Summary: The precious blood of Jesus Christ, offered by Himself, purifies not only outwardly, as the Levitical sacrifices on the day of atonement, but inwardly unto the service of the living God. His death is the inaugurating act of the new covenant, and of the heavenly sanctuary.
The Book of Hebrews
Hebrews (9:13-22; KJV)
13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
18Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
19For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
21Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats,
This is probably referring to the great day of atonement when the offering was the sacrifice of a bullock and a goat.
The little word, “if” as used in this case, functions as a Greek indicative which means an argument from the less to the greater. The argument could be made in this manner: If the blood of mere brutes could purify in any, however small a degree, how much more shall inward purification, and complete and eternal salvation, accomplish by the blood of Christ, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead?
The precious blood of Jesus Christ, offered by Himself, purifies not only outwardly, as the Levitical sacrifices on the day of atonement, but inwardly unto the service of the living God (Heb. 9:13-14). His death is the inaugurating act of the new covenant, and of the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 9:15-23). His entrance into the true Holy of Holies is the consummation of His once-for-all-offered sacrifice of atonement (Hebrews 9:24, 26); henceforth, His reappearance alone remains to complete our redemption (Heb. 9:27-28).
and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, (see Num. 19:16-18)
For an account of this, see Numbers 19:2-10. In ver. 9, it is said that the ashes of the heifer, after it was burnt, should be kept “for a water of separation; it is a purification for sin.” That is, the ashes were to be carefully preserved, and being mixed with water were sprinkled on those who were from any cause ceremonially impure. The “reason” for this appears to have been that the heifer was considered as a sacrifice whose blood has been offered, and the application of the ashes to which she had been burnt was regarded as an evidence of participation in that sacrifice. It was necessary where the laws were so numerous respecting external pollutions, or where the members of the Jewish community were regarded as being so frequently “unclean” by contact with dead bodies, and in various other ways, that there should be some method in which they could be declared to be cleansed from their “uncleanness.” The nature of these institutions also required that this should be in connection with “sacrifice,” and in order to do this, it was arranged that there should be this “permanent sacrifice” - the ashes of the heifer that had been sacrificed - of which they could avail themselves at any time, without the expense and delay of making a bloody offering specifically for the occasion. It was, therefore, a provision of convenience, and at the same time was designed to keep up the idea, that all purification was somehow connected with the shedding of blood.
This is very comforting for us. The water of separation, made of the ashes of the red heifer, was the provision for removing ceremonial defilement whenever incurred by contact with the dead. As she was slain without the camp, so Christ (compare Heb. 13:11; Num 19:3-4). The ashes were kept nearby for constant use; so, the continually cleansing effects of Christ‘s blood, was shed once for all. In our wilderness journey we are continually contracting defilement by contact with the spiritually dead, and with dead works, and need therefore continual application to the antitypical life-giving cleansing blood of Christ, whereby we are constantly restored to peace and living communion with God in the heavenly holy place.