Tisha B’Av: My Own Thoughts about this Time of Mourning & Prayer

We are soon approaching a day of mourning and contemplation.  It is known in Hebrew as Tisha B’Av, or “the 9th of Av.”  It begins at sunset on July 29, 2020, and it ends at sunset on July 30th.  It is the saddest day on the biblical calendar when many sad and disastrous things happened, such as the following:

  • 38 of the 40 spies whom Moses sent to check out the land came back with a negative report.  Only 2 came back with a positive report: Joshua and Caleb.
  • The destruction of both the first temple by the Babylonians and the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans.
  • The expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290.
  • The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

And the way that this day is commemorated is by reading the biblical book of Lamentations, as well as to abstain from the following:

  • eating or drinking;
  • engaging in marital relations or any form of intimacy;
  • wearing leather;
  • engaging in anything festive or anything that brings one pleasure.

Now even though this time of mourning is not biblically mandated, I believe that all Christians should join Israel in this time, particularly in this day in which we live, because we need to be reminded that the God of Israel is holy, and that He does punish His people, whether Jew or Christian, for their sins.  It is a warning that too many people choose to ignore or have never been told.

On this day of Tisha B’Av, there were so many people who died over the centuries, and even among those who happened to survive, their lives were forever changed.  Now I am not Jewish by birth, nor was I raised in a Jewish home, but I do believe that they are a part of my family.  For doesn’t Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) write in his epistle to the Galatians,

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3:7-9)

And then again in Galatians, he writes,

And if you are Christ’s [Messiah’s], then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

Therefore, as someone who embraces the God of Israel, the Messiah of Israel, and even the Scriptures, which God gave to Israel, including the Torah that God Himself gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai to teach to the people of Israel, I am by biblical definition, then, “a son of Abraham.” And if I am by covenant “a son of Abraham” and my wife, Karen, likewise by covenant is “a daughter of Abraham,” and the Jewish people are physically the children of Abraham, then we are all really ONE family, belonging to the same Kingdom, and are in covenant with the same God.  Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) writes in Romans,

For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.  For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [Israel’s] spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in carnal things.  (Romans 15:26-27)

So how can I just enjoy the blessings that have come to me from God through the people of Israel, including the Messiah Himself, and not also embrace them during this time of mourning and prayer?  For as Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) also writes,

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:14-15)

During this time, I pray many things for Israel.  I pray God’s blessings upon them.  I pray not only that God may bless them individually, but that He may bless the various rabbis around the world, as well as their individual congregations.  I pray that God may reveal Himself to them as they open the various scrolls of the Scriptures, and that He may make His Presence known and felt among them.  And yes, I pray that they may come to accept the gift that God has given to them through the Messiah Yeshua.

I pray for them, because even though there are many Jews who oppose Yeshua, I do understand that their opposition is really not about Him, but about how Christians have treated Jews in the past and the historical Christian belief that the Torah is not for them.  This is why I also pray that the Jewish community would forgive us of our many sins against them, and that Christian eyes would be open to the truth that the Torah was given to both Jews and Gentiles, and therefore, it is for all people for all time.  Yes, the Torah is for Christians too; it is not for the Jews alone.  And also, that there would be reconciliation between us. For did not Yeshua teach us during the Sermon on the Mount,

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  (Matthew 5:43-48)

If we are to pray for our enemies, how much more should we pray for our family in the community of Israel who may view us as “enemies,” even though that is not how my wife, Karen, and I (and hopefully you as well) view them at all.

God has been telling Karen and I that He wants reconciliation between all His people, Jews and non-Jews, before His return, because there is only ONE family, ONE KIngdom, and He is the ONE Lord and God for both.  And just as Adam gave his bride the name, Chavah (trans. “Eve”), so God named His own Bride, Israel, the name for His ONE family and His ONE Kingdom.

And since we are really ONE family Kingdom, we should all seek to love and serve the God of Israel by observing His Torah – His commandments, statutes, judgments, and ordinances, which He gave to His people, both Jews and Gentiles, who were standing there at the base of Mt. Sinai.  I am always dumbstruck by Christian ministers, Bible teachers, and evangelists who go around proclaiming that the Law was given only to the Jews.  It is obvious to me that these men have not spent much, if any, time studying the Tanakh (“Old Testament”), particularly the first five books, because if they had, they would NOT go around making such erroneous claims, which violate the true teachings of the Scriptures.

But on this day of Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning for the loss of the two temples, we should also remember that we will soon witness the rebuilding of the third Temple.  There will be two more Temples, I believe, a Third and a fourth Temple, the fourth will be the last and final one.

