Numbers Chapter 19

The Red Heifer


THE true heading of all the books of Moses is to be found in the words of Jesus, “Moses wrote of me.” Take the Lord Jesus Christ with you as a key, and how ever difficult books like Lev. or Num.  may at first sight appear, there is not one enigma in the whole collection which will not speedily open &  yield instruction. To us, the types are not a dark mystery to perplex our faith, but an open vision to delight our eyes.


So true For the believer in Jesus Christ we look back at the stories & ceremonies of the OT realizing they are opportunities for us to discover some new light in which our LORD’S beauty shines

A)And it gives us the chance to behold him from a different point of view, so that we may love Him more deeply & trust Him more fully!!


B) Numbers Ch. 19 gives us an opportunity to do that it is a text that is pregnant w/ meaning -  Read the Chapter


A heifer is a female cow which has never been pregnant, and thus cannot yet give milk; they had to get a one with a red color -

A) The sacrifice of the Red heifer was used for the cleansing of Defilement – particularly that of touching a dead Body v.11-13

1) being in a tent where someone had died v. 14-15 / Or by touching anything that had been defiled v.16


B) In v.3 we see The Sacrifice was unusual in that it WAS NOT  done upon the altar – but the Heifer was taken outside of the camp

1) The complete carcass of the animal would be burnt, & the ashes gathered by one who would observe ceremony before and after the gathering of ashes.


C) v.5 Its blood . . . shall be burned: Unlike every other sacrifice in the OT, the blood of the red heifer is burnt along with the sacrifice,

1) instead of being completely drained out at the jugular.


D) So Blood was to be part of the ashes that would come forth from the burning of the carcass of the red heifer.

Now in V.6 we see that Eleazer placed  3 important things into fire : Cedar wood, Hyssop (a porous plant that absorbs liquid & Scarlet

A)All 3 were used in the cleansing ceremony for a healed leper .


B) Now once the Heifer was burned the ashes were placed in a 2 to 3 galloon pot & kept there to be used in the cleansing Process


C) The person who became defiled had to wait 3 days after their defilement / 1) then go outside the camp w/ a ceremonially clean man to this place where the ashes were kept.


D) The man would then take a pinch of the ashes mix it w/ running water in a vessel dip hyssop into the water & sprinkle it upon the unclean person

1) The process would be repeated 4 days later on the 7th day


E) Now If a defiled person refused to be purified it was a serious offense

1) SO SERIOUS that they were cut off from the nation – because if he remained he would defile everyone else.


Now some of you might be thinking – who cares – what do the ashes of some red cow have to do w/ everyday life

A)I will Simply say - a lot / this Chapt is an incredible picture of how we as believers can become defiled & the Purification - available to us thru JC


B) Break this down today in this way: Consider 3 things:  1st want to consider how we as believers are subject to being defiled on a daily basis

1) 2ndly I want to consider how this Red Heifer is a wonderful Picture of Christ


C) 3rd I want us to consider how the ashes & the water speak of the daily cleansing available to us in the Lord


D) All the other sacrifices were given before – they began their wilderness wanderings – there are Sinai { Speak of Salvation

1) This one after : Speaks of the Daily cleansing that we need

So first of all lets consider how we as believers are subject to becoming defiled on a daily basis

A)Now it is true that as Believers in JC our we have been freed from the Power of sin in our lives no longer under Bondage { Saved


B) And Rescued from the Penalty of Sin - God is not going to judge the Christian – for his sin because his sin has been placed on Jesus

1) Jesus already paid the price for it – God doesn’t require a double payment


C) God will not Judge you for that which Christ has already took the Judgment & endured the Punishment


D) So we have been freed from the Power of sin / Rescued from the Penalty of sin –

1) But DAILY we still deal w/ the Presence of sin in our own lives & in the world –


E) There is not a day that goes by where we don’t find ourselves being defiled in one way or another : Consider the parallels found in our text



In V. 11 we read that The person who touches a dead body shall be declared unclean for 7 days

A)First of all our Problem is that we are daily in Contact w/ the dead man who is inside of us –Our Old man


B) When we trusted Christ for our Salvation the Bible declares that our Old man was Crucified w/ Christ – Put to death – rendered inactive

1)We have been made a New creature in Christ – given a New nature – a desire to walk after the spirit of God


C) But because we live in this Fleshly body there is a residue of that old man  – that is still around &  will resurface  from time to time

1) New birth in Christ brings death to the sinful self, but it does not bring death to the temporal flesh its corrupted inclinations until…. HEAVEN

Now it is Important to remember that the Christian life is not about reforming the natural man/ the flesh -the old nature

A)The flesh needs to just die / needs to get deader


B)So there is the defilement that comes from the presence of sin – that remains in us the residue of the old man that still need to be put off 

1) Put on the new man – walk in that newness of life


Moreover, we get defilement, not only from our own actual sins, but from inner action with sinners.

