Sunday, July 15, 2012

Counting Down the Days

"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth [month], The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.' Zecharaiah 8:19 NKJV

Many are familiar with the seven feast days appointed by God for the children of Israel to observe, but not all are aware that He also created four days of fasting to commemorate tragedies that occurred during Israels' history. Zechariah goes on to say that when the Messiah comes, these fast days will become days of celebration and feasting, but for now they are still days of mourning. We looked a couple of weeks ago at the subject of the the three weeks of national mourning which began July 7 and will end July 27 at sunset in Israel when the fast of Tisha b' Av begins. Just in case you are not familiar with this fast day in Israel, I thought I would talk a little about it today.

Called Tisha b' Av, this day of mourning and fasting reminds Israel of the day that the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews taken back to Babylon in captivity. This day has become, however, one of the most significant days in Israel's history due to the astonishing "coincidence" of numerous national disasters occurring on this exact day since it's inception. These are:

...1312 BC... Spies return from 40 days in Israel with evil reports of the Land of
Israel. Jewish people cry in despair, give up hope of entering the Land of
...587 BC... Destruction of First Temple by the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezar. About
100000 Jews killed during invasion. Exile of remaining tribes in southern
kingdom to Babylon and Persia.
...70AD... Destruction of Second Temple by Romans, under Titus. Over 2,500,000 Jews die as a
result of war, famine and disease. Over 1,000,000 Jews exiled to all parts
of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 Jews sold as slaves by Romans.
Jews killed and tortured in gladiatorial "games" and pagan celebrations.
...71AD... Turnus Rufus plows site of Temple. Romans build pagan city of Aelia Capitolina
on site of Jerusalem.
...135AD... Bar Kochba revolt crushed. Betar destroyed - over 100,00 killed.
...1095AD... First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II. 10,000 Jews killed in first month of
Crusade. Crusades bring death and destruction to thousands of Jews, totally
obliterate many communities in Rhineland and France.
...1290AD... Expulsion of Jews from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books
and property.
...1492AD... Inquisition in Spain and Portugal culminates in the expulsion of the Jews from
the Iberian Peninsula. King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree,
setting Tisha B'Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed
to walk on Spanish soil. Families separated, many die by drowning, massive loss
of property. With funds provided by Ferdinand, Christopher Columbus, a Messianic
Jew, sets sail to locate the land which will become a Jewish refuge.
...1914AD... Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. First World War begins. First World
War issues unresolved, ultimately causing Second World War and Holocaust. 75% of
all Jews in war zones. Jews in armies of all sides - 120,000 Jewish casualties
in armies. Over 400 pogroms immediately following war in Hungary, Ukraine,
Poland and Russia.
...1942AD... Deportations from Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin.
...1989AD... Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait.
...1990AD... The First Gulf War begins in and as a result Saddam Hussein launches missiles
into Israel
...1994AD... The deadly bombing the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community center in
Buenos Aires, Argentina) which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.

Now I would think that any reasonable person who looked at this list would conclude that this is much more than just coincidence. It is obviously a day throughout history where God in His infinite wisdom has chosen to send a message to the nation of Israel. I also believe it is fair to say that considering the prophecies in the Bible concerning Israel's future we could conclude that there is more in store for Israel on this particular day at some point in time. My question to you today though is does it appear that the potential for another national tragedy seems to be increasing as we speak?

If you are familiar with my teaching in the past you already know I firmly believe the prophecy concerning the destruction of Damascus by Israel found in Isaiah 17 is going to be the next major prophetic fulfillment to occur in Israel's history. What scenario causes Israel to destroy Damascus, with what would appear to be a nuclear device considering the description given in Isaiah, is unknown and open to debate. I would suggest, however, that the use of chemical weapons of mass destruction against Israel would certainly qualify as sufficient provocation for Israel to respond with a WMD of it's own.

Many have watched the unrest in Syria progress the past year and wonder how desperate the situation would have to become in order for the leadership in Damascus to consider the use of their chemical weapons. The answer to that question may have begun to be answered this past week as it appears that the government has started to move it's chemical weapons to different locations within the country. The purpose of these moves is unclear but it is certainly a cause for alarm to many of the surrounding countries, not the least of which is Israel. With only two weeks left until Tisha b' Av, you have to wonder about the timing and speculate if we are about to witness the fulfillment of the Isaiah 17 prophecy.

I'm not in the prediction business, but I am in the “watching” business. God has revealed to us through the Bible what the future of Israel is, and we as His followers should be watching for the signs He has told us to look for. As I have said before, why would God tell us to watch and then not show us anything? I believe the next two weeks is going to be a very interesting time in the Middle East, and I for one will be watching closely to see what events transpire there.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.
Psalms 122:6 NKJV

Keep watching.

Syria takes WMD out of storage: US: Situation incredibly dangerous 

Israel advised to brace for Syrian missile attack – conventional or chemical

Yatom: Israel could go to war over Syria's chemical weapons

Syria Military Moves Chemical Weapons to Homs

Assad Receives Last Warning To Stop Moving His WMD:Top Generals Defect