Ashes of the Red Heifer

By Stephen M. Yulish Ph.D.

According to an article in The Mid-East Dispatch, issue 237, the 16th of March 1997, the birth of a red heifer in Israel is being hailed by religious Jews as a sign from God that work can soon begin on building the Third temple in Jerusalem.

The report stated that a team of Rabbinical experts confirmed that the animal, born six months ago on a religious kibbutz, Kfar Hassidim, near the northern Israeli port of Haifa, meets the Biblical criteria for the red heifer needed for purification of those who wish to rebuild the temple.

As stated in the fourth book of the Torah, Numbers Chapter 19, an unblemished red heifer in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed, is to be slaughtered and burned and its ashes made into a liquid paste used in the ceremony for purification from sin.

Since Herod's Temple was destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus in AD 70 no flawless red heifer has been born within the Biblical land of Israel according to Rabbinical sources. Besides, the Jewish people did not see the re-creation of the State of Israel until 1948, nor the recapturing of Jerusalem until 1967.

The birth of the animal to a black and white mother and a dun colored bull is being hailed as a miracle by Jewish activists who want to rebuild the temple and prepare the way for the Jewish Messiah's entry into Jerusalem. "We have been waiting for 2000 years for a sign from God", one of them said. "and now he has provided us with a red heifer."

Christians also view the rebuilding of the Temple as an important sign of the return of the Messiah. In Matthew 24:2, Jesus accurately predicted that Herod's Temple would be destroyed. When He was asked by His Disciples what would be the sign of His return and the end of the age, Jesus responded that when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel standing in the Holy place(Temple). This could not take place in Herod's Temple because it would be destroyed and it was ( in 70 A.D.). One cannot have a desolation of the Temple as in the days of Antiochus Epiphanies without a Temple. The red heifer is but another piece in the prophetic timetable which is moving closer to the end of the age and the return of Messiah.

Muslims are incensed by this notion of rebuilding the temple on one of Islam's holiest sites. The current fight for Jerusalem as capital of a new Palestinian state as opposed to being the capital of Israel, the Temple rebuilding notwithstanding, is all over the evening news. Just as the prophet Zechariah said that it would be 2500 years ago, Jerusalem is a cup that causes reeling to all peoples and is a heavy stone for all peoples who lift it (Zechariah 12:2-3). The Mid-East Dispatch stated that the Faithful will have to wait until the heifer is at least three years old ( 2000 A.D.) before it can be used in a ritual sacrifice.

Jesus, in speaking of His return said in Matthew 24:33-34 that "when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door...truly I say to you this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." Biblical prophecy is fulfilling itself right before our eyes.
Stephen M. Yulish Ph.D. was a professor at the University of Arizona for 7 years. His Ph.D. is in History of American education from the University of Illinois and his BA was in Human paleontology-Human Evolution. At age 22 he published a paper in the journal primates in 1970. After leaving the University of Arizona he became director of the Jewish national fund and later the Endowment fund of the Jewish federation of Phoenix.
Today he leads a Messianic fellowship, Chayim Chadashim.

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References :

-The Mid-East Dispatch, issue 237, the 16th of March 1997

-SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London) 3/16/1997

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