Numbers Chapter 19
Verses 1-22: This chapter deals with the provision of a means to cure the uncleanness of death (verses 11, 13), because “whosoever toucheth … any man that is dead” defileth the tabernacle of the Lord” and would be in danger of being “cut off from Israel” (verse 13). Leviticus gives two methods of dealing with uncleanness: either washing in water and waiting until evening (11:28, 39-40, 15:16-18), or in more serious cases, waiting seven days and then offering a sacrifice (Lev. 14:10-31; 15:13-15; 28-30). Since sacrificing was a difficult and expensive procedure, and added to the distress of the family involved, this chapter provides an alternative method, without the cost and inconvenience of sacrifice.
(1) Eleazar was to slaughter an unblemished red heifer outside the camp (verses 2-3);
(2) Its blood was to be sprinkled toward the tabernacle seven times (verse 4);
(3) The red heifer was to be burned along with cedar wood, hyssop, and some scarlet cloth material (verses 5-6); and
(4) Water was to be added to the ashes of the heifer and sprinkled upon the defiled Israelite (verses 17-19).
Over a period of 38-1/2 years, over 1.2 million people died in the wilderness because of God’s judgment. The Israelites were continually coming into contact with dead bodies, which led to ceremonial uncleanness. Therefore, the Lord provided a means of purification so that those who came into contact with dead bodies might be cleansed.
Verses 1-10: The provision given for the preparation of the “water of purification” (compare Lev. chapters 12-15).
Numbers 19:1 “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,”
Not at this time, after the business of the spies, and the affair of Korah, but before the children of Israel departed from Sinai. And so Aben Ezra observes, that this was spoken in the wilderness of Sinai, when the Lord commanded to put unclean persons out of the camp. And when some were defiled with a dead body, and unfit for the Passover (Num. 5:2). And mention is made of the “water of purifying” (Num. 8:7).
We have seen the LORD speak to Moses separately, and to Aaron separately. Now He is speaking to both.
Numbers 19:2 “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:”
“A red heifer without spot”: A reddish brown cow, probably young since no yoke had been laid on it. This cow was burned and its ashes were used as the agent of purification (see verse 9).
The sacrifices of every kind symbolize the Lord Jesus and His work, in some manner or other. We know that the Lord was not a female however. We must look at this from several angles. Notice there is just one heifer. This was a collective offering. The one heifer was for all. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is collective. Even though it is made up of many people from many denominations, it is one church, as far as the Lord is concerned. The Lord is coming back for a church that is without spot or wrinkle. The church is the bride of Christ. “Red” means life, or blood. The Church was born through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Physical Israel and the law were born on the way to the Promised Land. The 40 years in the wilderness established the law, or the male child (Leviticus chapter 12). The church of the Lord Jesus Christ (spiritual Israel), was born the 40 days after the resurrection that Jesus walked on the earth. The church is the maid child. The maid child was taken from the man child. The 80 days of purification for the maid child included the birth of the law, and then the birth of the church on the fulfillment of the law. The church is not established on work (yoke). It is established on faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Numbers 19:3 “And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and [one] shall slay her before his face:”
“Eleazar”: The son of Aaron was a deputy High-Priest who was in charge of the slaughter of the red cow.
“Without the camp”: The red cow was killed outside the camp of Israel and its ashes were stored there as well (see verse 9). Hebrews 13:11-13 picks up the image of “outside the camp” as it relates to Christ’s death outside of Jerusalem.
In the sense of symbolism, Jesus was brought out of the camp and crucified at Golgotha. He was taken outside the city wall of Jerusalem. The priest and all the people thought they had killed the church at this point, when in fact, Jesus had given her (church), life (red), through His shed blood.
Numbers 19:4 “And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:”
He took the blood in his left hand, and sprinkled it with the finger of his right hand, as Maimonides says. And so the Targum of Jonathan, which says, he did not receive it into a vessel, but into the palm of his hand. And from thence sprinkled it with his finger: which Ainsworth thinks signified the Spirit of Christ, our high priest, called “the finger of God” (Luke 11:20). Who takes the blood of Christ, and sprinkles it on the hearts of his people, whereby they are freed from an evil conscience.
