The Red Heifer
This Torah Portion, Chukat, introduces a new ordinance (or decree, which is what Chukat means) concerning purification by means of the Red Heifer Sacrifice. Anyone that came in contact with a dead body needed a means to be made ritually “clean” again. For instance, when Yeshua raised both Lazarus and Yarus’ daughter from the dead, Yeshua became ritually “unclean.” It was for this ritual cleansing ordinance that the Water of Purification was made using the ashes from the Red Heifer Sacrifice. On the surface, this sacrifice appears similar to the Burnt Offering. But in fact, the two have very little in common: color, gender, location and method of sacrifice are all different. And the concept that ashes mixed with water could bring about purification sounds rather peculiar to us living in 21st Century America. Incredibly, it is this same Water of Purification mixture that Yeshua turns into wine during the wedding feast at Cana.
Water From the Rock – Part II
The Portion continues by fast-forwarding to the end of the 40-year Exodus journey. Miriam dies, they have no water, just as He did in Exodus 17, God instructs Moses to provide water from the Rock…with one difference. This time God instructs Moses to “speak” to the rock instead of “striking” it. But in his frustration with the murmuring people, Moses strikes the rock…twice! Even worse, he takes credit for delivering the water! As a consequence, God prohibits both Moses and Aaron from entering the Promised Land.
The Serpent on the Pole
Moving forward in the portion, the Children of Israel begin murmuring yet again, God sends judgment by means of “fiery serpents” that bite the people, resulting in more death. But in His Mercy, God also provides a remedy to this judgment in the form of a brass serpent mounted on a wooden pole; healing from the serpent bites came by merely looking upon the brass serpent. In John 3 Yeshua explains to Nicodemus that He is that Serpent on the Pole. It’s hard for us to see that a serpent (evil) made of brass (judgment) could possibly represent Yeshua (Salvation); yet when He died on the Tree of Sacrifice, He took our sin (evil) upon Himself and God judged (brass) Him for our sins. What a Saviour!
The Portion ends with Israel traversing Moab and fighting (and conquering) their way through the nations east of the Jordan where they are poised to enter the Promised Land.
Yeshua said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.” The Scriptures He refers to is the Tanach (the Old Testament) because the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) didn’t exist at that time. We see that these three events (the red Heifer, Water from the Rock and the Serpent on the Pole) all represent Yeshua in the Tanach.