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The English word heifer originated from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for a young cow or a female calf. Heifer is used to translate two Hebrew words, pronounced eg-law and paw-raw, both of which mean the same as the English word. The King James Version also sometimes uses kine, which means cattle in general, to translate the same two Hebrew words when the context, while including heifers, does not speak exclusively of heifers.

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood"

Red Heifer Heifers were among the animals specified for sacrifices from early times, such as this example that The Lord instructed Abraham (see also Abraham And The "Tradition Trap") to make at the time that He declared that Abraham's descendants would inherit the land of Israel before Abraham's grandson Israel, Jacob, was even born. Note also that The Lord spoke to Abraham of the future Exodus of Abraham's descendants before Abraham had any children:

"And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of The Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir."

And He said unto him, I am The Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not."

"And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance" (Genesis 15:2-4,7-10,13-14 KJV)

After the Exodus, red heifers were part of the sacrifices given unto the Levites to perform:

"And The Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which The Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke" (Numbers 19:1-2 KJV)

By the time of the New Testament, after the Sacrifice of the Messiah, the symbolic purpose of the animal sacrifices was revealed:

"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

"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; 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. 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: 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?" (Hebrews 9:6-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: The verses above plainly explain that the "dead works of the law" that were made obsolete by the Sacrifice of the Christ were the animal sacrifices that merely symbolized the coming Lamb of God. What does the Word of God have to say to those who claim that observing the Ten Commandments are also "dead works" that were likewise made obsolete by Christ's sacrifice?
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