THE TIME HAS COME... God Almighty literally holds the future of the entire world in His hands. And His appointed timeline for mankind is winding down. Make no mistake, we WILL need to know Him in the coming days. In His perfect timing, each and every event on this Earth is destined to reveal His Son, Jesus the Christ, The Word Incarnate, to a dying planet.
A 3-week period of fasting, known biblically as the “fast of the 5th month” and historically as “Three Weeks of Sorrow”, began on the 17th day of God’s 4th month, July 1 on our 2018 Gregorian calendar. The fast will be completed on the 9th day of the 9th month of Av, known as Tishah B’Av, approximately July 23 on our current calendar. On the day of worship immediately preceding the 9th day of Av, this timeless scripture has been read for thousands of years: “Hear, O heavens and give ear, O earth, For the Lord has spoken; Though I brought up and raised My children, they have rebelled against me.” Isaiah 1:2.
Even to this day, Israel mourns tragedies that happened during these 3 weeks because of their national idolatry. The anniversary date of the beginning of Israel’s sorrow began around 3500 years ago on Tammuz 17 when the Ten Commandments were destroyed by Moses. Millions of Israelites had grown tired of waiting on God’s timing and took matters into their own hands. In a vain attempt to control their national destiny, they added their own Golden Calf into the worship of God Almighty. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/1759633360783512
Two years later on the 9th day of Av, twelve Israelite spies returned after 40 days of checking out the Promised Land. Most of them doubted the Lord could or would deliver what He promised. God’s response to their lack of faith was to make them wander an additional year for every day they spent doubting Him. At that time, that amounted to another 38 years wandering in the Wilderness. An entire generation would not enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 13-14, Deuteronomy 2)
The 9th day of Av also marks the Jewish anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple 2600 years ago. The great and mighty physical place of God’s presence on this earth, where He had chosen to “put His Name”, went up in smoke. More than 100,000 people were killed and millions of His chosen people were led away into Babylonian exile. (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jeremiah 52:12-13)
After the exiles were allowed to return to Jerusalem, the Temple was rebuilt. Incredibly, in 70 AD, the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem for a second time on exactly the same day as the walls of Jerusalem were originally breached 3000 years before. On the 17th day of Tammuz, the assault began and continued for 3 weeks to the 9th day of Av. Two million Jews died, and another million were exiled.
The next year on the 9th of Av anniversary, the Roman army literally plowed Jerusalem with salt to make the ground sterile and fallow, in order to eventually build a pagan Roman city. This act directly fulfilled the prophecy in Micah 3:12. “Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field; Jerusalem will become a heap of rub, and the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.”
In fact, in the centuries since the Israelite pilgrimage to the Promised Land, Israel has recorded many other national disasters on the same anniversary date, the 9th of Av. 4. On the 9th day of Av In 135 AD, over 500,000 Jews civilians were killed by the Romans in the Bar Kochba Jewish revolt. The Temple area was plowed under again and Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city, and Jews were denied entrance.
Almost a thousand years later, The First "Christian" Crusade killed 1.2 million Jews. It began on the 9th day of Av. As a result of the Crusade, King Edward I ordered that all Jews be expelled from England on July 18, 1290, the 9th day of Av. No Jewish people lived there again until 1657.
During the Spanish Inquisition, all Jews were ordered out of Spain by the end of July, 1492. July 31 of that year would have been the 9th day of Av. 800,000 Jews left. Spain’s fortunes began to decrease, even though Christopher Columbus discovered America that year. This definitely fulfills God’s statement in Genesis 12:3. “I will bless them that bless you, and curse those who curse you.”
World War I was declared on 9th day of Av, 1914, when Germany declared war on Russia. The war set the stage for the coming Holocaust of the nation of Israel and the global struggle involving all major nations in the entire world. Incredibly, Adolph Hitler’s 1938 “Final Solution” to rid the world of the Jews by gassing and burning them, was also approved on the 9th day of Av. Six million Jews were exterminated. As part of that killing, on the 10th of July 1942, the Germans began a systematic liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, deporting Jews to extermination camps at the rate of six to ten thousand per day. Deportation started on the 9th day of Av.
