July 12, 2002
Shabbat Shalom v’ Brachas. Sabbath Peace and blessings to all of you and your loved ones. May this time find you healthy and prosperous in both spirit and sustenance. If by happenstance, this broadcast finds you ill in body or mind please write us with your petition and we will pray for your recovery. Prayer releases blessings from the abundance of G-d.
Last week, I asked that you prepare for this broadcast by having a pencil and paper ready to jot down biblical citations and notes pertaining to the message. I warned you that some of the broadcasts would address deep issues and would require active participation, thought and study. Many of us are too passive in our relationship to YHVH (G-d) and His Word and resist involving ourselves actively in study or in some cases we only study superficially. We have the milk but never go on to the meat as we are commanded. I have found that there is no better way to stimulate interest and desire to know our Creator than by studying His Torah. The depths of meaning found there, even in the genealogies has something to say to every believer and foreshadows all the doctrines found in the B’rit Chadasha or NT. It is the Torah that gives us the foundation upon which to build our faith. Furthermore, this is essentially the only way to know Him from His own Word, and the way He Himself has designed for us to come to faith and trust. I often say to my congregation if you want to know Yahshua, you have to study Torah for He is the Living, Manifested Torah.
You may also receive a transcript of this study simply by writing to us along with your prayer request at Beth Elohim Synagogue, PO Box 203, Lecanto, FL 33460. It is free and we do not solicit funds by mail. If you find these lessons valuable to you, you may also sign up for the Weekly Parsha or Scripture Portion by e-mail. Just include your e-mail address in your letter and we will know what it is for. The address will be given again at the end of the broadcast.
This week we are going to talk about the Para Adumah or Red Cow. The commandments and rituals regarding the Para Adumah have been regarded by traditional Judaism as unfathomable and unknowable. This puzzling ritual bewilders even the Sages. The consensus is that it is a law that defies rational explanation. The bottom line then is that because of the puny limits of human rationality and intelligence its very incomprehensibility testifies to our trust in YHVH’s Word.
Yet, the subject is not so esoteric as one might suppose when viewed from hindsight and from a Believer’s perspective. Most Christians have heard of the “Red Cow” and its central position in purifying a future Temple to be built in Jerusalem before the end of the age. As we scan periodicals and watch Christian Television we find that many Christian commentators and prophetic teachers with unusual interest urgently follow the progress made in breeding such a cow. The reason being is the “Red Cow” is essential to end time prophecy in order for G-d’s plan to proceed to its conclusion. The difficulty is breeding a cow that meets the specifications that G-d has given us in His Torah (Scriptures).
What I have found is that most of these commentators do not touch on the scriptural significance as pertains to types and shadows the “Red Cow” presents to us as believers. They simply state that before the prophetic time clock may proceed a red cow has to be bred so that a Third functioning Temple might be brought into existence as a perquisite to fulfillment of end time prophecies.
In Numbers (B’midbar in Hebrew) chapter 19:1 through chapter 25:9 we first encounter YHVH’s commandments concerning the “Red Cow.”
In this portion of Scripture, called Hukkat (meaning regulation) that was read in Jewish Synagogues and Temples a few weeks ago, but obliquely revisited last week, we find, as I have stated, according to traditional Judaism the most perplexing and admittingly, puzzling ritual in the Bible. It is the commandments and ritual concerning the Para Adumah or Red Cow as prescribed by YHVH Elohim to Moshe.
Even though traditional Judaism considers the Para Adumah the most puzzling of all YHVH’s laws, and reports that it is so complex that even King Solomon was forced to admit, “I said I will be wise, but it is far from me,” we with messianic revelation and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) might possess wisdom greater even than that of Solomon.
Of course, we must be careful not to let such knowledge appeal to the pride of the intellect, but instead use this knowledge to further understand and disseminate G-d’s plan for mankind.
That is the subject of this week’s program. The Para Adumah and its relevance to the Believer.
The connection between the Para Adumah and this past week’s Torah portion is found when we find that Pinchas and the rest of the Israeli warriors triumph over the Midyanites, and upon returning to camp, they are faced with the problem of how to purify the booty they have taken. Elazar, the Priest tells them, Zot hukat ha’Torah, …”This is the decree of the Torah” as to how to purify the booty they have taken. He then explains the simple process, which would enable them to use the vessels. Any vessel than can withstand heat, had to be purified by being placed in fire, and then sprinkled with the special waters of purification. Any vessel that did not come into contact with fire was to be immersed in water.
This phrase, Zot hukat ha’Torah appears in only one other place in the Torah, and that phrase is used in connection to the para Adumah, the red cow. Such biblical rarities always seem to point to deep biblical mysteries of special significance, and should warrant our undaunted effort to investigate and rightly divide the Word of YHVH Elohim concerning the matter.
