The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Holy Cow?!

Holy Cow

Prophetic circles are abuzz about the significance of the red heifer mentioned in Numbers 19. The excitement centers on the fact that five solid red heifers were bred in America and flown to Israel in late 2022. They will be examined when they are two years and a day old. If one of them is found to be suitable, it would be sacrificed.

Rabbinical tradition (think Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof) holds that once a red heifer is killed and its ashes collected, the priesthood can be restored, and the third temple can be built. Since cows are very much a part of the created order, it is appropriate to consider this as a natural “sign.”

A Moooving Experience

Many Christians who have visited Israel know that the Temple Institute has been planning and preparing to rebuild the temple for some time. It already has various implements that will be used in a rebuilt temple. You can see the beautiful menorah crafted for that purpose in Quarter Square in the Old City of Jerusalem — funded by a Ukrainian Jew and estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

In Number 19, the Lord told Moses and Aaron to sacrifice an unblemished red heifer (a young female cow that has never been pregnant, yoked, or milked) as an ordinance of purification.

Zealous Jews who long for the temple to be rebuilt want to fulfill the “lasting ordinance” of the red heifer in the Old Testament — which initially involves a humble cow. Some of them are motivated by sincere religious zeal, while others merely want to reclaim the location that is central to Jewish identity and national pride, much like the zealots of Jesus’ time.

The prophetic buzz focuses on the hope that these red heifers might be a sign that Israel is on the cusp of rebuilding its temple.

The Temple, the Temple, the Temple

Christians recognize that the temple will in fact be rebuilt after the Jews sign a peace treaty with the Antichrist. That temple will become the center of Jewish national and religious identity for 3½ years, even though their initial impetus will not be to worship Jesus as the Messiah. Jews who believe in Jesus right now will be raptured, while others will place their faith in Him during the Tribulation. We know that 144,000 Jewish witnesses — or evangelists — will proclaim the Gospel during that horrific period.

Some Christians eagerly support the goal of rebuilding the temple. For instance, the farmer who bred the five red heifers in Texas is a Christian motivated to help the Jewish people prepare to rebuild their temple as prophesied. Still, we long for and worship a Person, not a place. With that in mind, perhaps we can gain perspective on the third if we consider the first two.

King David was inspired to build God a temple to replace the tent where the Ark of the Covenant dwelled. Nathan initially affirmed that inclination, but then returned with a word from God. The LORD asked rhetorically, “…did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'” (2 Samuel 7:7, repeated in 1 Chronicles 17:6). His clear insinuation was that He had not demanded a temple of wood and stone, but rather hearts that were fully devoted to Him.

Samuel established this same truth when he said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Still, God did honor David’s desire to build for Him a temple although He did not allow David himself to build it. Solomon built the first temple. Later, God took offense when the exiles who returned from Babylon neglected the building of the second temple, not because He lacked for a dwelling, but because their attitude reflected hearts that were far from Him.

The second temple was eventually completed and later made larger and grander by the great builder, Herod. In terms of official endorsement, however, Jesus did not heap praise on the structure of the temple itself or endorse Herod’s work. Instead, He honored its intended purpose as a “house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). Recalling the full text of Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus cited God’s promise: “Even [foreigners] I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).

So, regarding the temple, God’s official endorsement or gracious acceptance depends entirely on the motive of the people doing the building and the sacrificing. If they seek to please and serve the LORD, then their inclination to worship God will be honored as David’s was and the Holy Spirit will draw them to believing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The same could be inferred about the role of a red heifer. Anyone who thinks that a building or a cow will be sufficient to appease our holy God apart from the Gospel is as deceived as those who cried out, “the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD” in Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 7:4).

The God of Talking Donkeys and Red Cows…

God has incorporated humble animals to fulfill His purpose throughout human history. He made garments of skin to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness (Genesis 3:21), opened the mouth of a donkey carrying a pagan prophet (Numbers 22:27-30), appointed a great fish and a lowly worm to teach Jonah eternal lessons (Jonah 1:17 and 4:7), and granted the foal of a donkey the honor of bearing Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:2-6). He will return to earth mounted on a white horse (Revelation 20:11). And soon, a cow will once again play a mysterious role in the protocols ordained by God.

