Is the red heifer’s ashes required to also cleanse the workers who will build the Temple? Meaning, will we have to wait the 2 1/2 years for not only worship services to begin but the actual construction of the Temple to begin as well? If so, that means we must wait another 2 1/2 years for the heifer to reach adulthood, plus the time it will take to build the Temple (appx 1 year?), plus another 3 1/2 years for the anti Christ to defile it, plus another 3 1/2 years for the Lord’s return. That means if this is indeed the pure red heifer that will be used, and if the construction workers must wait 2 1/2 years to be purified by it before beginning construction, that puts the Lord’s second coming at least 10 1/2 years away. Correct?
In Biblical times people who were unclean could not participate in communal activities, of which visiting the Temple was one. Also, some Jews will not go on the Temple mount today for fear of accidentally defiling the Holy Place. Therefore I believe the workers on the new Temple will need to be ceremonially clean.
Finding the ashes of previous red heifers would certainly shorten the timeline you’ve estimated. As I understand things, they will need to be found to purify the people involved in preparing the current sacrifice. There are three possibilities that Temple Institute officials have suggested. They could be found as the result of a more intensified search. Or the location could be revealed to someone supernaturally. Or the Messiah could identify the location when He arrives.
It has occurred to me that one of the ways the anti-Christ could win over the Jewish officials is to reveal the location of the ashes himself. He is the one who will make the Temple possible and he will also appear to perform miracles. Certainly Satan knows where the ashes are and could tell him. Also, the temple construction period could overlap with the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. Therefore it may not take as much time as we think.
But none of this will influence the timing of the rapture, which could literally happen any day now.