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Lord Jesus, we know You love the nation of Israel and Your chosen people the Jews. They are engraved on the palms of Your hands. We pray for protection, blessing, and peace (shalom) over the Jewish people and their land.
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. This verse, Psalm 137:5, is often associated with Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), the saddest date on the Jewish calendar. On Thursday, July 27, 2023, Jews around the world will observe this time of great mourning, as they remember the destruction of both the first and second temples. Revered in Judaism as a tragic day, the 9th of Av is commemorated through fasting and sincere prayer, which is meant to bring the hearts of the Jewish people back to the Lord. Believers plead with God for the restoration of their lives, heritage and homeland. In traditional Judaism it’s taught that the destruction of the temples represents the judgment and punishment of God, which was carried out because of disobedience, unfaithfulness, and idolatry. As a form of repentance, many Jews will observe a day of fasting where they do not bathe, eat, drink, laugh, or adorn themselves. Before the fast, some observers will eat a hard-boiled egg with a bit of ash sprinkled on top. In the synagogue, portions of the books of Lamentations, Job, and Jeremiah are read. Prayers and readings are recited in a mournful tone.

This solemn day of weeping and fasting has a history that goes way back–all the way back to the biblical Promised Land. According to Jewish tradition, it was on the 9th of Av that the first generation of Israelites (those who were over the age of 20 and were freed from the bondage of Egypt) were denied the right to enter the Promised Land. Why? Because they believed the bad report of the ten spies, rather than being obedient to God and clinging to his promises. As a result, God declared they would wander the desert for forty years.

The Israelites would eventually enter the Promised Land and they would be ruled by both judges and kings. Their crown and glory, however, would be the temples which were created as a holy place to worship God. Built by King Solomon, the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., while the second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. These grave calamities, both occurring on the same biblical date (9th of Av), gave the Jewish people pause as they reflected on the circumstances which led to such utter and complete devastation.

Other tragic events would follow the destruction of the temples, adding to the list of reasons to mourn. On the 9th of Av in 135 A.D., the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt against the Romans was crushed under the leadership of the cruel Emperor Hadrian. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered. On the same date, the temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Afterward Jerusalem would be rebuilt, but as a pagan city that was renamed Aelia Capitolina.

The above events are sad enough, but there’s even more to explore. History shows that not only is the 9th of Av tied to destruction and tragedy, but it also leaves a mark of persecution, pain, and even murder.

One such example happened on the 9th of Av in 1190. On this day the entire Jewish population of York, England was massacred due to anti-Jewish pogroms where Jews were accused of “blood libel.” From this point on, times of great persecution would continue throughout England. Eventually the Jewish people were banished on the 9th of Av by King Edward in 1290. The country of Spain would follow in England’s footsteps in 1492 by expelling the Jews from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. Jews were given the choice of exile or baptism. Sadly, the 9th of Av became the final day for all Jews who had not converted to leave Spain or face certain death.

While many people may not be familiar with the Inquisitions and pogroms, they are likely aware of the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of over six million Jews. The cruelty and inhumanity that was unleashed upon the Jewish population is difficult to understand. Yet, it was during this time that the 9th of Av cast a long shadow that would live in the memories of Holocaust survivors and their families. On August 2, 1941 (9th of Av) SS Commander Heinrich Himmler formerly received approval from the Nazi Party for the Final Solution. In 1942, the Nazis began mass deportations of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp on the 9th of Av.

Interestingly enough, the world’s largest wars have a connection to the 9th of Av. For example, Germany entered WW1 on August 1-2, 1914, which fell on this fateful day of the Jewish calendar. Though bloody and destructive, WW1 led to the formation of the modern state of Israel because the British gained control of the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Some of this land would be divided up and set aside for the Jewish people. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration would be signed and the plans for a future Jewish home would be set in motion. These plans, of course, would not come to full fruition until after World War 2 and the aftermath of the Holocaust.

At present time Israel is still in the crosshairs of tragedy and persecution. In fact, on August 15, 2005 (one day after the 9th of Av), the disengagement of the Gaza Strip began. Over 8,000 Jewish people were forced to leave their homes as their land was given to the Palestinians.

