Groups of fundamentalist Jews from the United States and Israel have been looking for red heifers, or red cows, which they believe are needed to build the Third Temple, summoning the Jewish messiah and usher in the biblical End Times. While the heifers are mentioned in the Bible as a way to purify an existing temple, believers think they must first purify themselves before the Third can be built.

For nearly 2,000 years, no one was able to find red cows without “even two hairs of another color”—until now, when a Texan rancher purposely bred cows for this purpose and shipped them to Israel in September 2022. The cows are currently being held in a pen in the West Bank. Transported as calves, they were acquired by Boneh Israel (“Building Israel”), an organization comprised of both Jews and evangelical Christians who are “actively bringing the redemption closer.”

“Why search for a cow? These Red Heifers can bring world peace!” the organization’s website reads. “The bible teaches us, that the key for building the Third Temple (the House of Prayer for All the Nations) is purifying us with the red heifer in Jerusalem.”

The cows were welcomed not only by Boneh Israel but by messianic groups like The Temple Institute and Jerusalem & Heritage Ministry. It appears that the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute has been working with a different group of cows, which had originally been shipped in from Nebraska. As of September 2023, the Institute’s leader, American-born Orthodox rabbi Chaim Richman, said they would be examining one calf in particular as it grows to see if it sprouts any non-red hairs.

Learn the benefits of becoming a Valuetainment Member and subscribe today!

The prophecy derives from the Book of Numbers, Chapter 19, in which God says to Moses and his brother Aaron: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came a yoke.”

The heifer was to be burnt by a priest who would then gather the ashes to rub them on their garments, obtaining a permanent state of cleanliness or purity for an Israelite temple. It is believed by these groups that all modern-day Jews are impure following the destruction of the last Temple in 70 AD, and so need to undergo a process of purgation before they can rebuild the hallowed religious site. Many Jewish authorities including the Israeli rabbinate currently prohibit Jews from physically entering the Temple Mount, as they would defile the site of the Holy of Holies by their present impure state. Jewish priests, or “kohanim,” will use the ashes to purify themselves before the temple construction can begin.

The Temple Institute explains that the first red heifer was sacrificed by Moses. A second was sacrificed by the prophet Ezra for the construction of the First Temple. During the days of the Second Temple, seven more were burned. According to the famous and canonical rabbi Maimonides in his commentary on Mishna, “the tenth red heifer will be accomplished by the king, the Messiah; may he be revealed speedily, Amen, May it be G-d’s will.”

An illustration depicting the slaughter of a red heifer on the Mount of Olives (Middle East Eye)

Jews believe that Moshiach (“the anointed one”), or the Messiah, will be a Jewish leader and heir of King David who will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, also known as “the Third Temple.” Then, Jews from all over the world will return to the Promised Land of Israel. The other nations of the earth will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” and all other doctrines besides the study of the God of the Torah will be cast by the wayside. Biblical law will return to govern the world.

The main obstacle to this effort is the fact that the Temple Mount is currently occupied by The Dome of the Rock as well as the Al-Aqsa mosque, two sacred shrines to the Islamic faith.

The Dome is the oldest surviving piece of Islamic architecture, created in 692 AD by Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik, and features the earliest inscriptions of Prophet Mohammad’s proclamations on record. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, sometimes described as “the third holiest site in Islam,” is believed by a majority of Muslims to be “the farthest mosque” (al-Masjid al-Aqṣā) to which Mohammad traveled from Mecca on his holy “Night Journey” mentioned in the 17th Surah of the Quran. These buildings would have to be destroyed in order for the Third Temple to be built, which would obviously infuriate Muslims, who are already threatening retaliation against Jews on account of the red heifer sacrifice rumors.

Interestingly, the October 7th attack on Israel was codenamed “the Al-Aqsa Flood” by Hamas, as explained by Hamas senior military commander Mohammed Deif. During a televised speech 100 days after the October 7th attack, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida allegedly said that the “aggression against the feelings of an entire nation” and “our path and al-Aqsa” reached a peak with the “bringing of red cows.” An unnamed senior member of Hamas apparently told Middle East Eye last week that the militant group has been closely watching the Third Temple community’s activities.

“The only thing left is the slaughtering of the red heifers, which they imported from the US. If they did that, it’s the signal to rebuild the Third Temple,” said the source.

Hamas’ emblem even features a picture of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The leader of a Third Temple-related archeological group called Shilo claimed that Hezbollah has found out about the heifers and were discussing it on Telegram.

Currently, the Temple Mount is under the control of the Kingdom of Jordan through an organization called the Jordanian Waqf, while Israeli soldiers control the entrances and exits. But groups like The Temple Institute consider June 7th, 1967 to be the day the Jewish people reclaimed (at least partial) ownership over Jerusalem, and ended their foretold 2,000 estrangement from the holy place. June 7th was part of the Six-Day War in which Israel was besieged by a coalition of Arabic states and emerged victorious.

There is speculation that the cows will be sacrificed by the Third Community groups on the Mount of Olives, as the groups reportedly purchased a plot of land there for this express purpose. Rabbi Yitzchak Mamo, who belongs to the Third Temple group Uvne Jerusalem, has said that a sacrificial ceremony could occur during Passover (April 22nd-April 30th) this year.

News network CBS interviewed an American-born fundamentalist Jewish activist named Melissa Jane Kronfeld for a “Saturday Morning” segment on the red heifers. Kronfeld is deeply involved in the Third Temple community and has served on the boards of over 40 nonprofit organizations in pursuit of her activist goals. As CBS explains, she even leads groups of Jews each week to “defiantly pray” at the Temple Mount.

“This isn’t about the destruction of Islamic holy sites,” she told CBS. “This is about preserving this place and being guardians over the House of God for all people.”

“So you’re happy with [the Al-Aqsa Mosque] where it is?” the correspondent asked.

“No, it’s going to go 100 percent,” Kronfeld sharply replied.


Twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
                  — W.B. Yeats

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, business, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane’s work here.

Add comment