Red Heifer

Recently, a friend asked, “What is a red heifer? What is the big deal? Does it have anything to do with Bible prophecy?”

For starters, that innocent looking young female animal: 1) could be the last thing that is needed for the Jews to rebuild the Temple, 2) it could trigger a major religious war between Israel and the Muslims, 3) it could be the first qualified red heifer since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. and 4) it could be a unique sign that the Second Coming of Jesus is very close.

The Scriptures are found in Numbers 19:1-22. They refer to an ordinance of the law that was commanded by the Lord (vs. 2). They involve the cleansing of defiled people; especially those who had anything to do with the tabernacle (setting it up, taking it down, carrying it in the wilderness, carrying the furniture or vessels, serving there, etc.); and those who had anything to do with a deceased person (caring for them, being with them at the time of their death, preparing their body for burial, burying it, etc.; Num. 19:4, 11, & 14).

God told the Jews to slay a red heifer without spot and blemish and upon which never came a yoke (vs. 2), outside the camp (vs. 3), to sprinkle its blood before the tabernacle seven times (vs. 4), to totally burn its body (vs. 5), to burn cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet with it (vs. 7), to gather the ashes and place them in a clean place outside the camp (vs. 9), to save the ashes for making a water of separation (vs. 9), to take a portion of the ashes and mix it with running water (vs. 17), to sprinkle the mixture of ashes and water upon unclean people and the tabernacle, all who served there and everything in it (vs. 18), on the third day and on the seventh day and they will be clean (vs. 19).

Why God chose a heifer (young female cow) for this sacrifice is a mystery. The Bible doesn’t say, but according to some Jewish sages the heifer is a reminder that the Hebrews in the wilderness defiled themselves by making a golden calf (Ex. 32:4, 7). Moses took their golden calf, ground it into powder, put the powder in their water and made some of them drink it (Ex. 32:20).

The heifer had to be red (the color of sin): “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were laid on Jesus (II Cor. 5:21a; Isa. 53:6).

The absence of blemishes and spots means the red heifer was required to be perfect (Num. 19:2). Just two hairs that were not red disqualified it. Jesus qualified as a sin sacrifice because He was without blemish and spot (I Pet. 1:19). He knew no sin, did no sin, and had no sin in Him (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22; I Jn. 3:5). He was perfect.

A yoke was put on work animals in Old Testament times to pull a plow, cart, etc. A red heifer that has never been yoked is an animal that has never worked (Num. 19:2). God was saying works have nothing to do with cleansing or salvation. We are saved by grace not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).

Slaying the red heifer outside the camp (Num. 19:3) pointed to Jesus who died outside the gate (Heb. 13:12).

The blood of the red heifer had to be sprinkled seven times in front of the Tabernacle to cleanse it (Num. 19:4). Sprinkling the blood seven times signifies complete cleansing. Blood symbolizes the blood of Jesus (I Jn. 1:7-9). We are cleansed by the blood (I Jn. 1:7); have access to God by the blood (Heb. 10:19-20); overcome Satan by the blood (Rev. 12:11); have been purchased with the blood (Acts 20:28); are justified through faith in the blood (Rom. 3:25); are redeemed through the blood (Eph. 1:7) and more. Since God required the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of the Tabernacle in the past, it is believed that He requires the sprinkling of the blood of a red heifer in front of any Temple is built in the future.

Completely burning the red heifer so that nothing remained but a pile of ashes signifies that the sacrifice was finished. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (Jn. 19:30).

Three things (Cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet) were burned with the red heifer. Cedar was considered an incorruptible wood. It was used by royalty in their palaces (II Sam. 5:11, 7:2) and in the Temple (I Kings 6:18; Ezra 3:7). Jesus was incorruptible royalty (Psa. 16:10; Luke 1:31-33; Matt. 27:38; Rev. 19:16) and He will be our Temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood on the lintel and side posts of the houses in Egypt before the death angel passed over (Ex. 12:22). It was used to lift the vinegar-filled sponge to the mouth of Jesus when He died on the cross (Jn. 19:29). And following his sin David said, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (Psa. 51:7). For those who apply the blood, Jesus is our Passover and His death on the cross will make us clean (I Cor. 5:7). Scarlet symbolizes sin (Isa. 1:18) and Jesus was made sin for us (II Cor. 5:21).

