Ashes of Glory
Types and Shadows of Christ in the Old Testament
Study of the
The study of types in the Scriptures, it is not for the reverting to those things which were done, in the times of old, but through the studies, we gain an understanding for that which it represented. In this case, they all represented Christ. Therefore, when we understand, we do not revert to the Law or the practice of the Laws, but we see more of Christ and less of ourselves.
The study of interest of this exposition is the Red Heifer. Its practical definition is that of a young cow. Animals played a crucial role in the illustrations of that which was to come. Unlike, heathen religions where humans were used as a sacrifice to appease their gods, but in the Scriptures, the sanctity of human life was observed and recognized. Animals were not to appease God, they served as an illustration of what was to come.
The first mention of the Red Heifer is found in the book of Numbers. This book, the fourth book of the Bible serves as the book of wandering of God’s people. The setting of the Book of Numbers is the wilderness. The lesson of the Book of Numbers is, we all at times find ourselves in a wilderness. Nevertheless, though we pass through the wilderness for an experience, but we do not stay in the wilderness. The means in which we overcome our adversity of a wilderness experience, is through Christ and Christ alone, and His precious shed Blood.
Before His blood was shed, men of old were taught what Christ represented, through many illustrations and types. One of the illustration and type is that of the Red Heifer. We read of this in the 19 chapter of Numbers. Thus, it is written; the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.
Although the types represented Christ, yet in their representations they portray His perfection. The Red Heifer was to be without spot nor blemish. This speaks of Christ’s perfection. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.
(1 Peter 2:22)
He came into an imperfect, sinful world that He might impute His perfection to those who believe.
The burden of sin is the guilt and the bondage thereof, as the blind cannot lead the blind, without Christ, we as sinners cannot deliver one another. The guilt of sin and the bondage thereof cannot be lifted by ourselves. For we were all under the same bondage. There was one to come (Christ) who would takeaway sin and its bondage. This was represented in the Red Heifer, by the phrase, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke – this speaks of Christ being without bondage. Through faith, may we cease from our bondage and works, to receive His perfect rest.
From the descriptions above, one can easily perceive the Red Heifer was a fine specimen of its kind. The importance, however, wasn’t in its exquisiteness, rather its death by the burning thereof. Like Christ, though He fed 5,000 plus with five loaves and the two fish, but it did not save anyone. He walked on water, calmed the raging storm by speaking to it, yet it did not save a single soul. It took the death of Christ on the Cross to save and deliver fallen humanity.
There wasn’t to be a white hair or a black hair on the Red Heifer. Though we as human wrongly perceive through race and ethnicity, but in the eyes of God there is neither black or white. We are all descendants of Adam. The man Adam name typifies red, or earth color. Therefore, in the eyes of God, humanity is one race of earth. A fallen race in needs of a Saviour.
The Red Heifer, was to be burned without the camp (outside the camp) the camp, was before Israel establishment as a nation in their land. Christ was crucified without the gates. (outside the city)
It doesn’t matter where we find ourselves in life, an open wilderness or a city or brick and stones. The answer to what we seek is found in Christ and His death on the Cross.
The slaying of the Red Heifer wasn’t done in hiding.
Christ death on the Cross was open to all, as the result, those who believe, their redemption shall be a manifestation for all to see the glory of God.
The Red Heifer was a female. This isn’t a contradiction of Christ as a man. Rather, it signifies those who accept what Christ did on their behalf, they become His bride. Denoting that which is special to a man. Further indication gives us an insight to the body of Christianity, as reproductive. The Church is not to be barren and static, but through the Gospel it may expand throughout the world.
Its blood was taken by the priest with his finger, the blood was sprinkled directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times.
The tabernacle signifies a dwelling, the Christian dwelling is the union with God, but before this union is established, there must be perfection. The seven, represents God’s perfection. This is only accomplished through the shed Blood of Christ. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
On the Cross, seven words did Christ uttered.
On the Cross, seven places from His body He did shed His blood, for the remission of our sins that we may receive His perfection.
The lasting effect of Christ’s death on the Cross for humanity was seen in the account that follows the slaying of the Red Heifer. Its body was burned in whole. The fire carries double meaning. It first speaks of the judgment of God, which Christ took upon Himself for us. Consequently, the fire brings forth purity, when Christ took our judgment, we were set free from the penalty of sin.
We are told in 1 Peter 2:24 LITV.
Christ "Himself carried up in His body our sins" onto the tree; that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness, of whom "by His wound you were healed."
Likewise, the burning of the Red Heifer was followed by the casting of cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, these were cast into the midst of the burning of the heifer. The cedar wood represents the Cross of Christ, whatever our problem is, may we cast the Cross of Christ in the mist of it.
The hyssop – a low shrub of plant, represents Christ humanity. Though He was deity, he laid it aside for the redemption of man, without losing possession of His deity.
The scarlet sums up the aspect of this illustration of His precious blood.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalms 51:7)
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
It is to be understood, the blood of the heifer was mentioned only once in the chapter, found in verse five. Typifying, Christ died once to sin, He became our offering all eternity. For this reason, He said, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18)
Though He died once to sin, the benefits of His death brought forth life and the ongoing blessings to those who believe. Like the heifer, in its death, out of its ashes came forth blessings and protection typifying Christ.
This was known as the water of separation or the purification of sin. The ashes of the Red Heifer were gathered and kept. The ashes were placed in a running water. The water typifies the Holy Spirit, as a running water, this implies the moving of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, the Spirit of God is not stagnant, but active and alive.
This water was then used for separation for those who were defiled, that they may come into the presence of the Lord having been cleansed.
Today we live in an unclean world, though we are in it, we are not a part of it. Like the ashes of the heifer of old, now we have Christ of whom the heifer pointed to, and He is better. May our separation be from that which is unclean and wrong through our union with Christ.
For if the blood of bulls and goats, and ashes of a heifer sprinkling those having been defiled, sanctifies to the purity of the flesh, by how much more the blood of Christ (who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God), will purify your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:13-14 LITV)
Work without Christ is a dead work. He worked on our behalf that we may rest in Him.
Out of the ashes of old, now is manifest Calvary's glow.