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Red Heifers Ready For The Temple By Passover?

News Image By Enoch Lavendar March 07, 2024
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Game changing developments are happening right now in Israel concerning the Third Temple. Probably the most critical missing link preventing the rebuilding of the Temple, is set to fall into place within months with crucial help from Christians. 

Meanwhile Hamas is watching the developments closely and have even claimed it to be a major part of their motivation for the heinous Oct. 7 terror attack. With tensions already at boiling point across the Middle East, will we shortly see Israel take bold steps towards rebuilding the Temple? 

Christian Rancher Provides the Missing Link

The final missing piece of the Third Temple project - the infamous ashes of a red heifer - is now only months away from falling into place. Theses ashes are Biblically mandated for purification in a range of situations including contact with dead bodies (see Num. 19). 

Without the red heifer ashes, priests and Levites currently in training with the Temple Institute are disqualified from serving in a future rebuilt Temple. Furthermore, with all the bloodshed on the Temple Mount down through the centuries, the Mount itself must be cleansed before the Temple can be built.


The problem is that finding an unblemished red heifer is extremely rare. In recent years, Temple activists have had their efforts end in frustration time and again. Potential red heifer candidates have been located with great excitement, only to end up later developing white hairs or getting otherwise disqualified before they reach the required age to be sacrificed. 

It was in this context that Byron Stinson, a Christian rancher from Texas, baffled Rabbis in 2022 as he invited them to his ranch to inspect what turned out to be five unblemished red heifers.

What happened next sounds almost like it was taken from a Hollywood movie script as the heifers were airlifted to Israel at around 1 year old (how do you even go about flying cows to the Holy Land?). Being greeted at the airport with a special ceremony officiated by Rabbis, the heifers were then taken out of the public eye to continue being quietly and meticulously groomed for the sacrifice. 

Although one of the five was disqualified last year due to the emergence of a few white hairs, the remaining four remain on track to be eligible to be sacrificed this year. According to All Israel News, Temple Institute Rabbis hope to perform this ceremony prior to Passover this year while other sources claim it will happen sometime between Passover and Pentecost.  

Linking Cows and Terror

While the story of the flight of the five heifers to Israel and their subsequent journey has certainly stirred great excitement among Temple activists as well as Christian students of Bible Prophecy, it curiously hardly got a mention in mainstream Israeli news. 

It will surprise many Christians to discover that by and large, secular Israelis are uninterested and unaware of these developments. In addition, many Orthodox Jews are opposed to the any current moves to rebuild the Temple as most hold that it can only be rebuilt by the Messiah in the Messianic era. 


However, the radical Islamic world understands the significance of the arrival of the red heifers and are incensed by their presence. It was no co-incidence that Hamas called its infamous and deadly October 7 terror attack "Operation Al Aqsa Flood". Speaking at the 100 day mark of the current war with Israel, Abu Obeida, a military spokesman for Hamas, said that the aggression against "our path and Al-Aqsa" reached its peak with the "bringing of red cows."

Hamas' passionate calls for the 'liberation' of the Al Aqsa mosque from the Israeli threat, hits receptive ears in the Islamic world. Highlighting the broad level of Islamic concern for this site, the Organization of Islamic Co-Operation was founded in 1969 with the specific goal of protecting the Al-Aqsa mosque. Today this influential organization boasts 56 member states and is the second largest intergovernmental organization in the world after the UN.

Will there be a Third Temple?

Israeli government officials of all persuasions are highly aware of Islamic sensitivities concerning the Temple Mount and have through the years repeatedly committed themselves to maintaining the 'status quo' on the Temple Mount for this very reason.

While the ashes of a red heifer may become available in the next few months,  the Temple rebuilding project still seems unrealistic in the current environment. The fears of the Israeli government leaders of sparking all out war, combined with the lack of interest and even outright opposition from many Israelis to the project, makes it seem completely impossible.


However, the events of October 7 show how quickly long-held views can change. Prior to this heinous terror attack, the majority of Israelis were seeking to get on with their lives in some kind of peaceful co-existence with Hamas being contained by Israel's state of the art border fence. The dismal failure of this high-tech fence to stop the October 7 attack has smashed this long-held Israeli view, changing the perspective of the nation overnight into a determined decision to eradicate Hamas from its borders. Similarly, I believe that long held Israeli reservations towards the Third Temple will one day change. 

What does the Bible say?

'...not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord' (Zec 4:6)

Rebuilding the Temple seemed completely impossible for the impoverished Jews returning from Babylonian captivity in the days of Nehemiah. Into this context of mounting opposition from surrounding nations and countless delays, Zechariah the prophet spoke the above words of encouragement proclaiming that God Himself would make a way by His Spirit. 

Through the prophecies of Zechariah and Haggai, God's Spirit indeed strengthened the hands of the builders, paved the way politically and enabled the miraculous construction of the Second Temple which stood when Jesus came to earth. Couldn't God do the same again in our day?

I believe that both Old and New Testament Bible prophecy is clear that the Temple will be rebuilt in the End times. In his famous Olivet discourse, Jesus predicted "when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place .... then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains...For then there will be great tribulation" (Matt 24:15-21). 

While some Bible prophecy teachers interpret these words of Jesus in symbolic sense, Jesus' Jewish listeners would have understood His words quite literally. They would have seen His words as referring back to an almost identical event that occurred around 170 B.C. where a literal idol was erected in the Temple leading to widespread persecution. Jesus' prophecy was therefore seen as predicting a literal repeat of these events to occur in a real physical Temple in Jerusalem at the End of Days. 

Being Ready

The Temple Institute speak of the shame they would feel if they were given the go-ahead to build the Temple tomorrow and were caught completely unprepared. They have therefore spent many years in meticulous preparation and training for that day to come, and the ashes of the red heifer will mark the crowning achievement of this preparation. 

While many Israelis are unaware of these developments, so too is much of the Church. Just as He promised, Jesus is soon returning to this earth to rule and these developments point us to the nearness of His coming. Following the example of the Temple Institute, we too should be preparing ourselves for the soon fulfilment of prophecy, doing everything in our power to be ready for that great day. 

Let us also remember to pray not only for the fulfilment of Bible prophecy and the coming of the Messianic kingdom, but also for the eternal destinies of Jews and Arabs caught up in the current and future waves of conflict. Days of great tension lie ahead, but God's purpose in the midst of these shakings is to bring many people into His Kingdom. May we all play our part at this significant time in history. 

For more teaching on the Third Temple, see Enoch Lavender's book 'Rebuilding the Temple: Preparing for the Lord's Return' available via Amazon here.




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