“And sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times”: Or “towards the tabernacle”, so Noldius; as sprinkling of the blood was the principal action in sacrifices. This was to be done directly before the tabernacle, from whence its purifying virtue was expected. Though it was not shed in it, that it might have all the appearance of a sacrifice it could have. And being done seven times, denotes the perfection of it.
The sprinkling of the blood 7 times has to do with spiritual completeness. Certainly, the shed blood of Jesus completed the sacrifice for all time for everyone. This blood was for the church. This blood was for the remission of sins. Jesus’ blood completely does away with sin for those who would believe.
Leviticus 4:5-6 “And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:” “And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.”
We must keep in mind that the physical house of Israel is the man child, and the church (spiritual Israel), is the maid child.
Numbers 19:5 “And [one] shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:”
Another priest, as the Targum of Jonathan. Eleazar looking on, as that expresses it. The Jews say, that when the priest came to the mount of Olives, accompanied by the elders of Israel, before he burnt the cow, he dipped himself in a dipping place there. And the wood being laid there in order. Wood of cedar, ash, fir, and fig trees, made in the form of a tower. With holes opened in it (to put in the fire, and that it might burn the quicker). And its aspect being to the west, he bound the cow, and laid her upon the pile, with her head to the south, and her face to the west. And then having slain it, and sprinkled its blood. As before related, he set fire to it by the help of some small wood. The burning of it may signify the dolorous sufferings of Christ, when the wrath of God was poured forth like fire upon him. The same was signified by roasting the passover lamb.
“Her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn”: Which may denote the extent of Christ’s sufferings. Reaching to all parts of his body, skin, flesh, and blood. And the shame and reproach that attended them, signified by dung. As well as how impure and accursed he was accounted when he was made sin for his people. Bore their sins and suffered for them, even not in body only, but in his soul also. For his soul as well as his body were made an offering for sin.
In all other burned sacrifices, the blood was poured on the earth near the altar. In this case, it is burned with the sacrifice. The blood symbolized life. We can see that the life of the church is in the sacrifice of Jesus. The church is born at the foot of the cross.
Exodus 29:14 “But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it [is] a sin offering.”
Jesus took our sin upon His body on the cross. Our sin died on the cross, if we are believers in Christ. The skin of the church is replaced by the righteousness He clothes her in. Her flesh must die, that her spirit might live. Her earthly life must die, that her spirit life can live. Her filth (dung), must be done away. All of this is done in Jesus. The church rises to new life in him.
1 Corinthians 15:44 “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
Numbers 19:6 “And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast [it] into the midst of the burning of the heifer.”
“Cedar word, and hyssop, and scarlet”: The cow was totally consumed by the fire along with these 3 materials, which were also used in the ritual of purification of skin disease (Lev. 14:1-9). The ashes of all these and the cow were mixed to make the agent by which cleansing could take place.
“Burning” symbolizes purification. The cedar wood and hyssop were for medicinal purposes, or healing. Scarlet is red. It is His shed blood that heals us. By His stripes, we are healed.
Numbers 19:7 “Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.”
The Jews say, all that were employed about it, from the beginning to the end, were defiled in their garments. Not only he that slew it, and burnt it, and sprinkled its blood, but he that took and cast in the cedar wood, etc. As we find also he that gathered the ashes of it as well as burnt it. This creature was reckoned so impure, though its ashes were for purifying. That whoever had anything to do with it was unclean. As the scapegoat, which had the sins of all Israel on it. And this as that was typical of Christ, made sin for his people, that he might cleanse them from sin. It may point at the sin of the priests and people of Israel, in putting Christ to death. And yet there was cleansing from that sin, in the precious blood of Christ, as well as from all others.
“And he shall bathe his flesh in water”: In forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan. Not his clothes only, but his body was to be dipped in water.
“And afterward he shall come into the camp”: When his clothes and flesh are washed, but not before.
“And the priest shall be unclean until the even”: Though washed, and therefore, though he is said to go into the camp upon washing. This is to be understood, after the evening is come. So Jarchi directs to interpret the passage, transpose it, says he, and so explain it. And he shall be unclean until the evening, and after that he may come into the camp. Not only the camp of Israel, but the camp of the Shekinah, as the same writer.
