Author Topic: SYMBOLISM BEHIND THE "RED HEIFER" (Numbers 19:1-22:1)  (Read 606 times)

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Offline Jacob Ben Avraham

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« on: Sat Jul 09, 2022 - 19:39:38 »
PARASHA:  “Chukat” (ordinance of)  Numbers 19:1-22:1

     When we look at all the 613 commandments of the Torah, we can divide them into three categories;   "Chukkim" (from where we get "Chukat")  which are laws that are not obvious in understanding.  The Red Heifer, looking at the serpent for healing, etc...This requires faith, perhaps a lot of it, and leave it to God, He understands the meaning of these "chukkim"  (the "ch" is pronounced like a guttural "h") like "Yohan Sebastian BaCH"

      Then we have "eidot" which are laws that demand our faithfulness, and that show symbolism such as the Shabbat, the Moedim, manna, tziziot, etc.   

     Then we have; "Mishpatim" or logical laws/commandments that are not hard to understand, such as "thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie,  commit murder, etc... These are commandments which help us relate to our fellow man.

     There are several themes in this Torah study.  Number one is the “Red Heifer” This was for members of ‘B’nei Israel” that came into contact with the dead.  We need to be reasonable since death was a common experience with Israel as with all of us, it is part of life.  Death is the twilight of our existence.  If death is our twilight, then our “sunrise” will be in the “World of Come” the “Eternal Heavenly Kingdom.  If Yeshua is our Messiah and LORD and Savior, death is just a passage to eternal life with our king, Master, LORD, friend, husband, and Redeemer. 

     The priest had to sacrifice and burn up completely a cow, converting it to ashes.  With this sacrifice there were very important ingredients to be mixed with the ashes; Cedarwood, hyssop, and crimson.  So, we now have cow ashes, cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson.  These would be mixed with water and this mixture would be applied to a person who had to touch a dead person, (for the reason of preparation and burial).  After that, the person would be “tahor” (clean) and could re-enter the camp, since the person had to be outside for seven days.  It is interesting to note that the priest applying the mixture would be considered “Tamei” (unclean) until the evening! How does this illustrate Yeshua HaMashiach?
     We have the animal sacrifice, which always symbolizes our Messiah, then the cedarwood symbolizing the cross of Calvary, HE was our sacrifice for sin and was nailed to a wooden cross.  The hyssop reminds us of the first Passover when lamb’s blood was applied on the doorposts of Israel’s Egyptian dwellings.  Without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sin.  The “crimson stuff” reminds us of the blood, which was shed on the cross, His sinless blood was applied to our sins.  There was an exchange, our “unrighteousness” for His “righteousness” Just as the priest remained “unclean” until the evening, so our Messiah became “unclean” for those few hours on the cross, because He bore our sins, past, present, and future.  Our “uncleanness” was exchanged for “cleanness” through Yeshua.

    The Hebrew for "The Perfect Red Heifer" is  "Parah Edumah T'mimah."  There is symbolism in these three words;  "Parah" (cow) "the face of greatness revealed" (Yeshua) who is "Adumah" (contains the name "Adam") T'mimah (perfect).  Who is the perfect Adam, whose face was revealed on earth?  Yeshua!  The word "T'mimah" also contains the word "Mayim" which is "water" Water was added to the ashes of the "Parah Adumah" for the cleansing of the unclean.   We also have the Acronyms of these three words;  "Peh" "Aleph" "Tav"  (the face/mouth of the ET  (Aleph and Tav) or (Alfa and Omega)     

     Chapter 20 deals with the death of Miriam.  A leader, some say, can only take so much until tempers explode. He (Moshe) has lost his beloved sister, the people are complaining “again” that they want water, understandable, we all need water to live.  Adonai understands, and speaks to Moshe “Take Aaron and your staff, go to “The” Rock and speak to it, and it shall bring forth water.” Seems like it was not just any rock, it was “THE” Rock.  Oral tradition says that this rock followed the congregation where ever they went and water flowed from “The Rock” It is interesting that the Hebrew word is not the usual word “Tzur” or “Aven” used for “Rock” or “stone” but the word “Selah” is used, this word means a “large stone or rock fortress or stronghold”. It also means a “rock that contains water.

     We can also look at the name "Miriam" which contains the letters that spell "mayim" (water) She was Moses' older sister who made sure that the daughter of Pharaoh would look after her youngest brother.  She put him in the "water" (Nile) near the palace steps.  Then she was with Moses and went through the "water" of the Red Sea.  She was present at the time of the "bitter waters" and when Moses hit the ROCK (first time) which brought forth "water" in abundance.  She died right before Moses struck the ROCK in anger (2 times).   Then...1500 years later, another "Miriam" (Mary) brought forth, while still a virgin, the "Water of Life" and the "Solid ROCK" the "Face of the Perfect  Adam"  in the town of Beit-Lechem (The House of Bread). 

