In the days of Moses, a person who came in contact with a dead body became ritually unclean and could not enter the Tabernacle courts to bring an offering to God. To do so would defile the Tabernacle.
Numbers 19:13 ‘Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD’.
Being in contact with a dead body was not a sin, but nonetheless it caused ritually uncleanness.
It was referred to as ‘the father of the father of all uncleanness’.
The remedy for this situation sits under a category of commandments which are called ‘statutes’. In Hebrew the word for ‘statute’ is ‘chuqah’ – best defined as a commandment which doesn’t make sense to us but we obey because God commanded it.
Normally for ritual uncleanness, a person would immerse in a ‘miqvah’ and this would be sufficient to cleanse a person.
However, ritual impurity caused by contact with a human corpse, could only be removed by the sprinkling of the water of the ashes of a red heifer on the third and seventh day followed by immersion in a Miqvah.
The red heifer was completely pure and had to be killed outside the camp. It was burned in a special process and its ashes were mixed with water. This mixture was used for sprinkling people who had come into contact with human death who wished to enter the Tabernacle to draw near to Him.
The Tabernacle on earth reflects the true Sanctuary above – the heavenly sanctuary.
Just as a person could not enter the Temple on earth until he had cleansed himself from the contamination of death, a person cannot enter God’s eternal habitation above until he has left death – his mortal flesh – behind. This is called the resurrection of the dead.
Just as the red heifer that was taken outside the city to be slaughtered and offered, Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem’s walls.
Hebrews 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
When Messiah Jesus returns He will bring the final redemption – the resurrection of the dead.
The ritual uncleanness of death, brought into our world when Adam sinned will finally be dealt with.
Just as the red heifer’s sacrifice was necessary to cleanse people from death contamination, Jesus’s death was necessary to cleanse us from the contamination of sin, which leads to death.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,14 how much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
And then we will have entrance permanently into the Heavenly Sanctuary.
1 Corinthians 15: 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory‘. 55 ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’