The Study of Tish B' Av
The Bible is line upon line and precept upon precept all painting this beautiful picture of the greatest love story ever told. Any student of the Bible becomes aware that the story that is pictured from Genesis to Revelation is about Yeshua and His Bride. Tisha B’ Av is also a picture. It is a picture of what happens when the “love story” gets perverted.
Interesting enough the meaning of the month of Av is “Father.” Tisha B’ Av is the 9th day of Av on the Jewish calendar. Father longs for His people to be protected by His hand. However the month of Av is historical for disasters befalling the Jewish people. Those that walk in disobedience to the Father remove themselves from His protection and must pay for the consequences of their sin. It is my suggestion that disasters do not necessarily come from God, although some may. I believe because the people of God choose to walk in their own ways, ignoring the ways of the Lord, that the protective hand of God promised to us if we walk in obedience is removed. This is an open door to the adversary who comes to destroy.
This day, the 9th of Av, is considered to be the sadist day in Jewish History. Depending upon which Jewish calendar is in use, the month of Av is the fifth month on the Sacred calendar and the eleventh month on the Civil calendar. This can become very confusing. For our purposes we use the Sacred calendar in order to adhere to the command of the Lord to keep and honor His feast days. The date corresponds on our Gregorian calendar this year (2013) as the 16th of July. The corresponding date on our modern day calendar changes from year to year due to the differences between the solar and lunar calendars.
The 9th of Av is a dark day in the history of the Jewish people. Therefore they have set the day aside as a day of remembrance and as a day of fasting. Because of the history of this day, it has become a day of mourning and a day of self sacrifice and repentance.
However preparation for this solemn fast actually begins three weeks prior to the 9th of Av. On the seventeenth day of Tammuz, which is the end of June on our calendar, begins a time that is called Bein ha-Metzarim, and means between the straits or “dire straits”. One of the dictionary’s definitions for “dire straits” is a disastrous predicament. This three week period of time the Jewish people have had tragedy upon tragedy take place; one disastrous predicament after another that has led up to the most disastrous date of all the 9th of Av. These disasters as I said earlier are the consequences of sin, and the removal of the Lord’s hand of protection. From the beginning, the Lord told the Israelites that blessings would follow obedience, and curses would follow disobedience. Let’s take a look now at the history of the 9th of Av.
History of Tisha B’ Av
1. This date in history commemorates the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem. The first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC on the 9th of Av. Over 100.000 people were slaughtered and millions exiled. The first break in the wall of the city happened during the period called the “dire straits”, as explained above.
2. The destruction of the second temple by the Romans occurred on the exact same day some 600 years later in 70 AD. Over 200,000 Jews were slaughtered and a million were exiled. This fulfilled Yeshua’s pronounced judgment against the temple of His day.
3. It is said that it was during this three week period of time while Moses was on Mt. Sinai with God that the Hebrews under Aarons leadership fashioned the golden calf to worship. The Rabbi’s say that it was on the 9th of Av that Moses came down from the mountain and broke the stone tables in his anger over what the people had done.
4. It is also traditionally said that during this three week period the Hebrew spies of the wilderness wandering came back from Canaan with a bad report which was contrary to what the Lord had spoken. Therefore, on the 9th of Av the Lord make a decree against the unbelieving Hebrews that they would not enter the Land of Milk and Honey in their life time.
The people upon hearing the decree cried all night. It is said that because they cried about nothing, the Lord said to them, “Because you cry about nothing…from now on I’ll give you something to cry about,”
Had their tears been about their repentant hearts, the outcome would have been much different. They cried tears of remorse and regret, but not tears of repentance, therefore, they cried about nothing.
5. In 135 AD was the Bar Kochba revolt. The Jews following a false Messiah were massacred and Jerusalem captured on the 9th of Av. One year later the Temple mount and the city of Jerusalem was then plowed under by the Romans.
6. On the 9th of Av in the year 1096 the First Crusade began; killing 10,000 Jews in the first month alone. The crusaders destroyed Jewish communities in France and Germany killing a total of 1.2 million Jews.
