Today we will look at one of the really hot issues in the world today. It has to do with the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Early in our series on End Times Prophecy, we established that God isn't yet through with Israel. When God made a covenant with Abraham, and later with the nation of Israel, I believe God made some promises that are unconditional and eternal.
When Isaiah 60:21 says, "They shall inherit the land forever,"…… I believe this tells us that the promise made by God does not end.
Or, listen to what Isaiah says in Isaiah 11:11-12 NIV
11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
I take the position that when Israel, as a nation, was reestablished in 1948, it literally fulfilled prophecies like that which we just read in Isaiah. I believe the migration of millions of people, by boat, by plane and on foot, back to their Jewish homeland, was a fulfillment of what God said would happen in the last days. I do not take the position that when Israel rejected Christ as their Messiah, God withdrew all the promises He made to them, and transferred them to a new body, under a New Covenant, called the Church. I do not believe that God has set the Jews aside. God still has much in store for Israel.
God has made a covenant with the nation of Israel, some of which is yet to be fulfilled. God still has promises to keep with regards to this nation. Some of these have unfolded and are unfolding right before our eyes. What happens to Israel is important to all of us. Israel serves as one of the timepieces on our Christian prophetic mantel. This includes what God said about Jewish worship and their Temple in the last days.
Someone has said: "The center of Bible prophecy is the nation of Israel. The center of Israel is Jerusalem, and the center of Jerusalem is the Temple." It is probably appropriate to consider Jerusalem when studying prophecy, for according to the Bible, it is the only city on earth that is guaranteed a long future. People who in years gone by never gave Jerusalem a thought, are now asking, "What is going to happen to Jerusalem." They now recognize that peace and stability in the world revolves around a small nation in the Middle East. The Israeli government has declared that they will never again allow Jerusalem to be a divided city, and will fight all foes to retain sovereignty over the entire city. On the other side, however, Yasser Arafat has announced a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and will continue the conflict until the city is theirs. The big question is: "How are these seemingly irreconcilable issues going to be resolved?"
While human wisdom and plans will not easily solve these lines of conflict, God, who can see infallibly into the future, can make sense out of contrary concerns. So that is where we must start - with God's Word. The Bible reveals that there are two Jerusalems that should occupy the thoughts and prayers of God's people. These two cities should also be in the minds of students of prophecy. One Jerusalem is an earthly city……and the other is a heavenly Jerusalem. And both are part of our promised future.
In Galatians 4:25-26, Paul reveals both of these when he speaks of "the present Jerusalem" and "the Jerusalem above." Likewise, the book of Revelation mentions both "the holy city…given to the nations"…to ... "tread under foot," as well as "the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven." (Revelation 21:2)
What is impressive is that a city that most people of the earth will never visit, has such a place in our interests, that the daily news is often relaying something that happens there. In the United States alone, there are more than 30 cities that bear the name of Jerusalem in one form or another. Say the word "Jerusalem" to almost anyone - even in our geographically challenged American culture - and it is instantly recognized. Whether in a Sunday school lesson or on the evening news, the name Jerusalem regularly appears.
The most volatile 35 acres of land on the earth are undoubtedly those comprising a rectangular platform in East Jerusalem that is called the Temple Mount. This sight is known elsewhere in the Bible as Mount Moriah. Several meaningful Jewish events occurred on this mount, not the least of which was Abraham offering his own son to God. This is also the place where Jacob dreamt of a ladder reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. (Genesis 28:12)
It is on this mount that the Jews believe they must rebuild their Temple. In writings, it is often referred to as Temple #3.
The Bible speaks of four Jewish Temples. Two have been built and destroyed. Two have yet to be built.
WHO BUILT THE FIRST TEMPLE?
The First Temple was constructed by Solomon, who reigned from about 970 to 930 B.C. In 1 Kings 6:1, we are told that the construction of the Temple began in the fourth year of Solomon's reign as Israel's king. It was laid waste by a Babylonian siege in 597 B.C.. 11 years later (586 BC), the Babylonians burned it to the ground.
