The Red Heifer


In the book of Numbers chapter 19 - verse 9 clearly states the Red Heifer is a sin offering. The thing I’m unclear about is that the lustral water is applied only to persons who are ritually unclean after touching a corpse. I understand to be ritually unclean is not the same as to sin. If that is the case how is the Red Heifer a sin offering if it’s only applied to the ritually unclean?


It is all bull to me. Why the emphasis on understanding the pilpuls of the OT when our salvation is in the New? I find reading the OT fairly sterile in relation to my own life in comparison to the joy of the Resurrection and the relevance of the parables to the day the day.


One cannot fully understand the New Covenant unless he fully understands the Old Covenant. That’s why there are two testaments; to fully instruct us in the ways of salvation.


There is ceremonially unclean, legally unclean, and morally unclean. I think the last one is sinful.


That richness you feel now will be an order of magnitude greater if you understand the Old Testament context.

For me, the Psalms are second only to the Gospels. The Church herself prays all 150 Psalms every four weeks in the daily prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours.



The unblemished red heifer was a symbol for our LORD; the red representing His blood.

Prophetic buffs who look for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple will also be aware that a new red heifer would be needed for that to happen.



That’s interesting – can you please point me to a website showing this?

I don’t think the last one (morally unclean) is applicable from merely touching a corpse which is why I’m confused why the heifer is a sin offering when all the people are doing are touching dead corpses which makes them at worst ritually unclean?


Thanks for your post – however it didn’t answer my question :frowning:


For anyone that’s interested, I found the answer I was looking for:

“The preservation of the ashes of the dead animal mixed with water will become the remedy for defilement by death so that the unclean covenant member, contaminated by sin in the form of death, can be restored to the community. All through the procedure great emphasis is laid on death and its connection to sin. Death, a result of man’s sin in his fall from grace, is repugnant to God. It means separation”.


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