By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
The 9th of Av is a very solemn day for the Jewish people. They read the Book of Lamentations and sit on the ground.
On the 9th of Av throughout history, the following catastrophes befell the Jewish people:
According to the sages, during the time of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites accepted the slanderous report of the Ten Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding that generation from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)
In 586 B.C. the Babylonian army destroyed Solomon’s Temple.
In 70 A.D. Titus and the Roman army destroyed the Second Temple.
In 135, Bar Kochba’s stronghold fell, ending Jewish independence.
In 1096, beginning of the Crusades.
In 1290, England expelled its Jews. (Our Exploits Ministry held a Prophetic Summons in Hereford, England, to repent of that action.)
In 1306 France expelled its Jews.
In 1492, all Jews forced to vacate Spain under an expulsion order signed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. (We helped the International Christian Embassy stage a public repentance service 500 years later in 1992 in a public square in Toledo, Spain.)
In 1942, plans for the Jews’ annihilation by Hitler and the list has continued but God also promised a reversal of this pattern in Zechariah 8: 19!
According to the website Hebrew for Christians, The Book of Lamentations (מגילה איכה) is traditionally recited during Tishah B’Av to remember the destruction of the Holy Temple and other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. Lamentations is an acrostic poem that begins with the Hebrew letter Aleph in the word “eichah” (אֵיכָה): “How (eichah) lonely sits the city that once was full of people!” (Lam. 1:1). The sages note that this word “how (eichah)” could also be read as “where are you?” (אַיֶּכָּה, ayekah), God’s first question to Adam after he broke covenant in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:9). The midrash draws a connection between the lamentation of the LORD over Adam’s banishment from Eden and Israel’s banishment from Zion (Hos. 6:7). In both cases the problem centers on the failure to ask where God is.
We should take the call to this fast day seriously because:
–of the current critical situation in the Land of Israel
–many leaders in Israel plead for heightened prayer and fasting during this period
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that you initiate every true prayer and fast; we acknowledge how critical is the situation in your Beloved Land for both the Jewish and the Arab peoples. We who have been grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel desire to uphold your eternal purposes in a holy convocation worldwide. Grant unto those who are called to this fast a spirit of humility and love, a willing spirit and stamina to watch, fast and pray. For the Lord’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, Amen!
Despite the horrendous history and catalogue of atrocities, God has promised to restore the fortunes of the Jewish people when they resettle in their own land. We thank you, Lord, that the Fast of the 9th of Av will become a feast day of rejoicing for what You will do for your people in the future when truly their fortunes are completely reversed and restored, according to the prophecy of Zechariah 8:19. This is the prophecy of the big reversal! Amen and Amen!
And the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me, saying: ‘Thus says the Lord of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth [9th of Av], and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the House of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons; therefore love you truth and peace.’ (Zechariah 8:19)
The verse above mentions four fasts. The fast of the 4th month mentioned in Zechariah 8:19 is the fast of the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. In Jewish tradition Moses smashed the tablets on the 17th of Tammuz when he came down from Sinai and discovered the people worshiping a golden calf. This tragedy was deemed to be prophetic since it was on this date that the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezar’s invading armies, leading to the destruction of the Temple three weeks later on the 9th of Av.
The fast of the fifth month, the 9th of Av, remembers all the tragedies of the Jewish people; this is the second most important fast among the Jews (only Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is more sober). On the eve of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) it is customary to eat a boiled egg sprinkled with ashes.
The fast of the 7th month is Tzom Gedaliah, remembering the murder of the Judean governor Gedaliah.
The fast of the 10th month is 10 Tevet and remembers the fall of Jerusalem.
Besides Yom Kippur, there are also other fasts including the Fast of Esther as well as Ta’anit Tzaddikim, fast of the righteous ones in memory of outstanding persons such as Moses, Miriam, Aaron, Josuha and Samuel.
A Ta’anit yachid is a personal or unique fast performed in private for personal needs.
We are living in momentous days when Israel’s fortunes are being reversed. Israel’s rebirth in 1948, her capture of Jerusalem in 1967, and her very existence are miraculous and prophetic. Both 1948 and 1967, no doubt triggered countdowns.
The angel Gabriel’s word to Daniel (12:4) about the time of the end: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” For the first time in human history in the last half of the 20th century to now, there has been a transportation and knowledge explosion.
The understanding of early century Christian leaders and Jewish teachers was that Messiah would return after 6,000 years of history. These included Barnabas (c. A.D. 100), Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (c. A.D. 150), Lactantius (c. A.D. 325), and Methodius, Bishop of Tyre (c. A.D. 300).
My prayer for Israel, for the Church worldwide, for Israel’s enemies, and for anybody reading this who is struggling in life, is a joyous promise from the Book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3: 22-23)