Reaction to The Temple Institute's announcement today has been mixed, at best. Many have expressed tremendous disappointment, stating that it was nothing more than a fundraising ploy. Others have shouted acclamation, believing that it indicates that the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem could begin at any moment.
Both reactions are wrong. This is much more than a fundraising ploy. It is an annoucment of major significance to the followers of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords: Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
And it clearly reveals that the building of the Third Temple is not imminent.
This morning a video was released of Rabbi Chaim Richman (International Director of The Temple Institute), announcing a project to raise funds for a ranch in Israel on which The Temple Institute and the Rabbinic authorities will seek to utilize science to raise a herd of rabbinically approved red heifers for use in the purification of the Temple Mount and those who will serve in it during the Temple service.
Watch The Temple Institute’s Announcement:
What Is The Significance of the Red Heifer?
The red heifer is a sacrifice that is prescribed in the Torah for the cleansing of the items used in the sacrificial system of Israel, and those who will conduct those sacrifices.
Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come. And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight. Its skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and throw them into the fire burning the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest shall be unclean until evening. The one who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place. And they shall be kept for the water for impurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a sin offering. And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. And this shall be a perpetual statute for the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them. - Numbers 19:1-10 ESV
The red heifer is an extremely important domino in the prophetic timeline, because since the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, no ritually pure red heifer has existed. Therefore, the Third Temple cannot be built in Jerusalem, and the Temple Service cannot resume.
Why Does This Matter Today?
Both Jesus and Paul prophesied of a time when a man inhabited by Satan, himself, will stand in the Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be God:
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. - Matthew 24:15-16 ESV
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 ESV
If this future prophecy is to be fulfilled, then a Third Temple must be built. And for a Third Temple to be built, a red heifer must be sacrificed and its ashes available for the ritual purification process.
The Temple Institute is on record claiming that the red heifer is the most important element remaining in the preparation for the building of the Third Temple:
What does a red heifer have to do with any of this? Perhaps it would be difficult for some to believe that a cow could be so important. But in truth, the fate of the entire world depends on the red heifer. For G-d has ordained that its ashes alone are the single missing ingredient for the reinstatement of Biblical purity - and thereafter, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. (CLICK HERE to read more)
The Myths of the Red Heifer
There is a great deal of misinformation about the red heifer. Some claim that no red heifers have been born in two thousand years. This just isn't true. Red cows are commonplace. So what's all the hubbub about?
The issue isn't the existence of red cows. It's the existence of a red heifer that meets the rabbinic requirements set out in the Talmud and Jewish religious tradition. To deny the importance of this nuance is to be naive. While the Scriptural requirements for the red heifer may be significantly different than the Rabbinic requirements, the Rabbinic requirements are what must be met today. The Temple will be rebuilt, and it will be done according to the Orthodox religious Halacha (religious law).
And according to Rabbinic authority, no such red heifer exists today.
But the red heifer necessary for the building of the Third Temple will not be a miraculous occurrence. The red heifer - the 10th and final one - will not be prepared by the Messiah as has been incorrectly assumed. And the new red heifer is not dependent upon the discovery of 2,000 year old ashes from the 9th red heifer.
The Temple Institute is working to genetical breed a herd of these red heifers that meet the Rabbinic Halacha of not more than two hairs of another color, raised in a specific manner so that it is rendered ritually pure for the service in the Temple. Therefore, those who have been specifically set apart to prepare for the building of the Temple are not sitting back idly, waiting for something to happen. They are actively pursuing it. That makes this a very significant announcement.
They have stated that this is the final, missing ingredient. They never mention the Ark of the Covenant, or the other items necessary for the Temple service. Just that the red heifer must be prepared. And they are no longer waiting for it to happen. They've chosen to make this happen.
What Does This Mean To The Followers Of Messiah?
The reaction to The Temple Institute's annoucment this morning has been interesting. Many Messiah followers have claimed that this means that the building of the Temple is ready to happen almost immediately.
I disagree. In fact, I never expected that to be the announcement today. It doesn't fit the timeline. The building of the Third Temple is the ultimate signpost on the prophetic map. If that would have been announced today, it would have been premature. There is no significance to the date. And anyone who believes that The Temple Institute could unilaterally announce the construction of The Temple Mount on Mount Moriah without the agreement of the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Waqf Authority that governs the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, simple doesn't understand the dynamics of the situation. If that announcement was coming today, it would have been a joint press conference that would have included all of the above, along with the Vatican, the UN, and probably other officials from foreign governments.
Many Believers woke up today and realized that their hopes of an announcement of the building of the Temple were unrealized. And because of this, they are disappointed.
This is an unbiblical response.
Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why would you have the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it? - Amos 5:18-20 ESV
The building of the Third Temple, while the next major event in Biblical prophecy, is not something that we should be celebrating. It is in that Temple that the Antichrist will claim to be God. This Temple will be the herald of the greatest persecution of the Children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the world has ever known. And all those who have truly sworn allegiance to the Messiah of Israel - whether Jew or Gentile - will be hunted down for extermination during this time.
But that time is not upon us.
Rabbinic Halacha states that the red heifer necessary to be used in the preparation of the Temple must be three years old. And in this fact lies the hope we should be celebrating today.
The Temple will not be rebuilt for at least three years. This means that God in his grace and mercy is providing more time for His people to share the Good News of the Kingdom to all who will listen, before the hands on the prophetic time clock begin moving forward toward their ultimate climax.
The LORD is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the LORD will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. - 2 Peter 3:9-10 ESV
Where Do We Go From Here?
God's mercy and grace is overwhelming. And we have more time. Because of this, we are given the tremendous privilege of preparing the world for the return of the Messiah of Israel! This is hope, not despair! This will become more difficult; persecution is coming. But we can rest in the truth that the end is not upon us, and that God's sovereignty has allowed us the opportunity to be a part of His plan for this age.
May we be faithful to our calling.