By Doug Fortune

(This ia a portion of a chapter from my book entitled 'APOSTOLIC REFORMATION- In His Image')

I read an article recently pertaining to the ashes of a red heifer, the construction of the Third Temple, and the return of Christ... the basic premise being that if the sacrifice of the red heifer for purification and the Third Temple were complete, that this would facilitate the return of Christ. However, in taking a strictly literal view of this, are we perhaps missing the intent and purpose of God? Let's not forget that, "...all these things happened to them for examples, and are written for our admonition..."(1Cor.10:11), and that "...such things are only the shadow of things that are to come, they have only a symbolic value. But the reality, the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it belongs to CHRIST..."(Col.2:17). Could it be that this subject deserves a closer look?... I do believe so.

I believe that the completion of the 'temple' is absolutely paramount in the eternal purposes of God! Consider however, that in Acts 7:48 and 17:24 the Scripture states clearly that He does NOT dwell in temples made with hands; and in 1Cor.3:16-17, 1Cor.6:19, 2Cor.6:16 it says WE are the temple of God; and Eph. 2:22 says, "you yourselves also are being built up with the rest, to form a FIXED ABODE (dwelling place) of God in the SPIRIT.". THIS is the temple God is concerned with!

Consider also that in Rev. 1:1 is says, "This is the REVELATION of Jesus Christ...", the uncovering, the unveiling or the REVEALING of Jesus Christ. Verse seven goes on to say that He is coming, or being REVEALED with CLOUDS; Acts 1:9 says, "a CLOUD received Him...". I believe that this CLOUD that received Him and that he is returning in is none other than the 'great CLOUD of witnesses..."(Heb. 12:1) that we are surrounded by. So we are already seeing the beginning of one aspect of the return of Christ to His temple as He is REVEALED IN US... Christ IN US, the hope of glory. Even verse 13 of Rev. 1 tells us that Christ is revealed "in the midst of the Lampstands..." and verse 20 tells us that these Lampstands are the Church!

Let's explore the offering of the red heifer though, as I believe that this is a true key to seeing the ultimate fulfillment of the coming of Christ. As you read in Numbers chapter 19, keep in mind that the entire purpose and context of this particular sin offering is for anyone "who touches the DEAD body of any person..."(Numb.19:11), this is extremely significant... I'll explain in a moment. Firstly however, we notice that it is a RED heifer... the color red is symbolic of those who are covered under the blood of Jesus Christ. It is also a HEIFER, in other words a female and a virgin... the Church is always referred to in the female gender, a Virgin Bride. The red heifer was to be without SPOT or BLEMISH... "That he might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot... it should be holy and without blemish..."(Eph.5:27). The heifer was to be free of any YOKE... "in that day his burden shall be taken from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing."(Is.10:27); "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."(John 8:36). The heifer was to be taken OUTSIDE the camp and slaughtered... Jesus was taken outside the city and slaughtered, and remember He said, "if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw ALL men unto Me. This He said signifying what death he should die (crucifixion)." (John 12:32).

He drew ALL men unto Him on the cross; it was NOT just one man on the cross, WE were crucified in Christ, "We know that our old self WAS nailed to the cross with Him..."(Rom.6:6). Also, the red heifer was to be totally consumed with fire, the skin, flesh, blood, and dung... there is a baptism of fire for us that consumes our vanity and pride (skin), our carnal desires (flesh), the SOULISH (mind, will, emotions) psuche life that is in the blood, and, well... you can figure out the last part! (A little humor never hurts!) As the heifer was in the consuming fire (Heb.12:29) they were to cast in cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet... the cedars of Lebanon were the tallest and most valuable trees and Lebanon means 'whiteness or pureness', this speaks of spiritual maturity IN Christ; the hyssop speaks of the humility IN Christ; and scarlet speaks of the blood of Christ, our new blood line, our new heritage as Kings and Priests in the order of Melchizedek. Verse 12 of Numbers chapter 19 says, "He shall purify himself with the WATER for impurity made with the ashes of the burned heifer on the THIRD DAY, and on the SEVENTH DAY he shall be clean...". This water points us to Eph.5:26, "...that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word...". Are we starting to get a picture of who this red heifer is symbolic of?