Nations 9th of Av
Our parent organization, the Nations 9th of Av, was decades in the making. Starting with a chance conversation, it has grown over the years as others have captured the vision of the importance of reconciling the Christian world and the Jewish world.
The Ninth of Av
To understand what is the Nations 9th of Av, first you must understand the importance of the date itself.
The Ninth of Av (Tisha B’Av in Hebrew) has a long and mournful history. Av is a month on the Jewish calendar that occurs sometime during the months of July and August on the Gregorian calendar. On the ninth day of Av, the Jewish People commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen them throughout history on that day.
The first tragic event linked to this day, as recorded in the Book of Numbers, was when the ten spies brought back a bad report from the Promised Land. The destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple occurred on the Ninth Day of Av. In Medieval times, the calamities on the Ninth of Av continued with events such as the expulsion of Jews from England and Spain. In modern times, the date is associated with the inauguration of the Treblinka death camp during the Holocaust.
Still to this day, the Jews mark the Ninth of Av with fasting and mourning. The book of Lamentations is read, and Jews abstain from all pleasurable activities. It’s a time of repentance, as they recall the sins that led to their exile and the baseless hatred that brought the destruction of the Temple, crying out the final verse of Lamentations:
“Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored;
Renew our days as of old…”
A Glimmer Of Hope
Through the severity of the day though is a glimmer of hope. The weeping of repentance is in expectation of God’s mercy. That He will restore what was broken, and strengthen His people to rebuild what was destroyed. And this very restoration is prophesied when Zechariah speaks of the day when the Ninth of Av will be transformed to a time of joy!
“Thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘…The fast of [the Ninth of Av]…
Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts
For the house of Judah.
Therefore love truth and peace.'”
The Jewish People are looking for the Temple, the House of Prayer for all nations, to be rebuilt, and for God’s presence to once again reside among His people!
So, what is the NATIONS 9th of Av?
All this is great, but what do the Nations, and Christians in particular, have to do with this day? Why should we even care about a Jewish day of weeping and repentance?
The vision of the Nations’ Ninth of Av can be broken down into two areas of focus.
Our own need for repentance in regard to the Jewish People.
The prophetic joining of the nations to Israel in the last days
The relationship between Christians and Jews has been fraught with horrific acts committed in the name of Jesus. From the horribly antisemitic writings of church fathers like Luther, to the Crusades, pogroms, and Holocaust, much damage has been done to our standing as a people called to love and support Israel. Our focus is not so much to pin guilt on any group of believers today, as it is to look at the damage that has been done and seek to restore what is broken.
We are looking restore the relationship, starting with repentance and humility, acknowledging the past we have inherited and beginning a process of healing, by supporting the Jewish People in their calling.
On the Ninth of Av, as Christians, we repent of the atrocities committed in the name of Jesus, and of our rejection of God’s plan of redemption through His people Israel.
LIVING OUT PROPHECY
There is no denying it, God is doing some exciting and unmatched things in Israel in our days! We have the privilege of living in times the prophets and disciples longed to see. Right after the passage we read earlier, where Zechariah talks about the transformation of the Ninth of Av to a day of rejoicing, he prophesies of the Nations coming to Jerusalem to support the Jewish People and seek the Lord in Jerusalem:
Thus says the Lord of hosts:
"Peoples shall yet come,
Inhabitants of many cities;
The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying,
'Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord,
And seek the Lord of hosts…
Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem…'"
STANDING WITH THE JEWISH PEOPLE
The Nations’ Ninth of Av is about encouraging the Nations to get involved in prophecy! God is doing a beautiful thing, restoring His people, and now the opportunity exists to join with them! We are about getting to know the vision of the faithful Jews of Israel who are committed to God’s word, and are actively involved in restoring His presence on the earth.
The Nations’ Ninth of Av is also an opportunity to show the Jews that we support them in their zeal and commitment to restore a house of prayer for all nations. The status quo right now is that Jews and Christians are not allowed to pray at the holiest place on earth—the Temple Mount. The very place that our Master Jesus cleansed, so that all people could come to worship, is in the hands of those who hate the God of Israel. We recognize that the destruction of the Temple was a loss not just for Israel, but for the whole world.
Throughout the past five years since the vision for the Nations’ Ninth of Av began, beautiful relationships have blossomed, and a greater understanding of our shared purpose is forming.
We invite you to join us as we approach the Jewish People in humility and support for their calling to be a light to the nations. Our message is that of those who speak to the Jewish People at the conclusion of Zechariah 8:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ”
Will you come up to Zion with us? We’re calling the Nations to look and see what God is doing in Israel and come be a part of it!