QA: Pagan Judaism? The Red Heifer

Q: “What I have not been able to understand to this day is why the Israelites (who received the Torah directly from God) imported rites from pagan peoples like the one concerning the “Red Cow”.


The Red Heifer, even in Judaism, is regarded as a ‘mystery’. You may recently have heard that such a Red Heifer was found in Israel for the first time in 2000 years. This was regarded as a sign to some religious Jews,  that the Third Temple was to be reconstructed shortly.  Such a Red heifer will be required for the Temple System.

You must consider that ancient pagan practice was in some way related to,  or imitators of the ancient Hebraic Faith.  We have to concede that the Hebraic Faith was not always above such pagan infiltration and copying – e.g.. the golden Calf at Sinai, and the decorated trees that Jeremiah spoke of (ch. 10) and the cakes baked for Tammuz etc.  In fact, the Hebrew nation, and especially the Northern 10 tribes were severely punished for not purely abiding by God’s requirements.

Our problem today, is to find and return to the “Original Faith” which had been entrusted to Moses of Israel – and that which YHVH really expects from us. This Process is referred to in the Scriptures as “The Restoration of the broken down Tabernacle of David” – a Work which Messiah initiated through His Offering of His own human Life.

It is for us today, a Work of sifting and selecting.  Many of the ‘mysteries’ will never be perfectly cleared.  Not only were false practices brought into Judaism, but worse still, Judaism was totally replaced by pagan inspired religions, like Christianity general.  Even the Scriptures,  both Old and new Testament,  have been contorted!

Now, are we to throw all away, or do we keep sifting?  The miracle (which proves the Power of the Spirit of God), is that He can lead us through this mountain of debris, to find the Jewels of Truth!

In our search, we have to be careful in our judgment, that we do not “throw the baby out with the bath water”.  Exactly this result is unwittingly achieved by the Original Faith Restoration Movement (and I use a broad term here, referring to the Sacred Name Movement, the Law Restoration, the Hebrew Roots Movement, etc.), when they become extremistic in their zeal and make themselves guilty of:

  • turning or preaching against Judaism and “Rabbinism’;

  • restricting the use of descriptive terms like ‘God’, ‘Lord’, ‘holy’ even ‘Bible’, replacing them with words that are unknown and have no meaning to the world out there, which should be converted to God, rather than being discriminated against.  The ultimate end is so restrictive that one is left without words to proclaim the Message of Reconciliation and Restoration.  Refer to 2.3. GOD or ELOHIM?

  • Becoming judgmental, condemning and accrediting to ‘Lucifer’, matters which could well still be acceptable to God – as for instance, the names ‘Jehovah’ and ‘Jesus’.

In saying this,  it should not for one moment be regarded as an insinuation to  condone such matters.  A golden rule would be to be less self-conceited and less self-righteous in our condemnation of matters about which only God knows the full truth.  For our own spiritual safety, we should steer clear of whatever seems infected with untruth – but careful in our condemnation and restrictiveness.

It is true, for instance, that there were pagan idols named ‘Yahveh’ by their idol worshippers.  Do we now throw this Sacred name out also?  The question is: did God take upon Himself a pagan name, or did the pagans copy Him?  And does the fact that pagans used the Sacred Name for their idols now make the Sacred Name pagan?

The same reasoning would go for the “Red Heifer”.  One could find quotes from ‘authorities’ of all kinds – pro and con.  The danger normally,  especially when it entails Judaism or Messianic Judaism,  is that many, if not most, of such ‘authorities’ are anti-Semitic in spirit – or anti-religious – even such ‘Jewish’ authorities, believe it or not!

Hence, the great care that we should practice – never compromising though!