Whether it’s a rocket from a neighboring nation, or rhetoric against Israel’s God-given right to the biblical land, this tiny country is the target of the same spirit that fueled the pogroms and death marches. As centuries of persecution and hate have fallen at the doorsteps of our Jewish brethren, many may wonder, who was there to stand in the gap for God’s beloved chosen people? Heroes like Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer come to mind, but of course, ALL CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN CALLED to not only love and care for the Jewish people, but also to pray for their protection and healing. Unfortunately, as history shows, this has not always been the case for there were times when “religion” was used as a justification for the Jews’ persecution.

On May 15, 1965 (17 years after Israel was rebirthed in 1948), Pope John XXIII wrote this prayer of repentance, published in the Toronto Daily Star:

We are conscious today that many, many centuries of blindness have cloaked our eyes so that we can no longer see the beauty of Thy chosen people, nor recognize in their faces the features of our privileged brethren.

We realized that the mark of Cain stands upon our foreheads. Across the centuries our brother Abel has lain in the blood which we drew, or shed tears which we caused by forgetting thy love.

Forgive us for the curse we falsely attached to their name as Jew.

Forgive us for crucifying Thee a second time in their flesh. For, O Lord, we know not what we did.   

The Bible offers a profound message of hope when it comes to the 9th of Av and its connection to the Jewish people.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore, love truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:19).

The verse in Zechariah refers to the four fasts associated with the loss of the Jewish Temple.

In the 10th month, on the 10th of Tevet, Jerusalem was besieged.

In the 4th month, on the 17th of Tammuz, the walls were breached.

In the 5th month, on the 9th of Av, the Temples were destroyed.

In the 7th month, on the 3rd of Tishri, the governor of Judah was murdered.

Currently the Jewish people continue observing these fasts and remembering the tragic events that took place, but in the future, God has some amazing plans! The words of Zechariah remind us that one day, those days of mourning and crying will be turned into celebrations. The fasts will become feasts! This is certainly good news for both the nation of Israel and Christians alike. The truth is that there will come a time when we will all rejoice together. Isaiah 61:3 declares a powerful truth that those who mourn in Zion will be given a “beautiful headdress instead of ashes,” and a “garment of praise.”

Lord Jesus, we know you love the Jewish people, as well as the nation of Israel. Though they continue to mourn for the loss of the Temples, we pray they would realize that you are their true, living, breathing Temple! We pray for the full restoration of your people, both physically and spiritually. Come soon Lord Jesus and turn all of our mourning into rejoicing.

What are your prayers for the Jewish people during this time of mourning?

Angela Rodriguez is an author, blogger and homeschooling Mom who studies the historical and biblical connections between Israel and the United States. You can visit her blogs at 67owls.com and 100trumpets.com. Her latest book, Psalm 91: Under the Wings of Jesus, was released in June 2021.

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Darlene Estlow
July 27, 2023

Father, I pray for your people. May the veil be lifted that keeps them blind. Bring salvation to Israel. Protect them from their enemies around them.

Brian Lynch
July 27, 2023

Lord Jesus, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and we lift up before You the nation and the people of Israel. May their hearts be turned to You in obedience. Please continue to bless and protect these precious children of You. Thank You Lord.

Mary Beth
July 27, 2023

Thank you, LORD, for the awesome privilege to pray for Your covenant people, the Hebrew people. We who have been blessed by receiving the renewed covenant by being grafted into spiritual Israel, give thanks for them. We owe a debt of gratitude and love to them, for it was through them we received both the written Word of God and the Word made flesh, Yeshua, our Messiah. Call them by Your grace and mercy, and reveal Your Son, Yeshua to them as their Messiah. May this be the set time to favor Israel. Please bring us into Your desire – one new man – the fulness of both Jew and Gentile peoples brought into the Kingdom. Strengthen, protect, and make rich provision for all Messianic ministries in the land – so that they might foster and nourish the mighty move of Holy Spirit as He is poured out on Israel in this day.


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