A)In v.14 we are told that when a man dies in a tent all that come into the tent or who are in the tent when it happens – are defiled


B) Pt . we can be defiled from just being around other sinners – being in a sinful world – where there are those who are spiritually dead


C) Example: Denise I went to the beach last week on my day off – We went to this place where I like to go – secluded

1)   When we arrived – hardly anyone was there - COOL – I said this is why I like to come here


D) Soon enough the crowd arrived – over here is the woman who needed to put on some more clothes –

1)   Right in front of us – JR. High kids who were loud & Obnoxious & obscene


E) Although we had a great relaxing time : Still left feeling a bit defiled by what I saw & what I heard



But that is the way living in this world is: Wake up have great devotions reminded of how you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ

A)Off to work – white robe – Praising the Lord - off into traffic / road is full of jerks – defiled –


B) Walk into your Job – surrounded by death / defilement – people are doing things saying things – { end of day Mud all over white Robe

1)So there is a defilement that comes from just being around other sinners


V.16 We see that it is easy to become defiled accidentally

A)If someone was just walking thru an open field minding their own business – happen to step on a Bone of someone who died – defiled


B) How often are we going thru our day minding our own Business – somebody says something – that defiles you – Gossip

1)   They throw a Bone in your path – to see how you are going to react - & you want nothing to do w/ it – but the conversation has defiled you


C) You walk away going why did they have to tell me that !!!!

1)   Stuff written on the stall of the restroom at work / Billboard / Commercial the Magazine rack at the check out line at Grocery store


D) You weren’t looking for any of those things – You just happened upon them – but they left you defiled

1)   All it takes is one little hit of the skunk to make you need a shower & Burn your clothes


V.16 We also see that we can become defiled by things that are below the surface that are not scene

A)If a man was walking thru an open field – walked across a piece of ground where a man had been buried – { unmarked grave }


B) Suddenly it is revealed to him that – it is an unmarked grave - defiled 1) I see in this those things that are deep w/ in us – an attitude of the heart that we think is long gone or isn’t there – {Suddenly it is revealed – surfaces


C) A motive of the heart that we didn’t even realize that we had but it gets exposed in the heat of the moment- Defiled

CHS Many of our MOTIVES are but the graves of sin, and many of our

actions, which we think so admirable, have loathsome rottenness within.

D) The point of all this – is there are many things on a daily basis that can cause us to become defiled


E) But the good news is there is a Red Heifer that is available for the Christian so he can receive cleansing from daily defilement

1)   I want us to consider 2ndly How the Red Heifer is a picture of Christ



1st v.2 Heifer came from among the people
1)Christ came from among the people (Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us { He is one of us


2nd V.2  Heifer was  a “Female”
1) Christ was sold for 30 pieces of silver - the price of a “Female slave” - male slaves were sold for 50 pieces of silver

3rd Red Heifer – Red speaks of Blood

1) This pointed to the suffering & death of Christ - Eph 2:13

 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.


4th v.2 Heifer was without spot or blemish
 1) Christ was also w/out spot Sin or Blemish – defect


2 Cor.5:21 “For He (God) has made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ).”



1 Peter 1:18-19

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.


Now The Jews were so fanatical about this that if the heifer had more than 3 hairs that were not red, the heifer would be disqualified

A) Side note interesting today that in Israel there are those who believe that as soon as another red Heifer is discovered – Build temple


B) 1997 – Found one – 3 white hairs in her tale – blemished well in April of this year another one was born – wait 3 yrs see if she is Pure


5th v.2  Heifer knew no yoke of bondage –

1)   Christ knew no bondage Jesus Christ was NEVER controlled or steered by any man 

2)   He operated ONLY in the fear of God... NEVER under the fear of man

3)   His only Yoke was a Yoke of LOVE


6th v.3  Heifer was taken outside the camp for sacrifice
1) Christ was also taken outside the camp (gates) of Jerusalem to Calvary.


