For a number of years, select cattlemen in Israel have been working closely with the Temple Institute to breed a red heifer for use in Temple purification rituals. Excitingly, the Temple Institute – an organization in Jerusalem founded in 1987, is a non-profit educational and religious organization located in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem's Old City that seeks to rebuild the prophesied Third Jewish Temple – has announced the successful birth of a flawless all-red heifer that could allow for the fulfillment of a significant Bible prophecy of the end times. According to the Temple Institute the all red female calf was born August 28 in Israel and will be raised in strict accordance with the laws on the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). In a statement released by the Temple Institute it was confirmed that one week after its birth “the heifer underwent an extensive examination by rabbinical experts, who determined that the heifer is currently a viable candidate for the Biblical red heifer (para aduma) described in Numbers, chapter 19, and will be examined again in three months time to determine whether it continues to possess the necessary qualifications for the red heifer, a necessary prerequisite for the renewal of the Divine service in the Holy Temple.”
Many Previously Disqualified
Several all red heifers have been born in the past but all had been previously disqualified for not meeting the strict biblical requirements. To meet requirements, the heifer must be born from a natural birth and be entirely red with no more than two non-red hairs on its body. It must also never have been used for any labor or have been impregnated. The rabbis at the Temple institute emphasized that the recently born heifer could, at any time, acquire a blemish rendering it unsuitable. They will be inspecting the calf periodically to verify its condition. Jewish tradition requires the heifer to be three-to-four years old when it is used for the purification and rebuilding the Temple, so that could also affect a possible timeline of end times events. It is believed that only nine biblically qualified red heifers have ever existed and that the tenth will herald the construction of the third Temple in Jerusalem. Rabbi Chaim Richman, the international director of the Temple Institute, stated “If there has been no red heifer for the past 2,000 years, perhaps it is because the time was not right; Israel was far from being ready.” For example, many prophecy teachers point out that the modern state of Israel was not established until 1948. As we have reported, this year marked the 70th anniversary of that historic event.
Relevant Biblical Passages
In Jewish theology, the red heifer is essential to the rebuilding of the third Holy Temple in Jerusalem and will be needed to be sacrificed to complete the ritual of purification for the Temple. This idea corresponds to the biblical teaching regarding the red heifer. The Bible makes it clear that the red heifer played an important role in the worship of the Lord. The slaughtering of a red heifer was an essential ceremonial ritual in the Old Testament sacrificial system, as described in Numbers 19:1-10. The purpose of the red heifer sacrifice was to provide for the water of cleansing (Numbers 19:9), another term for purification from sin. After the red heifer was sacrificed, her blood was sprinkled at the door of the tabernacle. The Bible also teaches there will be another Temple in Jerusalem in the future (Ezekiel 41-45) that will obviously be purified (requiring the red heifer) before the antichrist desecrates the Temple during the tribulation period as Jesus foretold (Matthew 24:15). Importantly, the New Testament also equates the role of the red heifer as being a foreshadowing of the salvation provided by grace through faith in Jesus (Hebrews 9:13-14). Overall, many Jewish faithful believe this event is part of the process that would mark the coming of the Messiah and the final judgment. Yet the significance of the red heifer also relates to Christians who believe the completion of the third Temple is a symbol heralding the second coming of Jesus Christ. With such significant prophetic implications, we should keep this event in our prayers.