and of "his house" before any could become his brethren and members of the royal priesthood. Our Lord himself stated this matter very pointedly, and succinctly pointed out the line of demarcation between the faithful ones that preceded him and the faithful ones who would follow after him, walking in his footsteps, and becoming his joint-heirs. Of John the Baptist he said, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." (Matt. 11:11) John the Baptist belonged to this Red Heifer class which suffered outside the "Camp," even unto death, but he had nothing whatever to do with the still better sacrifices of the royal priesthood during the Atonement Day, whose fat and life producing organs were offered upon God's altar in the "Court," and whose blood was taken into the "Most Holy," typical of those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, even members of his "Body," the Church, joint-heirs with him in all things.
But while these ancient worthies are not in any sense part of the sin-offering, they are nevertheless connected with the cleansing from sin: their ashes (the knowledge and remembrance of their faithfulness unto death), mingled with the water of truth, and applied with the purgative, cleansing hyssop, is valuable, purifying, sanctifying all who desire to [T109] come into full harmony with God—and "sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purification of the flesh." Not, however, of themselves would these lessons of faithfulness in the past be valuable to us, but only by, through and associated with the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement, to which the Apostle refers in the same connection—"the blood of bulls and goats." And not only are the remembrance and lessons of the faithfulness of the ancient worthies (typified by the ashes of the red heifer) of sanctifying power to us now, but in a much larger sense they will be applicable and a blessing to the world of mankind in general during the Millennial age. For, as we have elsewhere seen, the divine arrangement is that these ancient worthies, the greatest of whom is less in honor than the least one in the Kingdom, will nevertheless occupy a place of high honor and distinction under that Kingdom of God—as its agents and representatives. For they shall be the "princes in all the earth," the agents of the Kingdom's judgments, and the channels of its blessings, to "all the families of the earth." Thus the faithfulness of these ancient worthies was represented in the gathered ashes of the heifer, as laid up in store for future use, valuable lessons of experience, faith, obedience, trust, etc., which, applied to the world of mankind, seeking cleansing in the coming age, will sanctify them and purify them—not without the Day of Atonement sacrifices, but in connection with and based upon those. Psa. 45:16
The burning of the heifer was witnessed by a priest, who took cedar wood and a sprig of hyssop and a scarlet string and cast them into the midst of the burning cow. The hyssop would represent purging or cleansing, the cedar wood or evergreen would represent everlasting life, and the scarlet string would represent the blood of Christ. The casting of these three into the midst of the burning would imply that the ignominy heaped upon the ancient worthies who [T110] were stoned, sawn asunder, etc., and of whom the world was not worthy, permitted the merit of the precious blood, the cleansing of the truth, and the gift of everlasting life to be accounted to them through faith; and that subsequent to their death they would be recognized as cleansed, justified, accepted. The under -priest (not Aaron, who typified the Lord Jesus) who saw, recognized and approved the burning of the heifer and who took of its blood and sprinkled it in the direction of the Tabernacle door, would seem well antityped in that great under-priest, the Apostle Paul, who, by the help of God (the name Eleazar signifies "Helped by God") has not only identified for us the sin-offerings of the Atonement Day, but also in his writings points out to us (Heb. 11) that which enables us to identify the Red Heifer sacrifice as typifying the ancient worthies. And thus he sprinkles their blood toward the Tabernacle, showing that their lives were in full, complete harmony with the Tabernacle conditions—although, not living in the time of this high calling, it was not their privilege to become members of the Body of the great High Priest, the royal priesthood.
In that the red heifer never wore a yoke, it represented a class of justified persons—made free from the Law Covenant. Although most of the ancient worthies were born under the Law Covenant, and therefore legally subject to its conditions and to its condemnation through imperfection of the flesh, nevertheless, we see that God justified them through faith, as the children of faithful Abraham. This is fully attested and corroborated by the Apostle, when he says that "all these obtained a good record of God through faith"—a verdict of, Well done, a testimony that they pleased God, and that he had provided for them blessings in harmony with his promise—although these blessings could not be given to them at the time, but must be waited for and be received through the spiritual Seed of Abraham— [T111] the Christ. The fact that this sacrifice must be a cow and not a bullock served to differentiate it from the great sacrifice of the Day of Atonement which could be a bullock only. That it must be a red cow would seem to teach that those ancient worthies were not sinless and therefore accepted of God before the great Atonement Day sacrifice, but that they were "sinners even as others." The fact of their cleansing or justification by faith, was otherwise indicated as above suggested.
The cleansings for which these red cow ashes were prescribed, were of a peculiar kind; namely, specially for those who came in contact with death. This would seem to indicate that these ashes of the heifer were not designed to remove the individual's guilt—no, his moral guilt could be cleansed away only through the merit of the Atonement Day sacrifices. The cleansing of defilement through contact with the dead would seem to teach that this cleansing, affected by and through the experiences of the ancient worthies, will specially apply to the world of mankind during the Millennial age, while they are seeking to get rid of all the defilements of Adamic death—seeking to attain human perfection. All the blemishes of the fallen condition are so much of contact with death; all constitutional weaknesses and blemishes through heredity are contacts with death: and from all of these the ashes of the Red Heifer are to be used for the cleansing of all who will become the people of God. Like the ashes of the red heifer, laid up in a clean place, so the results of the painful experiences of the ancient worthies will be a store of blessings, instruction and help, by which they, when made subordinate "princes" in the Kingdom, will assist in the restitution work. Each pardoned sinner, desiring to be cleansed perfectly, must not only wash himself with water (truth), but must also have applied to him the instructions of these "princes"—said instructions [T112] being typified by the sprinkled ashes of the heifer, representing the valuable lessons of faith and obedience learned through experience by this class. Exod. 12:22; Lev. 14:4,49; Psa. 51:7; Heb. 9:19
"What of my future? 'Tis glorious and fair.
Since justified, sanctified, glory I'll share.
By his blood first redeemed, by his grace then enthroned,
Side by side with my Lord, as his Bride I'll be owned.