The Appointed Times of YHVH—the Day of Atonement and the Messiah. Part II
Some object whether Yeshua had fulfilled the law of the red heifer, or if He was the Lamb of YHVH, why did He die outside of the Temple and not inside where the Passover lambs were to be slaughtered? Also, they may object as to why did He die on Passover and not on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur? We will answer these questions in this article.
In Part I of The Appointed Times of YHVH—Day of Atonement and the Messiah, we studied that the Day of the Atonement, Yom Kippur, the tenth day of the seventh month, was the day of the reconciliation for the golden calf sin which the children of Israel committed against YHVH. On that day Mosheh returned to the people with the new tablets of the Covenant and announced that YHVH had forgiven them for the sin. The people wholeheartedly rejoiced and that day was instituted as an appointed time for Israel in which the people are called to afflict their souls.
The Red Heifer will atone for the deeds of the calf
The Sages teach that when the Messiah comes He will bring atonement for His people which in Judaism is known as the Final Redemption.
The present author wants to return to the parable found in Midrash Tanchuma that alludes to the atonement of the Messiah in the last days. We read again,
A maid’s child once dirtied the royal palace. Said the king: “Let his mother come and clean up her child’s filth.” By the same token, G-d says: “Let the Heifer atone for the deed of the Calf.”
This parable the present author considers very important to understand the role of the Messiah in the atonement process of the Final Redemption.
The second part of The Appointed Times of YHVH—Day of Atonement and the Messiah is dedicated to achieve its purpose, namely to reveal the role of the Messiah of YHVH in the atonement and how He fulfilled and will further fulfill His mission; and even more specifically that this Messiah is Yeshua, the person who was born, taught, suffered, died, but ultimately resurrected in order to atone for the deed of the sin.
Let us recall the words of Mosheh in the renewal of the Covenant of YHVH at Mount Nebo. It was his intention to bring the sin of the golden calf in the minds of the people before he even lead them into the Covenant, aka the Ten Commandments, in Deuteronomy 5. We read in Deu 4:23-24,
Guard yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Yehovah your Elohim which He made with you, and shall make for yourselves a carved image in any form, as Yehovah your Elohim has commanded you. Because Yehovah your Elohim is a consuming fire, a jealous El. (Deu 4:23-24)
The sacrifice of the red heifer on Yom Kippur
A peculiar sacrifice was performed on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, whenever the occasion permitted. A red heifer, without any blemish was sacrificed on that day for cleansing from sin. It was very rare in the history of Israel to sacrifice a perfectly red cow. Even today, if such a rare event occurs, speculation is raised as to whether it is a sign of the coming Messianic era. We read in Mishneh Torah,
Nine red heifers were prepared from the time that the Jewish people were commanded this mitzvah (law) until the Second Temple was destroyed. The first was prepared by Moses, the second by Ezra, and another seven were prepared from Ezra until the Temple’s destruction. The tenth Heifer will be prepared by Moshiach, may he speedily be revealed, Amen, may it be the will of G-d. (Mishneh Torah)
We further read about the expectation of the Messiah to come speedily and atone for the sin of the nation just as the red heifer atoned for the sins of the fathers:
To believe in Moshiach is not just to believe that he will someday come, but to expect his coming on a daily, hourly, and momentary basis. It means that no matter what you are discussing, the subject turns to Moshiach at the slightest provocation. It means that in the midst of arranging the laws of the red heifer, a spontaneous plea erupts from the depths of your heart: “May he speedily be revealed, Amen, may it be the will of G-d!” (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)
The sacrifice of the perfect red heifer in Num 19:1-13 was a peculiar sacrifice in a few aspects. For instance, we do not find in the Scripture a sin-offering outside of the Temple, i.e., one whose blood is sprinkled on the outside altar to be burned, with the exceptions of the red heifer sin-offerings. It is important to keep this in mind, because we will return to it.
Another peculiar detail in the law of the red heifer is that this is the only sacrifice that can be performed by anyone (see how JPS Translation renders Num_19:2-3 vs. KJV); all other sacrifices must be performed by the priest.
This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face. (Num 19:2-3 JPS)
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: 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: (Num 19:2-3 KJV)
The JPS rendering is faithful to the Hebrew text. Note that the subject of the sentence she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face is unspecified meaning that anyone can slay the red heifer, anyone, even a common man; it does not have to be a Levite. The role of the priest is to superintend the law of the red heifer.
If we ask the Chief Rabbis of Israel (the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi) today whether the Torah permits a shepherd or wood cutter to slaughter the red heifer, they will confirm positively.
If asked whether this can be performed by a gentile, any gentile, they will say that even a gentile can slaughter it.
‘Yes, even any gentile can slaughter the red heifer’, they will say.
‘Even a Roman soldier?!’
Yes, even a Roman soldier could bring the red heifer outside of Jerusalem and slaughter it.
The sacrifice of the red heifer itself was to be superintended (not performed) by Eleazar the priest, and consequently by his successor in office. Note also that per the Torah, Eleazar the priest (and any priest) was to superintend the slaughter of the red heifer, while all other sacrifices were to be slaughtered by Aharon (and any other High Priest after him).
