Tisha B’Av: A Call to Awaken

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City of Jerusalem
Are you praying for the peace of Jerusalem? (Wikimedia Commons)

As we are rapidly approaching Day 30 of Israel's Operation Protective Edge campaign in Gaza and Tisha B'Av, I believe that it is important for us to be reminded that God's prophetic Word will stand true and that Israel will come through this war victoriously.

"Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name): If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever" (Jer. 31:35-36).

This current conflict is unique among all the battles Israel has ever fought. If you look at this war from a prophetic perspective, we stand to learn a lot from the situation. The enemy, Hamas, is battling Israel with tunnels, kidnappings, rockets, and media propaganda based on a foundation of lies and deception. The church-at-large would be well advised to understand that we are battling against the same tactics.

The enemy would like to tunnel into your life, kidnap your promise, and fire thousands of rockets over your life to create fear and anxiety ... while the accuser of the brethren (Satan) fills your mind with propaganda trying to convince you that it is all your fault.

As the body of Christ, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for the United States (our leadership) to have grace and stamina to finish what has begun in Gaza. As a pastor of a church, we see people coming to our organization for deliverance. They need generational curses and the tunnels of their past "blown up." They need the rockets of the enemy to be knocked down with an "iron dome" (the shield of faith). And they need to be washed by the renewing of their minds by the preaching of the Word of God.

Israel will win this war because the Bible says so. "He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep ..." (Psalm 121:4). But Israel needs our help as watchmen on the wall to fight against the propaganda war by speaking the truth about today ... and the truth of history.

The famous philosopher, George Santayana once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In other words, when we do not remember history, we will repeat its terrors.

As the church, we have been called to be a moral compass of righteousness. We are not called to be judgmental boasters, but rather, vessels whose very lives remind our communities, states, nations and media that our God is worthy of all honor, praise and devotion.

Jerusalem: The City at the Center of the World

God alone is the Creator of all. He builds temples and destroys temples. He raises up nations and topples them to the ground. Our God is at the very center of our world, and thus He should be honored with listening ears and loving, obedient hearts.

"As the navel is set in the centre of the human body, so is the land of Israel the navel of the world ... situated in the centre of the world, and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel, and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem, and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary, and the ark in the centre of the holy place, and the foundation stone before the holy place, because from it the world was founded." — Midrash Tanchuma, Qedoshim

Today, as in times past, the nations are at a crossroads with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of Jerusalem, the city He chose for His Name to abide. And we, both as individuals as well as citizens of the nations, will be judged by how we interact with Jerusalem—the city at the center of the world.

With Tisha B'Av—the day of commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples—here today, August 4th, we have the unique opportunity to not only remember Jewish history, but also to examine our hearts and minds so that we do not, in fact, repeat the tragic events of the past.

So, we must ask ourselves these important questions: Are we making wise choices that honor our own personal temples as His abiding place? Are we honoring the Body of Messiah—the Body of Christ—by walking in love rather than offense? Are we honoring Jerusalem by praying for her peace? And, most importantly, are we honoring God, His Spirit, His Son—His Word who became flesh and dwelt among us?   

King David expressed it best this way as he so humbly penned these words:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Psalm 137:5-6).

"The LORD bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life" (Psalm 128:5).

Tisha B'Av

The Jewish observance of Tisha B'Av on the 9th day of Av (in the fifth month of the Hebraic calendar), is traditionally an annual day of fasting and repentance and is often referred to as "the saddest day in Jewish history." Tisha B'Av is regarded as the day when Jews from around the world commemorate the destruction of both the First and Second Temples (655 years apart) in Jerusalem—a date that marks many of the worst tragedies in Israel's history, both past and present.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth [Tisha B'Av], the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace'" (Zech. 8:19).

Demonic powers have left a distinctive mark on Israel's history during this season. However, I believe that instead of the Body of Messiah expecting the worst, we need to awaken to our preemptive prophetic power and authority to dismantle these demonic cycles.

Recorded below is an abbreviated list of many of the historic accounts of demonic activity recorded on Tisha B'Av:

  • 2448/1312 BC - Spies return from 40 days in Israel with evil reports of the Land of Israel. Jewish people cry in despair, give up hope of entering the Land of Israel.
  • 3340/421 BC - Destruction of First Temple by the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar. About 100,000 Jews killed during invasion. Exile of remaining tribes in southern kingdom to Babylon and Persia.
  • 3830/70 AD - Destruction of Second Temple by Romans, under Titus. Over 2,500,000 Jews die as a result of war, famine and disease. Over 1,000,000 Jews exiled to all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 Jews sold as slaves by Romans. Jews killed and tortured in gladiatorial "games" and pagan celebrations.
  • 3892/132 AD - Bar Kochba revolt crushed. Betar destroyed - over 100,00 killed.
  • 3893/133 AD - Turnus Rufus ploughs site of Temple. Romans build pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on site of Jerusalem.
  • 4855/1095 AD - First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II. 10,000 Jews killed in first month of Crusade. Crusades bring death and destruction to thousands of Jews, totally obliterate many communities in Rhineland and France.
  • 5050/1290 AD - Expulsion of Jews from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property.
  • 5252/1492 AD - Inquisition in Spain and Portugal culminates in the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Families separated, many die by drowning, massive loss of property.
  • 5674/1914 AD - Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. First World War begins. First World War issues unresolved, ultimately causing Second World War and Holocaust. 75% of all Jews in war zones. Jews in armies of all sides--120,000 Jewish casualties in armies. Over 400 pogroms immediately following war in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
  • 5702/1942 AD - Deportations from Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin.
  • 5749/1989 AD - Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait.
  • 5754/1994 AD - The deadly bombing of the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina), which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.
  • 5765/2005 AD - Gush Katif expulsion [my addition].

[The above list was compiled by Ohr Somayach Institutions.]

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