This is speaking of the repentant heart. There is a knowing that comes, when we are under conviction, of our filthiness. Baptism in water is symbolic of burying that man of sin, and rising to new life in Jesus. When we are baptized, we become part of God’s unit, the church. The even was the beginning of a new day.
Numbers 19:8 “And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.”
In forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan. This shows that one different from this is designed in (Num. 19:7). And that this is one distinct from him that sprinkled the blood (Num. 19:4).
“And bathe his flesh in water”: In a like quantity, as the above Targum.
“And shall be unclean until the even”: And, though washed, might not go into the camp until that time. This may signify, as before, that though the crucifixion of Christ was a very great sin, and done by wicked hands, yet was pardonable through the very blood that was shed by them (Acts 2:23).
The burning symbolizes the purging away of the sin. The washing in the water symbolizes baptism. The even is the dawning of a new day.
Numbers 19:9 “And a man [that is] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay [them] up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it [is] a purification for sin.”
A man, a clean priest, as the Targum of Jonathan. In later times, great care was taken that the priest concerned in the burning of the red cow should be pure. He was separated from his own house seven days before the time, and every day he was sprinkled with the blood of all sin offerings then offered. That it might be sure he was free from any pollution by a grave, or a dead body. And so he that gathered up the ashes was to be clean from all ceremonial pollution. And not the ashes of the heifer only they took, but the ashes of the cedar wood, etc. mixed with them. And these they put, as the Targum of Jonathan says, into an earthen vessel enclosed in a covering of clay.
“And lay them up without the camp in a clean place”: They were divided into three parts, according to the Targum of Jonathan. One part was put in the Chel (or the enclosure of the court of the tabernacle). Another in the mount of Olives. And the third part was divided among all the wards of the Levites, with which the Misnah agrees. Jarchi makes mention of the same division, and of the use of each. That the wards had was without the court, that the citizens might take of it, and all that needed to be purified. That in the mount of Olives was for the priests, to sanctify other heifers with it; and that in the Chel was for a reserve.
“And it shall be kept for a reserve for the congregation of Israel”: As ashes may be kept a long time, if well taken care of. Because they are not subject to any corruption or putrefaction. And so was, as Bishop Patrick observes from Dr. Jackson, a figure of the everlasting efficacy of Christ’s blood. And, according to the Jews, these ashes of the first heifer must last more than a thousand years. For they say the second heifer that was burnt was in the time of Ezra. Though they reckon seven more heifers afterwards before the destruction of the second temple. In all nine heifers; and the tenth heifer they expect in the days of the Messiah, which are past. He, being come, has put an end to this type by fulfilling it in himself. And the use of them was;
“For a water of separation”: Being put into water, and mixed with it, was for the cleansing of such as were separated from others for their uncleanness. And was a purification of them for it, as follows.
“It is a purification for sin”: Or “it is sin”. Not an offering for sin, properly speaking. The heifer, whose ashes they were, not being sacrificed in the tabernacle, nor on the altar, and wanted other rites. Yet it answered the purposes of a sin offering. And its ashes in water were typical of the blood of Christ, which purges the conscience from dead works, when this only purified to the sanctifying of the flesh (Heb. 9:13). And is the fountain set open for sin and uncleanness (Zech. 13:1). Where both the words are used which are here, and in the preceding clause. Ashes are known to be of a cleansing nature, and so a fit emblem of spiritual purification by Christ; and the duration of them of the perpetuity of it.
The one sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for all generations. Each person who comes to Jesus, is purified through that one sacrifice He made so many years ago. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ has been the keeper of the ashes. The ashes being kept, show that there is no other sacrifice necessary. Jesus did it all. Anyone can apply that single sacrifice of Jesus to his life now, and be saved. The blood of Jesus still purifies each person from sin. Baptism in water still brings new life in Jesus.
Numbers 19:10 “And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.”
Whom the Targum of Jonathan calls a priest, though it does not seem necessary he should be one.
“And be unclean until the even” (see notes on Num. 19:7).
“And it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever”: Until the Messiah came, whose sufferings and death are for the expiation of, and purification for the sins of Jews and Gentiles. Of all the people of God throughout the world, signified by the burning of this heifer (see 1 John 2:2).
