Tisha B'Av

Jewish Ministry

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B’Av (meaning “the ninth day of Av”) is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It occurs in July or August.

Tisha B’Av is kept with the same kind of fast that is kept on Yom Kippur. Jews read the book of Lamentations. The ark is dressed in black. If the ninth falls on the Sabbath, the fast is postponed until the tenth. The Sabbath is the “Queen” of the calendar.

This is the day that the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Coincidently, it is also the day that the second temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

According to Jewish tradition, many other tragedies occurred on this day:

  • AD 135 – The Bar Kokhba rebellion against Rome was crushed when his fortress (Betar) was destroyed on this day. Many (including Rabbi Akivah, the father of the modern Rabbinic movement) had hoped that Bar Kokhba was the messiah.
  • AD 136 – Rome plowed the temple area. There was nothing left.
  • AD 1242 – 20,000 hand-written Jewish manuscripts were burned under the order of French King Louis IX. King Louis IX was rewarded with Sainthood by Pope Innocent IV.
  • AD 1492 – King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, known as the Spanish Inquisition. Tisha B’Av was set as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil. Jewish mystics juxtapose 1492 with 1942—connecting the Spanish Inquisition to the sight of the Warsaw Ghetto, when Jews were shuffled as cattle to a Treblinka crematoria.
  • AD 1914 – It was on Tisha B’Av (August 1, 1914) that Germany declared war on Russia, marking the official beginning of World War I. WWI left Germany with a huge war-reparations debt. That debt gave rise to German nationalism and the Nazi Party. Therefore, the birth of the Holocaust can also be traced to Tisha B’Av.
  • AD 1942 – It was on Tisha B’Av in 1942 that the first deportations from Warsaw to the Treblinka concentration camp occurred during the Holocaust.

According to Jewish tradition, Israel’s first catastrophe on the ninth of Av was in Numbers 13–14. The twelve spies returned from spying out the Promised Land on the eighth day of Av. They reported that the land was unconquerable. That night, the ninth of Av, the people rebelled against the promise and insisted that they’d rather go back to Egypt.

Someday, the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Meanwhile, God calls for Israel to receive the Promised Messiah: Jesus.

Significantly, God intends for our bodies to be temples for His Spirit. Jesus gave up His earthly life for us. In return, He wants to live out His life through us. He wants us to invite Him into our lives. By doing this, we become the temple of God.

On this Tisha B’Av, messianic Jews pray that their people (Israel) will receive Jesus into the temple of their bodies thereby honoring the God of Israel.

Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting and prayer for Israel. To my worldwide Jewish family, I encourage you—as you fast and pray on this day—ask God to show you the truth about Jesus. You will be eternally blessed if you open your heart to God’s truth.