The Jerusalem-based Temple Institute has taken on the goal of rebuilding the Third Jewish Temple, regarded by Jews and Christians as a precursor to the coming of the Messiah.
The plan is guaranteed to provoke world conflict, since the Islamic Dome of the Rock now sits on the presumed Temple site.
And while the preparations seem to be lining up, a major obstacle remains – the absence of a red heifer, required in the biblical book of Numbers, Chapter 19, for the purification that is essential before worship.
Until now, according to the institute.
The organization posted a video this month showing what appears to be a perfect red heifer that is being raised at an unidentified location in the United States.
“In truth, the fate of the entire world depends on the red heifer,” the institute says.
“For G-d has ordained that its ashes alone are the single missing ingredient for the reinstatement of biblical purity – and thereafter, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.”
The Temple Institute says purification with the red heifer “reminds us that man has the potential to rise above his transitory physical existence, with all its false sense of hopelessness and misery … the impurity of death.”
“This is the role of the Third Temple for all mankind, and this is the Messianic vision of the future: the call to live an eternal life, liberated from the sham and unhappiness which is the sum total of the human condition for so many people. The call for the true joy of living life to the fullest – with the knowledge of G-d,” the institute says.
“The divine ordinance of the heifer, beyond the grasp of man’s frail intellect, with all the details of its preparation and ceremony, calls out to Israel and to all who seek to cling to the living word of the G-d of Israel: ‘purify yourselves! Shake off your despair! Death is an illusion!’ Thus it is written, ‘… but all of you who cling to the Lord your G-d … you are all alive today’ (Deut. 4:4),” the organization explains.
According to institute spokesman Rabbi Chaim Richman, the heifer is being raised according to the laws of the Torah at an undisclosed U.S. location.
Institute leaders say they are excited because few animals meet the qualifications of being red, with not even two black hairs.
“This [animal] could be a candidate for the resumption of the process of purification,” he said.
The Angus mix was born in January and is not being tagged, branded or “used for any activity.”
Why a red heifer?
It’s not for humankind to know, Richman said.
“The knowledge the red heifer represents is way, way beyond our spiritual capacities,” he said.
But is there really a red heifer today that could move the progress on the Third Temple forward?
“Yes,” he said. “When the time comes, all the circumstances that are necessary to be lined up on the same page … we will be able to usher in a new era of purity.”
A report from Right Side News said a “qualified” red heifer has not been seen in Israel for nearly 2,000 years.
The institute, which has worked on Jewish requirements for worship such as a seven-branched Menorah made of gold and a golden incense alter, was founded about 30 years ago.
It is “dedicated to every aspect of the biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.”
“Our short-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time,” the institute says.
“The major focus of the Institute is its efforts toward the beginning of the actual rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Toward this end, the Institute has begun to restore and construct the sacred vessels for the service of the Holy Temple.”
The vessels already completed are on exhibit in Jerusalem’s Old City Jewish Quarter, the institute explains.
Right Side News’ Michael Snyder points out the obvious.
While both Jews and Christians view the location of a red heifer as the next step in fulfillment of their religious prophecies, which say there will be a Jewish Temple standing in Jerusalem in the last days, Muslims take a different view.
“The Islamic world would go into convulsions if Israel tried to build anything on or near the Temple Mount at this point.”
But already, the institute is recognizing what it views as inevitable, leading guided tours of the Temple Mount with special consideration for the expected location of the Third Temple.
“Please note that it is forbidden for all people to set foot upon the actual location of the Holy Temple. Those Jews who visit the periphery of the Mount, motivated out of a desire to be as close to the holy place as possible, do so according to the strict requirements of Jewish law and do not actually set foot upon the sanctified areas,” the institute explains.