Holy Cow!

January 12, 2012 - 5:00 am

“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron:  ‘This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke.’”—Numbers 19:2

Much debate has gone on, both in Jewish and Christian camps, regarding the red heifer and its significance to the rebuilding of the Third Temple, and therefore, to ushering in the messianic period. Both Jews and Christians in recent years have attempted to locate and bring to Jerusalem a genetically pure red heifer.

Sacrificing a red heifer as part of a ritual law dates back to Moses’ time. God had commanded Moses and Aaron, the high priest, to sacrifice a red heifer without defect or blemish as part of a purification ceremony. However, the absolute rarity of the animal, and the mystical ritual in which it is used, has given the red heifer special status in the Jewish tradition.

According to Jewish tradition, only nine red heifers have actually been sacrificed from the time of Moses to the destruction of the Second Temple! It is considered one of the greatest and deepest mysteries of the Torah, belonging to a category of biblical law called chok, for which there is no apparent human logic. Even King Solomon in all his wisdom could not understand this command.

This much is known:  The state of ritual purity obtained through the ashes of a red heifer is necessary before anyone can participate in any Temple services. Therefore, efforts have been made in modern times by Jews and Christians wanting to rebuild the Temple to locate a red heifer. One Christian pastor in the United States has even gone so far to as to breed red heifers on his ranch in Mississippi.

Whether such efforts will yield the red heifer remains to be seen. And groups, such as the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, are keeping a close scrutiny over all alleged candidates.

The one thing that such discussion and speculation does underscore is that, for the Jew, we are living in times of biblical prophecy being fulfilled. More and more Jews are not only returning to the Holy Land as prophesized, but also to the ways of our forefathers. We are realizing the significance of the Holy Temple as the place where we will see God’s peace prevail, as it is written in Haggai 2:9, “‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.’”

That is a peace I think we can all look forward to seeing.


9 Responses to Holy Cow!

  1. pat trotter says:


  2. Mary Hearn says:

    Only when God is ready will it happen! His timing is perfect.
    Christians having a saying when impatient for something to come to pass: “come quickly Lord Jesus!”

    • Anne Murray says:

      My comment is our Messiah is on His way! I believe the red heifer will have to be raised in the Holy land. Not from any other Nation, State, or city. I believe Jesus will bring down the New Jerusalem, And will bless the red heifer ashes, and will always live in the New Temple! How awesome that will be. Anne Murray, Jasper, Al. 35501

  3. Anne Murray says:

    Thank you for posting comment!

  4. elizabeth says:


  5. Magdalena says:

    Thank God for the peace that is yet to come, God’s perfect peace on earth where the Lion and the lamb will be together in peace.
    The Holy Temple will indeed be rebuild, this will be a crucial sign for the Jews.
    I took a moment to look about the red heifer. It is the first time that it got my attention.
    As a born again christian I found out that the red heifer was a medium for a sin offering.
    In Hebrew 9 is the Old and the New covenant very good described. The red heifer (for me as a born again christian) is a portrayal of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the cleansing of my sins.
    Hebrew 9:11-15 vs. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, vs.14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God , cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?vs. 15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant….
    Jesus will come and will reign as King (this is what the Jews are waiting for) but I thank God
    that He is my redeemer and that because of this I know 100% that I will be with Him.
    Israel is where everybody’s eyes must be turned now. Because through Israel the whole earth will know that there is a true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who God called Israel; in Genesis 32:28 after he wrestled with God. The Jewish people is a special nation, because of God’s purpose. They will always be in my prayer.
    Thank you for this devotion it have given me the time to learn something new.

  6. joy says:

    Interesting. Does anyone know if the 9 red heifers existed at significant times within the Judaism timeline?

  7. joy says:

    The topic is fascinating. Just looked at breeds on the internet. I wonder how red is red. See the North Devon and Belmont Red breeds of cattle and there is a lesser red Red Angus breed.

  8. Anjali Jose Benjamin says:

    Amen! may His promises be fulfilled for His people!

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