The Red Heifer and the Jerusalem Altar and Temple
Well, once again, the Internet is alive with claims about the supposedly imminent rebuilding of
the Temple in Jerusalem. A recent article claimed that the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, an organization dedicated to the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple, has just completed building the Temple altar.
Of course, we were told in June of 2014 that the long anticipated “Red Heifer” had been born. Just this morning, (3-17-15) as I have been writing, I went to YouTube and found there a plethora of newer articles making the claims that the Jerusalem Temple is either already under construction, will shortly be under construction, or, that the Red Heifer has been born or soon will be born!
I have written about the Red Heifer before, and I urge the reader to investigate that. But, here are just a few bullet points to consider amidst all of the claims about the Red Heifer and the supposedly imminent rebuilding of the Jerusalem altar.
1. The entire Mosaic Law, which commanded the Red Heifer cleansing service, has been abrogated! When Hebrews was written, that Old Covenant was “nigh unto passing away” (8:13). Christ fulfilled that Law. He was himself the ultimate cleansing sacrifice (Hebrews 9:11f). If you do not catch anything else, please, catch the power of this singular fact! That Temple and that Red Heifer service belonged to one covenant, and one covenant only, and the God of heaven Himself removed that entire system, lock, stock and barrel!
2. Hebrews is clear that YHVH never had pleasure in the sacrifices of that Old Covenant world, (that included the Red Heifer service!) and that those ceremonial praxis were mere types and shadows of the better things to come (Hebrews 10:5f).
3. Since Torah has been fulfilled and removed, any “rebuilt altar,” and any animal sacrifices or cleansing ceremonies based on Torah would therefore, be a return and restoration of the types and shadows.
4. The Old Covenant Temple was itself a type and shadow of the greater, spiritual Temple, and Christ serves in that True Tabernacle that God pitched– not man (Hebrews 8:1-2). The very idea of restoring and rebuilding a literal Temple is tantamount to a rejection of the True Temple! And keep in mind, that the Jerusalem Temple Institute categorically rejects Jesus as the True Temple, and they believe that the Old Covenant Temple is the “True Temple.” Why then, would any believer in Jesus want to support the rebuilding of a literal, physical edifice that represented and was the very symbol of the rejection of Jesus as Messiah??
5. All modern claims about the birth of a Red Heifer have– 100% of them– turned out not to be “perfect” and thus, they were disqualified. As the “Jewish” authorities readily admit, without the ashes of a perfect Red Heifer, it would not matter if there was a completed, rebuilt Temple standing in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount (and don’t forget the Dome of the Rock that is currently standing there!) they could not even perform any services there, since it was not purified! No Red Heifer = No acceptable sacrifice! (And, to return to point #1– There could never be, there can never be, acceptable animal sacrifice– period)!
6. Consider well what E. P.Sanders succinctly observed: “Since the rite of purity– (i.e. for corpse defilement, menstruation, intercourse, childbirth- DKP) requires the ashes of the red heifer, purification has been impossible since shortly after the destruction of the temple” (E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, (Minneapolis, Philadelphia, 1985)182).
Okay, since there have been no ashes of a Red Heifer in the Jerusalem Temple (No Temple!) since AD 70, that means that the “priests” (who cannot confirm their Levitical lineage!) who have been rebuilding that Jerusalem altar, are “unclean” and the altar itself is – as they admit – not clean! So, exactly how will unclean priests cleanse an unclean altar? This is a serious problem, to say the very least, even if one granted (which I certainly do not) that a Jerusalem Temple will be rebuilt.
Jesus Fulfilled and Removed the Jerusalem Altar and the Red Heifer Service!
All of the continuing claims about a rebuilt altar, an imminent Jerusalem Temple, and the repeated claims about Red Heifers are vain, futile and false! We are not in the last days. The Lord Himself removed that Old Covenant. He removed that priesthood. He crushed that Jerusalem altar. He removed that Temple. He destroyed the ashes of the Red Heifer!
It is far past time for modern believers to take their eyes and hope off of a rebuilt and restored literal temple in Jerusalem, and put their focus on Christ, the minister of the True Tabernacle, who offered himself one time, for all time, perfectly and effectively, to remove sin. He removed and destroyed all of those ineffective, imperfect, typological things, and to suggest a return to them, is to return to the “weak and beggarly elements.” This, no believer should ever hope to do!!
See my book, Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory for a discussion of the typological and shadow nature of the entire Old Covenant, Jerusalem Temple Altar and sacrificial system. The typological Red Heifer and The Jerusalem Temple will not be restored and rebuilt with God’s approval!