     This “Selah” reminds us of Mashiach who is the “living water”.  Also, when we look at the Hebrew spelling of the word “Selah” we can see “Mayim” (water) in the middle of the letters.  So, what do we mean by that? Well, let’s spell out the word “Selah” in Hebrew, this word contains three Hebrew letters “Samech (s) Lamed (l) and “Ayin” (ah) let’s look at the middle letters in these words; “saMech” “laMed” and “aYin” we have the letters M+M+Y, and when we rearrange the letters and add the vowels, we get “MaYiM” which is the word “water” in Hebrew.  When we add up the number value in Gematria, we get 40+10+40 = 90, “9” points to Yeshua who is “Emet” (The Truth) and “0” is the number of “eternity” because it has no beginning nor end.

     In the area of Mt Sinai, in North East Saudi Arabia, one can see a “large strong, rugged Rock” with a crack down the middle of it.  It seems like it is at least 30 feet tall.  It is believed that “This” is “The Rock” (HaSelah)  Moshe, however, in his anger, did NOT obey the voice of HaShem. Instead, he said to the people; 

     ” Listen you rebels, shall WE get water for you out of this rock?” and then struck the rock TWICE, with his staff.  Water still came out, God still had compassion for His people, YET…Moshe and Aaron were in deep trouble!  This spill of anger cost Moshe his entrance into the promised land.  The ROCK, symbolized YESHUA who is our SOLID ROCK, our FORTRESS! (Selah) who was struck only ONCE, for our sins.  He died ONCE, was crucified ONCE! For ALL of our sins, past, present, and future.  Moshe misrepresented YHVH, he said, “are WE to get water for you…”  The people saw “Moshe and Aaron” so, they probably thought’ ‘Moshe and Aaron got water for us’ Let’s hear it for Moshe and Aaron, nice going guys!” so they got the glory instead of Adonai.
     However, we know that Moshe DID enter the promised land, 1500 years later, at the Mt. of Transfiguration.  He appeared with Eliyahu, Moshe represented the Torah, and Eliyahu HaNavi” (The Prophets), and of course, Yeshua represented the New Covenant, all three symbolize the “Whole complete WORD of God” with nothing lacking!

     Chapter 21 talks about the “fiery serpents” in the desert, that were sent as punishment by God to bite the people who were “again” complaining.  (Oi vey, when will they stop already?!) As soon as the people repented, God told Moshe to make a “bronze serpent” and place it on a pole and erect it so that ALL could see.  In all places in scripture, the “serpent” symbolizes HaSatan, with exception of this ONE time, this time, the bronze or copper serpent (seraph) symbolizes Yeshua, as he said in John; “As the serpent was lifted up in the desert, so the Son of Man will be lifted up” He was both “lifted up” on the Cross of Calvary, and “lifted up” into the Heavenlies in his ascension. 

     It is interesting that the word for “fiery serpent” is “Nachash Seraph” probably because on biting a person, the bite burned like fire.  The “Seraphim” are angels that are related to “fire”.  The Torah tells us that YHVH sent “N’chashim” (serpents) to bite the people.  But during this fierce judgment, the people repent and plead to Moshe, “Tell YHVH to take away the “Nachash!” (21:7) in English and Spanish, the word “serpent” is written in the plural “serpents” but NOT in the original Hebrew, in the Hebrew, the word is singular, “Serpent” this is interesting, why singular” were there not many snakes around biting the people? Yes, but the singular word and phrase, “intercede with YHVH that He removes the “serpent” from us”.  This points us to the symbolism of “HaSatan” who is “The Serpent” the same that was in the Garden of Eden.  The people repent and in a way are saying, “remove Satan from our midst”  Remove "sin" from our midst.

     This is what happened at Calvary when our Messiah took upon himself all the “Bites of HaSatan, the “Nachash” to heal us so that we might have eternal life.  The image of the beast that caused death was also the source of life!  Yeshua became death so that we might have life. 

    There is also a relationship between the Hebrew words “Mashiach” and “Nachash” in the gematria, “Mashiach” (mem, sheen, yod, chet) and “Nachash” (nun, chet, sheen) both add up to 358! (mem=40, sheen=300, yod=10, chet=8) 40+300+10+8 = 358.  “Nachash’ is (nun=50, chet=8, sheen=300) 50+8+300= 358!  What does Mashiach give us?  3 (He is part of Elohim) who gives us “grace” (5) for a new “beginning” (8).  Also, 3+5+8=16, and 1+6=7, “7” the perfect number of YHVH!   
     Interesting to note that probably not all of the Congregation of Israel could visibly “see” the serpent, being the encampment perhaps 4 or 5 miles square due to the number of people and cattle, so, even “looking in the direction “ of the serpent would have served the purpose of receiving healing from the snake bites (my thought).  Today, our faith is our “healing” to receive salvation through trusting in Yeshua/Jesus who was “lifted up” and bore our sins. 


Ben Avraham