We have just reviewed 12 national calamities that have fallen on the nation of Israel on the 9th day of Av. Remember, there are 365 days in a year, so the chance that just a second tragedy would strike on the same anniversary day are 1 in 365. The chances for a third event would rise to 1 times 365 times 365 which is 1 in 133,225. The odds on these twelve events happening to the same people, on the same day is 1 chance in 15.318 billion times a billion times or 1 chance in 15 with 27 zeroes after it which is called an octillion, 1 in 15,318,685,820,000,000,000,000,000,000!!!!! (15 Octillion, 318 septillion, 685 sextillion, 820 quintillion)
IsraelAM, a daily email newsletter summarizing Israel News from the Hebrew and English Press, made this impassioned statement this year as the 9th day of Av approached: “The Talmud attributes the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple to baseless hatred. The political and social situation in Israel at the time of the destruction was rife was infighting and strife. Instead of focusing on fighting the Romans, the various Jewish factions fought and killed each other before finally uniting to face the Romans, when it was already much too late. Had the Jews been united, perhaps the destruction, even the war itself, could have been avoided. The destruction of the Second Temple marked the start of a close to 2,000-year period of statelessness and exile, filled with persecution and massacres, and culminating in the ultimate horror of the Holocaust. Now we have returned to our homeland, reestablished our sovereignty over it …We have a second chance to correct the mistakes we made the first time around. …This is the message, and challenge, of Tisha B’av, and why we continue to commemorate the day of our greatest defeat (what other nation commemorates defeat?).”
God continues to teach 21st century mankind through the lamentations of the nation of Israel. Israel takes this time period so seriously that, by law, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Tisha B'Av and the following day. They realize that God’s Word is “the same, yesterday, today, and forever”. At this very moment, Israeli intelligence estimates thousands of Iranian advisers and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers are based in Syria, as well as 9,000 Shiite mercenaries from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and 7,000 Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, are organizing and carrying out military strikes against Israel. In 2014, Operation Protective Edge occurred during these weeks when Israel defended itself against almost 2000 rockets launched from Gaza, capable of reaching even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. https://www.facebook.com/…/a.395485407198…/681695061910686/…
The United States has already been brought into this 9th Day of Av arena with the beginning of World War I on that same date. Add to that the fact that the historic date chosen for the very beginning of America, July 4, 1776, was the 17th of Tammuz on God’s calendar, and it’s absolutely impossible not to recognize that the USA is also in need of repentance during those 3 weeks.
How does God react to any nation that begins to look to their own might for survival, while claiming to call on His name? Perhaps we should carefully consider this Parable written for the 9th of Av: Once a great artist desired to paint his greatest masterpiece, and journeyed with his companion to the top of a high mountain to find the perfect view. After several days, the painting was complete, though the artist began to view his work at different angles to see what improvements might be made. He started walking backward, admiring his work. He continued to pace backward, focusing only on his painting, when he approached the edge of a cliff. When his friend realized the danger, he called out for him to stop, but the artist took no heed to his words. At the last moment, when he (the artist) was about to plunge to his certain death, however, his friend picked up a knife, ran to the picture, and began slashing it to pieces, destroying the masterpiece before the artist’s eyes. “What are you doing!” the artist cried out, having finally come to his senses. “Look behind you and you’ll see why I did it” replied the friend. Similarly with God. He tried to warn the people to turn back to Him lest they perish, but they refused to heed His words so finally He allowed the Temple to be destroyed so that the people themselves could come to their senses and many would escape with their lives…”
We Christians in the USA are a lot like the painter in this parable. We just love looking at our awesome programs and ministry masterpieces we have created. Unknowingly, could we be inching backwards toward the abyss because of our spiritual pride and arrogance?
Consider this convicting word from God Almighty in Zechariah 7:4-6. “I received this message from the Lord All-Powerful. ‘Tell all the priests and the other people in this country this: ‘For seventy years you fasted and showed your sadness in the fifth month and the seventh month. But was that fasting really for me? And when you ate and drank, was that for me? No, it was for your own good.’”
We close today’s lesson with the Words of Jesus in Mark 1:15. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"