Ninth of Av

The Temple fell on Tisha B’Av. On the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av Moses had sent spies into the land of Canaan to “see what the land is” Num 13:18. They had returned and reported, “The land, through which we have gone, to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” Num 13:3233.

In Rabbi Yeshua’s Time

At this report “All the congregation raised a loud cry; and the people wept that night” Num 14:1. Our Father had promised the Israelites the land, but after all that they had seen they still did not trust Him. The Gemara, Ta’anis 29a, tells us that our Father had replied, “You wept a weeping without cause. Therefore, I shall establish for you a weeping [on this day the 9th of Av] for generations to come.” From that day, all Israel knew that any great destruction on a Tisha B’Av would be no accident but done by the hand of God.

Before the Babylonian Exile, God’s people Israel “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood” Ps 106:3738. “[God’s people Israel] have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal Jer 19:5. These scarlet sins violated some of God’s most grave commands. “You shall have no other gods before me” Ex 20:3. “There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering” Deut 18:10.

God’s people Israel had accepted the Eternal Election, but the farther they strayed from it, the farther God moved from them. Finally, he gave Isaiah a prophecy that they would so far apart that they would not recognize even his Messiah. At about that time, as a grave warning, Israel paid for these sins with her most treasured possession, the land of Israel. In 586 BC, on Tisha B’Av, on King Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, with the army of the Chaldeans, “Burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down” 2 Kings 25:9.

After the Babylonian Exile, God in his mercy Ex 34:6 forgave even these very grave sins. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” Is 1:18. Within a single generation, Cyrus king of Persia announced, “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:23. “And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy” Ezra 6:16.

But Israel still needed purification. God allowed Alexander the Great to conquer and spread his Greek culture over most of the then-known world. And he allowed Antiochus IV to prohibit Jewish religious activity of any kind and to desecrate the Temple that Cyrus had just rebuilt. God then gave Israel the purification it needed in the hanukahYehuda haMaccabi (Judah the Hammer) fought heroically and won God-given victory over Antiochus’ soldiers. He re-dedicated the Temple to God in 165 BC. But the Jews did not see this victory and re-dedication for what it was, a sign for the re-dedication of God’s whole people Israel before the coming of the Messiah. Rabbi Yeshua, the Messiah, did come, and many Jews followed him, but the Jewish authorities did not recognize him. As he approached Jerusalem Rabbi Yeshua made an urgent appeal:

Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation Lk 19:4244.

When Rabbi Yeshua arrived at the Temple he saw that the Jewish authorities had not kept the re-dedication. “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers” Lk 19:46. The Jewish authorities had done this, not the ordinary Jews. The authorities tried to kill Rabbi Yeshua but they could not because “all the people hung upon his words” Lk 19:48.

In AD 33, Rabbi Yeshua warned the Jewish authorities, the scribes and Pharisees, that they would perish for their sins “in this generation” Mt 23:36O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate Mt 23:3738. He told his own shlikhim, “Do you see these great [Temple] buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down” Mk 13:2, adding, “This generation will not pass away till all these things take place” Mt 24:34.

Forty years after Rabbi Yeshua‘s Final Sacrifice on the Cross, a single generation, in AD 70, on the 9th of Av, on Emperor Vespasian’s orders, the First Jewish-Roman War ended when his son, the Roman general (and next emperor) Titus, crucified so many Jews that they ran out of wood for the crosses and destroyed the Second Temple. The Jewish fast Tisha B’Av commemorates primarily the fall of the first and second Temples but also other tragedies of Jewish history. The signs of the forty years and the Tisha B’Av show us that, visibly, the Temple fell as Rabbi Yeshua had foretold, by the hand of God, not of Vespasian.

What sin did Israel commit that was so great it exceeded even the sacrilege against God’s image, Israel’s own children sacrificed to false gods? In the age of Yeshua haMashiakh, the Jewish authorities re-committed the original sin in their refusal to accept his authority. The sages taught that the Second Temple was destroyed because of sinat khinam (Mishna Yoma 9b), baseless hatred. The Jewish authorities wanted “to be like God, knowing good and evil” Gen 3:5. They said to one another, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation” Jn 11:4748. Even after the National Revelation they continued to say, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is manifest to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any one in this name” Acts 4:16:17. Rabbi Yeshua had told them, “You did not know the time of your visitation” Lk 19:44.

After 1,900 Years

Since that time God has not rebuilt the Second Temple. He allowed the Muslims to build the Dome of the Rock and the huge Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Even modern Israel has not attempted to raze Al-Aqsa and rebuild the stone Temple. Yet the Jewish nation can have the Third Temple for the asking Mt 7:7. Rabbi Yeshua had told the Jewish authorities, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” Jn 2:19. The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” Jn 2:20. “But he spoke of the temple of his body” Jn 2:21.

Yet God will remember his three promises to his people Israel, that they would inherit the land of Israel Gen 12:7, that they as a people would never cease to exist Gen 17:7, and that he would never totally abandon them Lev 26:44. He also made three promises to his New Israel, that the powers of death will not prevail against it Mt 16:18, that it would always exist Mt 28:20, and that it would inherit Jerusalem on High Rev 21:14. Take these triangles and place them one atop the other, so that they form a six-pointed star. When Israel enters into the New Israel all six promises will be fulfilled together.