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Portent of End-Times in a Red Heifer?
Mid-East Dispatch of March 16,1997 reported a red heifer had been born in Israel, the first in about 2000 years. It was born about 6 months ago of a black and white mother and a dun colored bull. Numbers 19,5-13 ordered that a red heifer be sacrificed outside of the camp, and its ashes to be made into a liquid paste for the rite of purification, without which no Jew could enter the temple. It was to be sacrificed when three years old. The heifer must never have had a yoke.
Very oddly, it is to be sacrificed not in the temple but outside the city--like Jesus. And it is the only sacrifice to use a female, not a male animal.
The significance is this: now the orthodox Jews think they can begin to rebuild their temple--but it seems the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim holy place is on that spot. There is a possibility for a fierce war. Muslims of course are excited.
Still furthermore, St. Paul in 2 Thes 2.4 says that the Antichrist will sit in the holy place, declaring himself to be God. Also, in Matthew 24.15 Jesus said that when you see the abomination of desolation, foretold by Daniel, standing in the holy place, Christians must flee. Such an abomination, an idol, did appear in the temple in the persecution of Antiochus IV of Syria. But there is to be as it were a second fulfillment of this prophecy.
The timing is remarkable:
a)In Daniel 12 he asks the angel how long until these things would be fulfilled. The angel tells him: a time and times and half a time--that is 3 1/2 years. The angels adds in v.7: "When the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, then all these things will happen." (Here NAB is far off, but RSV is good).. Now the end of the dispersion of the power of the holy people has come in 1948, when the reestablishment of Israel, completed in 1967.
b)In 2 Mc 2.4-8 We read that at the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah hid the ark of the covenant. His followers later tried to find it, but he told them it must remain hidden until "God gathers his people together again." 2.2 merely says that we will find these things in the secular records. So inspiration does not guarantee them, but they may well be true.
c)Luke21.24 says Jerusalem will be trodden by the gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled. Jerusalem was no longer a Jewish city after the defeat of the second revolt in 135 . In Romans 11-24-25 St. Paul foretells: A blindness in part has come upon Israel until the fullness of the gentiles enter. Then all Israel will be saved. (This cannot mean all Israel will go to heaven. It means will be saved in the sense of entering the church--the meaning appearing also in Romans 10.9-13:: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.. For with the heart there is faith leading to justification, and with the mouth there is profession leading to salvation.... For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." The whole context--chapters 8,9,10,11--shows this refers to entering the church, not to infallible salvation by one act--then St. Paul would have been infallibly saved, and would not have said in 1 Cor 9.27 that he has to beat his body to tame it -- and lead it around like a slave so that after preaching to others he may not be rejected at the judgment.) In brief, Jerusalem was to be no longer a Jewish city until the full number of the gentiles had entered the Church -- we note the two emphasized clauses have the same sense.
We seem to gather from these texts that we are at a major turning point. Gentiles can still enter the Church, but the providential period set for that is about over, and the time for the conversion of the Jews is at hand. Since with God a thousand years are like one day, and one day like a thousand years, we do not know how soon this may come.
Nor do we know how soon after all that the Antichrist will sit in the restored temple. For Ezekiel 40-48 refers partly to this material restoration, partly to spiritual things, i.e., the sitting of the Antichrist.
If we believe the Fatima prophecy that Russia will be converted and a certain period of peace will come--then since for certain we do not have the period of peace, the final end cannot be extremely close. Since those things have not yet gone through. And even those who think we have at least a beginning of the conversion of Russia now must admit that the Duma in Russia recently passed a law severely limiting the Catholic Church.--Yeltsin, seemingly only under US financial pressure, did not sign it.