Tisha B’Av – What is a Christian’s Response?
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
Published on Israel National News Aug 9, 2019; http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/24289
What is Tisha B’Av to Christians? This year the important Jewish memorial of the 9th day in the month of Av culminates on Saturday evening, August 10, 2019. It is regarded as the darkest and saddest day of the entire year for Jews, a date indelibly seared into their conscience and psyche.
It’s a day that not only marks one of earth’s greatest tragedies that descended upon Jerusalem, but numerous other tragic events that befell the Jewish people. On this day in 586 BC and again on 70 CE the Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. In an eerie foreboding this was the day that 10 of the 12 spies who returned from the promised land - gave their evil report; the day when the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in 133 CE ended in defeat: the day in 1290 that England expelled all Jews and in 1492 when Spain did the same. In more recent memory, it was also the day on which WW1 began.
When Jews from around the globe turn to pray like Daniel of old, they bow in the direction of Jerusalem to the Mount where the House of God once stood. The dawning of Tisha B’Av brings to bear the full force and awful reality that the city which bears the name of God, is void of her crowning glory. A stark reminder that the one place in the entire world that God Himself chose as the dwelling for His Shekinah glory and presence among His chosen people, is still a tortured hostage. Adding misery to woe in this travesty, is that Jews are forced to tolerate this desecration of the most sacred place on earth. Soccer games, clowns and other abominations are permitted by the Muslim Waqf caretaker - installed and supported by Israeli politicians no less! How should Christians react to that?
Jews have immortalized the grief of Tisha B’Av in somber ways for millennia; a reminder at every wedding – by the breaking of the glass; in every new house – by leaving a portion unfinished; by certain foods and also in fasting; at every Pesach accompanied with the statement of their ndomitable faith in the promise of their restoration; “…next year in Jerusalem”. And on that note Tisha B’Av concludes; “Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” [Lam 5:20]
So what part – if any - do Christians have or share in the 9th of Av? Remain aloof as perceived by many, looking down with a mix of pity and disdain in the belief that Rome’s route of Jerusalem in 70 CE was symbolic of the “Church’s” enigmatic triumph over Judaism? Which is the cornerstone of “replacement /supersession” theology. Or is that actually a theological aberration, an incorrect “fact presumed” by misconstruing Jesus’s own words in Matt 24; “… "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down...”.
I’ve discovered that very few Jews are aware of an important historical fact, that a branch of Christianity exists whose spiritual legacy actually parallels theirs. Of Christians whose spiritual ancestry predates Constantine’s abominable merger; of Christians who not only rejected and walked out of Constantine’s Ecumenical council, but through history suffered immense persecution because they would not bow to the Papacy of Rome nor to the idolatry it projected. Of Christians whose pedigree and bloodline is traced by millions martyred at the hands of the same evil power that persecuted the Jews.
For these Christians, the reality and implication of Tisha B’Av is this; our spiritual destinies are inseparably linked. As Jews suffered, so did a remnant of Christians who held on to their original Judeao-Christian foundation. As Jews weep and mourn the loss of their crowning glory - so do these Christians. As Jews long for and anticipate their full and complete restoration in Sovereignty – so do these Christians.
Christians with anti-Semitic thoughts and ways need to repent. Tisha B’Av however, is not really about collective guilt or repenting for a wayward church that persecuted Jews along with our own Christian ancestors - as much as it is a call to action. While extending sympathy and feeling remorse about past atrocities may provide some emotional release, in truth – there is no virtue in repentance by proxy.
Christians are the allegorical “sister” and family of the Jews. As family we are not only to share in the grief of Tisha B’Av, but be moved to spiritual activism and zeal in both word and deed. Tisha B’Av should unite Christians globally to support and demand Israel’s full restoration and Sovereignty throughout their land – and especially on the Temple Mount. For only with full Jewish Sovereignty and restoration will our sorrow and our mourning turn into our joy and then will our mutual redemption be realized.
By Rev Anthony Abma; Founder of Return O’ Israel