Firstborn Sonship of Christ


June 2004
Article 47 (continued)


      1 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
      2 "This is the ordinance of the Law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come,"
Num 19:1-2.
      This red heifer offering is not one of the offerings of Leviticus, but it beautifully compliments those offerings. It also correlates well with other cleansing ceremonies to provide a broad and multifaceted prophetic witness of the redemption cycle. It spans and portrays the life and ministry of Christ from His virgin birth, through His sinless life, His earthly ministry, His vicarious death, to His divine resurrection birth in creating a divine new man.
      We find great assurance, comfort, and delight in reviewing the new birth in these many Old Testament symbolic ordinances. Once we clearly recognize the full and necessarily inter-related Redemption cycle throughout the Scriptures, the Old Testament becomes a much more meaningful and beautiful arena of lights all focused on the life and ministry of Christ.


      1 "...Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come," Num 19:2.       The color "red" is a requirement in this offering, and among other things, speaks of redemption. The third covering of the tabernacle was made of Ram's skins dyed RED. This reference occurs six times from Ex. 25 through 39. The color is used also in the Scriptures in association with sin (Isa 1:18), of wealth and royalty (Rev 18), but here it appears to fit the character of Christ, as one appointed to life, vicarious death, and the divine new birth resurrection, as our Kinsman Redeemer, I Co 15:44-58.


     1 "...Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come," Num 19:2.
      The red heifer first represented Christ and all the firstborn sons of God. As our Kinsman Redeemer, He had to be a man, as the Head of a new divine race of mankind. In this offering, and in some others, Christ is represented by a female sacrifice, Lev 5:27-35. God created Eve as Adam's helper and under his authority, ITi 2:11-13. God told Adam not to eat of the tree of death, because the day he ate of it he would die. Eve ate of it and nothing happened, but when Adam ate of it both of them were alienated from God in a dead in sins state of being, and tried to hide their nakedness, Gen 3.
      When the Son of God became a human, He took upon Himself the status of a Servant. Even to the death of the cross, Phi 2:5-11. It was appropriate therefore, that the red heifer sacrifice in symbolism be a female. This is not derogatory toward the woman, it is clearly what the Scriptures say, and is honorable when we recognize, believe, and obey God's Word, 1Co 113' 14:34-36; 1Ti 2:11-13.


      2 "...Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect...," Num 19:2.
      21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,"
2Co 5:21.
      We must understand and ever keep the redemption cycle in mind. Everything in the Bible is divinely incorporated into the redemption cycle. Eternal punishment os governed by the covenants, which are last will and testaments. The death of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was eternal punishment in hell and the lake of fire. It is this eternal death (punishment) that the firstborn sonship and the nations on the new earth are redeemed. Those nations will also be punished with the gehenna punishment which is not hell or the lake of fire. A series of articles wil be written on gehenna after the firstborn sonship articles are finished.
      The nations outside the New Jerusalem will receive the crumbs that fall from the Master's table, Mt 15:22-28. They will be "saved, so as by fire," (1Co 3:15). The nations on the new earth are "servant" sons, (Gal 4:21-31; Heb 12:8), as Ishmael and Esau became, Gen 17-27. They will not be firstborn sons, and will not be divinely born again, Gal 4:21 thru Gal 5:5; Heb 12:1-17.
      To qualify for the firstborn sonship, we must overcome the required covenant training by grace through faith, Heb 5:8-9; 12:1-17. God has provided that the faithful can stnad before Him in judgment holy and without blame, by qualifying for the firstborn sonship, Col 1:21-24; 1Th 3:12-13. The last will and testament stipulates that we must overcome the testament disciplinary training, Heb 3; 4; 5:8-9; 12:1-17; 2Pe 1:1-12, et al.


      2 "This is the ordinance of the Law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come," Num 19:2.
      The "yoke" primarily signifies servitude of sin and death. Christ as Redeemer did not come under this yoke until the cross. But to become our Redeemer He had to take upon Himself servitude to the basic elements of the universe, such as food, heat, cold, gravity, distance, time, hunger, thirst, etc.
      In this state of being He had to prevail against the yoke of sin and death through his eartly life. Then He had to be made sin and suffer its death to fully qualify as the Redeemer of all that Adam lost in his sin and fall. So Christ was without spot or blemish of sin in any way, and therefore took our yoke of sin upon Himself, destroyed it, and created the "new man" in His new birth resurrection, Col 1:19; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-38.