In this case let us digress and explore YHVH’s commands and ritual concerning the “Red Cow.” First it has to be a cow that is purely red. There can be no mixed colors found any where on its body or that disqualifies the animal. It has to be perfect and unblemished in every sense. No yoke may have ever been placed upon it. This unique cow can have no defect of any kind. Already believer’s can see a correlation between Yahshua and the biblical type represented by the Para Adumah. It is brought to the priest by the Israelites who then slaughters it without the camp. Another correlation for Yahshua was executed without the parameters of the Temple. This unusual and perfectly hued cow is slaughtered and its blood is then sprinkled toward the “Tent of Meeting” seven times to purify the people. Another correlation, howbeit-all obvious ones. Now we will be getting into some less obvious ones. The dead heifer is then set alight and into the fire is thrown some hyssop and cedar along with extract from a crimson worm. The cow is to be consumed by fire entirely: “its hide, flesh, and blood shall be burned, it dung included.” The ashes from this conflagration are to be set aside, mixed with water and kept “for purification.” This mix in Hebrew is called mei niddah, variously translated as “water of lustration,” water of purification,” and “water of separation,” but originally the phrase suggests “waters of the nidah,” or blood of a menstruate woman. This heightens and suggests the “red cows” total separation from the community. We can discover this by the laws of Niddah, which is the commandment to abstain from and separate ourselves from sexual intimacy with our wives during and after a woman’s menstrual cycle. It takes little imagination to see the imagery here. We love our wives and have desire toward them, but must be separated for a time because of G-d’s instructions. Many see this as a seemingly illogical command that a couple must abstain from sexual relations during and especially for seven days after a woman’s menstrual cycle. Why? What is the answer for such a commandment? A woman’s menstrual cycle is the result of an unfertilized egg. The woman sloughs off the lining, which was prepared to sustain the potential life as well as the potential life (egg) that is now dead. Here we see two unclean products: the dead or unfertilized egg and the dead lining or corpus luteum. This is the lining that would have sustained the fertilized egg for three months after fertilization. In the beginning death was absent from this earth and from our lives before sin entered in. Death is the result of sin, and as such death is the ultimate sin. Death is HaSatan’s (that is Satan’s) last will for our lives. Torah teaches that death or contact with death is to be avoided and if we contact a corpse, biblically we are ritually impure and must undergo ritual purification and separation before being admitted back into the community. In the law of Niddah we learn we are to be separated from sin in our walk with YHVH, so the avoidance of intimacy during the woman’s cycle because she is shedding death in the potential life that was the eggs, and not because of any inherent uncleanness on the part of natural hygiene. This commandment should speak to us and inform us about the life of the fetus and abortion. If and egg with life potential is treated as dead and avoided how can we not believe that the fetus is life. Furthermore, this commandment is an object lesson for all of us as to the penalty of sin. Aside from that, we now see from hindsight and scientific evidence that abstaining from sexual relations for seven days after the cessation of bleeding brings the woman to the most fertile period in her cycle! This is also called the advanced follicular stage, which overlaps into the ovulation phase whereby another egg is released with the potential for fertilization. But more pertinent to our study is that the “red cow” as “waters of niddah” suggests its total separation from the community of Israel because of death, but yet we see that this separation is repaired and the object of separation becomes our purifier. I perceive that some of you are already beginning to see beyond the veil and maybe even getting a little excited about Torah and YHVH’s messages to us in what has traditionally been conceived as boring and irrelevant information for the contemporary believer. Those that only study from the NT certainly miss a lot don’t they?
Now, from the preceding perspective we see that the “red cow” mix both contaminates and de-contaminates. Who ever is pure but deals functionally like the priest with this red cow mix is made impure but who is ritually impure is made pure when sprinkled with the mix. When someone no matter how indirect becomes impure (ritually unclean) by their contact with death “A person who is pure (ritually) shall take hyssop, dip it in the water (of lustration -Separation) and sprinkle on the tent and on all the vessels and people there who were there or on him who touched the bones or the person who was killed or died naturally or the grave.” Yahshua was pure and undefiled by sin, but He was made sin or impure for us, and in His death was the means for us to obtain atonement. The sprinkling of the blood that reconciles us and the water of the Holy Spirit poured out purifys us.
Now we have to go to Exodus 32:20 and here we see Moshe had burned another cow. A gold cow of idolatry. He ground it to a power, sprinkled it with water and made the Israelites drink the mixture. How does this parallel, correlate or shed light upon the meaning of the Para Adumah? Through the Para Adumah we are purified and acceptable to YHVH Elohim, but by contrast we who drink the mixture of the golden calf, mankind’s remedy for sin and suffering being postulated by false religion, we find we are not permitted to enter into the Promised Land, as were the Israelites who fell in the wilderness.
