There was a lot of Old Testament ritual going on around the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. One of these rituals was that of the Red Heifer found in Numbers 19. There is a man involved in that ritual who was neither a priest nor a Levite but who yet had a very significant role. Some of the following is speculation. It presumes that the Red Heifer ritual was occurring at the same time as Jesus’ crucifixion and that the man involved saw both things happening. By putting the two events together like this we can see how this picture in the Old Testament points to Christ like so many pictures do.
The red heifer lowed and complained as it was brought outside the city walls. Unlike the lambs that were sacrificed in the temple it wasn’t silent as it was led to the slaughter. It was just like any other animal in that sense. Otherwise it wasn’t a normal animal. It had to be specially bred. It was chosen from birth and reared for this day of its death.
I slaughtered the red heifer in the place chosen. I could see the man from there, hanging on the cross. The soldiers had even taken some of the sacred hyssop from the priest as he was coming out with it and used it when offering him a sedative. Which he refused. Why anyone would refuse that when going through such pain I couldn’t understand.
As I had been instructed and as my predecessors had done for the last 1500 years I burnt up the red heifer’s carcass, dung and all. The priest then added the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop he had brought. The wood reminded me of the cross on which that man was hanging.
I saw the soldiers gamble for his tunic. It was full of scarlet yarn like the piece the priest had thrown in the fire. Scarlet from blood. Isaiah’s words come to my mind as I watch them:
“Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow.”
The ashes of the red heifer were mixed with the ashes of the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop and mixed with water to make the water of purification. This was the whole point of that red heifer’s sacrifice. That water would then be used if anyone was in contact with dead bodies, had a skin disease or was accused of adultery.
(The featured picture is from the blog https://freedailybiblestudy.com/)