The Second Temple, known as the temple built by Herod the Great was operational during the time when Christ was here. Its actual construction began more than 500 years earlier, by Zerubbabel, near the end of the Babylonian captivity. Later, Herod the Great remodeled and greatly expanded this temple. To a great extent, he actually dismantled much of the temple, and, according to John 2:20, it took 46 years to build. This would make the construction to have completed about 4-5 years prior to the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.
It is this temple about which Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:2, where he said not one stone here will be left on another. Everyone will be throne down. True to Jesus' prophecy, this temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
The Third Temple will be built - or at least in existence - during the first half of the 7-year Tribulation.
The Fourth Temple will be built for the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The plans and design for Temple #4 are given in Ezekiel, chapters 40 - 48. Some have calculated that the millennial temple will be 40 times larger than the other 3.
It is the 3rd Temple that I want to address today. For more than 19 centuries since the destruction of the second temple, the Jews have prayed daily for their temple's rebuilding.
The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris. As he passes by a synagogue, he hears the sounds of people weeping inside. He turns to his assistant and asks, "What's going on with the Jews?" "Today is Tisha B'Av," came the reply, and the Jews are mourning the loss of their Temple." Napoleon looked toward the synagogue and said, "if the Jews are still crying after 1800 years, then I am certain the Temple will one day be rebuilt!"
All prophecy teachers who interpret the Scriptures literally agree that the Jewish temple in Israel will be rebuilt. While there is no specific Scripture that says Temple #3 will be built, it is implied in a number a Passages. It is known by Christians as the Tribulation Temple. But both the Old and New Testaments allude to this temple's existence.
Daniel 9:27 NIV
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifices and grain offerings. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until his end that is decreed is poured out on him.
For the Jewish sacrificial and offerings system to be reinstated, a Jewish temple is required to be there. This verse also says that the Antichrist (the one who enacts a treaty with the Jews) will step into the temple and desecrate it.
The apostle Paul says it this way.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV
4 He [the Antichrist] will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
This passage assumes the existence of the Temple by at least the mid-point in the 7-year Tribulation. It is at this time that we find the Antichrist taking over the Temple, and he defiles it, proclaiming himself to be god.
Here are a couple of additional Scriptures implying the existence of a temple during the Tribulation. In Revelation 11:1-2 (NIV), John says:
1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there.
2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months."
The mention of the 42 months, as well as the context in which we find this Passage, tells us that the last half of the Tribulation is in view here. A temple has to exist at that time in order for it to be measured.
Daniel 12:11 NIV
11 From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
Matthew 24:15 NIV
15 So when you see standing in the holy place `the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand.
The Lord had in mind the Passage in Daniel 9:27, which we read just a moment ago. Later in Daniel, the abominable act of the Antichrist is again reiterated.
Daniel 11:31 NIV
31 His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
All of these Passages make it clear that the Jewish people will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem before the mid-point of the Tribulation. Five of the six Scriptures we have just looked at link the rebuilt temple with the Antichrist. All of these 5 speak about his desecration of this sacred place.
Daniel, John and Christ all place this awful event in the middle of the Tribulation. It is the event that leads to what Christ calls the Great Tribulation. The second half of the 7-year Tribulation is more severe than the first, and the first half is no picnic. Clearly, if the temple is to be desecrated at that point, it must have been built earlier.
Zechariah 1:14-16 NIV
14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, "Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: `I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion,
15 but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.'
16 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: `I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,' declares the LORD Almighty.
Yes, there will be a Third Temple built prior to the middle of the Tribulation. We are not told when its construction will begin. Some believe that its construction may precede the beginning of the tribulation. Others believe the OK to begin construction, will be part of the treaty that the Antichrist will initiate.
Harold Foos, Professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute:
"….It is the conviction of this writer that the repossession of the Temple site and the rebuilding of the Temple with renewed worship will be a direct consequence of the covenant that the Antichrist makes with Israel for the one week, the seven years of the Tribulation period."
I mentioned earlier how John 2:20 says that it took 46 years to build Herod's Temple. But, with modern technology, the 3rd Temple can be built in less than 11 months.
