“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. … 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.” (Numbers 19:2, 9)
A New Jersey red heifer that was being considered for use as the Third Temple’s Red Heifer has been removed from the running after it gave birth to a black calf on Wednesday.
Prior to the pregnancy, it had been deemed free from defect (free of multicolored hair, sickness, or torn flesh) and possibly suitable for Temple purification.
The owner of the red heifer, Herbert Celler, who is the son of Holocaust survivors, previously said he would donate the cow when the Messiah comes, refusing an offer of $1 million for the animal.
The calf’s birth came both as a shock to Celler and disappointment to supporters.
“We didn’t even know it was pregnant. For it to give birth now it would have had to become pregnant when it was a year and a half old, which is very unusual,” Celler told Breaking Israel News.
About 37,000 people from around North America have visited the cow in the last few months. (Tazpit)
Hope of finding a Red Heifer has not been dashed.
The Temple Institute, a Jerusalem-based organization devoted to collecting and creating vessels for the coming Temple, has paired up with an Israeli cattle rancher over the last three decades to implant North American Red Angus embryos into Israeli cattle in hopes of birthing a pure red heifer in the Land of Israel.
“During this period known as the ‘Three Weeks,’ as world Jewry mourns the destruction of the Second Holy Temple, the Temple Institute has taken a bold move towards the third. Having already prepared over 70 sacred vessels including the golden menorah and High Priest’s gemstone-encrusted breastplate, now is the time to fulfill the commandment of the Red Heifer,” said Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute.
“The emergence of the red heifer is not some mystical miracle. … It is a practical development alongside Torah knowledge and science,” Richman said.
The Temple Institute has just launched an Indiegogo campaign to “Raise a Red Heifer in Israel” that brought in $20,009 in eight days. The Institute’s goal of $125,000 for the red heifer project will fund Red Angus embryo implantation, veterinary care and feed, halachic care (fulfilling Biblical law), infrastructure for the herd, security and monitoring.
Those who await the rebuilding of the Temple understand the Red Heifer to be a sign that the Temple could be rebuilt, thus heralding the coming (return) of Messiah.
“Over the almost 2,000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple, it is believed that all of humanity has become impure. Thus the Red Heifer would have given priests the ability to purify mankind once the Messiah arrived,” writes Raphael Poch of Breaking Israel News.
The sacrificial love of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) in giving his life for mankind fulfilled the blood atonement requirement for the sin of mankind for eternity. Despite that, the prophetic Scriptures reveal that the sacrificial system will resume in the Third Temple:
“A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed. In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings were slaughtered.” (Ezekiel 40:39)
The prophet Ezekiel’s visions details the design of the Third Temple and states that the glory of the Lord will enter “the Temple through the gate facing east.” (Ezekiel 43:4)