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Morrish Bible Dictionary
This was a unique offering. The red heifer was killed outside the camp, and its blood was sprinkled by the priest seven times directly before the tabernacle. The whole of the heifer was then burnt, and the priest cast cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet into the burning of the heifer. The ashes were gathered up and laid in a clean place outside the camp. When the ashes were used, a person that was clean mixed in a vessel some of the ashes with running water, then he dipped hyssop into the water, and sprinkled the person, tent, etc., that was unclean. It was a water of separation a purification for sin.
The ordinance of the red heifer was an exceptional form of sin offering. It had not atonement in view, but the cleansing by water of those who, having their dwelling and place in the camp, where Jehovah's sanctuary was, had become defiled by the way: cf. Numbers 5:1-4 . Upon the basis of sin being condemned in the cross, it corresponds to 1 John 1:9 . The washing of the feet of those that are clean, as taught by the Lord in John 13 has this character of cleansing with water. The Holy Spirit applies, by the word, the truth of the condemnation of sin in the cross of Christ to the heart and conscience, to purify the believer, without applying the blood again. Numbers 19:1-22; Hebrews 9:13 . But John 13 goes further. The Lord applies the truth of His departure out of this world to the Father to the walk of His disciples.
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Morrish, George. Entry for 'Heifer, Red'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/h/heifer-red.html. 1897.