Yeshua the Messiah— the Red Heifer of YHVH
The reason being as to why Aharon was not given the duty of atoning for sin is that, as we read in Midrash Aggadah, as the people assembled against Aharon to make the golden calf, and because Aharon made the calf, this service was taken away from him, for the prosecution cannot serve as the defense. In other words, Aharon was found guilty in the golden calf sin and that is why this sacrifice was given to anyone from the people to perform.
The slaying of the red heifer is called a sin-offering in Num_19:9 and Num_19:17 to remind the congregation that death was the wage of sin, but also to point to the remedy for the defilement of death, that is the legal means to recover a right or obtain redress for a wrongdoing.
The sacrificial animal was not to be a bullock, as in the case of the ordinary sin-offerings of the congregation (Lev_4:14), but a female, red heifer, because the blood-red color points to sin, as we read,
Come now, and let us reason together, says Yehovah. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:18)
This imagery was actually used in a very practical way in the times of the Temple. On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, a scarlet piece of material would be hung up for this purpose, and would miraculously turn white to indicate YHVH’s forgiveness on this day, we read in Mishnah, Yoma 6:8. We are not told as to why this particular color was required for the sacrifice of the red heifer, but we can deduce that the reason for the red color is that blood is red and seat of life.
Another peculiarity is that no yoke had ever come upon the red heifer, that is the sacrifice was to be a virgin red heifer never used or worked, whose vital energy had not yet been crippled by labor under a yoke.
Lastly, like all the sacrificial animals, the red heifer was to be without defects with regards to the color and physical condition. This requirement (keep this also in mind) demands natural sinlessness and original purity, quite as much as attributed sin and transferred uncleanness. This shows that the Atonement sacrifice of the red heifer was to be well fitted for bearing sin which would make it qualified to atone death.
Having said all that, let us go through the statutes of the law of the red heifer and see whether we can see Yeshua the Messiah in it. We read,
(Num 19:2) they bring you a red heifer, a faultless, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come.
Yeshua was without sin (blemish), He lived a perfect life in obedience to the Torah. And in order to fulfill the law of the red heifer, He was clothed in a scarlet robe (see Mat_27:28).
(Num 19:3) And you shall give her to Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought outside the camp, and she shall be slain before him.
Anyone can bring a red heifer, a common man, a gentile, even a Roman soldier (Mat 27:31); Yeshua was brought outside of Jerusalem, on Mount of Olives before “a priest.” Kayapha was not a legitimate High Priest, because the High Priests in Judea were corrupted and bought their position from the Romans.
Yeshua was delivered to him; he brought Him outside the camp (like the red heifer) and slaughtered Him (v. 3). And “sprinkled” Yeshua’s blood toward the front of the Temple (Mount of Olives) where Yeshua was crucified (v. 4).
(Num 19:4) And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly before the Tent of Meeting.
Yeshua’s blood was on the hands of the high priest who said in Joh_11:49-52, “it is better for us that one man die for the people than that the entire nation should perish.” Yeshua was about to die for the nation (Isa_53:5), but also to gather into one the children of Elohim who had gone astray (Isa_53:6).
In the Second Temple a direct line went through the door, the Eastern Gate of the Temple, to the Mount of Olives where Yeshua (the perfect red heifer of YHVH) was crucified. See Mat_27:54. Yoma 16a, Middot 2:4 testifies that one could look through inside the door of the Most Set-apart Place from the Mount of Olives.
(Num 19:5) And the heifer shall be burned before his eyes…
Yeshua was executed outside of Jerusalem, on Mount of Olives, before Kayapha’s eyes.
(Num 19:7) The priest shall then wash his garments, and shall bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest is unclean until evening.
Kayapha after he defiled himself by the death of Yeshua did not cleanse himself though. He remained uncleaned of death.
(Num 19:9) And a clean man shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and shall place them outside the camp in a clean place. And they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water for uncleanness, it is for cleansing from sin.
Nikodimus and Yoseph (righteous men) took Yeshua’s body and placed it in a tomb never used before outside of the city. The ashes of the burnt red heifer being the simplest form of the flesh that cannot be decomposed any more (like the body of Yeshua did not see corruption, see Act_2:25-31) were for the cleansing of Israel’s sins.
(Num 19:11) He who touches the dead of any human being is unclean for seven days.
Nikodimus and Yoseph washed Yeshua’s body (immersed for the dead in 1Co_15:29 refers to the washing of a dead body which is done with the faith that it will be raised when the Messiah comes). They were considered unclean for seven days and they had to keep the Second Passover in the second month.
(Num 19:13) Anyone who touches the dead of a human being, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the Dwelling Place of YHVH. And that soul shall be cut off from Israel. He is unclean, for the water for uncleanness was not sprinkled on him, his uncleanness is still upon him.
Kayapha and the other corrupted ones from the Sanhedrin who conspired to get Yeshua killed were unclean because of the death they caused and therefore were cut off from Israel.
There may be some objections, however, as to whether Yeshua might have fulfilled the law of the red heifer.
