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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Day of Destruction

western_wall_jerusalem_7You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.

Rev 2:4-5

Tisha b'Av 
This evening, Sunday 7th July, sees the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av. Jews are in the middle of a traditional three weeks of mourning which began with the fast of Tammuz and will culminate on Tisha b'Av (9th Av), 15th and 16th July.

Why is Tisha b'Av so important?

It is because so many destructive things have happened to God's chosen people on that date. Here are some which relate specifically to the Temple:
  • 586 BC Solomon's Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar
  • AD 70 The Second Temple where Jesus had taught was destroyed by the Romans
  • AD 136 Roman Emperor Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter on the site
The day has also been associated with the Crusades, the expulsion of Jews from Spain and the deportation from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka in 1942.

No wonder modern day Jews still mourn.

Heed The Warning 
Why then, given the evidence of God's dealings with His special people, do we not head the words of Jesus to the church at Ephesus?

The casual attitude that says, "oh well, if we do get it wrong, Jesus will forgive us," denies the righteous anger of the Lord. The threat to remove the lamp stand is not an idle one. Judgement on God's people did not end with the Jews. He is serious about His reputation and the honour due to His name. We ignore the repeated references to God's jealousy at our peril.

Our Lord wants our undivided devotion and, as our Creator, He has every right to demand it. If we treat Jesus and His sacrifice for us lightly we should not be surprised if He disciplines us. But there is always a way back for the individual Christian:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Rev 3:19:20

For a congregation of His people, willful disobedience may lead to the removal of the church, as it did at Ephesus.

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