The reason Jerusalem was destroyed in the 1st Century, according to Luke 19, was because the people did not recognized the time of their visitation.We live in a time similar to 1st century Israel in that many people, the people of God even, are missing what God is doing in and through His people Israel in our time. Many people are distracted by the chaos, confusion and noise of our modern world. This should not be case for God’s children! God’s light and love is being shown and shone into the entire world. The “time of our visitation” is what we at the Nations’ 9th of Av like to call, the “time of our invitation!” God is inviting us to be a part of His grand plan of redemption. Shine God’s light into the world around you, and watch as the darkness is pierced, for surely, as the Prophet Isaiah said, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you!”
The Nations 9th of Av invites everyone to join and be an active part of what God is doing in the world today. We are preparing now to observe the 9th of Av – the annual day of mourning by the Jewish people – on July 17-18 with a 25-hour video prayer and worship event. Visit us at www.9-av.com to learn more and join our email list.
Embrace the past to transform the future of Christian-Jewish relations. Stand with Israel! Together we can make a difference.
To be honest, my first significant, personal connection with the land of Israel did not come in Jerusalem, but in Caesarea. That was in May 2015, when I stood in the Hippodrome, a place where Rome’s dominance of the Holy Land was on full display in the form of chariot races, gladiatorial contests, and other spectacles. As I surveyed the excavated remains of this ancient arena, my mind wasn’t on the spectacles, but on the significance of the city of Caesarea to me, a Christian born in the nations. At that moment, I realized my connection to the Living God of Israel can be traced directly to that ancient city, the Roman capitol of Judea. It was there that the centurion Cornelius received the testimony of Peter the apostle and became the first Gentile follower of Jesus Christ (Acts 10). There Paul was imprisoned before he was taken to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, having opportunity to testify before two governors and a king (Acts 23:12-27:2). There also the last Herod died, vainly receiving the praise of the people shortly after he authorized the execution of James, brother of John, and the persecution of the Jerusalem Messianic community (Acts 12). The realization of all these things at once not only made the city come alive, but established within me an enduring bond with the land God cares for (Deuteronomy 11:10-12).
But Caesarea is not the Holy City. It was once the center of power in Israel – the regional center of a foreign occupying power, a beastly conqueror that prefigured the final occupying power destined to enslave all the world for a season. There is historical and spiritual significance to Caesarea, and the spiritually astute can sense it. However, it is not the place of God’s throne. That is in Jerusalem – in Zion, the Mountain of the Lord (Micah 4:1-5). There that God revealed Himself to Abraham, confirming the covenant when the Patriarch obeyed even to the point of offering his promised son and heir Isaac to the Lord in faithful, expectant obedience (Genesis 22). There the Lord established His Name, promising to David, the king He had chosen, that the Redeemer of Israel and the world would come through his line (2 Samuel 7:8-17; 2 Chronicles 6:5-6). Jews and Christians alike know this, and both expectantly await Messiah’s coming to Jerusalem to sit on David’s throne and rule the nations in an era of true peace (Zechariah 14:1-9).
These things I have known for a long time. Long before my first visit to the Holy City, I learned and believed these truths born of the Almighty’s firm promises. Yet until now they have flitted through my consciousness as background noise to the constant churning of an inquisitive mind. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Jerusalem added substance to the impressions and images of my book learning. The beautiful people I have encountered there – Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others – bring the city to life and establish for me a connection with antiquity. Jerusalem has always been the place where nations rub shoulders, where holy intersects with common, and where heaven meets earth. How could it be otherwise? It is the center of the world, and has been ever since, according to one Jewish tradition, the Creator formed the first human from its soil. Why? The Midrash says:
He took his dust from that spot on which the Holy Temple with the altar of atonement was in later times to be built of which it is said, (Exodus 20:24) “An altar of earth thou shalt make for Me” saying, “Would that this sacred earth may be an expiation for him so that he may be able to endure.” (Genesis Rabbah 14:8)
As I write, Jerusalem is once again a battle ground. The long, complicated series of events that has led to the restoration of the Holy City to Israel, with the exception of the holiest place of all, is in this very moment enduring a new season of turmoil. Jerusalem, and especially the Har Habayit – the Temple Mount – really is the center of the world. It is the place of mankind’s creation, atonement, redemption, and final restoration. Why should we be surprised that empires and peoples have wrestled over it since time immemorial? That is why Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Christians cannot let the status quo continue. Jerusalem is the crucible in which God holds the fate of the world. Those who strive to wrest it from His hands suffer mightily in the attempt. He alone determines who shall be its custodian, and scripture tells me He has designated the seed of Abraham as the stewards of His Holy City. Until it is firmly and irrevocably in their hands, then the world shall remain in endless turmoil.