Think about it. The golden calf was obviously something to be admired and desired because of its beauty and value. The liturgy (religious service) surrounding it’s worship appealed to the sensual and emotional senses. The golden calf attracted people, lost people.
Now, look at the Para Adumah although perfect and unblemished it was still a cow of no great value except by the standard of YHVH Elohim. There is nothing particularly appealing about a mixture made up of flesh, blood and dung, yet this is the very mixture that purifies. Yahshua Himself according to Isaiah 53:2 hath neither form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Yet, it was His faithfulness, purity and blood poured out that purifies us and reconciles us to YHVH Elohim.
We are not to be attracted by and led astray by feel good, non accountability religion because it masks out the need for a “Paschal or Passover Lamb” or for a Para Adumah or “Red Cow.” Religious leaders in order to justify themselves retort that they give “them” meaning you what they or you want, that is the musicals, dramas, and entertainment packaged in religious wrappings instead of G-dly instructions and discipline from G-d’s Word. Somehow, like Pontius Pilate they think this will absolve them of guilt when the thousands they minister to, languish in Hell and point accusing fingers at them. I can imagine Yahshua from His judgment throne looking down on them and admonishing them that they should have given them what they need and not what they want. You and I both need the Living and Written Torah. Music programs, dramatizations, and such may bring the crowd in for it’s entertainment value, but it’s time to realize that that is just what it is, entertainment and not the Word of G-d no matter how cleverly it is wrapped up in neat religious packages. YHVH tells us in Heb 4:12 For the word of G-d is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And in Romans 10:17 so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of G-d.
Let me conclude by saying that besides all of the obvious symbols, shadows and types found in the image of the “Red Cow” or Para Adumah is the succinct message that “all that glitters is not gold.” We are inveighed to examine our hearts and motives asking ourselves, are we seeking after the golden calf as opposed to the red cow? Is our faith just external expression without substance? Are we merely seeking feeling good, emotionally satisfying acceptable “religious” entertainment that only temporarily glosses over the real cause of our despair, “sin.” If our desire to know G-d is no more than singing emotionally arousing hymns or listening to churchy concerts of inspiring songs of praise then there’s something missing in our character and relationship to the G-d of the Universe. If we dread the message, presuming it is from G-d’s Word and not some humanistic self-help, feel good, non-accountability secular message then we have a problem in our relationship to Him that is our creator, and we need a remedy.
Music, drama, skits and musicals have a place in our worship but not to the point, they dominate the proclaiming of G-d’s Torah and for those that see themselves in any of the foregoing characterizations, they need to know that they are practicing a form of worship but denying the power thereof. What they need is G-d’s uncompromising Word, His Torah. I didn’t say it; G-d said it.
Are you being fed G-d’s Uncompromising Word? If not, it’s time to seek out teachers who don’t compromise G-d’s Word for the sake of building institutional membership and ones that give people what they need and not necessarily what they want. Try it for you have nothing to lose but your despair.
Next week we will be exploring some of the Hebraic idiomatic expressions found in the NT. For instance, do you know what an “evil eye” represents? No, it is not something to do with the occult. Do you know what this verse actually means: Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. What about and eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? None of these verses means what most Christians think they mean. Tune in next week and learn their meanings from your Jewish roots and much, much more.
In the meantime, visit us at Beth Elohim Synagogue located on SR 44 about 3 blocks east of CR 491 on the south side at S. Line Street. You can telephone 527-9353 for information and directions. We meet on the biblical Sabbath. 7:30 PM on Fridays and 10:00 AM on Saturdays. Come informally and learn something new from YHVH’s word. We are into teaching the meat of His word not just the milk. All are welcome: Jews or non-Jews all equal in the sight of G-d.
Shortly, I will be starting a Bible study tentatively scheduled to meet on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. I’ve heard many commentators teach on the symbols of the Tabernacle or Mishkan as it is called in Hebrew, but I have never heard anyone teach on the Temple sacrifices and offerings; An enlightening and important teaching. I will teach either on this subject or on the “Trinity.” How many of you have ever been given an unequivocal answer as to what the doctrine of the Trinity is? None, I would suspect. It is a great obstacle to Jews and I am gong to explore exactly what this doctrine is and what it is assumed to teach. Also, is there a precedent within Judaism for such a doctrine albeit by another name. If you would like to attend this free study, one or both, you must contact us to register. The study is free, but we need to know how many will attend. Secondly, which study would you prefer? The Trinity or Temple Sacrifices. Wednesday is the preferred day so far but is there another day or time that would be more convenient. We will be making these decisions based on the response and majority vote. You can write us at the address soon to be given or e-mail us at email@example.com to register and voice your desires.
If you want a transcript of this message request transcript #2 by writing to Beth Elohim at P.O. Box 203, Lecanto, FL 34460-0203.
Shalom v’ Brachas