The Jewish 9/11
(posted 10-21-02)

This past September we in observed the first anniversary of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., a day of grief and fear. I was in India on a mission trip. We paused there to remember and to pray for God’s protection, as most of you did. Thank God there were no significant terrorism incidents.

Israel has a much older "9/11 Memorial." It is called "Tishah Be’ab," or "Tisha B’av" meaning the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. How is that a Jewish 9/11? Since the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, "Av" has been the eleventh month in the Jewish calendar. In our military, and in most of the rest of the world, including Israel, the date is written day/month/year. In Israel their observance of Tisha B’av" could be written 9/11, i.e. 9th day of their 11th month.

The earliest sad event, for Israel, identified with this date is Kadesh-barnea. Numbers 13 & 14 record the sad failure of Israel weeping in unbelief at the spies report, not willing to obey God’s command to take Canaan. Jewish oral tradition preserved in the Mishnah claims that happened on the ninth day of Av. If so, that would make it the original "Tisha B’Av." Tradition further quotes God saying, "You have cried before Me without cause; I shall determine this to be a time of weeping for you for your generations."1 This sad event at Kadesh-barnea is certainly in Scripture but we are not given the month and day; only that it was about 1450 B. C. (Scofield & Ryrie). It is clear in Numbers 14 that God was angry with the unbelief of the children of Israel and sentenced them to almost forty years in the wilderness before entering Canaan. But there is nothing in Scripture that there would be continuing punishment for Jews on the ninth of Av for all generations.

The major "Tisha B’Av" memorial that is clearly on the 9th of the Jewish month of Av, is when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and carried most of the Jews away to Babylon (586 B. C. on our Christian calendar). Centuries later, on that same date, the 9th day of Av, (70 A. D. in our calendar), General Titus and his Roman army destroyed Jerusalem a second time. More than one million Jews were slain and the rest scattered to all parts of the world. Since God allows no other location for a Jewish temple, the Jews have grieved and prayed for restoration of their temple since then.

We have had our 9/11 Memorial a little more than one year, but the dating of Kadesh-barnea is true, the Jews have had their 9/11 Memorial for more than 3000 years. Many other events, tragic to the Jews, have also occurred on that date through the centuries, such as the beginning of World War I. The Bible does not predict any future tragic events on the Jewish 9/11, however, such events could happen. The Jewish month of Av normally falls across our July and August and varies from year to year due to their different "leap year" type calendar corrections. "Tisha B’av" is always observed on the 9th day of Av in the Jewish calendar. The last observance of "Tisha B’Av" fell on our July 18, 2002. The current Jewish New Year began on Tishrei 1, 5764 (Jewish Calendar) which was our September 7, 2002. Normally the Jewish calendar has 12 months with 356 days in the Jewish year. Obviously this is short. Every three or four years an extra month is added. This Jewish year 5764 an extra "leap" or "intercalary" month of 29 days is added between the month of Adar and Nissan. The regular month of Adar becomes Adar I and the "leap month" is called Adar II adding 29 days. "Tisha B’Av this year will be in the twelfth month of the Jewish calendar due to the added month and will be observed on our August 7, 2003. So it will be 9/12 this year, but next year and most years "Tisha B’Av" will fall on 9/11 of the Jewish calendar. Watch what happens to Jewish people on that day.

Jimmy DeYoung, a Christian journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1991, gives more information about "Tisha Be’av" in the September, 2002 issue of his newsletter, UNTIL. He describes how many orthodox Jews observe their 9/11 whenever the 9th of Av comes. On this "fast" day they sit on the floor in their synagogues, or on low benches as a sign of mourning. Thousands of Jewish faithful throng to the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem to pray for the temple to be re-built by the next "Tisha Be’av." There is another Jewish tradition that "…the Messiah will appear on "Tisha B’Av", and the day of mourning will become a national day of rejoicing with the rebuilt Temple."2 I know of no Scripture stating the Messiah will come on "Tisha B’Av," however, these quotes show the importance some Jews give to "Tisha B’Av."

Why is God allowing Israel to have such trouble? The Jews have returned to Israel but largely in unbelief, rejecting Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The prophet Zechariah says, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the peoples …(12:2). He goes on to say, "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; …" (14:2). A rising crescendo of voices around the world and even in America is blaming Israel for our 9/11, i.e. because we support Israel. In September the American ambassador to the U. N. abstained in a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for retaliation against Arab terrorism in Israel; this even when America is fighting terrorism all over the world, except in Israel. Are we moving toward the end?

God says "all nations" will come against Israel in battle. Will they lose that battle? No. The very next verse in Zechariah 14:3 says, ‘"Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle." When Jesus makes his final return at the end of the tribulation to defend them, one third of Israel will recognize Him as their Messiah and be saved (Zech. 13:8-9). God said, "…and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son... (Zech. 12:10)." Sounds like saving repentance and faith to me.

Are you ready to meet the Lord? Try this call to God’s 911 of salvation, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)!" Amen.

1 Ice, Thomas and Price, Randall, Ready To Rebuild, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1992. p. 212.
2Ibid. p. 213

      
                                    © 2002 D. B. Martin

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