In the end, we know that a red heifer will be sacrificed and the third temple will be built. In the fullness of time, those pre-seen historic events will give way to a time of Great Tribulation for the Jewish people. Only when they have come to the end of themselves will they cry out, Baruch Haba B’shem Adonai — “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!” Then Jesus Christ will return to earth in glory and power, ascend the mountain of the LORD, and reign from the throne of David.

…And the Lamb and Lion

While preparations for the third temple may be underway, I believe it will not actually be constructed until after the Church is removed from the world at the Rapture and the Antichrist is revealed. And, although the red heifer is significant for what it portends, the third temple will not secure forgiveness of sins through a reconstituted sacrificial system. As Hebrews 10:4 recognizes, “…it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” But we know that God’s prophetic Word will be fulfilled and that in the end the Jews will look upon the perfect Sacrifice and weep over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).

There is no question that God works in ways far beyond our comprehension and that He inspires individual Christians to serve Him faithfully. Some will support Jewish efforts to fulfill the prophecies outlined in Scripture. That was true a century ago when Christian Zionists avidly supported the Jewish effort to return to the Promised Land and reestablish a home and a nation. Christians do not believe Israel represents a separate means of salvation apart from our Jewish Messiah, but we take seriously God’s admonition to bless His chosen people.

So, while I am fascinated by all the prophetic events that are swirling around us today and converging as never before — including news of a red heifer — I am not fixated on any of them individually. Instead, I am watching and waiting and listening for “a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,” knowing that soon and very soon our Blessed Hope is coming for His Bride.

That joy-filled expectation leads to my appreciation for the Lamb and the Lion — two metaphorical references to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Tim Moore

Colonel Tim Moore serves as the Director and Senior Evangelist of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He leads pilgrimages to Israel and is the host of the television program Christ in Prophecy.

21 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • I take it from the article that the cows will be 2 years old sometime in 2024. And if one of them has no blemish I wonder how long they will wait to sacrifice it. This is very exciting.

    • “But by October, the cows would have been one year old and Israel would not have accepted them at that age. 12 months old is a clear cutoff.” — Israel365 News
      They were shipped to Israel in Sept 2022, just short of being one year old in Oct. So that means they were born in Oct 2021 and will be two years old in Oct 2023–this year.

  • It was my understanding that the ashes of the new red heifer must be mingled with the ashes of the other red heifers that were sacrificed in the old temple and that the issue was centered around the fact that the urn holding the ashes of the previously sacrificed red heifer could not be located.

  • Recently, I learned that the ceremonial red heifer has to also be born in Israel. I’m not sure if this is true.? If it is, then hopefully one of these imports will become the mom.

  • They are saying here that the temple will go up after the peace treaty with the Antichrist and the Rapture, while I have always been under the impression that the Temple would go up first, then that would to me be a sign that the Rapture would and could be at any time, then the Antichrist would make his showing right after.

    Was wondering why others feel that the peace treaty has to be signed before the temple goes up? I don’t see why the treaty needs to be signed first, if God wants that temple up, up it goes, treaty or not.

  • Moving right along folks. All God’s plans are being implemented. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, The First and the Last, The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. His will is going to be done. Yes, exciting to see the Word of God fulfilled just like the scriptures have told us.

  • One thing that the Bible states about the red heifer is that the remaining ashes from the previous red heifer are to be mixed with the ashes of the new burned heifer or else the new ashes won’t purify the instruments, etc. What say you?

  • Greetings. Grace and peace be it unto you in the name of Yeshua our Messiah.
    I believe the temple that YHVH is talking about in those day is the Born-again children of God who have put their faith and trust in Yeshua during the tribulation years making Him their Lord and God. We are the Temple of God and the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit.
    When the antichrist breaks his peace treaty only, he and his followers will be allowed into the temple. He will defile the Temple and declare himself god and make everyone worship his image. Shalom

  • Lamb and Lion Ministries is becoming weak and soft to God Almighty’s word. You support woman trying to Lead man in politics. This problem is becoming on a Mass scale.
    God Almighty clearly states in His decree in, I Timothy 2:11 ” no woman shall have authority over man”.