For example, some may object that if Yeshua was the Lamb of YHVH, why did He die outside of the Temple (on the Mount of Olives) and not inside where the Passover lambs were to be slaughtered according to the law of the Passover lamb? Also, they may object thus, ‘Why did He die on Passover and not on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur?’
Before we answer these questions, the present author recommends the article The Appointed Times of YHVH—the Festival of the Unleavened Breads and the Messiah for more insight on the death of the Messiah and how it fulfilled the law of the Passover lamb.
Also, in the article Israel’s Whoring in Egypt we studied that the Israelites were growing comfortable in the Egyptian idolatrous environment of sexual immorality and had they remained a moment longer in Egypt, they would have risked becoming part of it and there would have been no children of Israel to redeem.
So, we may answer thus: the true Exodus from Egypt was not just about leaving the slavery of Egypt, but all about the Redemption Plan of YHVH to redeem His people Israel from the physical but also from the moral bondage of Egypt. And the blood of the Passover lamb was for those who were willing to leave the idolatrous Egypt and serve the Elohim of the fathers Avraham, Yitschak, and Ya’akov. But the dark side of the story was that not all Israel left Egypt. Some if not many decided to stay in Egypt and did not put the blood of the lamb of their doorposts and they perished.
Therefore, we see that the ultimate Passover Lamb of YHVH, Yeshua the Messiah, paid the penalty for those who with faith put His blood on the doorposts of their souls, their hearts, and left their personal “Egypt.”
Yeshua being a sinless man was the perfect substitute for the redemption of the sins just like the Passover lamb and the red heifer.
This principle of a righteous person chosen to save the nation in his merit by taking the punishment on himself is not a foreign idea in the Hebraic mind. On the contrary, it is very Hebraic. Take the suffering of Ezekiel, for example, who suffered forty days and three-hundred and ninety days for the sins of Judah and Israel. The suffering of the righteous prophet is very Hebraic concept in Judaism.
So, YHVH’s Pesach Yeshua the Messiah (the Passover Lamb) becomes the central point in the Festival of Unleavened Bread once we see Him in this festival. We read,
Seven days you eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day is a festival to Yehovah. Unleavened bread is to be eaten the seven days, and whatever is leavened is not to be seen with you, and leaven is not to be seen with you within all your border. And you shall inform your son in that day, saying, ‘It is because of what Yehovah did for me when I came up from Egypt.’ And it shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, that the Torah of Yehovah is to be in your mouth, for with a strong hand Yehovah has brought you out of Egypt. (Exo 13:6-9)
Therefore, we see that Passover is a day of personal redemption for those who have put the blood of the lamb on their hearts, as the Israelites had the personal choice to make that fateful night.
While the Day of the Atonement, Yom Kippur, as we studied in this and the preceding articles, is the day for a redemption of Israel, since they all sinned with the golden calf idol.
He died outside of Jerusalem, because otherwise His death would have been considered a human sacrifice. But He died outside where the red heifer was sacrificed for He became a sin for us.
That was the understanding of the author of Hebrews, as we read,
For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the Set-apart Place by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. And so Yeshua also suffered outside the gate, to set apart the people with His own blood. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (Heb 13:11-13)
Yeshua the Messiah fulfills the laws of the sacrifices of both appointed times, namely being the Passover and the Red Heifer of YHVH.
Yeshua in the Bible code
In conclusion, let us go deeper into the matter of the law of the red heifer and see if we can find any evidence that Yeshua had been foretold as such.
In Deu 5:6-21, Mosheh led the people of the new generation into the renewal of the Covenant of YHVH at mount Sinai (Exo_20:1-14). In Deu_5:22-33, Mosheh expounded still further the account in Exo_20:18-21, that after the people had heard the Covenant (aka the Ten Commandments), in the terrifying revelation at Mount Sinai, they entreated him to stand between them and Elohim as a mediator, that Elohim Himself might not speak to them any further, lest they die.
We read the Second Commandment of the Covenant of YHVH concerning making any image that can be worshipped as an idol.
(Deu 5:8) You do not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,
(Deu 5:9) you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, Yehovah your Elohim, am a jealous El, visiting the crookedness of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
In Hebrew we read as thus,
(Deu 5:8) לא־תעשׂה־לך פסל כל־תמונה אשׁר בשׁמים ממעל ואשׁר בארץ מתחת ואשׁר במים מתחת לארץ׃
(Deu 5:9) לא־תשׁתחוה להם ולא תעבדם כי אנכי יהוה אלהיך אל קנא פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־שׁלשׁים ועל־רבעים לשׂנאי׃
On a deeper level of the Bible code, we read ישׁוּע Yeshua (in red), every fifth letter from right to left and ירוּשׁלם ישׁ Jerusalem exists or Jerusalem has (in blue) every third letter from left to right. These are two overlapping and hidden on a deeper level messages (Bible codes) that read “Jerusalem has Yeshua.”
It will not be too hard to read the Bible code in the context of the Second Commandment of the Covenant of YHVH.
This article is a part of series of articles dedicated to the Appointed Times of YHVH and how His Messiah Yeshua has fulfilled them. For the rest of the set-apart days of the Creator, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.