THE OLD TESTAMENT TYPE OF THE RED HEIFER
There is a kind of cleansing in the Old Testament which is a type of the forgiveness of believers in the New Testament. The words in 1 John 1 and 2 are typified in the Old Testament. Let us read what can be considered as the only portion in the Old Testament dealing with the forgiveness of the Christians’ sins.
Numbers 19:1-13 says, "And Jehovah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, This is the statute of the law which Jehovah has commanded, saying, Tell the sons of Israel to bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect, and upon which a yoke has never come. And you shall give her to Eleazar the priest, and she shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him; and Eleazar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and shall sprinkle some of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight; her skin, her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burned; and the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and afterwards he shall come into the camp; and the priest shall be unclean until evening. And he who burns it shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and place them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the assembly of the sons of Israel for the water for impurity; it is a purification of sin. And he who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. And this shall be to the sons of Israel, and to the stranger who sojourns among them, for a perpetual statute. He who touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days; he shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Whoever touches a dead person, the body of any man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of Jehovah, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him."
In Numbers 19 a sacrifice is described. This sacrifice is the most unique sacrifice in the Old Testament. The book of Numbers is not a book on offerings. The book on offerings is Leviticus. But this sacrifice is not mentioned in Leviticus. Rather, it is mentioned in Numbers. We know that the Passover lamb was slain in Egypt. This typifies the Lord Jesus’ death for our sins. At Mount Sinai God showed us again what the Passover lamb is. The five offerings in Leviticus are the Passover lamb analyzed and broken down. They show us the different aspects of the Lord Jesus and how He satisfies God’s requirements in redeeming man’s sins. All of these are for the sinners and were spoken of at Mount Sinai. The book of Numbers, however, is a book on the wilderness. It is a history of the children of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness of Paran. There the children of Israel lived as sojourners in the wilderness. They were a nation sojourning in the world. There God gave them another sacrifice, which is the sacrifice of the red heifer.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 25, by Watchman Nee)