Death seems normal, because we see it all around us. But a major message of the Bible is death is out of place in the order God created. The mysterious ritual of the red heifer sacrifice detailed in this week’s reading — חֻקַּת Chukat (“statute of”) — is a pattern of what Heaven had planned for the healing mission of Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ).
The companion passage for Chukat is Judges 11, a sobering account of someone who made a rash vow and sealed the fate of his daughter.
Check out the following recorded discussions and study notes on these passages from Hallel Fellowship teachers Richard, Daniel and Jeff.
Parashah: Numbers 19:1–22:1
One of the most mysterious passages regarding the sacrifices involved with the sanctuary and temple of Israel is the red heifer. In fact, this teaching in Numbers 19 is intimately connected with the mission of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).
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.
God did not create the ritual of the red heifer, described in Numbers 19, to prevent the spread of disease but to make sure we don’t treat the death of a fellow human being casually. That’s regardless of whether their death was recent or many years ago. Death is our enemy. Death is not natural. Death is not our friend. The symbol of the red heifer points to the Messiah, and we can learn how much Yeshua did for us through that symbol.
We will look at this chapter carefully. The events of this chapter occur near the end 40 year wilderness exile. After nearly 40 years, the people still complain about being removed from Egypt and “dying in the wilderness.”
It’s often taught that God barred Moshe (Moses) from entering Canaan because he hit the rock to start water flowing, rather than speaking to the rock. Yet it seems Moshe’s rebel yell had more to do with it and fits more with the lesson God had been teaching the people since the Exodus.
Yeast is often associated with sin, yet Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) used it in a parable to describe a vital work of Heaven. A serpent is a frequent Bible symbol for haSatan (the Adversary), yet Yeshua connected the Moshe’s bronze serpent on a pole in Numbers 21 with healing from His death on the cross. Let’s get to the naked truth of God’s lesson here.
Israel didn’t credit God with the victory over the Amorites and other blessings, namely the coming of manna each morning to feed the people. God sent death amid the people — and the cure in the image of the instrument of that death. There’s an important prophecy about the work of Messiah Yeshua in this account, something Yeshua didn’t want Nicodemus to miss from his studies of the Torah.
Haftarah: Judges 11:1–33
This passage looks at three leaders of ancient Israel: Tola, Yair (Jair), and Yeftah (Jephthah). After 45 years under the guidance of the first two, Israel then slid into devotion to the gods of surrounding nations. Israel finally realized the oppression under Philistia and Ammon was to turn them back to the LORD, Who led the nation out of bondage in Egypt.
Yeeftakh (Jephthah), whose name means “he opens,” is one of the most tragic of the judges of ancient Israel. His rash vow to God that ended being fulfilled by his daughter as a sacrifice disturbs many people. However, a close look at the account suggests quite a different outcome.
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