World War III — some wonder if school age children in the future might be taught that it started with the death of a three year old female cow.
She is strongly connected with a movement for building a 3rd temple in Jerusalem. The ashes of a red heifer raised under strict conditions are specifically needed for consecration of it and for other purification ceremonies.
The Times of Israel Newspaper recently ran a story on the newest development. The August 9, 2015 headline read,
“To ready for the final redemption, Israelis take red heifers by the horns.”
The Israeli group working toward rebuilding it, the Temple Institute, is trying to raise its own red cattle in Israel now instead of hoping for one to qualify in another part of the world.
Chaim Richman, Jewish Rabbi and and co-founder of the Temple Institute, told the newspaper that,
“the organization’s focus on building ritual objects ready for use in the Third Temple does not have a messianic agenda and does not aim to hasten an eschatological end of days.”
Other Jewish and mainstream Christian groups don’t hide that they do have that as a goal as well as the “liberation” of the Temple Mount. But Orthodox Jews as a group and others disagree with all of them.
A number in the Judeo-Christian world strongly believe that first the Messiah must come; and then the temple, as described in the book of Ezekiel, should be built. Unanimity does not exist among Jews even on whether animal sacrificial offerings should ever happen again. However, none of this has stopped progress toward developing a place for the reinstitution of animal sacrifices.
Progress to Date
“Jews don’t wait on the eve of the Sukkot holiday for a sukka [booth] to come down to them.”
Sukkot is Hebrew for the annual 8 day Feast of Tabernacles period observed this year from sunset September 27th through October 5th.
Architectural plans have been commissioned. A 3D model for the temple sanctuary and a virtual tour of the Sanhedrin chamber already exist. And as indicated in a past news article, the sacrificial altar and other items are ready; and priests have been trained. Also, the Sanhedrin council of 70 plus 1 has been re-established for some time.
The Times of Israel article concluded with this statement,
“The Temple Institute has already had a small success, with the birth of a few completely red cows from the frozen embryos. There was only one problem: they weren’t red heifers. They were red bulls.”
In regards to the reinstitution of pre- millennial animal sacrifices, some speculated that the heifer’s ashes, plus a tent (tabernacle) with fenced patio (courtyard) to temporarily contain the items needed for sacrifices, would suffice if the Temple Institute wanted to speed up things. After all, it would not be without precedence. However, the institute has publicly stated that’s not an option. And, it still leaves a big dilemma to be resolved. Where.
The previous altar for sacrifices was in the temple’s innermost courtyard. Multiple theories continue to circulate about the exact spot where the previous temples stood and whether the present Dome of the Rock or Al-Aqsa mosque would need to be destroyed.
But, even if ‘where’ were no longer an issue, the Temple Institute must then find some way to move everything to the location and set it up. For the Palestinians and for others, at this point, any place on the Temple Mount or any other ancient Jerusalem location, for that matter, would be highly unacceptable.
Photo Credits: Heifer by Robert Scarth, License: CC BY-SA 2.0; View From South by Ian Scott, License: CC BY-SA 2.0; Dome of the Rock by acazorzi, License: CC BY 2.0
Read the Times of Israel article here
View the 3D model of the proposed temple here