Always watch the 9th of Av: Israel’s past and future
It can’t just be coincidence.
In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, the emperor is warned by an old soothsayer to “beware the ides of March.” Soon after that, he’s assassinated by several senators including Brutus, his supposed friend.
I’m actually not a big Shakespeare expert, but I’d like to say – be watching the 9th of Av this year but especially in the coming decade. It’s a terrible date in Jewish history, and one we need to be aware of. That’s the easy way to remember it. The 9th of Av happens in mid-summer. This year the 9th of Av on the Hebrew calendar falls on the sabbath, July 28, 2012 of our Gregorian calendar. I am NOT saying anything will happen this year, or next. But I want my readers to know that it can’t be mere coincidence that so much has happened on the 9th of Av on the Hebrew Calendar. As I write this, we are in the period of time called “the Dire Straits” – from the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av. Remember it as roughly our month of July most years. It was during this time that calamity after calamity has befallen Israel. For example, it was during this time that Moses dashed the two tablets of the 10 commandments to the ground at the gold calf incident.
Could more calamities befall Israel around this period of time, on the 9th of Av in a soon coming future year? See the history for yourself if this date leaves a particularly loathsome aftertaste in our Creator’s mouth:
• It was on the 9th of Av that the 10 of the 12 spies who returned from spying out the Promised Land caused Israel to lose faith, to lose heart, and to rebel. YHVH therefore announces all Israelites age 20 and over would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb were exempted. You can read the full story in Numbers 14. After everything Yahweh had done for them – the liberation from slavery, the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven, the miraculous providence of water from the Rock, the giving of His covenant with them and the Law, after forgiving them of their terrible sin with the gold calf – after all that, they lose faith and rebel once more. That was the last straw. The 9th of Av (mid-late July) has frequently since then been a terrible date for Israel and later, the Jews.
• The first House of God, more commonly called “Solomon’s temple”, is destroyed on this date, the 9th of Av. Over 100,000 Jews are slaughtered, and most of the remainder are hauled off into captivity to Babylon (where modern day Iraq is) and the area of Persia (modern day Iran). Have you heard anything about Iraq and Iran lately in the news?
• The 2nd temple was also burned and dismantled on this exact date as well - 9th of Av in 70 AD by the Romans under General Titus. It was gruesome. So many Jews were crucified, the Romans despaired for lack of wood on which to impale their pained victims. It was from the pain of crucifixion that we get the word “excruciating” – as in indescribable pain. Over 2,500,000 Jews die from war, famine and disease. Another million are exiled. Over 100,000 are sold as slaves. Many are killed in Roman coliseums for entertainment, in gladiatorial “games” and pagan celebrations.
Want more confirmation?
• The Jews rebel again and they believe Simon bar Kochba will be the Messiah. But – on the 9th of Av, 133 CE, the rebels are massacred in the final battle at Betar and 100,000 more Jews shed their blood.
• One year later, on the 9th of Av 134 AD, the Romans plowed over the Jews’ Temple Mount, their most sacred site. My wife and I have personally walked the excavated streets of the new pagan city the Romans erected on top the ruins of Jerusalem. They call it Aelia Capitolina.
• 1095 AD: On the 9th of Av, Pope Urban II announces the First Crusade. This is not good news to Jews, as 10,000 are killed in the first month of the Crusade alone. The killing continues for years to come from the “Christian” liberators of Jerusalem.
• In 1290 AD, on the 9th of Av, all Jews are expelled from England. Their books and property are confiscated by the government.
• In 1492, besides all that good stuff about Columbus sailing the ocean blue, Spain’s Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand expel all Jews from Spain and allow them just four months to totally get out or else… The drop dead date was, once more, the 9th of Av.
• World War 1 began on the Hebrew calendar of the 9th of Av, 1914 as Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. The issues surrounding WWI are unresolved, resulting in World War II and the Holocaust. Millions of Jews die in concentration camps as well as pogroms and “ethnic cleansing” later in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
• 9th of Av, 1942 – Deportations begin from the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp. (For something interesting, look up the history of the word “ghetto”.)
Sobering, isn’t it? This is not the exhaustive list. But it makes the point. Yahweh does seem to either cause or allow horrific disasters against the Jews on this date. We need to pray for the repentance of Israel as well as our own countries. Don’t stop doing that. I gave a couple sermons recently about that. And you and I need to be repenting of our own sins and turning and going the other way. It seems so often that these calamities occurred after a time of serious sin or apathy in our land.
We are also told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm ***). Let’s all pray: Dearest Abba, our amazing Father in heaven, please send us your Son to bring an end to the way of sin, to the war and destruction of our Enemy’s way – and to usher in His millennial reign here on earth. Soon Father, please don’t delay. We love you Father. We love you Yeshua, our salvation.