Moving forward it was on the 9th of Av that the persecution of the Jews by the Christian Monarchies of England France and Spain reached its climax by the expelling of the Jews from each nation.
7. On the 9th of Av in 1290 the Jews were expelled from England
8. Then in 1306 the Jews were expelled from France on the 9th of Av.
9. Likewise less than 200 years later on the 9th of Av in 1492 on this same said date the Jews were expelled from Spain.
Keeping in mind the mercy triumphs over judgment, it was this same year that Columbus a Jew, sailed from Spain, discovering America. America soon became a place of refuge for the Jew.
10. Historians concluded that World War II and the Holocaust, was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914. Amazingly enough, Germany declared war on Russia, which initiated the First World War and of course it was on the 9th of Av, Tisha B'Av.
11. Fast forward now from 1914 to 1941 it was on the 9th of Av when the Nazi Party approved what was called, “The Final Solution” which resulted in the capture and killing of almost 50% of the known Jews on the face of the earth at that time.
12. One year later on the 9th of Av began the mass deportation of the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto en route to Treblinka.
13. In 1990 Tisha B’ Av was on July 31st. Just two days later the Gulf War began.
14. On July 17th 1994 “The only observed collision between a planet and another solar body began on Tisha B’Av, a Sabbath. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 began slamming into the surface of the planet Jupiter, known in Hebrew as Zedek, the righteous one. This event may have connections to the other Tisha B’Av events. On July 17 (Tisha B’Av) 1994, the planet Jupiter was struck by 21 fragments of a comet.
The comet (Shoemaker-Levy 9) collided with this planet… likely fulfilling Luke 21: 26, where Yeshua says that, before his return the ‘heavenly bodies would be shaken.’ Is all this coincidence? I don’t think so. Jupiter was the high-god of Rome, it was the one whose temple replaced HaShem’s house in Jerusalem and whose name (Capitolina) adorned the city for centuries. Jupiter (also known as Marduk to Babylonians) was the high god of Zoroastrianism, the religion of Nebuchadnezzar (who had the first Temple burned in 586b c). See the connection? HaShem had symbolic revenge on Rome-and-Babylon through Jupiter (high god of both empires), when the planet was pummeled on this fitting anniversary in 1994
15. The 9th of Av was on the 14th of August in the year 2005. Just three days later, on August 17th, 2005 the Jews were forcibly removed from their homes in Gaza.
What then does this historical data teach us? It teaches us that the God of creation will honor His word. He warned the Hebrews that if they obeyed His law and instructions they would be blessed, however if they did not, they would be cursed. It should teach us likewise. I cannot help but to compare the state of these United States with the state of Israel as she withdrew from the laws of God.
It also teaches us that history does not happen hap hazardly. It is after all His Story and even when we do not understand His reasons or His purposes completely we never-the-less are able to see His prophetic signature upon the events of history.
The Rabbi’s teach that these disastrous tragedies are the consequence of Israel’s sin against Elohim. Speaking for the Lord Jeremiah says: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. Then he goes on and sums it up in the last verse of chapter 9….all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Time and time again the Lord sent prophets to warn Israel of the impending judgment. Previous to Jeremiahs warnings, which are found in the book of Lamentations, the prophet Zechariah chastised the nation for their sins in some 75 years before its destruction. He warned them of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. Rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. Unbelievable as it was, this occurred on Yom Kippur.
It is said, rather than allowing Zechariah's blood to settle into the earth, God caused it to bubble up. The people tried to cover it with earth, but it continued to seethe for the next 252 years, until the Destruction of the Temple.
Let’s read the following from Chabad website the following from the Talmud.
“The Sages say that when Nebuzaradan entered the Temple he found the blood of Zechariah seething. He asked the Jews what this phenomenon meant, and they attempted to conceal the scandal, but he threatened to comb their flesh with iron combs. So they told him the truth: "There was a prophet among us who chastised us, and we killed him. For many years now his blood has not rested."