SO WHAT IS HOLDING UP THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS TEMPLE?
The first answer usually given is that the Arab Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is located in the space where most believe the temple must be built. This is a major obstacle, and we will address it later in our lesson, but there are other equally important barriers to building Temple # 3. The Jewish people themselves are a deterrent to building Temple # 3 in the near future.
Most Christians today view the Jews primarily in light of what is said about them in the Old Testament. Although they displeased God many times, they are pictured as a people who are rather orthodox in their religious practices. They kept all the holy days throughout the year, and spent time with their children in educating them about Jewish rituals. With that in mind, most of us probably view most Jews today as being very observant of Holy Days, as well as a number of other practices that have been handed down through the generations.
The fact of the matter is: most Jews today are not that observant of the practices mentioned in the Torah.
There are really four kinds of Jews today.
The first two - the Conservative and Reformed - claim the rebuilding of a literal Temple is unnecessary. This side of Jewish thinking views Judaism as an evolving religion, and seeing no reason to return to the past. For these Jews, the Temple is a relic of the past that they feel they can get along without.
Hebrew university professor and Rabbi Pesach Schindler explains it this way:
"We have respect for the past, but it has no operational significance. With the establishment of the State of Israel, we have all our spiritual centers within us. That is where the temples should be built."
Those on the other side - the Orthodox and the Hasidic - contend that there has always been a vital historical link between the physical return to the Land and the literal rebuilding of the Temple. Those with this more literal view point to the 613 Commandments. These are a rabbinic collection of biblical precepts and prohibitions. Approximately one third of these relate to or are dependent upon the presence of a Temple in Jerusalem. The first 248 of these 613 are called Mandatory Commandments. Commandment # 20 of the mandatory commandments specifically calls for the rebuilding of the Temple.
For many Israelis today - almost 50% - as well as Jews outside the Land today, the notion of building a literal Temple at any time in the future is considered ludicrous, fanatical and dangerous.
Two reasons are given for this.
1. After the last destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D., the synagogue has taken on greater significance. They maintain that the Jews the world over have successfully maintained their faith without the Temple. So, why should they want to build it now.
2. The desire to make peace with the nations around them, whether Islamic or not. They believe that they should pursue peace and harmony with their neighbors.
The diaspora - the scattering of the Jewish people following A.D. 70, gave them no possibility to rebuilding their temple. The Jewish rabbis faced the need to continue a Judaism without it. Previously, much of Judaism depended on the Temple's existence. As I mentioned a moment ago, many of the 613 biblical commandments, the festival calendar that greatly regulated Jewish life,…...along with the ritual prayers, were tied to the Temple.
With no Temple, the synagogues became the place of teaching and worship, along with certain aspects of the ritual obligation. To a great extent, this reduced underlying Jewish religious practice to spiritual principles.
This also affected the people's concept of a literal Messiah, whose coming had been expected to redeem and restore Israel. Because this did not happen as expected, those of a more liberal persuasion came to think only in terms of some spiritual "Messianic Age." For these of a liberal bent, the Jewish state today can only continue to exist if peace is attained with their now hostile neighbors.
Orthodox and Hasidic Judaism, by contrast, have strenuously held to a literal interpretation of the Bible, and believe that the prophetic promise of a coming Messiah and the Temple's rebuilding would be fulfilled when a generation of Jews came along who were worthy of it.
Here is the difference between the Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, both of whom are more literal in their biblical interpretation. Hasidic Judaism believes that the final Temple would already be rebuilt in heaven, and would descend to the Temple Mount when the Messiah comes. Orthodox Judaism continues to look for a new Temple to be erected through human agency. It would, however, also be linked to the coming of the Messiah.
Many of the orthodox Jews believe the building of the temple should be carried out as soon as possible. For them, the Torah says: "Let them build a sanctuary for me." (Exodus 25:8) The last command in a Hebrew Bible is what we know as 2 Chronicles 36:23. It says: "Go up and build Him a house in Jerusalem."
So, one of the barriers for building the Temple #3 is many Jews (about 50%) do not see the urgency or even the reason for building a temple.
