Numbers 18-19: High priest as a type of the Messiah; lesson of the mysterious red heifer

There is a very special but blunt message in Numbers 18–19, targeted to the High Priest and his family. Moses is not addressed at all. God impresses upon the High Priest family and the Levites the seriousness of their charge. They are given certain rights within in the community of Israel but also gives them very serious responsibilities. God also places serious consequences on the High Priestly family and the Levites if they are derelict in their Temple duties.

Passages: Numbers 18-19; Lev. 26:41

Numbers 18: Burden of the high priest

The High Priest is to “bear” or “carry” the guilt and perversity of the community. It doesn’t sound “logical” in human thinking but the High Priest represents the Messiah, who took upon Himself all our sins. This burden cost the Messiah His life. 

People who quickly read the Torah readings every week, which are usually several chapters long, don’t really have an opportunity to look at each section closely. 

What is iniquity? What happens when we accept our iniquity? Is it punishment or guilt, or both? Who was ultimately called to bear this? God says in Numbers 18–19 that the High Priest was to carry this for the people of Israel, as a symbolic representation of what the ultimate High Priest Yeshua would do once and for all. 

One of the requirements of the high priests and the Levites is that they were to eat certain parts of the various offerings brought to the temple. Certain items could be eaten only by the men but other items were also eaten by the woman and children of the Levitical community. 

God doesn’t start addressing Moses until He moves from instructing the High Priest to the instructions for the Levites. One major point, is that the tithes did not go directly to the High Priests. The Levites were to receive the tithes. From there, the Levites had to present a tithe from these tithes to the High Priest. 

Numbers 19: The red heifer

The red heifer was used to purify anyone or anything that touched a dead human being. The people who attended to the dead had to purify themselves twice, on the third day and on the seventh day. There’s Messianic significance to these purifications. The penalty for failing to do these purifications after dealing with a corpse were very serious — being cut off from among the people and being cut off from God. This act of being “cut off” is as serious as when God cut off Cain from Himself because of the murder of Abel. 

Reader: Richard Agee. Speaker: David De Fever. Summary: Tammy.


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