A red heifer!?
My jaw dropped as I stumbled upon an article in one of the Israeli religious newspapers. Apparently, someone managed to breed a red heifer. Indeed, the preparations for establishing a fourth temple (we forget the one Nehemiah had built in our common count of Jewish Temples) are speeding up, some of which look almost like a hallucination. But they are not.
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem and the new Sanhedrin (yes, this council is also already set up) has been working for years on the preparation of the various instruments and tools necessary for the service of the priests.
Vineyards have been planted for the purpose of producing the wine and oil necessary for Temple worship. Special wheat is being grown in specialized fields, and so are all the other crops needed in order to produce the perfumes and anointing oil.
But until now all was done within the walls of the institute itself. For the first time, during this last Hanukka (last month), a temporary altar was erected outside the walls of Jerusalem, not far from Jaffa Gate. While the audience was watching, the future priests practiced the ceremony of offering sacrifices to God.
The white banner says: Dedication of a kosher altar,
ready and set for service in the Temple
The man with the mike explains to passerby what the priests are doing, the various regulations, the names of the utensils, the blessings and phrases that are to be cited. Lots of Hebrew talking in this 30 min. video, but it is worth watching.
What About the Red Heifer?
In August this year, a reddish-colored heifer was born in Israel. Why does it really matter?
Because it is crucial to the Temple worship. Its ashes are the only way to complete the ritual of purification. Without it, the priests will not be able to minister, even if the temple is rebuilt.
Throughout history there have only been a handful of red heifers(some say 7, some 9). To meet Biblical requirements, the heifer has to be born at a natural birth and be entirely red, with no more than two non-red hairs on its entire body. It is also mandatory that it has never been used for any labor or have been impregnated.
Once such a heifer is spotted, they burn it and use its ashes for the rituals. One heifer can suffice for centuries. The rabbis have been trying to produce such a heifer for decades, even going as far as cloning, but it never worked. So this is a BIG deal.
“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… the heifer is to be burned – its hide, flesh, blood and intestines. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer… A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin” (Numbers 19:2-9).
“The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:13-14).
Blasting of trumpets and the Aaronic Blessing at the temporary altar
(Photo credit: Adam Berkowitz/Breaking Israel News)
Many in our nation seem to realize something is missing. Zionism brought us back to the land of our fathers, but did not provide redemption to the tormented soul or any relief to a guilty conscience. Synagogues provide a sense of community, prayer, ceremonial frame. But not atonement.
Will there be another Temple? And if so, where? Interesting questions. But as fascinating as all of these things are, they are not my main point in this post. Watching these developments makes it clear: Israel is hungry for another dimension in the worship of God.
How sad! They seek the atonement, redemption and purification of blood. They seek to erect a building to honor God, while completely missing The Point: He desires to dwell within them. Not just dwell or abide, but to tabernacle within them. To erect within each one a structure that is according to the pattern found in heaven [see more about it in I Will Tabernacle Inside You].
Have mercy, Lord! Have mercy!
I lift up prayers on behalf of my nation.
My heart is like water
within my inner most being
and in my my mouth
there is a plea for mercy.
In two days I will launch our second entirely English Tabernacle Seminar, designed primarily for tourists. Eight participants from various countries will arrive with the purpose of building a tabernacle full of glory in their hearts. For 8 intensive days they will learn what the priests did by each one of the instruments and furnishings in the Tabernacle in OT days, and how we are to apply it today within our hearts.
Four others will join them – alumni of our previous Seminar, who graduated last year and are already teaching it in their home countries in various capacities.
The goal – healing, victory, glory – are all ready for each one of us only in the Holy of Holies. For that is where the cloud of glory filled the tent.
The Red Heifer has already been slain, from before the foundation of the earth. The altar already exists, and the blood that was poured upon it never dries. God, our people is attempting to draw near to you, not realizing that all they are doing is raising making the wall between us and You higher still.
Reveal your Faces to us, Yeshua. Reveal to us the Jewish Face of the Jewish Messiah.