The next issue I want to address is the fact that Arab sacred buildings are located on Mount Moriah.
The Temple Mount - Arabs versus Jews
I said at the beginning of this lesson that the Temple Mount is the most contested parcel of land in the world today. For most people, Christian or Jew or Arab, the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple constitutes an enormous political and religious problem. The two structures of the Islamic faith are standing on mount Moriah.
The Temple Mount is called by the Moslems, "al-Haram al-Sharif." Those words mean "The Noble Sanctuary." The third most holy place in the world for Muslims is Al-Aqsa mosque. Also standing there is the larger of the two building, the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock used to have a different name. It was once called the Mosque of Omar.
WHY IS THEIR LOCATION ATOP MOUNT MORIAH A PROBLEM AS FAR AS REBUILDING THE JEWISH TEMPLE IS CONCERNED?
The Jews believe they have a mandate from God to rebuild the temple in the exact location of the previous two locations. Most Jews believe the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock is on that spot of ground. It seems this difficult situation will have to be resolved before temple construction can proceed.
Orthodox Jews differ as to when and how the Third Temple should be built. One school of thought believes that the Temple cannot be built in a secular state, but will descend in fire from heaven completely built after a religious government is established when the Messiah arrives. Those who follow this belief forbid entrance to the Temple Mount, on the grounds that a person might accidentally step on the site of the not yet located Holy of Holies.
The predominant school of thought, however, is that the Torah obligated the Jewish nation to rebuild the Temple whenever it becomes possible to do so (Exodus 25:8)
THE LOCATION OF THE PREVIOUS TEMPLES
The literal fulfillment of Christ's words in Matthew 24:2 is the reason why it is now difficult to identify the precise location for building the temple. He said, "not one stone will be left on another." Fulfillment of those words so completely has made finding the location very difficult.
There are three views being put forth today as to where the earlier temples were located.
1. The previous temples were not located on Mount Moriah.
2. They were located in the same space that is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.
3. The earlier temples were located some 330 feet north of the Moslem structures.
Let's look at each of these.
1. The earlier temples were not located on Mount Moriah
This view is least held of any of the three. This view places the temple on a mount outside and south of Old Jerusalem. It is known as Mount Ophel. Dr. T.V. Oommen, bases his position on sources that say the Temple was above a spring called Gihon, which is close to Ophel.
2 Chronicles 3:1 (NIV) seems to counter this position.
1 Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.
Mount Moriah was the place of the earlier temples. The only way this position could be true, is if what is today called Mount Moriah wasn't the same mount 2,000 years ago. That is very unlikely.
Jerusalem really has three prominent mountains (hills).
Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) and will also descend back down to when He returns at his Second Coming.
Mount Moriah, where the Temple Mount is located.
Mount Zion, where Jesus will rule during the 1000-year millennium.
2. The second view as to where the earlier Temples were location, is that they were located in the place occupied today by the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
This is the predominant view, and is held by most Israeli archeologists. And, if true, this will be the most difficult to resolve with the Arabs.
3. The temples were located 330 feet north of the Moslem structures
Hebrew University physicist Asher Kaufmann was first to propose this theory. From his studies, he believes the Temple can be built with its inner court, and it will still be about 80 feet from the Dome of the Rock. He believes the Eastern Gate should line up with the Holy of Holies.
Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate. This gate was sealed by Moslems in 1187 a.d., and remains sealed to this day. When Jesus returns, He will again enter through this gate. The sealing of the Gate fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel 44:1-2.
Ezekiel 44:1-2 NIV
1 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the on facing east, and it was shut.
2 The LORD said to me, "This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it. "
When Jesus returns, Zechariah 14:4 tells us He will descend upon the Mount of Olives. This mount is about a quarter mile straight east of the Eastern Gate. Jesus will walk from the Mount of Olives and through the Eastern Gate.
PREPARATION FOR THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
A number of Jewish groups have already begun preparation for the new temple.
Groups like: The Temple Mount Faithful, Temple Institute, Society for the Preparation of the Temple.