      3 "You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him," Num 19:3.
      Outside the camp was not normally a good place to be. Sin offerings were burned outside the camp, Lev 4. Lepers were to remain outside the camp, Lev 13; 14. Unclean persons were to remain outside the camp, Num 15:35; Deu 23:10. Criminals were stoned to death outside the camp, Num 15:35. Unfaithful church members who will not repent and live holy lives are to be put out of the church, Mt 18:15-18; 2Th 3:6-15.


      12 "Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate,
13 "Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach,"
Heb 13:12-13.
      21 "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps," 1Pe 2:21.
      The Redeemer was crucified outside the camp as the vilest of criminals. The religious rulers persuaded the people to release a chief criminal and crucify Jesus, and incessantly refused to let Pilate release Jesus, even though Pilate found no fault in Him.
      Jesus was again cruelly beaten by the Roman soldiers, then taken outside the city and shamefully crucified as the chief of sinners. Since that time, as well as before that time His faithful testament people have been passionately led by the Holy Spirit to go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
      Enjoying the things highly esteemed in this world is volunteering ourselves to be the enemies of God and the servants of Satan, Lk 16:15; Ja 4:4. Conversely, let us put our best foot forward by going forth to Christ outside the camp, consciously, purposely, joyfully bearing His Word in our hearts. God's Word is spirit, it is life (Jn 6:63), and it is necessary for the new birth in the resurrection, 1Co 15:1-4, 44-58.


      4 "And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting," Num 19:4.
       Seven times signifies completion in regard to whatever is being done. The seven days of the creation week speaks of a full week, and also of a seven thousand year period in which the Redeemer (the Seed of the woman) will complete the work of redemption from the law of sin and death.
The blood of the red heifer was brought into the camp and sprinkled seven times directly before the tabernacle. The tabernacle represented the faithful testament people, and God's purpose in their redemption during this period of time. Government over all God's vast creation was given to man (Gen 1:26 thru 2:3; Ps 8:306), but Adam chose sin and death over faith-obedience and divine life. The Kinsman Redeemer, in the person of "the seed of the woman," gloriously qualified to redeem all that was lost.       The sprinkling of the red heifer's blood before the tabernacle seven times bore witness to this unspeakable glorious future for all who will faithfully (be grace through faith) persevere in going to Him outside the camp and bearing His reproach. This constant pilgrimage to Him outside the camp is a daily bearing His reproach (the Gospel of Christ) to a lost and dying world, Mt 28:18-20; Act 1:4-8.


      5 "Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned," Num 19:5.
      This is indeed a whole burnt offering. Even the blood, except what was sprinkled directly before the tabernacle, was burned outside the camp, along with all the rest of the animal. In the other offerings the blood was poured out at the base of the burnt altar. And the skin of the regular burnt offering was given to the priest that offered it. With the red heafier offering everything was burned.


      6 "And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer," Num 19:6.
      "Cedar wood" is a prized wood and fits excellently as one of the symbols portraying redemption. At a later date, the walls and ceiling of Solomon's temple was paneled with cedar wood, because of its intrinsic beauty, moth repelling essence, and aromatic excellence. This appears to make cedar wood ideal for paneling the inner walls of the temple, for cedar chests, closets, and similar uses.
      "Hyssop" was used for applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the door posts of each home, Ex 12:22. Hyssop was used in the symbolic cleansing of a leper, Lev 14. Hyssop was here used in the symbolic cleansing from defilement in connection with a dead body, Num 19.
      Thus this ceremonial cleansing process was necessarily a part of the overall redemption cycle. This is true with all the symbolic ordinances of both Old Testament and New Testament. Each and every symbolic ordinance testified of a new birth resurrection at the beginning of the seventh day "rest" (Gen 3:1-3) or the seventh millennium of "rest," Rom 8:19-21; Heb 4:1-11; Rev 20.
      7 "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," Ps 51:7.
      "Wash me" is translated from "pluno" which refers to washing of garments, and correlates well with cleansing of bridal or wedding garments, Rev 3:4-5; 7:14; 16:15; 19:7-8. They "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," Rev 9:14.
      "Scarlet," in its application to the tabernacle, ust carry the rich meaning of redemption out of our sin enslaved existence into the unspeakably glorious and royal state of the fulness of God's divine nature.
      3 "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
      4 "By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,"
1Pe 1:3-4.
      This is the firstborn sonship into which the faithful firstborn are predestined to be born when Christ returns, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:1-4, 44-58. The firstborn sons in covenant relationship with God have been called and predestined to this divine state of being, but many will fail to make their calling and election sure, Jn 13:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 4:21 thru 5:4; 2Pe 1:3-10.
      49 "And he shall take, to cleanse the house, two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop       50 "Then he shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water;
      51 "And he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times.
      52 "And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet,"
Lev 14:49-52.
      This passage, along with Lev 14:4-6, bears solid witness that cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet carry the redemption significance indicated above. All of this has its place in the overall redemption cycle from the all of man to the divine new birth of the firstborn sons. All of both the Old Testament and the New Testament fit beautifully together into God's grand redemption cycle ruling over nations of servant sons on the new earth after the seventh day millennium rest.


