Let’s Talk About the Red Heifer

I was having a discussion with one of my Facebook friends, a sister in the Lord (Yes, Sarah- I am talking about you) about the red heifer, and I said something that I think is worth sharing. I doubt it will be of any great significance or a wonderful revelation to anyone, but still and all, this is my ministry and so I will talk about it.

Seriously, I think it might be of interest to some.

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The red heifer is an important animal in Judaism. It is a rather rare birth, and when born the cow is to be sacrificed and its ashes used to cleanse those who have become ceremonially unclean when touching a dead body. You can read about the red heifer in Numbers 19:1-10. One of the interesting aspects of the process of preparing the ashes that purify and cleanse people is that for every step in that process, the one performing it is made unclean and must wash their clothes and their body in water, remaining unclean until the evening (i.e., the next day.)

I have read the red heifer is considered a foreshadowing of Yeshua, in that the death of the heifer cleansed people, just as did Yeshua’s death. Personally, I don’t really think that is such a good comparison.

True, the red heifer was killed outside the camp, and Yeshua was killed outside Jerusalem; and true, the death of the red heifer led to a process by which people could be made clean, and the death of Yeshua cleanses us of our sin.

But there are significant differences that I believe make this comparison weak, if not invalid.

For one thing, no one became unclean associating with Yeshua, but the person who burned the heifer, the one who watched it (the Cohen), and the one who collected the ashes all became unclean by their association. The ones who were around and in close proximity to Yeshua not only were not made unclean but instead received the Ruach HaKodesh!

The ashes of the red heifer were used to remove only the uncleanliness that one receives from being in contact with a dead body. There’s no sin in being exposed to or touching a dead body, only ceremonial uncleanliness. The ashes make you clean, ceremonially, but they do not remove sin.

That is a significant difference: the ashes of the red heifer are useful only to remove ceremonial uncleanliness, but they do not remove sin because being unclean is not a sin. God never says, anywhere, that if you are unclean you are in sin. You are not allowed in the sanctuary when unclean, and if you go to the sanctuary when you are unclean or participate in any service (such as a Seder), THAT would be a sin and the ashes of the red heifer would be useless to you. You will need to go through one of the sacrifices outlined in Leviticus 1-7 to remove that sin, and the red heifer ashes are not part of any of those sacrifices.

On the other hand, Yeshua’s sacrifice and the blood he shed cleanses from us our morally wrong sins.

Yes, when in sin we are “unclean”, but not in the same way as when touching a dead body. There is a BIG difference between being unclean because we touched someone’s dead body and being unclean because we killed that person; the former is a ceremonial condition and the latter is a mortal sin.

Now, let’s talk about something I do find to be a valid comparison between the red heifer and Yeshua.

As mentioned above, everyone involved with preparing the red heifer becomes unclean, and what I find interesting is that when we are first introduced to the Torah, the closer we come to the Torah, the more we become aware of our own moral uncleanliness.

In the letter he wrote to the Roman Believers, Shaul mentioned how the Torah created sin because before we were given the law, there was no way to identify sin. As we become more knowledgeable, or better yet let’s say “in contact”, with the Torah, we become more aware of our own sinfulness (uncleanliness) before God.

With Yeshua’s sacrifice, we can be cleansed of our uncleanliness (from sin) just as those who had the ashes of the red heifer sprinkled on them became cleansed of their (ceremonial) uncleanliness.

The red heifer made people unclean and clean, first in contact with it and later after it had been properly prepared for them.

Yeshua, the Living Torah, makes us unclean by identifying that which we do as a sin, and he also makes us clean through his sacrifice, i.e. after he had been “properly prepared” (by means of his crucifixion and resurrection.)

The red heifer and Yeshua initially make us unclean (through touch and learning about sin, respec.), and both have the power to make us clean after they have been “prepared”.

Interesting? I thought so, and I hope you found this little conversation to be interesting, as well.

That’s it for today. I thank you for being here and if you haven’t already subscribed, please do so on my website and on my YouTube channel as well, because they are different lists and I don’t always do a video.

You might also consider buying one or more of my books, and with that I will say l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Comments welcomed (just be nice)