Since 1987, a group of rabbinical researchers, designers and craftsmen have been creating what they call a "Temple in waiting." According the Rabbi Chaim Richman, a detailed computerized blueprint for the Third Temple have existed for more than 10 years (since 1992). They have taken their specifications from the Bible, Archeological findings, Josephus and the Jewish Middot (measurements) Their specifications have also included the use of electricity and other modern improvements, where they don't violate the "Halaka" (Jewish Law)
Other structures, pertaining to the Temple's future functions, have also been planned - other have actually been built. Under the auspices of Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the 70-seat Supreme Court building that housed the Sanhedrin in Temple times has again been constructed. Its present location is adjacent to the Temple Mount. The legal protocol, which the Sanhedrin will use to govern the people of Israel's relationship to their Temple, have been researched and documented.
Vessels used in the Temple
103 different vessels and utensils were used in the operation of the Temple. More than half of these have been constructed.
Apparel for the high priest
o his eight-layered woven robe
o the golden crown worn on his head
o his jeweled breastplate bearing the names of the tribes of Israel
Garments for other priests with the special blue-purple dye (tchelet), used in the priestly Tsitsit (fringes on the prayer shawl) are being prepared.
The Ark of the Covenant is expected to be recovered and take its place within the restored temple. We will address the subject of the Ark of the Covenant in a later lesson.
o The eleven sacrificial incense spices
o Incense Pans
o Carts for the burnt offerings
o The gold and silver mizrak - vessels used to dispense sacrificial blood on the altar.
o The Golden laver
o Measuring cups (used in the libation offerings)
o Vessels for the meal offering
o The Lottery Box - for the Day of Atonement
o the mortal and pestle and the stone vessel (kelal) for grinding and holding the purifying ashes of the red heifer
o Golden Menorah (lampstand)
o Oil pitchers for replenishing the oil for its light
o Silver trumpets (for assembling Israel at the Temple)
o The Barley Altar
Earlier, we mentioned two barriers to the building of the Temple.
1. The two Moslem mosques are located where the temple must be built.
2. Nearly 50% of the Jews don't see a need for building a temple.
There is one additional barrier to having a functioning Temple. If this barrier is not addressed, they won't be able to use the Temple, even if it is built. There needs to be a group of priests who have been purified of all uncleanness.
One of the most interesting and challenging issues in the rebuilding of the Temple is the problem of ritual defilement. Every Jew has incurred defilement because their land has been dominated by Gentiles. They are also unclean because for the last 2000 years, none can say they or their ancestors had no contact with death, or in contact with those who have been in such contact.
THE FUTURE PRIESTHOOD
The priests who will serve in the Temple are being identified and trained. When the temple was destroyed in AD 70, the genealogical records, which had been kept in the temple was also destroyed. Also, with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, those of the tribe of Levi were forbidden to change their names. Therefore, to this day there remains those with the names of Levi, Cohen, and derivatives of these names.
Some may wonder how they can accurately determine who is in the priestly lineage or not. In 1997, a scientific test was devised that could actually verify those of priestly lineage. They studied several hundred males claiming levitical descent.
Since each person's DNA is as individual as a fingerprint, they could, by studying the Y-chromosome, determine if they had a common ancestor. The Y-chromosome passes unchanged from father to son. As a group they would carry a DNA separate from all other Jews.
There are also organizations in Israel that are attempting to train young Levites for the priesthood. A Yeshiva (Jewish seminary) has been founded by Motti Dan Hacohen. The yeshiva (seminary) is called Ateret Cohanim. Cohanim is plural for Cohayn. The title of Cohayn has been passed down orally from one generation to another.
FROM WHAT ISRAELI TRIBE CAME THE PRIESTS OF ISRAEL?
The Tribe of Levi.
FROM WHAT TRIBE WERE MOSES AND AARON?
They were both Levites.
God chose Aaron to perform special duties as the nation of Israel's first high priest. Only his descendants are called Cohanim.
THE ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER
As I mentioned a moment ago, all Jews, including all priests are today ceremonially unclean. And without ceremonial purification, no one is thought to be able to perform priestly duties. This ceremony of purification requires ashes from the sacrifice of a particular type of Red Heifer. It is through the ashes of the red heifer that an unclean person is made clean.
