Don’t overlook passages in the Old Testament that don’t appear at first glance to have anything to do with the gospel or with New Testament Christianity. Case in point – Numbers 19, which has the gospel written all over it!
Death (both spiritual and physical) is a big deal in the Bible. It is a direct effect of sin (Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23). In the New Testament, Christians are described as those who “were dead” (Ephesians 2:1) and have been “brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13). Life is always God’s plan. Death is a sad and devastating consequence of the fall. I have just given a few supporting Scriptures, but I could give a bunch more. This truth is woven throughout the Bible.
So, here in Numbers 19, dead corpses are considered very impure, and contact with a dead corpse requires a special rite of purification. This passage may be mentioned here because of the deaths we’ve seen in the last few chapters (Numbers 14:37, 15:36, and 16:32, 16:35, 16:49). In any event, this recipe for cleansing ash is given in 19:1-10 and then instructions for using it are provided in 19:11-22. As with all Old Testament laws and rituals, the point is to teach and point to Christ. How does Numbers 19 point to Christ? I have verse 9 underlined in my Bible and a note pointing to Hebrews 9:13-14. Read Hebrews 9:13-14, which I also recommend you underline. Look again at Ephesians 2:1 and read on to verse 10.
That is the gospel, the good news that we were dead in our sins, BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ by His grace (Ephesians 2:4-5). We don’t need purification from contact with death by the ashes of a heifer because we have access to a permanent purification through the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:13-14). This is great news. And, as unbelievable as it is, I pray that you believe it and trust Christ for your cleansing from sin.