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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter VIII.—The red heifer a type of Christ.

Now what do you suppose this to be a type of, that a command was given to Israel, that men of the greatest wickedness15411541    Literally, “men in whom sins are perfect.” Of this, and much more that follows, no mention is made in Scripture. should offer a heifer, and slay and burn it, and, that then boys should take the ashes, and put these into vessels, and bind round a stick15421542    Cod. Sin. has “upon sticks,” and adds, “Behold again the type of the cross, both the scarlet wool and the hyssop,”—adopted by Hilgenfeld. purple wool along with hyssop, and that thus the boys should sprinkle the people, one by one, in order that they might be purified from their sins? Consider how He speaks to you with simplicity. The calf15431543    Cod. Sin. has, “the law is Christ Jesus,” corrected to the above. is Jesus: the sinful men offering it are those who led Him to the slaughter. But now the men are no longer guilty, are no longer regarded as sinners.15441544    The Greek text is, “then no longer [sinful] men, no longer the glory of sinners,” which Dressel defends and Hilgenfeld adopts, but which is surely corrupt. And the boys that sprinkle are those that have proclaimed to us the remission of sins and purification of heart. To these He gave authority to preach the Gospel, being twelve in number, corresponding to the twelve tribes15451545    Literally, “in witness of the tribes.” of Israel. But why are there three boys that sprinkle? To correspond15461546    “In witness of.” to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, because these were great with God. And why was the wool [placed] upon the wood? Because by wood Jesus holds His kingdom, so that [through the cross] those believing on Him shall live for ever. But why was hyssop joined with the wool? Because in His kingdom the days will be evil and polluted in which we shall be saved, [and] because he who suffers in body is cured through the cleansing15471547    Thus the sense seems to require, and thus Dressel translates, though it is difficult to extract such a meaning from the Greek text. efficacy of hyssop. And on this account the things which stand thus are clear to us, but obscure to them because they did not hear the voice of the Lord.


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