Dear Brethren,

The Bible is written in a way that makes it impossible for the world to understand.   "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, by hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive."  (Matthew 13:14)  Often, the Bible is an enigma for us in God's Church, as well.  We know that much of the Bible is prophecy.  We know that all prophecy is going to be fulfilled in the way that God intends.  "When this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them."  (Ezekiel 33:33)

We have seen the 2520 year prophecy fulfilled in more than one way.  The Jews received a home land and Ephraim and Manasseh have received the blessings promised to Abraham.  And yet, there is more.  Why have the Jews, the children of Judah, remained a recognized people - while the other tribes of Israel have disappeared from public view?  "What advantage then hath the Jew? ....or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans 3:1-2)

God has not forgotten Judah - but Judah does not know its God.  God has sustained Judah through the centuries for His purposes while He works with the New Testament Church.  The other tribes, as they became "lost," would not have been able to maintain the oracles of God intact. "Hath God cast away his people?... What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day." (Romans 11:1,7-8)

God is still working with Judah, and all the tribes of Israel for that matter.  What will it take to get the attention of the Jews - that they might believe?  "Because of unbelief they were broken off.., And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again."  (Romans 11:20,23)

A pattern has emerged with regard to Judah that is worth noting.  It has to do with a certain date on the sacred calendar. What can we make of this - design or coincidence?  Will this date prove once again to be significant?  The Jews call this day "Tisha B'Av."

Tisha B'Av begins at sunset today - August 13, 2005, and ends at sunset August 14, 2005.  Av is the fifth month of God's calendar year, occurring in July/August, and Tisha B'Av means "the ninth (day) of Av."  Tisha B'Av is a day of mourning for the Jews to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jews, many of which have occurred on the ninth of Av.

Tisha B'Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av - the first by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian in 586 B.C.; the second by Titus the Roman in 70 A.D.

Tradition has it that it is the day that the spies brought back the evil report to Moses.  In 1290 the king of England expelled the Jews from  England.  Tisha B'Av was the day Ferdinand and Isabella expelled Jews from Spain and Portugal in 1492.  Spain began its decline, while America rose in prominence.  World War I began on Tisha B'Av 1914.  In 1994 there was a bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina which killed 86 people on Tisha B'Av.

Brethren, God is not yet through with Judah.  What will happen next - and when will it happen? Notice this prophetic utterance: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem."  (Zechariah 12:2)


Sermon:  "Our Identity"