Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Spoils of War. . .

Numbers 31:21-23
And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses; (22) Only the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead, (23) Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.


Eleazar instructs the Hebrew men of war, on how to treat the spoils that they bring into the camp from the battle field. If it is able to withstand it, if the spoils are of a nature able to physically survive the fire, then they must pass through the fire to be purified and cleansed. Nevertheless after passing through the fire the spoils (and indeed all spoils) must be washed with the water of separation.

This 'water of separation', its preparation, its recipe take care to notice, was given by God directly to Moses:

Numbers 19:1-9
And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, (2) This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red (
Hebrew 'âdôm) heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: (3) And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: (4) And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times: (5) And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: (6) And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. (7) Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. (8) And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. (9) And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

The written Hebrew language of the Bible only contained consonants. That is why we are not sure of the original pronunciation of God's name. We cannot be sure exactly what Moses called God. The Hebrew letters "YHWH" are all that we have of His name. Today there are conventions followed for what vowels are implied by certain consonants, but those conventions have changed down through the years. Again we do not know, was it YAHWEH? Was it JEHOVAH? We cannot be certain.

Likewise the word אדם is variously read as 'Adam' or 'man' or 'red' depending on which unrecorded vowels are inserted into the originally written consonants. Consider this most special sacrifice of a red (Hebrew 'âdôm) heifer. This very rare 'âdôm cow of the same descriptive ruddy red color as that is also associated with the first man Adam. . .The Old Testament points to the New Testament. Many things described in the Old Testament are metaphors or analogies for things which would come to full fruit only under the New Covenant (the New Testament).

Consider the metaphor for this very special and rare red cow. There are only believed to have be nine pure red heifers recorded in all of the Jewish oral tradition. The first was offered by Moses and Eleazar. The last recorded red heifer was offered in the year 15 or 16 A.D., only a few years before Jesus began His earthly ministry. There has been no red heifer offered, no water of separation created in the almost 2000 years since. These few animals supplied all the ashes for the required water of separation used over the thousands of years between Moses and Jesus. They are a very rare creature indeed.

I believe that this sacrificial red ('âdôm) heifer is a metaphor for the sacrifice. . . the crucifixion on the cross of Jesus, the second Adam. According to the Bible there have been two Adam's. The first man was the man named Adam. He was an actual man, but he was also a metaphor for the second Adam. . .The first Adam was physical, the second Adam is spiritual:

1 Corinthians 15:44-47
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (45) And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (46) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. (47) The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.


Notice the similarities in the word used for the red heifer ('âdôm) and for the man Adam ('âdâm). Only the unwritten vowels are different.

Genesis 1:26-27
And God said, Let us make man (
'âdâm) in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man ('âdâm)in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:7-8 And the LORD God formed man (
'âdâm) of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man ('âdâm) became a living soul. (8) And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man ('âdâm) whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam (
'âdâm) to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam ('âdâm) called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

The Hebrews are instructed to sacrifice this most unusual and rare 'âdôm heifer and to burn it along with wood, hyssop, and blood red dye. The sacrifice of this red heifer is unlike any other sacrifice recorded. The red heifer is not sacrificed in the tabernacle area, but must be offered outside the camp:

Numbers 19:2-3 This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: (3) And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:

Not only is the sacrifice conducted outside the camp, but in another important way this sacrifice differs from any other sacrifice in that that every one involved with the offering the red heifer is defiled:

Numbers 19:6-8
And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. (7) Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. (8) And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

Both of these conditions, the sacrifice taking place without the camp and the ones conducting the sacrifice being made unclean by the sacrifice, are strong parallels with the crucifixion of Jesus. He was offered not in the temple, but outside the 'camp' on a lonely hill and in addition those offering Him up were not righteous, their's was not a holy act, but they were defiled, made unclean by this act. Their actions were actions of sin, not righteousness. Jesus is called the lamb of God (John 1:29 & 36), but the lamb was a proscribed offering in the temple and offered by holy men. It imparted no uncleanness to them. It may not be as poetically evocative and may strike the mind's eye strangely, but Jesus can, I believe, equally be thought of as the perfect red heifer of God. . .

Finally the ashes of this unusual sacrifice are required be mixed with water as the recipe for the water of separation. . .This water of separation was unlike any other water. It is separated. . .It is different. . .It is Holy. . .It was required to have this water and to use this water to cleanse both the workers and the implements of the tabernacle. The lack of this water, the lack of a 'âdôm heifer to sacrifice, to make this water of separation, is the reason that the Jewish people of today are not able to rebuild and sanctify their temple as prophesied by Daniel,

I don't want to get too far away from my main topic, but another 'âdôm heifer is required to fulfill the prophetic verses in Daniel chapter 8. The sacrifices are prophesied to begin again in the Jewish temple in the last days, but until an 'âdôm heifer can be sacrificed and burnt, the sacrifices cannot resume. The Jewish people await the return of an exceedingly rare red cow for the fulfillment of the prophecies. The items of the sanctuary will be cleansed with the water of separation, but until an 'âdôm heifer is found, the water of separation cannot be made. The Jewish people seek cleanness and purity and sanctification from the burnt remains of a cow. They continue to look for that sacrifice to provide for them that which we know has already been offered. . .

Our sacrifice. . . our perfect offering for the purification of our sins has the same elements of the perfect 'âdâm sacrifice: the ashes of the fire, the irreducible remnants of the 'âdôm heifer, the crimson stain of His blood, the wood, and the hyssop that the Jews await. . .

We started this study with the verses in Numbers 31, of Eleazar instructing the warriors how to clean the spoils of their battle with the water of separation and with fire. We are told in Numbers 19:9 that this water of separation is a purification for sin. We also know of and are instructed in the powerful use of purifying water and fire to destroy sin in our lives. . .

John the Baptist also told us of the cleansing by water and fire: 


Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

And again Peter said the same: 

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized [immersed in water] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of [purification from] sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [the fire of God's Spirit].

Everything that comes into the camp must be purified by fire and washed clean by water. . .

You and I are warriors. Jesus said: 

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 

All through the New Testament the symbolism of our being soldiers and at war are used.

Romans 13:11-12
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.


It is still dark, but the sun is coming. . .We have our orders. . .the light is dawning. . .We must not forget our purpose. We are followers of Christ. We must keep ourselves and our weaponry at the full ready. We battle for the kingdom. We are warriors. We know the enemy. We know our objective. We have our orders. We too have spoils of war to bring into the camp. The spoils of our battles, the riches of our victories are the hearts and souls of men. . .

I love you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .

Thank you my God. . .

Dave

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