In the Scriptures, we know that half-way through the seven-year peace treaty that will allow the Jews to rebuild the Temple, officially beginning the Tribulation, “the time of Jacob’s Trouble,” the false Messiah will reveal himself to the world by entering into the God’s Temple and proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).  And according to the Scriptures, this must happen before the Lord’s return:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [Yeshua HaMashiach], and by our gathering together unto him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ [Mashiach] is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means for that shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5)

Although we are seeing many people leave churches in the United States, there is coming an even greater “falling away.”   Also, since this third Temple has not been built yet, the false Messiah, the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition,” cannot yet walk into the Temple of God and defile it through his blasphemy, and both of these things must happen FIRST, we are told BEFORE the Lord’s returns to gather us to Himself (2 Thessalonians 2:1), an event many Christians call “the rapture.”

But today, when we look at the times we are living, we have been watching a rise in both anti-Semitism and in the rejection of the truth taught by the Scriptures.  It is growing because we are, indeed, nearing the end of the last days when we shall see the Messiah Yeshua return once more, riding on His white stallion on the clouds of heaven, following by God’s military force, His angels, and the saints, also riding on white horses (Revelation 19:11-16) or on flaming chariots of fire (Isaiah 66:15).

It will be a day like no other when the Messiah returns, bringing with Him God’s judgment upon the false Messiah and his false prophet, both of whom will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Revelation 19:20), and He will also bring His judgment upon the nations, as it is written, “those slain by the LORD will be many” (Isaiah 66:16).  Afterwards, the day promised and looked forward to since the beginning of creation will happen: the Messiah Yeshua will finally sit upon the throne of David, and will rule and reign over Israel and the nations for a thousand years (Revelation 20:3-4).  And at this time, the Messiah Yeshua will oversee the building of the fourth and final Temple (Zechariah 6:12-13), and it will be the one described in Ezekiel 43-48.

But before we get to this glorious time, we are first going to experience some really dark days ahead, even more so than the COVID-19 virus or the riots in the streets that we have been experiencing in the United States and Israel.  There have been millions of Christians in the West, particularly in the United States, who have been persuaded into accepting the deception of a pre-Tribulation rapture.

The Lord has spoken to Karen and I, and He has told us that this is not true.  It is a deception; there is only one return, not two.  There is nowhere in the Gospels where Yeshua gives any indication whatsoever of a “secret return.”  He has also shared with us that when the seven-year tribulation begins and Christians realize that they have not been taken away as promised and that they are going to have to go through it, many of them are going to betray the Lord by falling away from the faith and accept the Mark of the Beast, so they will be able to eat.  Others will betray their family and friends who are believers, so they will be able to eat.  It will be a horrible time of betrayal and persecution.

Now there are many Christians who will say that “God has not appointed us unto wrath;” however, in saying this, they are only quoting a portion of the verse.  So what I want to do is to look at the whole verse in context of the passage.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.  (I Thessalonians 5:8-11)

When we look at this whole verse in context, we can see by Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) set up a dichotomy (or opposites) of this “wrath” with us obtaining “salvation,” that the wrath being spoken about is not the seven-year tribulation period, but the eternal wrath of the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.  Therefore, by these “pre-tribulation preachers” using this portion of this verse to try and prove and support their doctrine, we can see that they are actually pulling it out of its biblical context and distorting it to say something it does not even say.

And how does all of this relate to Tisha B’Av?  On Tisha B’Av, we are mourning the destruction of the first two Temples, as I have said, but the coming days ahead are days of the Temple as well.  During the time of the Third Temple, there will be a great deception that will be coming and many lives lost to that deception and to persecution, so shouldn’t we mourn for those coming lost lives and pray for people to receive the truth of “the gospel of God,” so that they will not be deceived?  But once the false Messiah reveals himself in the Third Temple, he is going to turn against Israel and go to war with them, and during that war, the Temple will either be badly damaged or destroyed.

And during this time of mourning and contemplation, both for the past and for the days ahead, I pray that we will also remember to look forward to the days of the fourth and final Temple when this day of mourning will finally become a time of joy and gladness.  It will be during the time of this final Temple when the Presence of the God of Israel shall dwell within His new Temple like never before, and when the Messiah Yeshua shall rule and reign on the throne of His ancestor David, as we see promised in the writings of the prophets and that was promised to His mother, Mir’yam (Mary),

And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS (Heb. YESHUA).  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: and he shall reign over THE HOUSE OF JACOB for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33; emphasis added)

Yeshua’s throne is not in heaven, but He has been waiting all this time to ascend His throne in Jerusalem.  And when that time comes, it will be a time when He will rule and reign over Israel and the nations with a rod of iron, and there will finally be universal peace at last in this world.  May we all pray and look forward to the coming days of the Messiah Yeshua, our Sar Shalom and promised King.

 

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