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Bernard Gui

The Red Heifer?

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OK, I admit I have never considered the red heifer.

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HaShem spoke to Moshe and Aharon, saying: This is the statute of the Torah which HaShem commanded, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and have them take for you a perfectly red unblemished cow, upon which no yoke was laid." (Numbers 19:1-2)

The statute of the red heifer possesses such spiritual consequence for the nation of Israel that it is literally mind-boggling. The centrality of this commandment to Israel's relationship with G-d is so significant that it has taken on almost mythical proportions over the generations. It is universally understood to be the most intellectually un-graspable commandment contained within the body of Torah. What is it all about?....

What could be more humbling, more mortifying, more grounding, than the knowledge that the ashes of a dumb beast, much lower in the order of creation than man, (who is the crown and jewel of creation), are the gateway through which we all must pass before we can ascend and enter into the House of G-d - the Holy Temple - where we encounter G-d's presence in the most immediate, direct and intimate way possible? Indeed, the entire service of the Holy Temple, the daily offerings on the altar, the incense, the kindling of the menorah, the twelve showbread loaves placed upon the showbread table, the song of the Levites, are all dependent on the ashes of the red heifer. G-d's message seems to be clear: Lose any sense of superiority or self importance before you think of drawing near to Me. The Holy Temple is a place of light and life, and humility is the key to perceiving the pure life force and the Creator who fills his creation with life, morning and night, day after day. Park your ego down below for it is a stumbling block and a snare that will keep you from drawing near to G-d.

What do we Mormons think of this? I don't remember hearing it discussed.

Fos a more thorough discussion, see this if it interests you.

https://www.templeinstitute.org/red_heifer/red_heifer_contents.htm

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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I thought that according to the LDS brethren, the Mormon church became Israel, (called replacement theology). Many Christian churches teach that somehow the Christian church has replaced Israel as well. I've followed the temple institute in Jerusalem's website for years and absolutely love studying the Jewish take on the OT, end times, red heffer, urum and thummim, priestly garments, temple traditions etc!

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1 hour ago, snowflake said:

I thought that according to the LDS brethren, the Mormon church became Israel, (called replacement theology). Many Christian churches teach that somehow the Christian church has replaced Israel as well. I've followed the temple institute in Jerusalem's website for years and absolutely love studying the Jewish take on the OT, end times, red heffer, urum and thummim, priestly garments, temple traditions etc!

It's a pretty strong tradition that the Jews themselves will have to restore temple work ala the Law of Moses. i.e. D&C 13:184:26-27; Oct 5, 1840 Sermon; March 21, 1841 Sermon. The only debate is whether it's done independent of the Church or not. There's not consensus on that point. I tend to favor the independent view.

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19 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It's a pretty strong tradition that the Jews themselves will have to restore temple work ala the Law of Moses. i.e. D&C 13:184:26-27; Oct 5, 1840 Sermon; March 21, 1841 Sermon. The only debate is whether it's done independent of the Church or not. There's not consensus on that point. I tend to favor the independent view.

The Mormon take is that this will happen in Jackson county Missouri correct? Not sure if the Temple Institute in Jerusalem got the memo on that specific point. ;)

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10 minutes ago, snowflake said:

The Mormon take is that this will happen in Jackson county Missouri correct? Not sure if the Temple Institute in Jerusalem got the memo on that specific point. ;)

There's a tradition for Missouri but I think the assumption is it'll happen in Jerusalem first and the one in Missouri is after or just before Christ comes. There's nothing clear on this. Some people have argued that Jesus comes first to Missouri, purifies the Levites, they offer sacrifice in the temple complexes there, and this all happens before the second coming. I'm pretty dubious about that though. There's no real clear evidence for it although you can find GAs saying that. They appear to just be giving their opinion though.

Edited by clarkgoble

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50 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It's a pretty strong tradition that the Jews themselves will have to restore temple work ala the Law of Moses. i.e. D&C 13:184:26-27; Oct 5, 1840 Sermon; March 21, 1841 Sermon. The only debate is whether it's done independent of the Church or not. There's not consensus on that point. I tend to favor the independent view.

I'm not sure that the Jews themselves would have "proper priesthood authority" to restore temple work. Also, I've often wondered how they will be able to tell who is from the line Levi to be able to do the temple work itself, also the OT is very specific and very strict about age requirements (Numbers 4:3), and no physical defects (Leviticus 21). Do you think the Jews will re-instate the traditional temple rituals described in the Torah and specifically documented and described the by the Temple institute, or go with the LDS "restored" temple set up used in LDS temples today? 