Nebuzaradan said, "I will appease him." He then killed the members of the Great and Small Sanhedrins, then he killed youths and maidens, and then school-children. Altogether, he killed 940,000 people. Still the blood continued to boil, whereupon Nebuzaradan cried: "Zechariah, Zechariah! I have slain the best of them; do you want all of them destroyed?" At last the blood sank into the ground (Talmud, Gittin 57b).1
The Rabbi’s give us reasons of Spiritual adultery, Idolatry, immorality and the like for the destruction of the first temple. And they believe the second temple was destroyed because of “hatred without cause”. All of these reasons have merit. I believe however that the greatest grievance causing the Lord to allow both temples to be destroyed is because the picture that the Lord had painted in the construction of the temple had been perverted. Sandy Bruce teaches that the temple is a picture of the human body and that the Holy of Holies represents the heart of man. It is the heart of man where the Lord wants to dwell. The temple was to be a picture of the future when the Bridegroom would come to live in the heart of man.
The priests of Lord in the temple and their ministry to the Lord, was to represent the Bride of the Messiah. Their evil behavior however more closely resembled the picture of the bride of satan.
Yeshua pronounced judgment upon the second temple Himself. They did not recognize the day of “their visitation.” He was the victim of their “hatred without cause.” Yeshua referred to Himself as the Temple, when He said, “if you destroy this temple, I will raise it up in three days.” In both cases the temple had become as an Idol before the Lord, and therefore was destroyed. The temple in Jerusalem had become the identity of Jewish people, when our identity is to be found in God the Father.
Because of all the disastrous events that have occurred on the 9th of Av, fasting, mourning and regret is an integral feature of Tisha B’Av. During this solemn time Jeremiah is read in the synagogues from chapter 8:13 to 9:24 along with Lamentations. These scriptures are where Jeremiah laments over the sin of Israel and weeps over the coming destruction which is the consequence of Israel’s sin. Likewise, sobs and wails are heard from the congregation at this time. The Torah is not read during this time because Torah is thought to bring joy.
Tisha B’Av is a full fast day, meaning that no food or drink can be consumed from one evening to the next. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who are severely ill are not allowed to participate in the fast because doing so could endanger their health. Observant Jews will also refrain from bathing, wearing make-up or leather shoes because these are symbols of luxury. And couples refrain from having sexual relations. Work however is permitted on Tisha B’Av.
The problem with Israel, the Rabbi’s say, was that they frequently grieved over God’s judgments rather than their own actions. Whenever there is true repentance, God has intervened. Judgment was and always will be an act of love intended to turn the people of God back to Him.
A day is coming when Israel’s mourning will be turned into dancing, because they will look upon the One that was pierced and recognize Him as the Messiah of Israel. When that day arrives the entire Nation will be saved as promised.
Therefore, we look forward to the fulfillment of the Fall Feast days that paint a picture of all of the Nation of Israel being saved in a day. That day I believe to be Yom Kippur. Even though Tish B’ Av is known as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, a day is coming when all of Israel’s sadness will be wiped away by Joy unspeakable. That day will come when Israel recognizes Yeshua as their Messiah.
Tisha B’Av reminds us of the stark consequences of spiritual rebellion against God. Those who choose this path will remove themselves from His covering, and expose themselves to the consequences and destructiveness of sin. If Israel did not escape, neither will any other nation that divorces itself from Elohim.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem which can only come through the Prince of Peace, Yeshua the Messiah.
Pray for every Jew worldwide, to find His Jewish Messiah and to be found by Him.
Pray for America to recognize the judgments of God are for the purpose of returning the citizens of these United States from their sin; back again to God the Father, through his Son Yeshua.
Let each of us examine our own hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that would separate us from a Holy God.
1 There is a discrepancy between scholars on the date the first temple was destroyed that spans 165 years.
2 Point number 14 are quotes from Raphael Ben Levi, Romance of the Hebrew Calendar
In His Service,
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