Five rabbi-approved red heifers arrived from Texas on Thursday to a ceremonious welcome at Ben-Gurion Airport – and touched off a whirlwind of speculation as to the prophetic significance of their presence in Israel and whether we are barreling toward a third-temple period or the "last days."
The cows have been inspected by rabbis and were found to be red and unblemished, which means they are ritually pure for sacrifice as stipulated under the law of Moses. In order for someone following Mosaic law to become ritually pure, the ashes of a red heifer are required, according to the Book of Numbers.
“This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke." Numbers 19:2
The farmers, in Texas, knew enough of the requirements and did not tag the ears of these cows leaving them unblemished.
The presence of these heifers in Israel means that if the temple were to be rebuilt – or if it comes down from the sky, as some believe – sacrifices could already begin and temple service could be restored.
This signifies to many Jews that redemption is now possible. Jews believe that the ashes of a red heifer are needed for purification. Christians believe that Jesus became the once-and-for-all sacrifice needed for salvation.
The Christian organization, Boneh Israel, located the cattle and, along with the Temple Institute, was responsible for getting them to Israel. Earlier in the year, rabbis from the Temple Institute went to Texas to inspect the cows.
While Christians and Jews believe that the third temple signals the End Times or a Messianic era, the third temple is also associated in the New Testament with the "man of perdition," or the anti-Christ, who will be manifested at that time and help build the temple. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
Upon landing in Israel, the cows entered a 10-day quarantine.
Does the arrival of the heifers in Israel set in motion the coming of the Messiah – or the return of Jesus, as Christians believe?
Does it mean we've entered the fast track toward the end times and tribulation?
ALL ISRAEL NEWS will be trying to answer these questions and will be following this interesting development this week.
Numbers 19:1-10 talks about "The Water of Cleansing:"
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening. “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.