The ceremony of the Red Heifer is found in Numbers 19. All 22 verses of this chapter speaks to the required cleansing of the ashes of the red heifer. Let's read the first 6 verses.
Numbers 19:1-6 NIV
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
2 "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.
3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.
4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.
5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned--its hide, flesh, blood and offal.
6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
A flawless red heifer is an extremely rare find. According to orthodox Jews, there hasn't been a flawless red heifer born in the land of Israel for over 2000 years. They also have a record of earlier flawless red heifers. They state that only 9 flawless red heifers had been born from the time of Moses to AD 70, when the Temple was destroyed.
A news flash was made less than one month ago. It reveals that a red heifer was born in Israel on April 8, 2002. A number of rabbis have found her to be kosher, which means this heifer could be a candidate to be used in the purification process. It must grow to be 3 years old before it can be used ceremonially. And it must remain flawless.
Earlier, a red heifer was born in Israel in 1997. But, due to the presence of a few white hairs in its tail, it became disqualified.
This most recent birth of a red heifer occurred on a farm near Haifa, and is now the focus of great interest by orthodox Jews. One Jewish activist said "We've been waiting for 2000 years for a sign from God, and now He has provided us with a red heifer." The calf is thus viewed as a sign of the imminent coming of the Messiah.
Not all Jews view the birth of a flawless red heifer with the same joy. Secular, or Liberal, Jews have gone on record as wishing the young cow would just disappear. Some have even suggested that it be destroyed to avoid a potential war.
Some of the world's media covered this story more as a joke. But it wasn't a laughing matter to David Landau, columnist for the Liberal Israeli newspaper, the Daily Haaretz. He called the red heifer "a four-legged bomb," that could "set the entire region on fire." He was suggesting they just shoot the cow.
Arabs, who control the Temple Mount, are nervous because they believe the Jews will use the heifer as an excuse to destroy the Islamic Dome of the Rock.
Even with a qualified red heifer, a sacrifice cannot be made until there is an already-qualified priest to sacrifice it. The solution for this is already underway. In 1998, Rabbi Elboim began searching for 20 couples who would be willing to dedicate their yet unborn male children to a special program designed to produce a purified priesthood. Some parents have agreed to this proposal.
The plan is to take these newborn boys to a secluded compound in the Jerusalem hills, where they would be brought up in a specially construction building with a floor that has been elevated to prevent contact with the ground. The reason for this is that the ground could have been, in the past, an unmarked grave, which would cause defilement. The seclusion would prevent these boys from being ritually contaminated. When they reach their 13th birthday, they will be qualified to burn the red heifer and distribute its ashes. Before these young men can exercise the rites of the priesthood, and before Temple worship can begin, the Jewish people need to regain access to the Temple Mount.
However the battle may begin or be resolved that will allow the Jews access to the Mount, we know that events must lead to the building of a Third Temple somewhere early in the Tribulation period.
THE RED HEIFER IS A TYPE OF CHRIST
Hebrews 9:13-14 NIV
13 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.
14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, 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!
1. The heifer is a rare find.
Jesus Christ is unlike any other person who walked on this earth. No one is like our Lord. For several days prior to His death, our Lord had been inspected by the priest and rulers, only to have one of them say, "I find no fault in Him."
2. The red heifer must be without blemish throughout their entire life.
Christ was without blemish, in that He never sinned during his life.
3. The red heifer was taken outside the camp to be slaughtered.
Christ was, according to Hebrews 13:12, slain "outside the gate."
4. The red heifer was a means of cleansing for all people.
Jesus gave his life and blood for all people. Any that submit to His cleansing will be made white as snow.
5. The ashes of the red heifer were taken by a clean person to a ceremonially clean place outside the camp.
It was Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus who delivered the Lord's body to it resting place, which was an undefiled tomb in which no man had ever been laid. One thing that strike me about the acts of Joseph and Nicodemus, is that they were willing to become unclean themselves, so that others could become clean through Christ.