Heb 13:12 NIV

12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.


NOTE: During Temple days  We know from the Talmud that the Jews took the Red Heifer and took it outside the horse gate

A)The Horse gate is known in later times as the Damascus Gate


B) Guess  what is just outside of the Damascus Gate?  Golgotha... Calvary


C) The very gate that Jesus went out of and at the very place where Jesus was crucified



7th v.4 Heifer was slain before the Priest, but not by the Priest
1) Christ was slain by the Gentile Romans before, but not by the  Priest.


8th  v.6 The “Heifer” was burned with “cedar, hyssop, & scarlet” -
1. Cedar - large tree, regal; speaks of the Deity of Christ

2. Hyssop - most common of all little weeds in Israel; speaks of the Humanity of Christ- COMMON
3. Scarlet - red dye; speaks of the Blood of Christ

9th v.20  What Happened to Those Who Refused Cleansing?
1) Those who refused cleansing were “cut off”- separated from God!

So too those who refuse the cleansing available thru Christ …….

So we see how the Red Heifer is a Beautiful picture of Christ WHO was sacrificed so that cleansing would be made available

A)But this is where this sacrifice differs from the other offerings / take the sin offering for instance


B) The sin offering meant that the sins of the people were covered that atonement was made

1)   The sin offering Prefigured that Jesus would come to be the final sin offering sins not just covered but removed – AT-ONE-MENT


C) The sin offering had to deal w/ the Penalty of sin being dealt w/

This offering & ritual had more to do w/ the Presence of sin

1)   The daily defilement of Sin – you see it was not  the Sacrifice that  Brought the cleansing


D) It was the Sprinkling of the water w/ the ashes mixed into it that brought the cleansing –


This is the 3rd & final thing I want us to consider is how the ashes & the water represent the daily cleansing available to us in the Lord

A)The Ashes stored in the Pot – ready to be put into the water illustrated a Perpetual Statue – that Cleansing was available

1)   Whenever it would come close to running out – a new Red Heifer would be sacrificed – the Pot would be filled w/ the ashes again

Here is the Point for us – the ashes represent the sacrifice that was offered the Blood & all .

A)The water represents the word of God


B) Jesus said you are clean thru the word that I have spoken to you

1) How can a young man cleanse his way By taking heed according to Your word.


C) The daily cleansing comes as we take the word of God & apply what it says about the work of God { Sending Christ to be our sacrifice


D) They would take this pinch of ashes { Speaks of the Sacrifice / including the Blood {take the water (speaks of the word )

1)And sprinkle you with water on the 3rd day (speaking of the resurrection) and on the 7th day (speaking of Perfection & completion)


E) All of this pointed to how Jesus the perfect sacrifice would be resurrected for us thus  completing the work of redemption


Jesus offered a Sacrifice once & For all – Heb 10:10

A)The word tells us Not a bone was broken – Blood in the bone marrow

Perpetual Flow { Always ashes in the Pot


B) What is it that God has supplied for our Cleansing? Is it a pot that can be cracked?  No!! A well that can dry up ? No

1) No, there is a fountain open for sin and for uncleanness. We wash, the fountain flows; we wash again, the fountain flows still.


It is inexhaustible, for it is fountain-fullness.


C) The word tells us 1Jn. 1:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful …..

1)   See in our text the defiled person had to go out for cleansing – form of confession admitting that they had been defiled


D) That is what we do – Come each day – Lord I have been defiled

Neat Picture that illustrates this  in Jn 13 involving Peter at last supper  A)Jesus washes feet – Peter resist …. No part w/ me ……. Wash all of me   He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;


B) Feet walking thru the day – dusty roads would get dirty

1)   Same is true of us once we have been saved – cleansed – but we have daily contact w/ this DIRTY WORLD – result we get defiled


C) So we come to the Lord as the word declares & we confess our sin – the Blood of Jesus cleanses us again –

1)   And we get into the word & the word refreshes us – the word cleanses our minds / and changes our perspectives



Ever forget to take out the Garbage: It starts to Pile up / stink / house reeks / family is upset / neighbors grossed out

A)Same is true when we don’t deal w/ the sin & defilement in our lives

Our lives start to reach – family gets bummed / friends are grossed out


B) The way for daily cleansing has been made available – Use it –