The ashes were placed in a clean place outside the camp (Num. 19:9). There is a little debate about where Jesus was buried, but most say it was in a new tomb that had never been used outside the city (Luke 23:53).

According to some Jews (not the Bible), the ashes were ground up (like the golden calf in the wilderness), pulverized, beaten with rods and sifted. Jesus was severely beaten and His visage was marred more than any man (Mk. 15:15; Isa. 52:14). After the red heifer was burned and sifted some say the ashes were. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isa. 1:18a).

The person who gathered the ashes saved them to use in the water of separation (Num. 19:9). This solution was prepared by mixing a small portion of the ashes with running water (a pinch of ashes with lots of clean water from a natural source such as a spring; Num. 19:17). Then, the water of separation was sprinkled upon the Tabernacle, everything in it (the vessels, music instruments, etc.), everyone there (the priests, musicians, etc.) and anyone who had anything to do with the dead (Num. 19:18).

The Jews say the heifer must be three years old before it is sacrificed. As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t say this, but I found three possible reasons in my studies: 1) Some suggest that God was revealing that Jesus would die after three years of ministry, 2) Others suggest that a three-year old animal is in the prime of his life and Jesus died in the prime of His life, and 3) Still others suggest that the Jews require it to be three years old because Abraham wanted a sign that God would give him the Promised Land and God told him to prepare a sacrifice with a heifer, she-goat and a ram that were three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon (Gen. 15:7-10). Sacrificing a three-year old heifer was part of God’s sign to Abraham.

Some say the ashes of the tenth red heifer must be mixed with the ashes of the previous nine sacrificed red heifers. That is tradition not what the Bible says. For whatever it is worth, I have read that some Jewish rabbis say the old ashes that have been hid for 2,000 years have probably been contaminated and are most likely unfit for use.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be sacrificed by the Messiah. That comes from the Mishna not the Bible.

Some Jews say the tenth red heifer will be in use when the Messiah returns. They will probably use some ashes from the next red heifer in the first half of the Tribulation Period before the Second Coming of Jesus.

Anyway, the Temple will be rebuilt before the middle of the Tribulation Period (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-21; II Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1). And the Temple, plus everyone who builds it, everyone who serves in it and everything that is used in it must be cleansed with the water of separation made with the ashes of a red heifer without spot and blemish (Num. 19:17-19).

A red heifer was born in January 2014 that may qualify if it remains perfect until January 2017. Not everyone agrees, but I am convinced that the Rapture is before the Tribulation Period. The existence of a red heifer without blemish and spot is significant, but it only points to Jesus. He is a better sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-14).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

Bible Prophecy Conferences

Rachel and I were attending the Mid-America Prophecy Conference on April 11, 2014 and Evangelist Don Perkins was speaking. When he mentioned Acts 28:22-26 Rachel turned to me and said, “That was a prophecy conference.” She was right and the more I thought about it the more I realized how true that is.

The Old Testament prophets wrote books on prophecy. Following the temptation of Jesus, He returned into Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. He taught in the synagogues and received much glory. He arrived at Nazareth where He grew up. The Sabbath came and He went to the synagogue. When He stood up to read He was handed a prophetic book. (the book of Isaiah). The Old Testament didn’t have chapters and verses at this time, but if it had, He would have read Isa. 61:1 and part of 61:2. He closed the book, gave it to the synagogue minister, sat down and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:14-21). This was a prophetic message that His hometown people didn’t like. They even rose up to kill Him even though it was given by Jesus under the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:28-30).

Shortly before His crucifixion, He was leaving the Temple for the last time. His disciples approached Him to point out the beautiful buildings, but He said, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another’ (Matt. 24:1-2). He went out to the Mount of Olives (to the place where He would ascend into heaven after His first coming; to the place where He will come back to at His second coming; Acts 1:9-11; Zech. 14:4) and His disciples said, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Their questions triggered what was probably the greatest prophecy conference the world has ever experienced. Jesus talked about false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution, the gospel, the Temple, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming, Israel and many other really important subjects. I love to study His words, but many church members don’t even want to hear them.