Hence the reason we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
May it come soon, and in our day.
This article was written and originally published for the Nations 9th of Av on May 13, 2021.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz of Israel365 discusses ways that Christian Zionists are finding ways to participate and celebrate the Jewish festivals mentioned in the Bible (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot) with Pastors Laura Densmore, Steve Wearp, Al McCarn and Denise Roe.
God says quite clearly that He will establish an everlasting covenant with Israel, and that He will bring Israel’s people back to the Promised Land. His name and reputation are at stake here. What does that mean for the Jewish people? What does it mean for Christians – both in the past, and right now?
We should be encouraged to see our young people taking action on important issues. It means they are paying attention, they care, and they want to make a difference. Whether that difference is good or bad depends largely on what they have learned from their elders, and the willingness of both youth and elders to partner in identifying what is good and how to act on it.
Of course, we at Nations’ 9th of Av understand both from scripture and from our own relational experience that support to the Jewish people and the state of Israel is good, which means that antisemitism is bad. That is why we are encouraged to see one of our young colleagues take a stand in a highly visible public forum.
At 21, Matthew Wearp is the youngest member of our planning team. His talents and energy have enriched our work. As you can see in this opinion piece published inThe Jerusalem Post, one of those talents is writing. The opinion he expresses here is the result of his upbringing in a family that has labored for years in Israel and America to make a difference for good that impacts the Kingdom plans of the Almighty.
The rise of antisemitism on the Left and in America – opinion
The Jerusalem Post
By MATTHEW WEARP, JULY 31, 2020 10:28
In the past few years, we have seen a surge of antisemitism in America.
Antisemitic hate crimes are rising at an alarming pace, and according to the ADL, 2019 saw the highest level of antisemitic incidents since tracking began in 1979.
Only two months ago, as protests raged across our nation, Los Angeles experienced an explosionin antisemitism as kosher stores and synagogues were vandalized, looted, and burned.
The same has happened in cities across America as antisemitic incidents are sadly becoming more commonplace around the United States.
The problem is, instead of the Left condemning and strongly opposing these attacks, antisemitism has found a home in the Democratic Party and has become a shameful problem that the Left must confront.
Outright antisemitic statements from Democratic members of Congress have either been ignored or dismissed by party leaders and even if it is condemned no action is taken. The lack of action will doubtless lead to a rise in antisemitism in the party if Democrats continue to avoid the underlying problem. Politicians who spout any kind of antisemitic rhetoric must be shunned by both parties or else it slowly becomes accepted and normalized when party politics become more important than rejecting antisemitic hatred.
Democrat representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, have both come under fire during their first term in office for prejudice towards Israel, support of the BDS movement, and outright antisemitic comments.
Early on in her time in office, Ilhan Omar portrayedAmerican supporters of Israel as having been bought off by Jews, the scandal that followed forced Democrat leaders to scold Ilhan Omar for her comments yet beyond that, no action was taken.
In January, Rashida Tlaib retweetedand then removed a tweet falsely blaming Israelis for the death of a Palestinian child. This spread of an antisemitic blood libel was largely ignored by Democratic leaders and the media.
“The Democratic Party failed to condemn antisemitism, and that failure sent a message which Omar and Tlaib heard quite clearly. They were given a free pass to traffic in and promote antisemitism.” writes Bethany Mandel for the Washington Examiner.
“The Rubicon has been crossed. One of the two major political parties in this country is openly accepting of antisemites in its midst. We have not even begun to understand what the ramifications of this new reality are.”
The outright hypocrisy from the Left when it comes to antisemitism is also outright alarming.