      We can press on in the blind state of Protestant theology that says that we were born again at the first act of true repentance and faith, and continue being blinded to this very obvious misconception of the new birth. May the Lord help brethren to understand that our mind is the chief and governing part of our spirit, and if the mind had been born again at first faith, it would be impossible for us to sin thereafter. All the evil that flows out from us, proceeds from our heart - not the blood pump, but the mind.
      Our spirits are not headless, and our spirits are not flesh and bone. The bodies of Abraham and the rich man had died. Their bodies with the brain had died, been buried, and would turn to dust. Their mind, being an inseparable part of their spirit, was alive and articulate apart from their bodies.
      The human mind is inseparable from the human spirit - whether the spirit is in the body and out of the body. And the mind or heart of all God's covenant people here on earth is still sinful, Mt 15:1-20. Our sins proceed from our heart or mind: from that part of us that governs both our spirit and our body.
      Our heart or mind governs all that we feel, think, say, and do: both good and bad. The heart or mind of the faithful firstborn sons will not be born again until Christ returns. We are able to be spiritually minded only by the working of the Holy Spirit as He uses the Word of God, Heb 4:12.


      7 "Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall co
me into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 "And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening,"
Num 19:7-8.
      The word for "wash" is "pluno," which is used for washing clothes. Our clothes or garments represent our deeds (our daily conduct), and both address the kind of person we are, Mt 22:11-14; Rev 3;4-5,18; 7:14; 16:15; 19:7-8. The bride of Christ will be clothes in "fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts (or deeds) of the saints," Rev 19:7-8.
      Of course, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), therefore the righteousness is the righteousness of God, worked in and through us by the Holy Spirit, Mt 10:19-20; 1Co 15:10; Phi 2:12. We are earnestly waiting for that divine righteousness, which the faithful firstborn sons will receive in the new birth resurrection when Christ returns, Mt 5:6; 25:31-46; 1Co 9:10; Gal 5:5; Phi 3:9; 2Ti 4:8; et al.
      The word "bathe" is translated from "louo," and is used specifically of bathing the whole body. "Nipto" is used when washing part of the body, "louo" is used when washing the whole body, and "pluno" is used when washing garments.
      Both the ceremonial and symbolic washing the clothes and bathing of the whole body are often emphasized and required throughout both Old Testament and New Testament. The Scriptures are indeed replete with these ordinances. The symbolic application of all of them is to the divine new resurrection when Christ returns.


      8 "And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening," Num 19:8.
      This expression is often used, and first means that the persons involved in performing this sacrifice would continue to be counted as unclean until the evening of that day. The priest who officiated in the red heifer offering would be unclean until the evening. The person who actually burned the red heifer would be unclean until the evening. The person who gathered the ashes for the water of purification would be unclean until the evening. And the person who sprinkled the water of purification would be unclean until the evening.
      The whole red heifer sacrifice had to do with a dead body, and being defiled by a dead body in a number of ways. In the lesser defilement one was defiled until evening. In the greater defilement one was defiled for seven days. In either case, the person being ceremonially ccounted cleaaaan again pointed to the new birth when Christ returns.
      Being ceremonially defiled by a desd body, pointed to the whole human race being dead in sins, Rom 3:9-23; 5:12-21; Eph 2:1-16. Being made clean from this state of being, will be in the new birth when Christ returns, Heb 11:39-40.


      9 "Then a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin," Num 19:9.
      17 "And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel," Num 19:17.
      The ashes of the red heifer, cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet were mixed with running water to produce a water of purificationnnn to sprinkle on those who would be defiled by a dead body in one or more of numerous ways. Let it be emphasized that this red heifer sacrifice and the application of the water of purification portrays the redemption cycle from the Garden of Eden through a period of seven thousand years, as revealed in the seven days of the creation week, Gen 1 and 2; Heb 4:1-11; Rev 20.


