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The Tenth Red Heifer

The Tenth Red Heifer

The Superiority of Jesus' Sacrifice

by John J. Parsons

Click for Parashat Chukat

Jewish tradition says there were nine Red Heifers (parot hadumot) offered so far on behalf of the Jewish people. The first was offered by Moses and Eleazar; the second by Ezra the Scribe; two more were offered by Simon the Righteous and another two by Yochanan the High Priest; a seventh was offered by the prophet Elijah; the eighth by Hanamel the Egyptian, and the ninth by Yishmael the son of Piabi (15-16 AD). Jewish tradition says that the tenth (and final) Red Heifer will be burned by the Messiah at the time of the rebuilding of the Temple (Mishnah, Parah 3:5).

Many well-meaning Christians get excited over occasional reports that a new Red Heifer has been born, understanding this to be a sign from God that the time to rebuild the Jewish Temple is at hand. But should a Red Heifer be found and later sacrificed, how should we regard this -- especially in light of the Brit Chadashah and its clear teaching that Yeshua is the substance of the what the shadow of the Red Heifer represents?
 

    But when Messiah appeared as a High Priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

    For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you." And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

    For Messiah has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:11-28).
     

Since Yeshua is the Substance of the shadow of the Red Heifer (Heb. 9:24, 10:1-2), His sacrifice as our High Priest after the order of Malki-Tzedek indeed preceded the "rebuilding" of the Temple (John 2:19) - though this Temple is one made without human hands by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 26:26-28, 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:4,11-12, Col. 1:24, etc.). The followers of the Messiah are now part of the Temple of His Body (1 Cor. 3:16, 12:27) and are called "living stones" (1 Pet. 2:5). The sacrifice of the tenth Red Heifer -- Yeshua -- instituted a new priesthood after the order of Malki-Tzedek (Heb. 5:10 with 1 Pet. 2:5) that replaces the older Levitical priesthood of Aaron (Heb. 13:10). Beloved, we have been cleansed from our sins by a "better sprinkling" than that which the tent of Moses could afford (Matt. 26:28, Heb. 9:14, 12:24, Eph. 1:7, 1 Pet. 1:2,18-19, Rom. 5:9; Col. 1:14, 1 John 1:7, etc.).

It is vital for us to remember that the Scriptures command us to "consider Yeshua, [who] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses -- as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself" (Heb. 3:1-6). Yeshua alone is our great Kohen Gadol (High Priest) of the better covenant than Moses' (Heb. 8:6), and Yeshua alone is the Supreme Mediator between God and man. Only Yeshua brings God and man together.

Consider, then, how the New Testament plainly reveals that Yeshua is greater than Moses. Yeshua was greater than:

  1. The first Jew, Abraham (John 8:53-58)
  2. Israel and his children (John 4:12-14)
  3. Moses and all the angels (Heb. 3:1-6; Matt. 17:1-8; John 1:17; etc.)
  4. Solomon, the greatest king of Israel (Luke 11:31)
  5. Jonah, one of the greatest Jewish prophets (Matt. 12:41)
  6. Elijah, one of the greatest Jewish prophets (Matt. 17:1-8)
  7. The Holy Temple itself (Matt. 12:6).
     

Indeed, Yeshua is said to "uphold the universe by the word of his power" (Heb. 1:3) and is called the very Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-19) who sits upon the throne of God Himself (Psalm 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8). Simply put, Moses stands in relation to Yeshua as the creature stands before the Creator and is accountable to Him.

The "Church" is a called-out group of people from among all the nations who are made partakers of the covenantal blessings and redemptive purposes of the LORD God Almighty.  It is what Rav Sha'ul termed a "mystery," meaning that it was undisclosed before the advent of the Messiah Yeshua.  The entire history of ethnic Israel was accomplished in order to "get Yeshua to Moriah" - the place of ultimate sacrifice - where He would offer up His life for the sins of the world.... and thereby break the "spell" of the kelalah (curse).


 

Yeshua at Moriah is the Central Point of all history. He is the Altar. All the outpouring of the wrath of God against sin was accomplished there, since it involved the torture and death of the only true Tzaddik who ever lived. Yet it was by means of Yeshua's righteous suffering that all the families of the earth may now be blessed and escape the kelalah of HaShem. It is finished -- by the hand of Yeshua -- not Moses. 

We are called to follow Him....



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