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7 minutes ago, snowflake said:

I'm not sure that the Jews themselves would have "proper priesthood authority" to restore temple work.

It's a lineage based priesthood. Why wouldn't they have authority? But that was the argument of the BRM/JFS line of reasoning - that they had to do it under the direction of the Apostles. I'm really skeptical on that. I think it's the return to doing the commanded offerings that is what purifies the Jews.

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Do you think the Jews will re-instate the traditional temple rituals described in the Torah and specifically documented and described the by the Temple institute, or go with the LDS "restored" temple set up used in LDS temples today? 

It's important to realize that the groups wanting to restore temple sacrifice in Israel are a minority. Most orthodox Jews think it will only be restored by the coming of the Messiah.

But from my perspective I think they'll restore the temple as done in the 1st century. I think things would still be missing from an LDS perspective. Who knows though. Maybe some major archaeological discovery shakes everything up giving a better understanding of pre-Hezekiah temple worship.

Edited by clarkgoble

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I know that occasionally you'll hear from End Times preachers about a supposed animal being bred that fits this criteria but other than that I think it's not very high on people's concerns regarding their spiritual life.

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Just to make sure I got this straight, golden calf = bad, and red heifer = good?

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4 hours ago, snowflake said:

I thought that according to the LDS brethren, the Mormon church became Israel, (called replacement theology). Many Christian churches teach that somehow the Christian church has replaced Israel as well. I've followed the temple institute in Jerusalem's website for years and absolutely love studying the Jewish take on the OT, end times, red heffer, urum and thummim, priestly garments, temple traditions etc!

My understanding is that the modern Church does not replace Israel, but rather is the first phase part of the gathering of scattered Israel that must take place before Messiah comes again. Of course, for the Jews that would be simply when Messiah comes. Many things are to happen as the Saints and the Jews prepare for that event. The allegory of the olive tree deals with this as does Orson Hyde's prophetic dedication of the land for their return. Politically, IMO a miracle must happen before the temple in Jerusalem can be built. I've always thought it odd that the current situation in Jerusalem regarding the temple has not been a matter of prophecy, or maybe it has?

I have not read any LDS material on the red heifer which also surprises me given the importance this article appears to gives it.

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10 hours ago, pogi said:

Just to make sure I got this straight, golden calf = bad, and red heifer = good?

Yes. One is a commandment and the other is a mortal sin.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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1 hour ago, boblloyd91 said:

I know that occasionally you'll hear from End Times preachers about a supposed animal being bred that fits this criteria but other than that I think it's not very high on people's concerns regarding their spiritual life.

The article, of course, comes from a Jewish, not Christian, source. For them it is not a supposed animal, but one they are actually breeding.

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There was a big fuss about the cow in the lead up to Y2K worries. There were claims of finding the proper calf at the time but as the calf aged there appeared a few white hairs, or some such defect.

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8 hours ago, snowflake said:

The Mormon take is that this will happen in Jackson county Missouri correct? Not sure if the Temple Institute in Jerusalem got the memo on that specific point. ;)

In 1841, when Apostle Orson Hyde knelt on the Mt of Olives and formally dedicated the Holy Land to the final gathering of the Jews, and the rebuilding of their temple, he wasn't speaking about Jackson County, Missouri, where (in Independence) the Great Temple will be built -- at the Temple Lot, which already exists.  You are conflating two separate locations, and two very separate temples.

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10 hours ago, snowflake said:

I thought that according to the LDS brethren, the Mormon church became Israel, (called replacement theology).

I don't think "Replacement Theology,"  also called "Supersessionism" or "Fulfillment Theology," fits within the LDS paradigm.  I have explained my thoughts on this previously here.

10 hours ago, snowflake said:

Many Christian churches teach that somehow the Christian church has replaced Israel as well.

But I don't think we do.  Consider 3 Nephi 29 (emphases added):

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1 And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.

2 And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.

3 And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel.

...

8 Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn.

If the Lord is to remember His covenant with Israel, then that covenant does not seem to have been "replaced" or "superseded" by the Lord's dealings with His Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

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10 hours ago, snowflake said:

I thought that according to the LDS brethren, the Mormon church became Israel, (called replacement theology). Many Christian churches teach that somehow the Christian church has replaced Israel as well. I've followed the temple institute in Jerusalem's website for years and absolutely love studying the Jewish take on the OT, end times, red heffer, urum and thummim, priestly garments, temple traditions etc!

