The Red Heifer – An Old Testament Picture of Christ

red heiferTomorrow will an exciting day here in the sleepy little village of Galway! Tomorrow a “Morning Weekday Bible Study” will commence. One thousand invitations have been extended to those living in the surrounding countryside through an insert in our quarterly publication, Life in Galway. (you can read past issues – see the menu bar at ) Just this past Saturday, Martha and I went out to get an ice cream locally and as we were leaving a stranger came up to us and said can I talk to you for a moment. She then went on to say how much she is looking forward to the study.  Dear readers, pray for us. We do not know how many to expect.

The study will be on Jonah. This past Sunday in preparation, I gave a handout with the text of the book printed out in one column and a blank space in the other column and put them in the bulletin with instructions on how to approach the text, which is the very initial steps I take when studying a text to preach from. As Jonah is in the Old Testament, I asked them to be sure and ponder if Christ is in any way prefigured in the passages. At the heart of the book of Jonah is “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9), which definitely definitely points to Christ and makes for a tremendous Gospel opportunity.

Well, as I’m reading Numbers 19 about the red heifer, our Lord Jesus is jumping out of the page throughout. The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible has done such a great job in explaining this, i’m going to close this post with their summary. They deserve an A+  It is just excellent. Enjoy!

Death is the ultimate evidence of the curse of sin, and its effects are pervasive. But the beauty of the gospel is that God has devised a means to reverse the curse. The ashes of the red heifer and the water to be used for the ceremonial cleansing were shadows pointing to the real curse-reverser, the Lord Jesus. The red heifer was only a type, and the water of purification could only provide a symbolic cleansing. “The ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh,” but “the blood of Christ” can “purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:13-14). The red heifer was slain outside the camp, the place of the curse. This is a picture of Christ who “suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12). He was made a curse for us to give us a place in the camp of God. How can we find cleansing in Jesus Christ? How should a Christian wash his conscience daily?


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