Prophetic Anticipation Builds: Unblemished Red Heifers for Temple Ceremony Soon Come of Age
Chris Mitchell : May 23, 2023
"...Most Christians, I think, don't think about the Third Temple. But those who do believe that it will be built before Jesus returns, for the Second Coming..." -Author Joel Rosenberg
(Mount of Olives-Jerusalem, Israel) — [CBN News] Last September, five red heifers arrived in Israel amid great fanfare, because some Jews and Gentiles believe red heifers are a key element leading to the building of the Third Jewish Temple. (Screengrab image)
The heifers are now in a secure, undisclosed location in Israel. Plans include moving them, sometime soon, to a visitor's center in Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the Lord once stood for nearly 400 years.
The book of Numbers explains that ashes of the red heifer are used to purify priests for their service in the Temple:
"Now, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 'This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him ... its offal shall be burned ... for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin.'" (Numbers 19:1-5)
These red heifers are now between 1 ½ and 2 years old. To replicate the ceremony mentioned in the Bible, they need to be at least 3 years old. And within that time span, they cannot have a blemish or anything that would disqualify them for the ceremony, even one white or black hair.
According to those working on the project, the ceremony of the red heifer needs to be performed on the Mount of Olives, and in a place that would have looked directly into where the Temple stood. The land directly east of the Temple Mount, purchased 12 years ago, meets both of those standards.
Rabbi Yitshak Mamo owns that land on the Mount of Olives. Mamo is with Uvne Yerusalim, a group that preserves Israel's history and works to educate future generations.
Concerning the specifics of the land, he told CBN News, "It had to be exactly at the front of the place that the priest that made this ceremony can see the Holy of the Holy Place."
Rabbi Mamo added, "And we hope that in a year and a half from today, we can make this area the ceremony of the red heifer that actually will be the first step to the Temple."
He says the ceremony needs priests who have not been defiled by touching anything dead.
"The Temple Institute actually have, nine pure priests," the rabbi explained. "They weren't born in hospital, okay? They [were] born at home. Because they are priests. So anyway, they don't go to any cemetery. And the parents keep them in a situation that they will not get to any cemetery, not going to other, any problematic place."
He added, "And they are pure, and they are waiting. So, we have the priest, we have the red heifer, we have the land. We have everything ready. We just need to wait another one and a half year."
Byron Stinson from Boneh Israel helped find the red heifers in the United States.
"So we believe that it's very likely that the ceremony would happen somewhere in the area of Passover, 2024, out to the possibility of Shavuot, 2024," Stinson said. "Somewhere in that timeline, the cows would be old enough and it would be the proper timeline for that ceremony."
Stinson believes this would be the first possibility for such a ceremony in 2,000 years, and that the process toward building a Third Jewish Temple began when the Jewish people started their return to the Promised Land from the four corners of the world, culminating with Israel becoming a nation.
"And then in 1948, in one day, they were reborn as a nation, and nobody said that could happen. And then, you move forward, and Israel continues to be this strong nation and all of these prophecies start fulfilling," he said. "There's so many now being fulfilled, is just incredible. The evidence of what God is doing with Jerusalem is the center of that. And the Temple is the center of Jerusalem, and so how can it happen and how will it happen? I don't think anyone really knows for sure."
Stinson maintains the Temple is meant to be a house of prayer for all nations.
"You know, in the Bible it says when Solomon built the First Temple, he said, this is a house of worship for all nations. And that's what the Temple is. And I think a lot of people think it's just a Jewish temple, but that's not true. It's for all the nations of the earth, he said."
Author Joel Rosenberg wrote about the Third Temple in his novel, The Copper Scroll. He told CBN News that Jews have different views on the subject.
"Jews are actually divided between, does the Messiah Himself have to come and build the Temple, or do you build the Temple and the Messiah comes? So, among those Jews, Israelis, who care, that's actually, they're divided into two different camps."
Rosenberg added, "I think most Israelis don't think about it, don't care, and actually would get a little worried of talk of a Third Temple, because we already have enough trouble."
Rosenberg also sees various points of view throughout the Christian community.
"Those who think about it and those who don't—most Christians, I think, don't think about the Third Temple. But those who do believe that it will be built before Jesus returns, for the Second Coming, not necessarily before the Rapture, but definitely before the Second Coming, and that the anti-Christ will take over that Third Temple during the tribulation and try to rule the world from there."
He continued, "Could it happen in our lifetime? That, to me, is intriguing. I think we don't know, but there are some Jews who are really making—as you're reporting on—preparations to get ready for that moment, and that's something to watch closely."
Stinson told CBN News they plan to invite everyone to the red heifer ceremony that may take place during Passover, 2024.
"Everything is in place now with the red heifers. As long as they stay pure, one of them stays pure. Then we have everything in place, including the priest" he explained.
Rabbi Mamo recalled the writings of the Jewish sage Maimonedes, who counted nine red heifers from Moses to the time of the Second Temple.
"It's not his way to write, but suddenly he said that the tenth (heifer) will make the (coming of) Messiah," he said. "So maybe—not maybe, we know—that the Messiah will make the tenth. Maybe we have the privilege to be one of these people that help the Messiah to do it. That's it. So, we're waiting." Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here