A Bad Day for Israel: Ninth of Av
What do the ten spies that entered Canaan, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and current events have in common? The date. Today is August 5th on the Gregorian calendar. But in Israel the date is the Ninth of Av, or Tisha B’Av in Hebrew. This day (beginning at sundown last night) is one of the most significant dates in all of history, one that most of us knows nothing about. The Ninth of Av is the culmination of three weeks of mourning for the Jewish people and with the events happening in the Middle East right now, it’s one that Christians should take notice of. Most of us are aware that Israel has been under siege for several weeks now by the terrorists in control of Gaza. The Israelis have endured weeks of missiles indiscriminately fired at their population by cowards who hide behind women and children and use schools and hospitals as launch pads and weapons storage. But what does this have to do with the Ninth of Av? Before we can truly understand this, we need to explore the concept of time. In Western Culture we have a Greek/Roman concept of time, that is, that time is linear, one thing happens after another and so on. But the Hebrew mindset is not the same. They view time as cyclical, or more like a spiral, events come around again and again, perhaps in different manifestations but similar in nature. (for more on this idea see hebrew4christians.org) We can see this with the Ninth of Av. The spies that were sent into Canaan (Numbers 13) came back with a bad report of the land, which caused Yahweh to curse the Hebrews to spend 39 more years in the desert and never see the Land. This happened on the Ninth of Av. Both Holy Temples, the one built by King Solomon and the Second Temple (known as Herod’s temple) were destroyed on the Ninth of Av. The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 on the Ninth of Av. Then again they were expelled from Spain in 1492, on, you guessed it, the Ninth of Av. Treblinka, the death camp in Poland was opened on the Ninth of Av in 1942. And in more recent times, the expulsion of thousands of Israelis from Gaza in 2005, happened over the Ninth of Av. (For more information on these events see chabad.org) Now in 2014, once again, the Israeli people are under attack during this calamitous time, surrounded by enemies bent on their destruction. But in the midst of the sadness of these days and all the lives lost of both sides, we can see the God of Israel at work. There are numerous stories of miracles and hope coming out of Israel right now. Missiles being blown into the sea by uncharted winds , miraculous discoveries of terror tunnels , and the protection provided by Israel’s superior Iron Dome technology are all testaments to the God who said that Israel is the “apple of his eye” (Zech 2:8). Even Hamas is complaining that Israel’s God is changing the course of their bombs midair. From what the Bible says we can expect that there will be more disturbing events in Israel before the Messiah returns. But as the cycle revolves again and again until that day, we can be assured that the God who never sleeps is watching over Israel.