    I pray you turn back to God Almighty for woman has different Values than MAN and she will discriminate against man.

  • There is no secret coming of Jesus, aka “Rapture” in scripture unless it is forced into it. If there is, what is the 1st scripture that you come to which plainly states so? (It must be in context and no extra-biblical understanding necessary.) There is no scripture that clearly states this theory and no clear talk about it by church fathers. Why? Jesus never mentioned it. Why? This is a theory built like a house of cards, and may cause many to take the mark when they are NOT expecting to be there, nor made any preparations for it.

    • First Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of an event called “the Rapture”, Latin “rapio,” Greek “harpazo,” which means “to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out.” “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Paul states that the concept of the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this Age (1 Thes. 4:18). Other references on the Rapture are Isa. 26:19-21; Mal. 3:17; Jn. 14:1-14; I Cor. 15:51-58; and 1 Thes. 4:13-18.

      The Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation is God’s wrath poured out upon the unbelieving world, and not for those who are saved from Christ’s resurrection to the Rapture – called the Church. True believers in Christ during the Church Age, represented by the Church of Philadelphia, are promised in Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” He also states in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:9 states, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Colossians 3:4 states, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Again and again, Scripture states the Church is not meant to endure God’s special time of wrath.

    • Hi Catherine. There is much evidence for a removal of the Church from the world.

      Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
      John 14:1-3

      37“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

      40“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

      42“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24

      From Daniel & Revelation we know that Messiah will return to the earth 7 years from the signing of a peace treaty (he will confirm a covenant for one week) at the end of the tribulation, so that can’t be what He is referring to when He said “no one knows the day or the hour of the Son of Man’s return”.

      In Revelation, after the opening of chapter 4 when John hears “come up here” the church is not mentioned again until chapter 19 when Jesus returns on the white horse with the saints, in victory.

      If I may ask, what do you make of 1 Thess 4 & 5? “He will come like a thief in the night”. What does a thief do? Come and stay and set up shop? No! A thief comes in stealth to get something(s) and steal away with it. When Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives (Zech 12-14) it will not be like a thief. And people will not be saying “peace & safety” at that time because this is the end of the tribulation and the earth will be effectively destroyed. Jesus will then annihilate His enemies and establish His Kingdom. There will be no peace until He returns to “Rule the nations with a rod of iron”. Psalm 2

      About your concern that believers may mistakenly take the mark of the beast, no one could possibly receive it accidentally. In order to receive it one must worship the beast and declare allegiance to him. No person of true faith in Yeshua will ever bow down to worship another. In Acts 2 and other places the scriptures say Jesus will return in the same manner He left, thru the clouds.

      For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. Matt 24:27

      Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! Revelation 1:7

      Thank God we are not appointed to wrath! Jesus will come for His bride, the church, and escort her to the wedding supper of the Lamb. He will certainly not first pour out His punishment on her then invite her to the marriage supper as if all is well! It would be tantamount to domestic violence. The “Day of the Lord”, “Great Tribulation”, “Time of Jabob’s Trouble” are all the same thing and are God’s final fulfillment of His promises to redeem Israel and deliver them from their enemies.

      Please consider these arguments in favor of a “catching away” of the church before the tribulation and feel free to put forth your thoughts as well. Your perspectives on the scriptures are important to our Heavenly Father and to us also. God Bless

  • Hello my brothers in Yeshua. Reading the red heifer passage in Numbers 19 it struck me that there must be a great deal of meaning in the exactness of the instructions, specifically:

    1) red heifer
    2) never yoked
    3) must be sacrificed in priest’s presence with him watching, and including even the dung
    4) sprinkle 7 times toward tabernacle
    5) juniper
    6) hyssop
    7) And lastly, and especially, scarlet yarn?

    Will you please elaborate on any insights you have concerning these specifications? The symbolism here is expansive.


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