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The Return of the Red Heifer

Updated on April 30, 2020
Cheryl E Preston profile image

Cheryl is a freelance writer, poet, newspaper columnist, minister and published author, and founder of two outreach ministries.

The purpose of the crimson cow

You may have heard of sacred cows in other cultures but they are also in Judaism and Christianity. Numbers 19 NASB 1.Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect on which a yoke has never been placed.

Only those designated to the priesthood were allowed to perform the ritual. 3 You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. Eleazar was the third son of Aaron who took over as high priest when his father died. His older brothers, Hophni and Phineas were Burt to death when they offered strange fire to the Lord. (I Samuel chapter 4).

4 Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.




Red Heifer who meets sacrificial requirements.
Red Heifer who meets sacrificial requirements.

This may sound brutal but it was necessary until Christ became our intimate sacrifice, Numbers 19:6 The priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the ]burning heifer. 7 The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening.


The red heifer is a special female cow that was never allowed to become pregnant and is never milked or yoked. This crimson cow was utilized in Biblical times specifically as a sacrifice according to the Torah. It was presented to the priests and once it was sacrificed, the ashes were used for any Israelite who had come in contact with a dead body. This was referred to as the "ritual purification of Tum'at HaMet ("the impurity of the dead"),

In order to purify a person who has become ritually contaminated because they came in contact with a corpse, a bunch of hyssops is used to sprinkle water from the vessel on the individual. This was done on the third and seventh day of the process of purification. The priest who performs the ceremony is then considered ritually unclean and must wash himself and his clothing in running waters. He was deemed to be impure until the evening.

Donald Trump may assist in building the third temple in Jerusalem.
Donald Trump may assist in building the third temple in Jerusalem.

The scarlet cow in Christianity

The non-canonical Epistle of Barnabas (8:1) suggests that the red heifer was a reference to Jesus and what He would do on the cross. In the New Testament, the phrases "without the gate" Hebrews 13:12 and "without the camp" Numbers 19:3 and Hebrews 13:13) are considered to be not only referenced that connects Jesus with the red heifer but also an indication of the location where His crucifixion took place. Some people believe that the Second Coming of Christ will not take place until the Third Temple is constructed in Jerusalem. It is believed that there must first be an appearance of a red heifer that is born in Israel. Clyde Lott is an American cattle breeder, who is seeking his place in history. Lott is systematically attempting to breed red heifers that he will export to Israel. He is wanting to establish a breeding line of red heifers in Israel, hoping this will bring about the Third Temple's construction and usher in the return of Jesus to the earth.

I have heard Messianic Jews say that there will be an animal sacrifice in Jerusalem prior to Christ's return. As a matter of fact, there were reports that a red heifer was born in Israel in November 2018. There are reportedly two calves begging kept at an undisclosed location that meet all the requirements to become the sacrifice. There is also a rumor that Donald Trump and Israeli Rabbi's are even now making plans in secret to build the third temple. Many are on the lookout for the new temple and the emergence of the red heifer. However this plays out, true believers understand that the sacrifice of bulls, cows, and goats did not purchase our salvation. Only His shed blood, running red down the cross was the atonement, once and for all for our sins.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston

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