Like the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, these two birds represent one sacrifice, but since they couldn’t kill a bird and bring it back to life again, two birds had to be used. One died as a result of sin; the other was set free, representing the liberty we have when our sins have been washed away.
Staying clean can be a dirty business. When Israelites became unclean through sin, disease, or simple contact with unclean things, they would have to be cleansed before they could once again worship with the covenant community. Sometimes this meant a simple washing. But most often it meant sacrifice and blood for “almost all things are by the law purged with blood.” And then, there was the most curious cleansing agent of all—the ashes of a heifer.
In both Covenants (Old and New) real blood was spilled and then verbally enjoined. After speaking all the precepts of the Law to the people, Moses sprinkled the blood of bulls and goats on the book and the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined unto you.” After living and speaking all the precepts of the New Covenant, Jesus declared, “This is my blood of the covenant.” They each gave voice to the blood.
The revelation received on Mount Sinai and its centuries of outworking that culminated in the temple worship system all pointed to the work which Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Among New Testament books and epistles, the book of Hebrews stands out as the most explicit exposition of Jesus Christ as the full antitype of the types expounded in the Law.