Replacement theology (supersessionism) is a heresy touted by mainstream "Christianity," and is not part of LDS theology.

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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't think "Replacement Theology,"  also called "Supersessionism" or "Fulfillment Theology," fits within the LDS paradigm.  I have explained my thoughts on this previously here.

But I don't think we do.  Consider 3 Nephi 29 (emphases added):

If the Lord is to remember His covenant with Israel, then that covenant does not seem to have been "replaced" or "superseded" by the Lord's dealings with His Church.

Thanks,

-Smac

St Paul makes the same point in Romans 11.

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9 hours ago, pogi said:

Just to make sure I got this straight, golden calf = bad, and red heifer = good?

Yes one is a cash cow and the other red meat nom nom nom

 

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12 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

It's a pretty strong tradition that the Jews themselves will have to restore temple work ala the Law of Moses. i.e. D&C 13:184:26-27; Oct 5, 1840 Sermon; March 21, 1841 Sermon. The only debate is whether it's done independent of the Church or not. There's not consensus on that point. I tend to favor the independent view.

They are the temple. 

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56 minutes ago, Anijen said:

Yes one is a cash cow and the other red meat nom nom nom

 

Thank you in advance for not derailing the discussion.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

In 1841, when Apostle Orson Hyde knelt on the Mt of Olives and formally dedicated the Holy Land to the final gathering of the Jews, and the rebuilding of their temple, he wasn't speaking about Jackson County, Missouri, where (in Independence) the Great Temple will be built -- at the Temple Lot, which already exists.  You are conflating two separate locations, and two very separate temples.

What is your understanding of the red heifer and to your knowledge has it been discussed  by LDS prophets or scholars?

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You might want to do a search on the Journal of Discourses for "red heifer".  Unfortunately my IPad couldn't handle it.

lds.org talks about it in some info about past sacrifices a few times, but nothing in regards to the future.

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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

You might want to do a search on the Journal of Discourses for "red heifer".  Unfortunately my IPad couldn't handle it.

lds.org talks about it in some info about past sacrifices a few times, but nothing in regards to the future.

Thanks. It seems to be quite important at least to this group of observant Jews.

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This...seems to be related to the OP notion of cleansing and the temple....

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Hebrews 9  11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And this.....

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Then came the time when Jesus appeared on the earth. He was "a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world," and he came to accomplish things which had been planned by the Almighty before the world was. He was the Being to whom the antediluvians, and Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and the Prophets, Patriarchs and those who were filled with the Spirit of God and the light of revelation referred to, and to whom the looked; to him pointed all their sacrifices and the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats, heifers, lambs, &c. Jesus introduced the Gospel, and if the people would have received and obeyed the principles which he taught, the kingdom of God would have been established, the dispensation of the fullness of times brought in, and in the Temple at Jerusalem the baptisms for the dead would have gone on, and the redemption of the living and the dead would have proceeded. But the people could not receive the teaching of Jesus. Here was a dispensation different from any of the others.

JD 17:209, John Taylor, October 7, 1874

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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14 hours ago, snowflake said:

I'm not sure that the Jews themselves would have "proper priesthood authority" to restore temple work. Also, I've often wondered how they will be able to tell who is from the line Levi to be able to do the temple work itself, also the OT is very specific and very strict about age requirements (Numbers 4:3), and no physical defects (Leviticus 21). Do you think the Jews will re-instate the traditional temple rituals described in the Torah and specifically documented and described the by the Temple institute, or go with the LDS "restored" temple set up used in LDS temples today? 

Levites and those among them who are literal descendants of Aaron (and of priestly authority) are still found among the Jews.  And this is recognized in latter-day scripture as still having authority.

DC 68:14-21 specifies that a man who is a literal descendant of Aaron (a cohen) has a legal right to the presidency of the Aaronic priesthood (i.e. the Presiding Bishop) of the Church.  Although even in the case where there is such a man, he still must be called by the First Presidency.

DC 13, which contains words which John the Baptist spoke to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as he conferred the Aaronic priesthood upon them, speaks of a time when the Sons of Levi will offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

What is clear from this is that non-Levites will continue to exercise the Aaronic priesthood until the Sons of Aaron are again available to do so in righteousness.  

 

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