Shortly after His crucifixion, two men were walking to a village called Emmaus when Jesus drew near (Luke 24:13-28). They called Jesus “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” They said He had been condemned, crucified and His body was missing from the grave. Jesus called them “fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Did you catch that? Jesus said those who don’t believe all that the prophets said are foolish and they have a heart problem. He referred the men to the Scriptures and “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Starting in the book of Genesis and going through the book of Malachi, Jesus showed them how current events were a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. That was a prophecy conference that I would love to have sat in on.

And now to the prophecy conference that caught Rachel’s attention. Paul was arrested and eventually sent to Rome (Acts 28:16-29). Three days after he arrived, he contacted some of the Jews and told them he had been arrested for the hope of Israel. They had no idea what he was talking about, but they wanted to hear more. “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” Paul did what Jesus did on the road to Emmaus. Some believed and some didn’t, but this is where Paul told the unbelieving Jews that “the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles” (Acts 28:28). Bible prophecy is about Jesus and not understanding it was a costly thing for the Jews.

The church enjoys a unique relationship with God. He has given us the Scriptures and Jesus told us to go all over the world teaching people to observe everything He said (Matt. 28:20). This is our mission. “Everything He said” leaves no room for the exclusion of Bible prophecy. It is a significant portion of the Scriptures and those who ignore it are not following the example of Jesus and they are not teaching the whole counsel of God.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

Wonderful Promises

God has made some wonderful promises to Israel. He will gather the Jews from all over the world back into the Promised Land (Deut. 30:1-5). They will get all of the Promised Land (Gen. 17:7-8). They will be exalted above all of the nations on earth (Deut. 28:1, 13). Jesus will sit on the throne of David and rule over them (Luke 1:32-33). Jerusalem will become the center of the nations and the Word of God will go forth to all nations from there (Ezek. 5:5; Hos. 4:2).

God said these things will happen and every jot and tittle of them will happen. But let’s be realistic. As things stand today, the Muslims in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are not going to freely turn part of their land over to Israel. China, Russia, Iran and the like are not going to voluntarily accept the fact that tiny Israel is more important than they are. The UN, EU, US and others are not going to willingly submit to the rule of Jesus. All of the nations on earth are not going to agree to let the Word of God go unhindered within their borders. So as things stand today, there is not a chance in the world that God’s wonderful promises to Israel are going to be fulfilled.

This brings me to what triggered this article. Someone recently sent me some interesting information that he said comes from the Gemara, one of the two sections of the Jewish Talmud (Mishna and Gemara). The information concerns what the Gemara says about the significance of solar and lunar eclipses (especially eclipses on Feast Days such as the recent Blood Moon on Passover and the upcoming Blood Moon on Tabernacles). It is important to note that Christians don’t consider the Gemara to be Scripture, but it contains the remarks ancient Jewish rabbis that I don’t want to overlook.

The Hebrew children were slaves in Egypt when God sent the Ten Plagues to make Pharaoh let them go. According to the Gemara, if God had not sent the Ten Plagues, Egypt would not have collapsed, Pharaoh would not have released the Hebrews from slavery and the nation of Israel probably would not have come into being. Without the nation of Israel, we might not have had the Scriptures, the Temple, the Messiah, the prophets, the Church, etc. So the Ten Plagues played a crucial part in the return of the Jews and the conduct of God’s plan during Old Testament times. Also, the fall of Egypt on the first Passover celebration can be seen as the beginning of the nation of Israel and many other great blessings. It can be seen for the good things that happened for all people not the bad things that happened to Egypt.

Now, let’s direct our attention to the future. We are living in a period of time that the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles, but the Times of the Gentiles must come to an end (Luke 21:24). The Gentile nations must be brought down so Israel can rise up and fulfill the role that God said she will fulfill in the future. The Gentile nations must be subdued so Jesus can reign, Israel can be exalted above the nations of the earth, the Word of God can go all over the world, etc. (Psa. 110:5-6; I Cor. 15:24-28).

The Gentile nations are not going to go easy. This is where the Tribulation Period comes in. It will be a time of judgment upon the nations (Zeph. 3:8). The Antichrist will rise to power and go forth conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:1-2). Peace will be removed from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4). War will prevail and the nations of the earth will be brought low (Rev. 6:8; 8:11; 9:15). This will pave the way for the rise of Israel; the millennial reign of Jesus; peace, justice and righteousness on earth, etc. Christians should focus on the good that is coming to the earth not the bad.

