The Red Heifer, Third Temple, & Coming of the Messiah
In September, five red heifers – unblemished and ritually pure for sacrifice according to Mosaic law – arrived in Israel.
Why is that significant?
In the Book of Numbers, the God of Israel commanded Moses and Aaron – the first Levitical priest – that the ashes of a perfectly pure and unblemished red heifer would be needed to purify and consecrate the Levitical priests, and thus the holy places where these priests would serve the Lord.
It would be impossible for the priests to be ritually pure to operate the Tabernacle unless the ashes of a pure red heifer were obtained and handled properly.
Likewise, such ashes were needed to consecrate the priests who would serve in the First Temple, the one that was built under the supervision of Israel’s King Solomon.
Such ashes were also needed to consecrate the priests who would serve in the Second Temple – rebuilt under the efforts of Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem, and Ezra the priest and later dramatically expanded by the Roman King Herod some 2,000 years ago.
After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and burned Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Jews have not had a holy sanctuary on Mount Moriah, widely known today as the “Temple Mount.”
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the prophets spoke of another Temple – a Third Temple – that would be built in the “last days” of history.
After the prophetic rebirth of Israel in May 1948 – and the subsequent reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish Israeli sovereign control in June 1967 – many religious Jews – as well as Christians – began speculating as to when the Third Temple could be built, and praying for it to happen in their lifetime.
And thus, many have wondered when a ritually pure red heifer would emerge that could be sacrificed in preparation for the building and operation of that Third Temple.
So, does the arrival of the red heifers in Israel mean the Messiah is coming back soon?
The Bible teaches that in the “last days” Christ will come to get His true followers to protect them from Satan’s wrath in the days of judgment known as the Tribulation.
This event is widely known by Bible scholars and lay people as the “Rapture” of the Church.
We have no idea when it will happen.
Now, in Matthew 24 (and Mark 13 and Luke 21) Jesus does tell us that in the “last days” before the Rapture happens there will be various signs that won’t provide precise timing but will indicate that the season of His coming is approaching.
Among these: false messiahs, false teachers, false prophets, wars and rumors of war, earthquake, famine, natural disasters, pandemics (“pestilence”) and other terrible events.
Another key sign: the rebirth of the State of Israel (i.e., “the parable of the fig tree” found Matthew 24:32-33)
While Christ – and the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle John – spoke of the Third Temple being not only built but fully operational in the last days, none of them spoke specifically of red heifers.
So, let’s say for the moment that any one of these five red heifers – or all of them – are ritually pure and could be sacrificed soon.
This in and of itself would not be a certain sign that the Rapture is more imminent than it already is.
The point here is that while the arrival of the red heifers in Israel do not accelerate God’s sovereign timing for the Rapture, if their presence here convinces Israeli Jews to start building the Temple in our lifetime, that would be very significant.
The building of the Third Temple is a part of End Times Bible prophecy.
It won’t provide atonement for sins, but it will be built in the “last days” of history before the Second Coming of Christ.
Will it be built in our lifetime?