Reflections on Tisha B’Av

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Sundown on August 10 marked the beginning of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in Israel’s history. Imagine all these things happening on the same Jewish calendar day (ninth of the month of Av):

  • The decree that Israelites would wander in the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt, until a new generation would enter the Promised Land.
  • The first Temple (built by Solomon) was totally destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC.
  • The second Temple (re-built by Herod) was totally destroyed by a Roman legion led by Hadrian in 70 AD, which led to the dispersal of Jews.
  • The Romans crushed the final Jewish revolt in 136 AD.
  • King Edward I issued the Edict of Expulsion, driving Jews from England in 1290 AD.
  • The Spanish Inquisition, mandated by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in 1492, forced Jews to either convert or face death. At least 300,000 Jews fled.

Much of the above was done in the name of Christianity. Is it any wonder that, until recent history, Jews have harbored great distrust (and often dislike) of Christians.

Now, imagine a different scenario as Jews and Christians join together in observance of Tisha B’Av…

Jews and Christians stand together in prayer and fasting over Jerusalem. Christians are found prostrate on the Southern Steps of Temple Mount praying and mourning over the sins of our fathers, and seeking favor and mercy for the atrocious acts of hatred committed throughout history in the name of Christianity.

Suddenly, chaos erupts on Temple Mount as Muslims begin rioting. Over 10,000 had gathered to prevent Jewish people from ascending and praying on Temple Mount.

As Israeli police (in charge of keeping peace on Temple Mount) deploy tear gas and stun grenades, suddenly, from across the Kidron Valley, comes a calming effect. From the Mount of Olives, near the Garden of Gethsemane, as though the Lord Jesus was speaking forth peace, church bells rang out.

Jews didn’t go to Temple Mount that day, but Jews and Christians stood together is love and solidarity, praying and fasting before the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! God heard the wailing and pleading of His chosen people, and the repentant hearts of Christians, who then took their place beside Jewish people in commemoration of the day of destruction.

Zechariah 8:20-23 was lived out on that day…Tisha B’Av, 2019. (Just days ago.)

Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”

~Zechariah 8:20-23

Amen!

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