      11 "He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.
      12"He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself of the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean,"
Num 19:11-12.
      The emphasis here is on the third day and the seventh day, and the water of purification from the dead in sins state of being applied on the third day and the seventh day. This had to do with the eradication of the "dead in sins" condition, which, in the redemption cycle, requires a new birth into the divine image and likeness of God, offered in the tree of life.
      Christ rose from the dead on the third day lest His human body see corruption (Ps 16:7-11; Act 2:25-38; 13:29-36), and will give the new birth to the faithful firstborn sons at the beginning of the seventh millennium, portrayed by the seventh day of creation. In both cases the symbolic cleansing from the "dead in sins" condition is fulfilled.


      13 "Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him...
      20 "But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, becaaause he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on hiim, he is unclean,"
      The tabernacle or sanctuary represented all the covenant peoples God's dwelling place, His house, His temple. Every sin of any and all the people defiled the whole nation, just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump, 1Co 5:8; Jos 7. Every sin, therefore, defiles the whole assembly and makes it less usable by the Holy Spirit, and less effective as a people of God. Achan's sin caused the death of 36 men, a shameful defeat of the whole nation under Joshua, and the stoning death of Achan and all his family, Jos 7.
      God permitted this to happen and put it in His Word for our understanding and warning, because He works under the same manner with each of His churches. We must urgently strive to love, encourage, and edify one another, lest we unwittingly and seriously defraud each other and our whole assembly. This is happening in our churches all the time.



      20 "But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from amongh the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean." Num 19:13,20.
      This means being cut off from the firstborn sonship, from the birthright, from al the inheritance promises. This indeed means being disqualified from the inheritance of the new birth into the divine nature. It also brings the eternal Gehenna punishment, which the unfaithful will forever experience. We intend and hope to get back to the Gehenna study at some point in the near future.
      Achan's loss of the rest of his earthly life and that of his family was bad, but nothing at al compared to the eternal loss and punishment. The Bible is sufficiently clear on the eternal loss of the unfaithful believers. The traditions of the elders cannot defend the popular security of the believer doctrine. The eternal loss of the firstborn sonship alone is beyond the grasp of the human mind.


      14 "This is the law when a man dies in a tent: all who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days;
      15 "And every open vessel, which has no cover fastened on it, is unclean.
      16 "Whosoever in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of a man, or a grace, shall be unclean seven days,"
Num 19:14-16.
      Again, the number "seven" is a number of completion. The uncleanness results fronm touching a dead body, or in some way being associated with a dead body. This is a part of the redemption cycle, both the uncleanness and the cleansing. The red heifer symbolically represented Christ, but it also symbolically represented the firstborn sons becoming one with Christ in His life, His crucifixion, His death, and His new birth resurrection.
      The cleansing at the end of seven days provided a ceremonial cleansing in this life, but it also prophetically pointed to the ever present redemption cycle cleansing and divine new birth of the firstborn sons when Christ returns. This is the abiding testimony of every symbolic ceremony and worship sacrifice throughout the Scriptures.


      17 "And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel," Num 19:17.
      The "ashes" of all sacrifices, especially the ashes of the red heifer, cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, and "running water" are uniquely significant in cleansing from defilement of a dead body. Simeon and Anna (Lk 1:25-38) were two of a great many in Old Testament days (Heb 11:8-16,35), who had clear understanding of this abundance of symbolic prophecies of the suffering of Christ and His resurrection glory on behalf of allo the faithful firstborn testament people.


      37 "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsting, let him come to Me and drink.
      38 "He who is believing into Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'
      39 "But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing into Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified,"
Jn 7:37-39.
      Water witnesses of life, especially divine life in the Scriptures, Jn 4:14. This life, its glory, and its divine nature belong to the faithful testament people, Rom 9:5; 2Pe 1:4-9. The crowns of life, of glory, of righteousness, etc., are promised to the overcomers only. The unfaithful fail to make their calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:5-10; Rom 11:11-12; Jn 15:1-6.
      The unfaithful sons will never be firstborn sons, but will remain as earthy servant sons, Jn 8:31-36; Gal 4:21 thru 5:5. The "adoption" into the firstborn sonship belongs to Israel (Rom 8:23; 9:4), and we are also said to be "grafted" into the stock of Israel, rom 11:11-22.
      Paul compares us to being an embryo developing into a child in the womb, Gal 3:19. From the beginning, the covenant people have been qualifying for the new birth. At death every believer will have either qualified or failed to qualify for the new birth resurrection. God predestined that we, by grace through faith, make our calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:3-10. And He also predestined that He will cut the unfaithful off out of the election, Rom 11:11-22. (To be continued next issue)