The cleansing power of the blood of Jesus is forever. The need for water baptism is forever, as well. The power of Jesus to bring new life to the believer is forever as well.
Verses 11-22: A general statement regarding the use of the “water of purification” (verses 11-13), is followed by a more detailed explanation of the procedure to be followed.
Numbers 19:11 “He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.”
A man and not a beast, as Aben Ezra observes. For he that touched the dead body of a beast was unclean only until evening (Lev. 11:24). Any man, Jew or Gentile, as the same writer notes. This is instanced in, as being the principal pollution, though not the only one. Yet so some think, for which the water of purification made of the ashes of the burnt heifer was appointed.
“Shall be unclean seven days”: The reason of which is, because death is the fruit of sin, which is of a defiling nature. And to show that all that are dead in sins are defiled and defiling. And are not to be touched, or to have communion and fellowship held with them but to be abstained from.
The subject has changed here. Seven has to do with spiritual completeness. This uncleanness is of a spiritual nature.
Leviticus 21:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:”
Numbers 19:12 “He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.”
That is, with the ashes of the water of purification made of them. And this was to be done first.
“On the third day”: From the time of his touching the dead body. Aben Ezra intimates, that there is a secret or mystery in this and the following number seven. It may respect the third day of Christ’s resurrection. Who, as he shed his blood for the expiation and purification of sinners, so he rose again the third day for the justification of them.
“And on the seventh day he shall be clean”: Which may denote the perfect state, or Sabbath of rest, which remains for the people of God. When all Christ’s purified and justified ones shall be clear of all sin, and be the spirits of just men made perfect.
“But if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean”: Whoever is not cleansed from his sins by the blood of Christ, shed for the remission of them. And is not justified from them by him that rose from the dead the third day, will never be cleansed in the world to come, or in the eternal Sabbath. But it will then be said, “let him that is filthy be filthy still” (Rev. 22:11).
The symbolic meaning of the third day is the resurrection of Jesus. You must believe that He rose from the grave, to be saved.
Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
The thing that set Jesus aside from all others, was the fact that He rose from the grave. Seven, again, has to do with spiritual completeness.
Numbers 19:13 “Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness [is] yet upon him.”
With the ashes of the heifer, or water of purification, and so neglects the means which God has appointed for his cleansing.
“Defileth the tabernacle of the Lord”: That is, if he goes into it in his uncleanness. Which it was not lawful for him to do, before they might not go in, or perform holy service. Such laws they use, that if anyone sees a dead carcass, he may not go that day into the temple. But he goes in the day following, after he has purified himself.
“And that soul shall be cut off from Israel”: Either be excommunicated from the church, or die by the hand of the civil magistrate, or by the immediate hand of God. That is, if he knew he had touched a dead body, and willfully neglected the means of his purification. And so sinned presumptuously. Otherwise, if all this was done ignorantly, an atonement was made for it (Lev. 5:3).
“Because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean”: As all are who are not sprinkled with the blood of Christ.
“His uncleanness is yet upon him”: And will remain, nothing can remove it. As nothing can remove the stain and blot of sin but the blood of Christ. And where that is not applied it will remain marked before God, and will lie upon the sinner to his utter condemnation and ruin (see Jer. 2:22).
The tabernacle of the Lord, in the spiritual sense, is the body of the believer. This symbolizes those who are saved, going back to the sin in their lives. They defile the tabernacle of God, when this is a personal sin in their body.
2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,”
Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”
The blood saves us. The water gives us new life. The Word keeps us.
Numbers 19:14 “This [is] the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that [is] in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.”
A tent is only mentioned, because the Israelites now dwelt in tents, as Aben Ezra remarks. Otherwise the law holds equally good of a house as of a tent.
“All that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days”: The meaning of which is, that all persons that come into a tent or house where a dead body is are equally unclean as those that were in it when it died. And the same is to be supposed of all vessels brought into it, as well as those that are in it. That is, open ones, as appears by what follows.
Indians will not live in a tent, where someone has died. Perhaps this is similar to that. The dead man possibly, left germs in the tent. Those coming in the tent could take the disease that killed the man. Part of the laws God gave the people were to help them in their civil, as well as spiritual life.
