Friday, August 5, 2022

Redeeming Tisha Be'Av

 In the next day or so (the actual date is on Shabbat, therefore the day's mourning activities have been pushed to Sunday) the Jewish nation will be honoring a day of remembrance.  This day is Tisha Be’Av (the 9th of the month of Av). It is on this date that both the first and second temples were destroyed.  The 9th of Av takes place after a period of 3 weeks leading up to it – that is, fasting, prayer, and mourning. How could this have happened? Why would Elohim be so angry at His people so as to allow the most sacred edifices to be destroyed? These questions have been discussed time and again. In some way, both temples had become part of our identity, our pride, and joy, perhaps even objects of idolatry.  Does Biblical history leave us a trail of answers to these questions? 

The very first 'temple' where humanity met with Elohim was the Garden of Eden.  It was a place of intimacy with the Creator/Father, one in which righteousness, peace, and joy ruled. Every need was provided, it was a secure, safe haven of rest, comfort, and love.  Heaven and earth were bound together in oneness of life and light. The whole creation sang together praises to their most benevolent Host. 

Our above-raised questions may be answered by looking back, into what was already present before the Garden, or even before the act of creation.  The second verse of Genesis Chapter One describes a place or realm of spiritual darkness named by Elohim, in verse 4, "night".  The condition and nature of that realm were contrary to another realm, one which Elohim called “day” (v. 4). Since the earth and its luminaries were not around until later, it is obvious that these terms describe spiritual realities, which were to play out their respective roles in the creation itself.  

The beautiful world/earth and its seas were brought forth when the “spiritual waters of light”, which were under the firmament, congealed into the form of dryness (earth) and wetness (seas).  But what happened to that spiritual darkness?  One idea is that it was restrained in the molten lava of the earth’s inner core.  Or did Elohim confine its spiritual essence to a tree, with fruit and seed, that He placed in the midst of the Garden of Eden?  A tree that Elohim’s created son was forbidden to eat from, for if he were to do so, he would die. This, obviously, did not mean dropping dead in an instant, but rather it was a separation from the true Light (the Lamb) and HIS nature, with the eventual cessation of physical existence in this realm. As we know, Adam took from his helpmate the fruit of that forbidden tree. In so doing he discovered where Elohim consigned the realm of “darkness” to.  From that moment on Adam's family embodied and expressed the forbidden fruit's nature and character.

Thus, Adam (mankind) entered the realm of “night”.  As a result, his toil in a desert garden would only produce death.  The spiritual power of this tree/kingdom, to which he was now a slave, was destined, from the foundation, to be destroyed. It was Man’s Tisha Be’av.  Hence it was not only the Jewish zealots' hatred for their Hellenistically-inclined brothers, and vice versa, that sent them to exile after the destruction of the second temple, but it was what the apostle Paul calls “the law of sin” that is at work in the heart of every person (ref. Romans 7:23).  No matter how good a person desires to be, no matter how religious, darkness will reveal its true essence in the behavior – of “the good and the evil”. 

Already before the creation, the Creator had a plan to rectify that which He knew would take place.  The foundation of the gospel of the Kingdom of life and light from the Torah, that the apostles knew, understood, and went out to proclaim is summed up in a statement in 1 Peter 1:19-20. In reference to the Lamb and His blood Peter says: … precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah.  For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world (emphasis added).  In the book of Revelation John mentions the Lamb about 20 times. One verse, in particular, stands out as it too points back to eternity past, this time to the book of the Lamb, who was:slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8b emphasis added). However, Yeshua was not the only one known before the foundation of the world, for the Father “chose us in Him [the Lamb] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4).  

The book of Eicha (Lamentations) is always read on the 9th of Av, or actually recited in the form of a dirge. In one of the many lamentations of this book, in chapter 2:1 the writer addresses YHVH with the following: "How has YHVH darkened in his wrath the daughter of Zion! he has cast down the glory of Israel from heaven to earth and has not remembered his footstool". Mankind as a whole could intone in a similar manner its great loss.  But even in the midst of the worst descriptions of sin, iniquity, and their aftermath, another declaration goes forth by the same author: "the punishment of your iniquity has been completed and finished daughter of Zion" (Lam. 4:22 emphasis added). How much more should we rejoice, having been chosen in the Lamb before the foundation of the world for complete atonement and forgiveness through His blood?

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…" (Romans 13:12) For He has "…delivered us from the power of darkness, and has delivered us into the kingdom of his dear Son…" (Colossians 1:13). 

1 comment:

  1. The last verse 'THE NIGHT IS SPENT'.....caused my Spirt to rise and I am grateful for that especially during the sadness of the 9th of Av;