Now, I don’t know much about blood moons. I haven’t totally avoided the subject, but I have said very little about it. I do know several things: One, God put lights in the heavens “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14); Two, NASA’s SOHO satellite videotaped large dark spots on the sun in 2013; Three, the Hebrew calendar and the Tribulation Period are based on the moon (30 days/month; 7 yrs. X 360 days/yr. = 2520 days); Four, the prophet Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31); Five, Peter quoted Joel when the Church began by saying, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20); Six, a tetrad of blood moons started on April 15, 2014 and this is before the day of the LORD; Seven, the convergence of signs seem to indicate that like the day of the LORD is getting close; And eight, I am not predicting it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if war broke out in the Middle East in the coming weeks or months.

The tetrad that started in 1949 followed the establishment of Israel. The tetrad that started in 1967 preceded Israel’s capture of the Temple Mount. And the Tribulation Period is the seventieth week of Israel’s punishment (Dan. 9:24-27). Each person needs to make up their own mind, but God is in control and His wonderful promises to Israel will come to pass.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

 

Editor’s Note:

When the subject of the Blood Moon Tetrads began to be discussed by various teachers in the area of Biblical Prophecy, I decided to undertake a study of them and their possible significance. Utilizing the same NASA website as Mark Biltz, John Hagee, Perry Stone and others; I researched the occurrence of the Tetrads which aligned with the Lord’s “Feast Days.”

The hypothesis of these teachers is that the Tetrads have a significance which affects the nation of Israel, or the Jewish people. However, I must call into question their conclusions. Of the seven Tetrads since the birth of Christ, only three are said to have shown relevance to the Jewish people.

    • In 1492 the Jews were given the order of Expulsion from Spain. The Tetrad happened in 1493 & 1494. Pastor Hagee associates this Tetrad with the discovery of America as a “safe haven” for the Jewish people, though most fled into eastern Europe or back to Palestine (only three are known to have reached the “new world” at this time, and only one of these stayed).  I find this assertion of relevance disingenuous and sensational. If the voyage of Columbus had anything to do with the Jewish people, it was to discover wealth to finance further crusades to Jerusalem.
    • The Tetrad of 1949 – 1950 is said to coincide with the Founding of the modern Nation State of Israel which took place on May 14, 1948. The Israeli “War of Independence” was fought in 1948-1949. A lunar eclipse did not take place on the day of declaration or on any day of significance during the war.
    • The Tetrad of 1967 -1968 is said to be associated with the “Six Day War” during which Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. Again, a lunar eclipse did not occur on any day during that “War.”

If the Tetrads which occur on Feast Days are considered so important to the Jewish people, why were there no Tetrads associated with these important events?:

    • 70 AD The destruction of the Temple and expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem.
    • 132-135 AD The expulsion of the Jews from Israel after the Bar Kokhba revolt, after which Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel “Palestine.”
    • 1181 AD French King Philip banished the Jews from France.
    • 1298 AD Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria when more than 100,000 Jewish people were killed during a six month period.
    • 1903-1906 AD Frequent pogroms (massacres) in Russia and Ukraine were carried out against Jewish shtetls (small villages) during which thousands were slaughtered.
    • 1939-1945 AD The Holocaust during WW2.
    • 1956 AD The “Suez War.”
    • 1973 AD  The Yom Kippur War.
    • Additionally, there is no evidence of a Tetrad having any significance to Israel prior to the birth of Christ.

I would also like to point out that while I agree that Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 are referring to a time “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD”; this takes place during the Tribulation just prior to Christ’s Second Coming, and the written word suggests the sun darkening and moon turning to blood happen at the same time. This is NOT a typical astrological event. Remember, the return of Jesus for His Church (the “Rapture”) is imminent, requiring no signs before it occurs. To infer that anything like this might need to happen before the Church is “taken away” is just not biblical.

In conclusion, while I agree with Daymond that each person must decide for themselves if there is any prophetic significance to the “Blood Moon” Tetrads, I simply cannot ascribe any real significance to them. I do however see a convergence of real “Signs of the Times” which make me believe that war will break out in the Middle East in the near future. We will comment on these Prophecies in more detail in the coming weeks.

Respectfully, KD Tucker Whitaker DD, PhD