Numbers 19:15 “And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, [is] unclean.”
An earthen one, as the Targum of Jonathan. And so Jarchi interprets it. and Maimonides observes, that this is only to be understood of an earthen vessel.
“Which hath no covering bound upon it”: A linen or a woollen cloth wrapped and tied about it.
“Is unclean”: The air of the house getting into it by its being uncovered.
This is plainly because of germs that might accumulate.
Numbers 19:16 “And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.”
That is killed by another. That dies a violent death, either by the sword or other means. One that touched such a one was unclean, or that touched the sword with which he was slain, as the Targum of Jonathan adds. “Or a dead body”: that dies a natural death, or suddenly. Or in any way.
“Or a bone off a man”: Dug out of a grave, and lying by itself.
“Or a grave”: The Targum adds, either the covering or side of a grave.
“Shall be unclean seven days”: All which has respect to the defiling nature of sin, which is the cause of death and the grave.
When an unsaved person dies, the devil spirits that have been in him, seek for another body to inhabit. If there is no body convenient, they will inhabit an animal. If there is neither a person or an animal they can inhabit available, they will remain in the area of the dead, hoping to inhabit a relative of that person or someone weak enough to let them come in. The seven day period could be to give them ample time to leave. A Christian cannot be inhabited of devil spirits. They can harass you, but not enter you, if you are full of the Light of Jesus.
Numbers 19:17 “And for an unclean [person] they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:”
Defiled by any of the above means.
“They shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin”: From the place where they were laid up for this use (see notes on Num. 19:9). And some have thought that they were laid up in various cities and places in the country, as well as at Jerusalem, that they might be come at easily upon occasion. Otherwise they could not be had without great trouble and expense, and in some places not so soon as the law required for their purification. Namely, on the third day after their defilement.
“And running water shall be put thereto in a vessel”: The Targum Jonathan is, “fountain water in the midst of earthen vessel. And the meaning of what is said here is, that the water and ashes should be mixed together. For it is urged from the words: “running water in a vessel”, that it is plain. That the water is put in the vessel and not to the ashes. And therefore, that which is said, “shall be put thereto”, is to caution the person, that after he has put the ashes upon the water, that he mixes them well with his finger. And cause the water below to rise above.
The unclean person is made clean by the blood, water, and the spirit. These ashes, that were saved, show that the one sacrifice that Jesus made was sufficient for all time. A sinner does not need another sacrifice; they just need to accept this sacrifice of Jesus. That is what these ashes symbolize.
1 John 5:6 “This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
These ashes burn the sin away; the water gives new life. We are that vessel filled with the water of regeneration.
Numbers 19:18 “And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip [it] in the water, and sprinkle [it] upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:”
“A clean person”: Any clean person, not just priests, could sprinkle the unclean with the water of purification.
The person is cleansed by the blood, water, and the Word. Someone (clean), must care enough to help them be cleansed.
Romans 10:17 “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Numbers 19:19 “And the clean [person] shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.”
The clean priest shall sprinkle upon the unclean man, as the Targum of Jonathan. That is, he shall sprinkle the water of purification upon him that is unclean in any of the above ways.
“On the third day, and on the seventh day (see notes on Num. 19:12).
“And on the seventh day he shall purify himself”: Either the unclean person, who shall perfect his purification, as Jarchi interprets it. That is, by doing what follows. Or else the clean person, who becomes in some measure unclean, by sprinkling and touching the water of separation, as appears from (Num. 19:21). As the priest that sprinkled the blood of the heifer, and the man that burnt it and gathered its ashes (Num. 19:7).
“And wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even”: In like manner as the man that let go the goat into the wilderness (Lev. 16:26).
This water of purification was applied twice, to show the seriousness of the sin. The symbolic meaning of the third day has to do with the resurrection, and the seven has to do with the cleansing being spiritually complete.
Numbers 19:20 “But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he [is] unclean.”
By touching any dead body, bone, or grave.
“And shall not purify himself”: With the water of purification.
“That soul shall be cut off from among the congregation” (see notes on Num. 19:13).
“Because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord”: By going into it in his uncleanness.
