Numbers 19

* The ashes of a heifer. (1-10) Used to purify the unclean.


1-10 The heifer was to be wholly burned. This typified the

painful sufferings of our Lord Jesus, both in soul and body, as

a sacrifice made by fire, to satisfy God's justice for man's

sin. These ashes are said to be laid up as a purification for

sin, because, though they were only to purify from ceremonial

uncleanness, yet they were a type of that purification for sin

which our Lord Jesus made by his death. The blood of Christ is

laid up for us in the word and sacraments, as a fountain of

merit, to which by faith we may have constant recourse, for

cleansing our consciences.
11-22 Why did the law make a corpse a defiling thing? Because

death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it,

and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death,

nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and

immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the

ashes of the heifer signified the merit of Christ, so the

running water signified the power and grace of the blessed

Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by

his work that the righteousness of Christ is applied to us for

our cleansing. Those who promise themselves benefit by the

righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the grace and

influence of the Holy Spirit, do but deceive themselves; we

cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running

water. What use could there be in these appointments, if they do

not refer to the doctrines concerning the sacrifice of Christ?

But comparing them with the New Testament, the knowledge to be

got from them is evident. The true state of fallen man is shown

in these institutions. Here we learn the defiling nature of sin,

and are warned to avoid evil communications.
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