“The water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him, he is unclean”: And will remain so, for nothing else could purify him (see Num. 19:13).
This symbolically, is speaking of that person who refuses salvation. The blood sprinkling is for the purging of the sin, and the water is washing of regeneration. He has done neither, so he is lost. There was a plan of salvation available in these ashes (Jesus’ sacrifice), he did not accept it.
Numbers 19:21 “And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.”
To the children of Israel, throughout their generations, unto the coming of the Messiah. When the ceremonial law, which stood in different washings and purifications, was abolished.
“That he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes”: The priest that sprinkled, according to the Targum of Jonathan, or any other person that did it. So that the same purifying water, which made an unclean person clean, defiled a clean one. For though it was purifying, it had uncleanness in it. Having the ashes not only of the cow itself, but of its skin, blood, and dung. And so a lye made of ashes is impure in itself, and yet serves to scour cloth.
By consideration of which, the people might be led to Christ, and his Spirit, for cleansing (Heb. 9:13). But it rather signifies, that the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, and answers to this purifying water, that its cleansing virtue is owing to Christ being made sin for his people. And that some may be instruments of directing souls to the blood of Christ for cleansing, and yet be defiled themselves. It does not appear that this man, thus unclean, was to have the water of purification sprinkled on him, but was only to wash his clothes (see Rev. 7:14).
“And he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even”: But was not clean until he had washed, as Aben Ezra observes. Though not expressed; for if one that only sprinkled it had need to be washed, much more one that touched it. And which was unavoidable, if, when he mixed the water and ashes together, he stirred them with his finger (see notes on Num. 19:17). Though Maimonides understands this of sprinkling and touching the water when there was no necessity for it, when a person was not employed in doing the duty of this law.
This everlasting statute is for our cleansing, and taking us from death to eternal life in Him. There is no other way to heaven, but by the blood and the water.
Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Those who are not washed in the blood of Jesus are still in sin.
Numbers 19:22 “And whatsoever the unclean [person] toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth [it] shall be unclean until even.”
Not the person unclean by sprinkling, or touching the water of purification. But the unclean person spoken of throughout the chapter. That was unclean by touching a dead body, bone, or grave. Whatever that man touched, any vessel or thing, that was unclean also. Or “whomsoever”, any person, man or woman, for it respects both persons and things.
“And the soul that toucheth it”: That which the unclean person hath touched. Or “him”, the unclean person, whether the unclean person touched him, or he the unclean person, or touched anything he had touched, he was unclean. Denoting the spreading and infectious nature of sin, and how much sin and sinners are to be avoided (see Lev. 15:4).
Those who are living in sin pollute everything, and everyone around them. The unsaved have a tendency to influence others to be unsaved also. There is a way that we can be free from death. I would like to sum up this lesson with the following verses.
Hebrews 9:13-14 “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Numbers Chapter 19 Questions
1. The sacrifices of every kind symbolize what?
2. There is just _______ heifer?
3. This was a ____________ offering.
4. Who is the church made up of?
5. The church was born through the _______ _______ of Christ.
6. What does “red” mean?
7. The 40 years in the wilderness established the ________, or the _______ child.
8. When was the church established?
9. The 80 days of purification for the maid child included the birth of the _______, and then the birth of the church on the fulfillment of the _____.
10. The church is established on faith in the __________ of the Lord Jesus Christ.
11. Where was Jesus crucified?
12. What does the sprinkling of the blood 7 times symbolize?
13. What was usually done with the blood of the burnt offering?
14. Jesus took our sin upon His ______ on the cross.
15. Burning symbolizes _____________.
16. What were cedar wood and hyssop for?
17. What color is scarlet?
18. What is verse 7 speaking of?
19. What is baptizing in water symbolic of?
20. The even was the beginning of a _____ _____.
21. What is the symbolic meaning of the third day?
22. What sets Jesus aside from all others?
23. What is the tabernacle of the Lord in the spiritual sense?
24. The laws were given for _______ life, as well as for spiritual life.
25. What is verse 16 speaking of?
26. The unclean person is made clean by the ________, _______, and ________.
27. The ashes burn the _______ away.
28. Who is verse 20 speaking of?
29. Sum up this lesson with two Scriptures.